Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Okay, But It Still Tastes Good

JANUSFILES2 . . . ENTRY #0098 . . . OPEN:

Chop suey is not authentically Chinese.

To the best of my knowledge, I was 11 or 12 the first time I read that little bit of information. It was mentioned in a book titled The Year Of The Jeep. The book also mentioned that chop suey was created in America by Chinese immigrants, but that was probably the extent of the information given on the subject. (It was more an incidental bit of information than anything else.)

I've been reading about chop suey more recently in Jennifer 8. Lee's book The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, and on Wikipedia's entry on the subject. Ms. Lee's book tells quite a few interesting stories about chop suey and its origins, but the only thing that can be said with any certainty is . . . that chop suey is not authentically Chinese, and that it was created in America by Chinese immigrants.

For one reason or another, I don't think I had ever had chop suey until last night. After taking a break from eating Chinese takeout at work for a few weeks, I was in the mood for it again. And the schedule had me coming in early enough that Oriental House was my best option. As I looked over the takeout menu, I glanced at the chop suey section, and said to myself, "Why not?"

I went with the beef chop suey -- or as it was listed on the menu, "sirloin of beef." When my order was brought out, it smelled wonderful.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to eat it for a couple of hours. Surprisingly, it was still somewhat warm once I did get a chance to eat.

And the food tasted as good as it smelled when it was brought to me. Strips of beef cooked together with a variety of vegetables in brown sauce. Those included mushrooms (nice big chunks!), sliced water chestnuts, bean sprouts, celery, and cabbage. It was served with white rice.

I made one slight mistake this time. I ate too much of the rice first, and as a result, there wasn't enough to mix with the leftover sauce once I was finished. I won't make that mistake again.

And of course, I had a fortune cookie with my meal, with the following fortune:

"Silence is the great teacher, and to learn its lessons you must pay attention to it."

JANUSFILES2 . . . ENTRY #0098 . . . CLOSE

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