Peking duck in Beijing. Many great dishes are named for their creators, but oddly, no one is honored for Peking duck, perhaps the greatest culinary invention of all. Imagine what went into that dish’s development: knowing that to blow the slaughtered bird up with air and hang it for 24 hours will free the skin from the flesh as fat drips slowly out. Then to devise the savory glaze of rice vinegar, honey, plummy hoisin sauce, ginger, sesame oil and a pinch of hot chili peppers. The bird is then set vertically on a rack in the oven and brushed with sauce intermittently as the roasting proceeds. And to think of serving, most authentically, first the skin wrapped in hot thin crepes seasoned with hoisin with brushes of scallions and cucumber slivers to be followed by the meat and finally a heady soup of cabbage simmered with the bones of duck carcass. (Less traditionally and less ethereally, skin and meat are sometimes wrapped up together.) Having had Peking duck often, I was newly beguiled several years ago at the Da Dong Beijing Roast Duck Restaurant in Beijing, where women at the table were served the first course of crisped skin with small dishes of coarse, diamond-bright crystal sugar to be sprinkled on. I was told that a long-ago Chinese empress considered spices too strong for delicate feminine palates and thought sugar more appropriate. Certainly it delighted this feminine palate as the crackling sweet sugar mollified the underlying oiliness of the skin.