11.301 General Tso’s Chicken

Cycle 11 – Item 301

1 (Sun) November 2020

General Tso’s Chicken


by me

at home

-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-

with the Family

Newbery 100 Medals, 100 Meals (13) (see 100 NEWBERY M&Ms)

While reading the 99 books that have been awarded the annual Newbery Medal since 1922 – leading up to the 100th winner to be announced next year – I will also attempt to create one dish for every book, a dish that is directly referenced in or indirectly inspired by the events of the book.  Food plays a strong role in many of the stories; not surprising as the characters in most of the books are faced with adversity of some sort, including poverty, so they’re often very hungry and thus grateful whenever they get a bite to eat – as we all should be at every meal, give us this day our daily bread.  The dishes will be featured as posts on Give Me This Day.

New Kid (2019) by Jerry Craft.  The book is about Jordan Banks, an African-American 7th grader from a not-rich-but-otherwise-stable family who earns a scholarship to an elite private school.  In addition to the inherent challenges of middle school, he is confronted with racism and classism, both among his new classmates and his old friends in the neighborhood.

I really enjoyed the book all around.  As a graphic novel, the story is told in a visually dynamic style that presents dark issues in a positive and proactive light.  New Kid, as the 99th medal winner, is the latest in a recent trend by the American Library Association to recognize fun and insightful books that kids will want to read and learn from – bravo.

In lieu of strimp lo mein, I made yaki udon with broccoli stems.

The General Tso’s Chicken turned out okay.  Having only tried the dish once in my life, which might not have actually been General Tso’s Chicken (see 3.115 General Chicken), I have no proper frame of reference.  The amalgamation of various on-line recipes led me to deep-fry chunks of chicken thighs – should’ve breaded them first – parboil broccoli florets, and toss everything together in a glaze consisting primarily of hoisin sauce and honey with loads of garlic and red chili flakes.  Overall, not that different from the Chinese-style stir-fries that I usually make.  The family enjoyed it.

[paraphrased in part]

“Jordan, when you were little, you used to love ‘strimp lo mein.’  You couldn’t pronounce ‘shrimp.’  Anyway, that’s all you ever ordered.  You ate the noodles one at a time … used to pretend they were worms … totally disgusting!  Then one day you discovered pepper steak.  And now it’s General Tso’s Chicken.  But it still takes you nine hours to order.  That’s why today, we lived dangerously and ordered all three!”

“I didn’t know that was legal!”

“You don’t always have to choose, kiddo.  Sometimes let yourself be happy.  Just know that whatever you do, I’ll always be proud of you.”

(See also FOODS.)

(See also PLACES.)

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