Monday, June 30, 2008


Well its Monday night, you're not in the mood to cook so you pretty much have two options. Chinese or Pizza. You might fool yourself into thinking you have more choices, but you had (insert closest fast food chain here) for lunch and every other ethnic cuisine is an extra 5 minutes in the car. God bless the lazy American lifestyle.

I, myself, usually go for Chinese in the beginning of the week because pizza has a liberating feeling to it fucking with my mind to make it think its either thursday or friday. (I don't need that kind of dissappointment on a Monday night.) My personal favorite dish is General Tso's Chicken. I've probably consistantly ordered the dish for about half of my life and I still have no idea how to pronounce it. I've tried Tiso, Sow, So, and any other combination between the three. I looked online and I've come to realize the rest of America is as clueless as I am. (However, not as cluelass as Canada...they sometimes call it General George's Chicken. Idiots.)


While on my quest for the perfect pronunciation, which by popular majority and wikipedia is "General So's Chicken", I've come to realize that General Tso was a real guy. His actual name being, Zuo Zongtang, spelled Tso Tsung-t'ang in Wade-Giles and known simply as General Tso or General Tsuo to us whiteys.

In his early life he flunked the court exams (a glorified civil service test) more times than Vinny Gambini flunked the BAR exam. But Zuo I guess had that certain je ne sais quoi, and was given command of 5,000 volunteers and helped drive the Taiping rebels out of Hunan. I'm guessing this was a good thing because he was appointed Governor-General of Fujian and Zhejiang. Other key highlights were overseeing the erection of a shipyard (hehe) and stopping another uprising. This all happened in the 1860's, while we were busy dealing with our own Civil War.

General Tso

Vincent decide

So what does he have to do with chicken? No one knows for sure. Some say his wife made him the meal after a victorious battle and he was so impressed with it that he had his wife make it for his commanding officers after every victory, but not likely. I only say this because no one in China really knows about this dish. Its pretty much an American food that may or may not have been created by Hunan cuisine chef Peng Chang-kuei in New York City in 1973. The dish was originally prepared without sugar, and subsequently altered to suit the tastes of non-Hunanese people. Can we say "sell-out." Ironically, when Peng opened a restaurant in Hunan in the 1990s introducing General Tso's chicken, the restaurant closed without success because the locals found the dish too sweet. Oops.

And after you read all of this, you are still left thinking "So What?"and I say to you good sir, "Tso What? Tso Let's Dance!!!"


AB said...

Nice one eagle, just like the old days. Welcome back!

Anonymous said...


Dr. John said...

Welcome back, Eagle. Thought you had dropped the blog thing there for a while. Though I like General Tso, I prefer sesame chicken more. And you are right, there is nothing like General Tso's chicken in China (though the food there is very similar to chinese food here). I've been there twice and enjoyed the food very much.