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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Chinese Food, American Style

Boston.com has a slideshow on its site titled, "8 Things You Might Not Know about Chinese Food." Take a look and you'll see things like the chow mein sandwich and Szechuan alligator! (Eeeuuu!)

The slideshow is based on the book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8. Lee [641.5951 LEE]. (In case you're wondering about her middle name, 8., the book's jacket explains, "'8' connotes prosperity in Chinese.")

I found chapter 5, "The Long March of General Tso," most interesting since I have long been a fan of the General's chicken (and his fried tofu, which isn't always on the menu) and have often wondered who the man behind the name is or was. You won't be surprised to find that the General really had nothing to do with the dish.

Isn't it funny that we have another book about Chinese food with the word "chronicles" in its title, Potsticker Chronicles: America's Favorite Chinese Recipes: A Family Memoir by Stuart Chang Berman [641.5951 BER]?

Berman generally begins his chapters with stories from his family. He also adds personal commentary to most recipes. Here's a sample from the recipe for beef and onions,
It's a bit unorthodox, but frequently I make this dish and put it on a hard roll or a piece of baguette. Better yet, I'll add a slice or two of cheese and melt it briefly under the broiler for "Chinese Cheesesteak."

In recent years, I have minced up some jalapeno, serrano, or Asian chilies and put them in the marinade to give this dish a bit of a kick.

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