This chapter outlines new avenues for scholarly research on recipes by foregrounding the practice-based knowledge that they contain. Specifically, it offers a new reading of the Chinese ‘Five Twig Powder’ (wu zhi san 五枝散) and some of its Song and Yuan dynasty variants (960–1279, 1279–1368). It thereby aims to provide a discussion, grounded in social theory and critically sensitive to the text, of how best to analyse ancient recipe texts without losing sight, entirely, of their perceived efficaciousness due to some of their transculturally acknowledged bodily materialities. For doing so, several concepts developed in ethnographic fieldwork are introduced as relevant for textual analysis, such as ‘dis-ease’ and its identification through ‘reverse diagnosing’, and ‘active reading’ as a skill and/or ‘body technique’. More generally, the chapter invites renewed reflection on how to account for language, thought and culture, and their interrelations, as expressed through textual form and materiality, by giving the lived body more significance as a generative principle for meaning making through linguistic expression.