Chop Suey, USA

Chop Suey, USA

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American diners began flocking to Chinese restaurants more than a century ago, making Chinese cuisine the first mass-consumed food in the United States. By 1980, it had become the countryA•s most popular ethnic cuisine. Chop Suey, USA is the first comprehensive analysis of the forces that made Chinese food ubiquitous in the American gastronomic landscape and turned the country into an empire of consumption. Chinese foodA•s transpacific migration and commercial success is both an epic story of global cultural exchange and a history of the socioeconomic, political, and cultural developments that shaped the American appetite for fast food and cheap labor in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Americans fell in love with Chinese food not because of its gastronomic excellence. They chose quick and simple dishes like chop suey over ChinaA•s haute cuisine, and the affordability of such Chinese food democratized the once-exclusive dining-out experience for underprivileged groups, such as marginalized Anglos, African Americans, and Jews. The mass production of food in Chinese restaurants also extended the role of Chinese Americans as a virtual service labor force and marked the racialized division of the American population into laborers and consumers. The rise of Chinese food was also a result of the ingenuity of Chinese American restaurant workers, who developed the concept of the open kitchen and popularized the practice of home delivery. They effectively streamlined certain Chinese dishes, turning them into nationally recognized brand names, including chop suey, the A’Big MacA“ of the pre-McDonaldA•s era. Those who engineered the epic tale of Chinese food were a politically disfranchised, numerically small, and economically exploited group, embodying a classic American story of immigrant entrepreneurship and perseverance.In an otherwise thoughtful and well-researched essay about Chinese Americansa#39; food writings in the 1950s, Sherrie A. ... 98 Shiu Wong Chan, one of the first Chinese American writers of Chinese cooking, used the Chinese words chaoji ... 100 Wallace Yee Hong put it plainly in the early 1950s: a€œThe basis of the chow yoke (stir-fry pork) dishes is mixed vegetables. ... What Americans may call chop suey constituted a mainstay of my mothera#39;s cooking during my childhood in the small cityanbsp;...

Title:Chop Suey, USA
Author:Yong Chen
Publisher:Columbia University Press - 2014-10-28


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