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(YouTube)   Lucas Sin gives us a wonderful history of Chow Mein in America. Also OMG knife skills. He's awesome   (youtube.com) divider line
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333 clicks; posted to Food » on 14 Sep 2021 at 5:03 AM (12 days ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



14 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2021-09-14 4:05:06 AM  
I am ABSOLUTELY the person who likes to overdress their salad.

And then if there's leftover dressing* I will probably drink it.


*vinaigrettes or other thin dressings.  NOT ranch.
 
2021-09-14 6:26:05 AM  
I'm fascinated by both food and language and how they intertwine with culture and its spread.
 
2021-09-14 6:44:23 AM  

casual disregard: I'm fascinated by both food and language and how they intertwine with culture and its spread.


Legit super interesting subject, but not a lot of material available on it for easy consumption, which stinks. :(

It's a really good way to access contextual information. Very undervalued as a communication aid.
 
2021-09-14 7:19:24 AM  

rue_in_winter: casual disregard: I'm fascinated by both food and language and how they intertwine with culture and its spread.

Legit super interesting subject, but not a lot of material available on it for easy consumption, which stinks. :(

It's a really good way to access contextual information. Very undervalued as a communication aid.


And what is popularly available is often vastly oversimplified or outright wrong. For example, as Sin mentions in the video, the history of Chinese American food is often simplified to "railroad workers with little culinary skill came to America and adapted local ingredients to their memories of food back in China." However, that "history" leaves out a lot about the different waves of migration, trade between China and the US, Chinese American entrepreneurship, etc. in some ways it says more about how westerners have pigeon-holed Chinese cuisine as low price restaurants than it does about the cuisine itself.

/ Did I miss some knife work in that video? I only saw him simply cutting those greens. I'm sure he has great knife skills, but I didn't see them.
 
2021-09-14 8:15:34 AM  
"That's the man! He said I was bad at cooking when I came over!"
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-09-14 8:16:41 AM  
Cantonese chow mein is my go to comfort noodle dish. Especially when the noodle are wok seared, then put at the bottom of the container to soak up all the juices.
Little squirt of soy= heaven
 
2021-09-14 9:00:49 AM  
I always associate chow mein with crappy brown hard noodles that he describes at the beginning, with canned "Chinese vegetables", and a thickened soy sauce gravy, that we ate as "exotic food" when my parents didn't have much money.

This dish looks quite good, in contrast.
 
2021-09-14 9:12:32 AM  

phlegmjay: rue_in_winter: casual disregard: I'm fascinated by both food and language and how they intertwine with culture and its spread.

Legit super interesting subject, but not a lot of material available on it for easy consumption, which stinks. :(

It's a really good way to access contextual information. Very undervalued as a communication aid.

And what is popularly available is often vastly oversimplified or outright wrong. For example, as Sin mentions in the video, the history of Chinese American food is often simplified to "railroad workers with little culinary skill came to America and adapted local ingredients to their memories of food back in China." However, that "history" leaves out a lot about the different waves of migration, trade between China and the US, Chinese American entrepreneurship, etc. in some ways it says more about how westerners have pigeon-holed Chinese cuisine as low price restaurants than it does about the cuisine itself.

/ Did I miss some knife work in that video? I only saw him simply cutting those greens. I'm sure he has great knife skills, but I didn't see them.


Damn skippy!

Stuff like 'didn't know how to cook' is such bullshiat on multiple levels. There are references in memoirs and other documents about how popular Chinese cooks actually were, and bits of discourse about adapting dishes to Gold Mountain palates. Also involves benevolent associations and internal community links and relationships, etc. Chinese workers were real important to the union movement in BC, for example.

Thing is, you'd have to know to look there, and that takes time reading and a network of people to bring such things to the attention of researchers, translations, accessing archives, i.e. the scholarship costs money.

And that's where an uncomfortable element of white academic racism comes in. Who cares about Chinese cooks and cuisine traditions, ordinary people's lives, small businesses, people trying to get by or improve their circumstances? Clearly the important thing is the national policy, the railroad and the discrimination! But really, it's easier and it's cheaper, because the documents are in English, and you don't have to pay translators. There were Chinese language newspapers here in BC, but a lot of people have no idea or they're rotting in someone's basement because no one's really out looking for them as a historical source or acquisition of interest.

