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François Barraud | La Tailleuse de Soupe | Rustic Onion Soup

 François Barraud | La Tailleuse de Soupe In "La Tailleuse de Soupe," a painting from 1933 by François Barraud, we witness a scene imbued with mystery and a touch of surrealism, both characteristics that pervade many of Barraud's works. The title originates from the French verb "tailler" which means "to cut" or "to carve". This painting captures an intriguing domestic moment. A young girl, adorned with a large orange ribbon, sits at a table where a large steaming tureen of soup sits. She gazes at the viewer with a somewhat sullen expression, while across from her, her mother, seemingly in a cheerful mood, cuts slices of bread with a distinct smile. The narrative preceding this scene remains unknown. We're left to speculate what might have led to the young girl's mood, her refusal to watch the near-dismemberment of the loaf of bread that her mother enthusiastically carves into thin slices, presumably to accompany the hot soup soon to b

Unknown Chinese Painter | An Elegant Party | Chinese Mixed Vegetable Noodle Stir-Fry

Unknown Chinese Artist | An Elegant Party

Song Dynasty Elegant Party, marked as public domain, Wikimedia Commons

"An Elegant Party" depicts a traditional party during the Song Dynasty and shows the sophisticated lifestyle of the upper class during this period, highlighting the refined and cultured atmosphere of such gatherings.

The guests dressed in traditional silk garments, engaged in conversation, laughter, and intellectual pursuits. A large table is filled with luxurious foods, including various dishes. Exclusively men sit at the table while being served by women.

Although painted in the Song period, it is most likely a reproduction of an earlier Tang Dynasty (618-907) work of art. The painting is attributed to Emperor Huizong of Son.

Recipe: Chinese Mixed Vegetable Noodle Stir-Fry

The history of noodles in China can be traced back thousands of years, with the earliest known evidence of their consumption dating back to around 2000 BCE. However, it is commonly believed that noodles were a staple food in China even before this period.

Noodles, made from wheat or rice flour, have played a significant role in Chinese cuisine and culture throughout history. The versatility of noodles, combined with the wide variety of ingredients available in China, allowed for the development of a diverse range of dishes across the country.


Soy sauce has a long history in China, dating back to the Western Han Dynasty (206 BCE - 9 CE). It is believed to have originated from a predecessor called "jiang," a fermented paste made from grains and salt. Initially, jiang was made from meat, but as soybeans became more widely cultivated, they replaced meat as the primary ingredient.

During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), soy sauce production techniques were further refined, and soy sauce became a staple in Chinese cuisine. As trade and cultural exchange grew between China, Japan, and Korea, soy sauce was introduced to these neighboring countries, where it was adapted to local tastes and ingredients.

Rice vinegar, also known as "mijiu" or "mi cu" in Chinese, has a similarly ancient history. It has been used in Chinese cuisine for over 3,000 years. Its production dates back to the Xia Dynasty (2070-1600 BCE), where it was initially used for preserving food and as a medicinal ingredient.


  • 1 pound fresh wheat noodles (or dried wheat noodles, cooked according to package instructions)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup sliced bok choy or Chinese cabbage
  • 1 cup julienned carrots
  • 1 cup sliced bell peppers (any color)
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (such as shiitake or oyster mushrooms)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey or sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional) 


  1. Cook the noodles according to package instructions. Once cooked, rinse them under cold water to stop the cooking process and set aside.

  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the minced ginger and garlic and stir-fry for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant.

  3. Add the sliced bok choy, julienned carrots, sliced bell peppers, and sliced mushrooms to the wok. Stir-fry the vegetables for 3-5 minutes, or until they are tender but still crisp.

  4. Add the cooked noodles to the wok with the vegetables. Stir-fry for another 1-2 minutes to combine the noodles and vegetables.

  5. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and honey or sugar. Pour the sauce over the noodles and vegetables and toss well to coat everything evenly.

  6. Remove the wok from heat and transfer the noodle stir-fry to a serving dish. Garnish with chopped green onions and cilantro, if desired.

  7. Serve the dish warm.

Additional information

During the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE), the exchange of goods and ideas along the Silk Road led to the introduction of new ingredients and techniques, further enriching Chinese noodle cuisine. It was during this period that the tradition of pulling noodles, or "la mian," originated, where a single piece of dough is repeatedly stretched and folded to create long, thin strands of noodles.

The Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE) saw the establishment of noodle shops in cities and towns across China, making noodles more accessible to the general population. The development of various noodle dishes continued to evolve, with the incorporation of local ingredients and flavors, leading to regional specialties.

By the time of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, noodles had become an integral part of Chinese cuisine, with countless regional variations and dishes. Noodles were enjoyed in soups, stir-fries, cold dishes, and even as a dessert.

Today, noodles remain a staple in Chinese cuisine, and their influence has spread worldwide, with dishes like chow mein, lo mein, and ramen becoming popular in various countries. The rich history of noodles in China showcases the country's culinary creativity and the enduring appeal of this versatile food.



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