China’s Big Chill

Frozen Dumpling

Between 1995 and 2007, the percentage of urban households in China who owned refrigerators rose from 7% to 95%.  Without this increase, the Sanquan (三全) frozen dumpling factory in Zhengzhou probably would not need to churn out 400 tons of dumplings a day (~100,000/hour) and its founder Chen Zemin (陈泽民 / 陳澤民) might not have become China’s 192nd richest person.

Beginning with a brief but fascinating profile of the unlikely frozen dumpling tycoon, Nicole Twilley, a writer and researcher interested in the juncture of food and geography, explores in “The Price of Cold” the rise of the use of refrigeration in China and its effects – from how food is grown and distributed to how its consumed – on the country’s food system and culture. Incidents of food-borne illnesses are down but so is production of traditional foods.

Over at her blog, Edible Geography, Twilley complements the Times article with a look at wet markets, sleeping fish, yogurt control rooms, and seven other places, processes, and organizations that make up the food industry that feeds over 1.3 billion people.

Image: Flickr user JoeBorn, licensed under Creative Commons