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dgmodel

General Tso...

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Originally posted by dgmodel

who the hell was he anyway??? and where does he get off getting a chicken named after him???

Dont ask...just dont ask lol

General Tso Tsungtang, or as his name is spelled in modern Pinyin, Zuo Zongtang, was born on Nov. 10, 1812, and died on Sept. 5, 1885. He was a frighteningly gifted military leader during the waning of the Qing dynasty, a figure perhaps the Chinese equivalent of the American Civil War commander William Tecumseh Sherman. He served with brilliant distinction during China's greatest civil war, the 14-year-long Taiping Rebellion, which claimed millions of lives.

Tso was utterly ruthless. He smashed the Taiping rebels in four provinces, put down an unrelated revolt called the Nian Rebellion, then marched west and reconquered Chinese Turkestan from Muslim rebels.

Arthur W. Hummel devotes five double-columned pages to the general in the monumental 1944 "Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period (1644-1912)" published by the Library of Congress.

Tso emerges from several sources as a self-made man, born in Hunan province, a hilly hot-tempered heartland, whose cuisine rivals that of Sichuan for sheer firepower. (While Sichuan food is hot right up front, in the mouth, in your face; Hunanese cuisine tends to build up inside you, like a slow charcoal fire, until you feel as though your belly is filled with burning coals.)

As a young man Tso flunked the official court exams three times, a terrible disgrace. He returned home, married and devoted himself to practical studies, like agriculture and geography. He took up silkworm farming and tea farming and chose a gentle sobriquet, calling himself "The Husbandman of the River Hsiang." Like Sherman, stuck teaching at a military academy in Louisiana on the eve of the Civil War, he seemed washed up.

He was 38 when the Taiping Rebellion broke out in 1850. For the rest of his life, Tso would wield the sword, becoming one of the most remarkably successful military commanders in Chinese history.

The Taiping Rebellion -- a movement that in part advocated Christian doctrine -- nearly toppled the Qing dynasty. It was founded by Hong Xiuquan, a Chinese mystic who believed he was the younger brother of Jesus. The whole astonishing episode has been described admirably by Yale scholar Jonathan Spence in his "God's Chinese Son." (Norton, 1996).

Tso made war, and war made Tso. He began his military career as an adjutant and secretary for the governor of Hunan province. He raised a force of 5,000 volunteers and took the field in September 1860, driving the Taiping rebels out of Hunan and Guangxi provinces, into coastal Zhejiang. There he captured the big cities of Shaoxing, still famous for its sherrylike rice wine. From there he pushed south into Fujian and Guangdong provinces, where the revolt had first begun and spread, and had crushed the Taipings by the time the rebellion ended in 1864.

The Taiping Rebellion was the greatest upheaval in 19th century China. It caused massive displacements and shifts in population. Hundreds of thousands of people fled or emigrated, many to America, where they worked building the transcontinental railroad, which was completed in 1869.

It would be possible to leave the story here and say that General Tso's Chicken simply honors a great personality, just as Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, is honored in Beef Wellington; Pavel Stroganoff, a 19th-century Russian diplomat, in Beef Stroganoff; Count Charles de Nesselrode (another 19th-century Russian diplomat) in Nesselrode Pudding,; or Australian opera singer Nellie Melba in the dessert, Peach Melba. Indeed some believe it quite likely that the dish was whipped up for the general after some signal victory, just as Chicken Marengo was whipped up for Napoleon after he defeated the Austrians at Marengo on June 14, 1800.

Still, the recipe is not particularly original -- the ingredients are used in many stir-fry Chinese dishes -- and the dark meat chicken argues for a humbler origin. It's a poor man's dish, not a feast for a field marshal.

Is it possible that, struggling to carve out a new life in America under backbreaking adversities, and having heard of the sword skills of the remorseless General Tso (who had the top leaders of the Nian Rebellion executed with the proverbial "death of 10,000 cuts"), the overseas exiles indulged in some gallows-humor about their old enemy? That the chopped-up chicken dish may have gotten its name from the sliced and diced victims of Tso's grim reprisals?

This might conceivably explain why General Tso's Chicken is very much an overseas Chinese dish, filtering the hot, peppery taste of Hunan cuisine, through the sweetening process of Cantonese cooking. Most of the immigrants to America came from coastal regions: Shanghai and Canton.

and that is all

Answer your question??:tongue:

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whoa!!! 10Q bebe... i didnt know that... you know whats fucked up??? why did they put his name on chicken? which is synonomous with being a pussy or pansey... etc. kind of ironic... or is that just an american thing? so it doesnt apply???

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Originally posted by dgmodel

whoa!!! 10Q bebe... i didnt know that... you know whats fucked up??? why did they put his name on chicken? which is synonomous with being a pussy or pansey... etc. kind of ironic... or is that just an american thing? so it doesnt apply???

all i know is that it was invented in the mid-1970s, in NYC, by some guy named Chef Peng, as for why he named it after him i have no idea lol:tongue:

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did u read my favorite food list on the new york board to come up with this topic, cause about 4 people msged me on how they love Genreal Tso's Chicken.

Anyway... I can't wait for lunch tomorrow.... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm:tongue:

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Originally posted by dgmodel

i had it for lunch yesterday... i ask them to prepare it in a special way... i tell them to make the chicken welldone/crispy... with very lil sauce... over white rice.. amazing!!!

definately the only way to eat it:tongue:

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well, i used to think all taht talk about the meat being sketchy was BS. then i had a really bad experience with it...i couldnt convince myself that what i was eating was actually chicken. when you order all white meat u will taste the difference. not as good, but at least you know its not kitty...

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