.. the unsurpassed ingenuity of Chinese cooks in making delicious dishes out of everything under heaven, all the plants.., all the creatures, all their parts. These are legacies of scarcity. Yet truly great cuisine, food as high art, did not arise here; it arose from wealth. It was the province and the passion of the elite. Throughout history, gourmets and chefs tended to reach their heights in conditions of plenty, not need.
from The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones (2007). Very Highly Recommended.