Wednesday, December 06, 2017

From The TESR Test Kitchen

general tsos chicken

A product we love is Kahiki's General Tso's Chicken Bowl & roll.

The frozen dinner is tasty.

But that's not why we're noting it now.

You can learn a lot in the kitchen.

Even from the cover of a frozen dinner.  Not only do you have carb (87g) and other nutritional information, you also have some historical background.

From the back of the box:

This famous dish was created in 1952 and named after General Zuo Zongtant, a Chinese military leader in the late 1800's.  The creator of this popular dish, Peng Chang-kuei, died in 2016 at the age of 98!  That's a long, delicious life of eating General Tso's.  Coincidence?  WE THINK NOT.

Not being THE VIEW, we won't go with just one published claim.

From Joshua D. Bateman (TIME MAGAZINE):

During the height of the Korean War in the early 1950s, Peng catered a three-day banquet for General Douglas MacArthur and his troops in Taiwan. It was an important event and Peng needed to alter the menu daily, so he experimented and created General Tso’s chicken — named after a Hunanese general whose name is also rendered as Zuo Zongtang. He lived from 1812 to 1885, quashed the Taiping Rebellion, and made contributions to agriculture, education and science.
Peng brought the recipe with him when, uneasy at Taiwan’s ongoing tensions with mainland China, he emigrated to New York City in 1973. He opened a restaurant on 44th Street, between Second and Third Avenues. Owing to the restaurant’s proximity to the U.N. headquarters, Taiwanese diplomats often hosted events there.

In the AP's Peng Chang-kuei obituary, they note:

Americans quickly took to the deep-fried chunks of floured chicken, smothered in sweetness that usually includes soy sauce, sugar, ginger and other spices.
The story of the delicacy is told in a 2014 documentary called "The Search for General Tso," which traces the roots of Chinese food in America through the iconic dish.

And Keoni Everington (TAWAIN NEWS) explains:

According to an interview with the China Times, Peng says that his most famous dish was created in 1952 during a four-day visit by U.S. Seventh Fleet commander Admiral Arthur W. Radford. After three days, he had served the guests most of his repertoire of dishes, so to try and mix things up a bit, he decided to chop some chicken into big chunks, fry it to a golden hue and then added a different combination of sauce and seasoning to create a new dish.
The admiral was so impressed with the dish that he asked Peng what it was called, he thought quickly on his feet and said "General Tso's Chicken" (左宗棠雞).
Peng chose the name to honor General Tso, a famous military leader from Hunan who helped put down the Taiping Rebellion as well as other rebellions in the 1800s during the Qing Dynasty. He was well respected not only for his successes on the battlefield, but also for his contributions to Chinese agricultural science and education.

For those enjoying Kahiki's frozen dinner or Chinese buffets this month and throughout the year, that's the story of General Tso's chicken.

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