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5 Cups of General Tso’s Chicken

March 26, 2012

After eating 5 lbs of chicken breast last week I wanted to compare that to its hyper processed super delicious cousin, General Tso’s Chicken.

This brings up an obvious question: who is General Tso?  What did he do that was so amazing that he got one of the world’s most deliciously artery clogging food named after him? I had to find out, but first some breakfast.

I heated up one cup of General Tso’s, jumped in the car just after 7, and ate it while speeding to work.  I don’t know how I looked, but this is how I felt:

I was hungry to 10, but only for a minute.  I didn’t get a chance to eat lunch until after 2.  Again I was driving, and this time I didn’t have a fork.  General Tso’s is not a good finger food at the best of times.  While driving a car with your knees it is treacherously messy.  I still felt excellent, but this is how I looked:

If only I actually had that bib.

To test the performance I took a 6 mile trail run with Ying, a gentleman from the Chinese national mountain climbing team.  He climbed the Olympic torch up to 20,000 on Mount Everest just before the last Olympic games.  This is probably not him, but it actually might be.  Hard to tell:

Needless to say, I was terrified to run with this guy.  I thought that I might die trying to keep up with him on a good day, let alone a day eating deep fried Chinese take out.  I loaded up on caffeine and ate another cup of General Tso’s while driving to meet him.  I wanted to be sure that I had calories available for the run.

Several miles in, Ying was setting the pace, and I was hauling it, trying to keep up and I asked him the obvious question:

“Who is General Tso?”

Ying glided effortlessly over roots and rocks, and looked at me blankly.

You know, the guy from General Tso’s Chicken?

Still floating, no hint of recognition.

Paul, another friend running with us, clarified: “It’s a kind of American Chinese food.”

Ying did a high speed effortless shrug, “Chinese food, I know.  American food, I know.  American Chinese food I don’t know.” And he continued on, barely touching the ground.

A thorough search of the web (you know, Wikipedia and one page of Google hits) serves to deepen the mystery.  There is some consensus that General Tso, or Zuo Zongtang was a Chinese general in the 1800s with noteworthy military accomplishments but no apparent connection to delicious crispy fried chicken.  The most entertaining theory is put forth by Michael Browning, in a Washington Post article entitled “Who is General Tso, and Why are we Eating his Chicken?” (Reprinted here thanks to piracy.)

Browning proposes that the dish was named by ex-patriots due to General Zuo Zongtang’s reputation for handing out “death by 10,000 cuts” leaving his enemies looking startlingly like the newly invented, somewhat spicy take out dish in need of a name.

Whatever the case, it’s some tasty tasty food.

I got home from the run feeling surprisingly good.  I took a shower, threw the remaining 1 cup of General Tso’s in the microwave, jumped back in the car, and had my 4th and last meal of the day while driving.

Taste: Seriously, take the time to warm it up, it’s worlds better hot!

Cost: $16

Fullness Factor: Great!  It was nearly 7 hours between breakfast and lunch and I felt fine.  Also burned 1,000 calories on the run and felt good all evening.

Performance: A.  Somehow I kept up with Ying.

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7 Comments
  1. So, did you eat 4 cups or 5 cups?

  2. Pop permalink

    After what you ate, wouldn’t people feel generally so so?

  3. Anonymous permalink

    Thought you were going to say “It was Tso good!”

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