Among the peasantry and labouring people of China, all are cooks. A little earthen-ware stove and an iron pan is all that is required. Rice is their principal food, which is simply boiled, and then a little fat of pork or a salt fish put into the pan to mix with it and give it a relish; they drink little else besides water, which is usually carried about in a gourd slung on the back; and they require no table nor chairs. Each person has his bowl and his chop-sticks, and squatting down on his haunches before the pan, he makes a hearty and contented meal. It is quite gratifying to see a party of youngsters making their dinner in this way in the open air.
The Project Gutenberg EBook of Picturesque Representations of the Dress and Manners of the Chinese, by William Alexander Published 1814