Culinary practices in crime

9 Mar

Whodunnits – set in other times and places – are a favourite of mine, certainly because of the crime stories but also because of the small window into another culture and into another era, courtesy of the authors. Two in particular I would mention here: Firstly, the Erast Fandorin Series by Boris Akunin (Grigory Chkhartishvili), whose tongue-in-cheek treatment of his tsarist-Russian hero adds to my reading delight. Foodscapes in the form of banquets and cafes feature as backdrops for the unfolding stories.


Secondly, the Judge Dee Series by Robert van Gulik, set in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.). Here culinary habits add to the temporal setting. The detective escapades are based on the historical magistrate Di Renjie (or: Ti Jen-chieh). van Gulik, a Dutch diplomat to Asia, first translated an 18th century Chinese detective novel Dee Goong An on the legendary Tang statesman, before starting off on his successful series.


One of the recurring customs in the Judge Dee books is the serving of tea kept warm in a tea basket to the judge. I always imagine Judge Dee puzzling over the aspects of the crimes while sipping hot tea kept warm in a travelling tea set such as the following examples.

936746_kleintea 5_kleinteaset_kleinUnbenannt_kleinTea Set 2_klein

3 Responses to “Culinary practices in crime”

  1. YunitaGena March 10, 2013 at 02:19 #

    wow, nice and you really use your imagination and search it. nice 🙂

    • simplycarola March 10, 2013 at 13:25 #

      Hi Yuna of The Little Orange World 🙂
      Thank you! Glad you liked it; hope to see more of you in the Interwebs.

      • YunitaGena March 11, 2013 at 07:01 #

        Hi the simplycarola,

        you are very welcome 🙂

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