Show Respect to General Tso when eating at a Chinese Buffet

Show Respect to General Tso when eating at a Chinese Buffet

Every day, from lunch to suppertime, dare I infer that millions of gastro-influenced Americans drift into Chinese Restaurants across this fair land. As you, I, or they stare through the plexiglass of the water heated display and fight the steam that blisters our fore arms as we reach to get our deep fried crab rangoons? Do you make room on your plate beside of your egg roll and ham fried rice for the General Tso’s chicken? On every occasion I find myself wondering to whom do I owe tribute for this delicious spicy chicken dish that I am eating? Did you ever think about who the real General Tso actually was? Was he real or was he just a name that popped into the head of a Chinese-American line cook? Well, you might not but I wanted to know.

I can bet that 1 in a 1,000 of you well educated people know the man whom General Tso’s Chicken is in reference to was actually a Chinese military leader from the Qing Dynasty named Zuo Zongtang. He was born in 1812 to a poor family in the Hunan province of China. In his youth he failed his court exams multiple times which was a terrible disgrace to him and his family. So he returned home with wife and devoted himself to his studies. He took up silkworm and tea farming of all things. All things changed in 1850 when he was 38 years old. During the Taiping Rebellion, the gentle farmer decided that he would lay down his garden spade for a sword. Silkworm farmer Zuo Zongtang became…..General Tso. Well not literally. His name was still Zuo Zongtang and he started out as the secretary for the governor but never-the-less he was on his way. There is an old saying that says that ‘war makes a man’…well war didn’t make Tso, Tso made war. He got 5,000 soldiers to come forth to fight. SO in all actuality I guess you really could say that Tso made war and war made Tso. For the rest of his life, he would wield a sword, becoming one of the most important military commanders in Chinese history and respected Generals in combat.

So knowing that, you are probably wondering, how did a great war veteran who became the Viceroy of Liangjang (one of China’s highest titles) before deciding to take one more commission as General. Well as many of you that grew up in America in the 50s, 60s and 70s can acclimate, Chinese restaurants were popping up all over the country. They even had a Chinese restaurant on the Andy Griffith show. Supposedly here is how it happened: two men from the Hunan province opened up a Chinese restaurant in New York city back in 1972 and one of the 4 ‘main attractions’ that they had on their menu was…yep you guessed it…’General Tso’s Chicken. This deliciously sweet, yet slightly spicy deep fried chicken party in your mouth was born. And even though the dish may bear his name, the General never got to taste the dish. The great warrior of the Qing dynasty who killed thousands upon thousands. The man who subdued thousands of rebels and up-risers while carving his name into Chinese history by the point of a sword never knew that his name would be misspelled upon Americanized Chinese buffets and take out joints all across North America….for our culinary delight. I am forever thankful for the inventive expatriate Chinese chef who awarded him with his culinary name to fame. I will salute you next time I pick up my chop sticks General Tso.

“I am what I am” says Popeye the Sailor Man

“I am what I am” says Popeye the Sailor Man

Toot toot! 

In today’s society, we are all basically very full of ourselves. We all have varied opinions and most of us love to let our opinions be known to everyone around us; whether they like it or not. So all aspects of socially interactive media (Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube) allows us to get on our proverbial soap box and preach our selected gospel to the masses. Whether that gospel is the sharing of your grandmother’s lasagna recipe, your political grievances or if you are just as narcissistic as I am (and love to hear/see yourself talk).

So, why should you start a blog? The reasons delve way beyond our yearning to see our glorious words in print or on the interwebs:

Supercharge

It is a good idea to blog so we can supercharge your writing skills. Remember when you were learning to ride your bike; despite the blood gushing from your knee, you kept hearing someone yell “practice makes perfect”. Well despite the aggravation that we felt at that moment; they were right. The more you write the better of a writer you become. You will start producing skills at the same pace that you learned to ride that bike after the training wheels were relinquished. This newly acquired skill is very useful in the workplace and most sales are done through email while advertisement is mostly done through social media and the internet.

Soap Box Preacher

If you have Facebook, we all know that one person who gets on their proverbial soap box and preaches to all of we unwilling readers. Ten years ago a soap box on the street, a chair in a hair salon or a fence post between yards would have been enough for gossip gollies BUT now we have social media and blogging is just the tool to utilize.

Free Your Mind

Freeing your mind isn’t just what En Vogue said to do in their 1992 classic hit, freeing your mind is what blogging can do for you. Blogging allows you to be able to create a forum for you to share a conscious thought. Whether 1 or 1,000,000 people read it, you have shared your thoughts. Also a blog can act as your own personal journal where you can experience and see your own personal growth throughout your words. We can disperse information to the masses in our own personal well versed way.

Express Yourself 

Man another song name. Guess music and blogging are both truly art forms. I don’t think Charles Wright would mind me borrowing his song name to tell you that blogging is a FANTASTIC place to express yourself. The internet has allowed us to network with people from all around the world. So whatever your blog is actually saying, you are sharing a part of yourself with the world.

Inspire

Think about all of the people who have found the best Sushi restaurants in Raleigh, gotten completely pissed off during a political debate, gotten the recipe for a healthy meatloaf or read about how much money an NFL quarterback makes, thanks to a blog. We inspire people with our words.

ITS FREE

I mean seriously…who doesn’t love something free. Most blogging websites offer you the ability to blog for free. How great is that!

Its FUN!!!!

Now if you have Facebook and you something really clever…you wait to see how many people like your status. DON’T LIE! We love positive reinforcement. We love the comments. And heck, some of us like to argue!

And last but not least, some people have made a lot of money off of it. Some people have turned their food blogs into a full time job. Bloggers are the new food critic of choice. A bad review on a blog site can ruin a restaurant’s reputation. Depending on the topic, you can market your blog to advertisers. Doing this will cause you to make money. Easy peasey lemon squeezy.

🙂