Emily Warren: A Guide to Royal Eating in Late Heian Times, the Chūjiruiki

What did Heian elites eat? The Chūjiruiki, or “Records Concerning the Palace Kitchens,” a late Heian Period text, answers this question, as well as posing many more topics for consideration. This collection details the utensils, furnishing, and courses that officials would organize for the tennō’s mealtime. The tennō dined twice a day, in the morning (asagarei gozen) and in the afternoon (hiru gozen). Neither meal was a simple affair. In the afternoon, the tennō enjoyed seven courses, each one carefully cooked and plated.  The orchestration of his two daily meals, never mind banquets, must have been complicated affairs for those preparing the tableware and food. The Chūjiruiki gives us an idea of the complex web of responsibilities. The three most important offices handling the tennō’s meals were the Royal Meal Office (Naizenshi), the Palace Kitchen Office (Mizushidokoro), and the Grains Procurement Office (Ōiryō). This presentation explores the responsibilities of the various food-related offices, as well as presenting key responsibilities described in the text.