Cathay is the Anglicized version of "Catai" and an alternative name for China in English. It originates from the word Khitan, the name of a nomadic people who founded the Liao Dynasty which ruled much of Northern China from 907 to 1125, and who later migrated west after they were overthrown by the Jurchens to form the Kara-Khitan Khanate centered on today's Kyrgyzstan for another century thereafter. Originally, Catai was the name applied by Central and Western Asians and Europeans to northern China; it obtained wide currency in Europe after the publication of Marco Polo's book (he referred to southern China as Manji). For centuries Cathay and China were believed by Europeans to be distinct nations with distinct cultures. However, by the late 1600s Europeans had mostly become aware that these were in fact the same nation. Throughout the long history of China, the vast distances and the difficulties encountered in travel tended to localize the different numerous language dialects. Strictly speaking there are more variations in Chinese cooking than in the Chinese language. Each accent season their food in a similar way. Conversely, those who speak with dissimilar accents season their food differently. On the other hand, there are many culinary similarities among the Chinese in the different territories, and many dishes are common to all Chinese. This book covers them all with beautiful color step-by-step photographs. The sage advice of Chinese philosophers for any endeavor is to approach it with "small heart and big gall", carefully and bravely. If the reader will apply common sense to every recipe attempted and will approach it carefully and bravely, true satisfaction will be obtained from the art of cooking.