- A science of living which offers guidance on food, menus, cooking techniques and conditions in which food should be eaten. In brief it recommends fresh vegetarian food but definitely not red meat and that a balanced meal should contain a little of each taste and quality. Six tastes are distinguished, sweet, salt, sour, bitter, pungent and astringent and six qualities, light, heavy, oily, dry, hot and cold. Eating should be a leisurely activity and a period of quiet after a meal should also be observed. steaming is considered the best method of cooking, and the attitude of the cook, who should be serene and tranquil, is important.