One from Column A, None from Column B
In yesterday's New York Times there was a funny piece about Jews and Chinese food by Patricia Volk. Best line:
There's an e-joke making the rounds: According to the Jewish calendar, the year is 5766. According to the Chinese calendar, it's 4703. That means for 1,063 years, it's 4703. That means for 1,063 years, Jews went without Chinese food.
And this line about Chinese food in the 1950's: "Every dish contained so much cornstarch, the ingredients appeared suspended."
Growing up Jewish on Long Island in the late fifties, we (just like the Volks), too, went for Chinese food every Sunday (the housekeeper's day off) to China Jade in Hewlett. There were six of us, all big eaters, but my dad would always order "dinner for five" to save money. That meant we ordered five dishes, two from Column A and three from Column B.
This is what I remember eating: wonton soup, egg rolls, roast pork fried rice, spare ribs, roast pork and Chinese vegetables, shrimp with lobster sauce, chow har kew (breaded shrimp) and moo goo gai pan (watery chicken and vegetables). The egg rolls and the wonton soup came with all dinners. I thought the food at China Jade was just incredibly delicious. So when the Hewlett Public Library invited me to speak a few years ago, I went back to China Jade afterwards and ordered a combination plate. The food was awful. Taste memories really do play tricks on us. I would like to hear from readers about their seminal Chinese food eating experiences.