It acts like like people didn't have lives, stories, dreams, goals, and experiences worth knowing or understanding, and that their living descendants or relatives don't need to know anything or understand anything except how those Chinese people related to whitey. Which is infuriating.

It's hard to find accessible material outside stuff like The Concubine's Children, which has some great stuff in it but it's not the only story.

Roomie and I get real mad when minority history gets screwed over like this. People don't value history, so trying to get grants to study this stuff is a pain in the ass and often impossible. The discourse is often controlled by budget and rando whims of faculty. And then popular misconceptions or stereotypes further bottlenecks interest in students who might try to do some real scholarship on their own or for their degree. It's not fair to shunt it onto people trying to research their own families, there should be some freakin' infrastructure. Roomie's best finds were all from family histories.

Doug Sam should have a damn movie! That document doesn't even mention some of the crazy stuff in his career after the war, like being a spy and fighting Hong Kong cop gangsters.

/ history is for everyone, god damn it
 
2021-09-14 12:23:40 PM  
Lucas Sin didn't mention what seasonings, if any, he used. (salt?)

Also he extolled corn starch without mentioning that it didn't exist in traditional Chinese cooking. Cornstarch was an American product and they used other starches.

Was the use of cornstarch in American Chinese food repurposed from the use of cornstarch in Chinese laundries?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_st​a​rch
Until 1851, corn starch was used primarily for starching laundry and for other industrial uses.

This trade card from the Elkhart Starch Co. seems to imply there was a connection.
http://projects.leadr.msu.edu/progres​s​iveeraimmigration/items/show/5
Fark user imageView Full Size


This is a trade card with a color drawing of a Chinese laundry man showing a shirt to a white couple and their child. The woman is able to see her reflection in the shirt. The caption reads: "Use Muzzy's Starch." This is an advertisement for Muzzy's Corn Starch. On the back are the words: "Be Sure to Use Muzzy's Corn Starch" and six food recipes including one for sponge pudding.
 
2021-09-14 2:02:36 PM  
Filipinos have a version of this called Pancit.  So I suppose chow mein has been in my diet since I was a kid but I never was all that keen about it.  That thick lo mein noodles so common with American Cantonese cooking is boring AF and often over cooked topped with too much celery and carrots.  Bleah.

rasamalaysia.comView Full Size


The thin fried noodle "chow mein" dish.  I like mine really crunchy - fried in the wok.
 
2021-09-14 3:58:27 PM  

HairBolus: Lucas Sin didn't mention what seasonings, if any, he used. (salt?)

Also he extolled corn starch without mentioning that it didn't exist in traditional Chinese cooking. Cornstarch was an American product and they used other starches.

Was the use of cornstarch in American Chinese food repurposed from the use of cornstarch in Chinese laundries?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_sta​rch
Until 1851, corn starch was used primarily for starching laundry and for other industrial uses.

This trade card from the Elkhart Starch Co. seems to imply there was a connection.
http://projects.leadr.msu.edu/progress​iveeraimmigration/items/show/5
[Fark user image 533x337]

This is a trade card with a color drawing of a Chinese laundry man showing a shirt to a white couple and their child. The woman is able to see her reflection in the shirt. The caption reads: "Use Muzzy's Starch." This is an advertisement for Muzzy's Corn Starch. On the back are the words: "Be Sure to Use Muzzy's Corn Starch" and six food recipes including one for sponge pudding.


Why Chinese Food uses so much from the Americas
Youtube irrRrr1FvmQ
 
2021-09-15 1:18:40 AM  
What knife skills, subby?  He barely even used the knife.
 
2021-09-15 6:45:51 AM  
sep.yimg.comView Full Size


If your chow mein noodles aren't thin and crispy like these, I'm not interested.
 
2021-09-15 1:51:37 PM  
Team chow fun, reporting in.
 
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