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Chinese Food Gets Hyphenated

Everyone loves Chinese food, and now that sophisticated diners have gobbled their way through the regions of that vast country and had their fill of Cantonese, Sichuan, Hunan and Shanghaiese foods, folks are prowling, chopsticks at the ready, looking for something new.

And that something new is Chinese food with a hyphen.

Second-generation restaurants from within the Chinese diaspora are opening up in New York City which feature dishes influenced by the cuisines where immigrant Chinese settled and adapted thier cookery to local ingredients and flavors. Chinese-Indian restaurants feature chicken drumette lollipops fried pakora style; Chinese-West Indies restaurants star lo mein with spicy jerk chicken.

These cuisines all developed in the same way that Chinese-American food developed: when Chinese men, most of them not professional cooks, immigrated from Guangdong in the 19th century, they improvised Chinese style foods out of local ingredients.

It just so happens that a lot of these hyphenated hybrid dishes seem to have come from more fertile culinary traditions than the rather stale cookery of the 19th century US, so you end up with foods that sound more hip, more spicy and more interesting.


Seems like a trip up to New York may be in my future. That jerk-chicken lo mein business sounds pretty darned good. (But before I go there, I really should head out to LA, where my brother in law tells me the best Chinese food–including Muslim Chinese food–in the world lives. He has promised me an eating tour of amazing LA Chinese eateries.)

More Schools Improve Lunch

The trend on presenting locally grown, vegetable-heavy menus in schools seems to be growing. In order to combat poor dietary choices that are leading to rising rates of obesity among youngsters, more elementary schools are lining up to get behind the ideals presented by chefs Alice Waters and Ann Cooper in the US and Jamie Oliver in the UK.

The Promise Acadamy, a small elementary school in Harlem, has changed the lunch menu from tater tots and burgers to swiss chard and whole wheat pasta, and the kids are liking it. The school is also offering cooking classes for kids and parents and a makeshift farmer’s market where parents can purchase fresh produce items that their kids have been eating at school.

Sustainable Table reports on schools in California, Washington, and Wisconsin which are beginning to feature healthier, locally grown menu items at lunch.

Good Nutrition Helps Promote Good Behavior?

This is the conclusion that a few researchers are coming to as they track the eating habits of troubled young people and prison inmates and note positive changes in behavior after nutrition is improved.

Any parent who has seen the effect sugar laden snacks and drinks have on placid kids, turning them into screaming wee beasties, should not be surprised.

And anyone who knows anything about brain chemistry and how many nutrients it takes to run the human brain (that big organ sucks up a great deal of our daily caloric intake to keep it running right) shouldn’t be surrpised, either.

Reports on such behavoral changes should lend support to the movement to help improve the foods served in typical American public schools. It shouldn’t be only about feeding as many kids as possible as cheaply as possible. The system should not serve the economics–the economics should serve the system.

It should be about feeding as many kids as well as possible, economically.

Besides, if these researchers are right–we could save a lot of money in law enforcement and prison facilities, if we just saw to feeding people well in the first place.

New Cattle Feed Rules to be Added by FDA

Y’all just knew I couldn’t do some food in the news without saying something about BSE. And well, since every time I check out BSE on Google News, there is at least some item listed, I feel justified in continuing my coverage.

Apparently, the FDA has gotten enough flack from the media and the public for their lackadaisical approach to curbing the possible spread of BSE to sluggishly move toward implimenting rules which closely follow the more stringent Canadian and European cattle feed regulations.

All I have to say about this is–what took you guys so bloody long? Geez.

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