Apr 9, 2009

Chicken Supremacy Nonsense

Cage Match/Battle Royale for Chicken Supremacy: The Colonel vs. The General.

Chickens around the world cringe in a terror usually reserved for Bo Pilgrim at the mention of these two poultry prepping pashas. Or they surely would if they understood human language.

In one corner, we have Colonel Harland Sanders, inventor of the delicious, salty, heart-clogging Kentucky Fried Chicken. Mmmmm.

And in the other, General Tso, the purported owner of the equally delicious, sweet, heart-clogging, star of every Super Buffet... General Tso’s Chicken. Mmmm-mm.

We can only muse at the gargantuan entertainment value a fight between these two major Chicken domos would possess.

Sabres drawn… issuing grand war cries… and charging together to settle the ultimate question… mano y mano. Such vile bloodsport can only be dreamed about, but let’s just picture it for one succulent, deep-fried moment, shall we?

Ahhh, the carnage… tastier than a snack box… Now where was I?

The pronunciation of zuǒ which is the actual translation of “Tso” is more or less “dzooah” -so if you really want to impress your Chinese friends while in the buffet line sometime, be sure to blurt out something like, “The Kung Pao here is good, but nothing beats their General Dzooah… heh, heh.” (Or maybe not)

Uninterestingly, I actually met “the Colonel” himself when I was a young lad. He was a nice, quiet, man who shook my hand and patted my head. I remember thinking that he must have rubbed his face in beets, because it was so red… and I never had the pleasure of meeting Tso which is good because:

A.) He might have mistaken me for a Taiping rebel and had me executed
B.) He would have been over 150 by the time I was old enough to remember meeting him – which could have been akward

Anyway, there can be no-doubt that the Colonel virtually body slams General Tso when it comes to a chicken genius fight. This is chiefly, because the General’s hand in the invention of his sugary chicken dish is evidently dubious.

According to good ol Wikipedia, it’s unclear how the General Tso’s Chicken came to bear the name of Zuo Zongtang (左宗棠, 1812–1885), a Qing Dynasty general from Hunan.

Zuo himself is unlikely ever to have tasted the dish.[2] The dish is not found in Changsha, the capital of Hunan. Nor is it found in Xiangyin, the home of General Tso. Moreover, descendants of General Tso still living in Xiangyin, when interviewed, say that they have never heard of such a dish.[4] Now that’s what I call “an inconvenient truth”.

The fact that “the General” probably never invented this yummy namesake is understandable, as he was probably too busy with the 14 year long Taiping Rebellion, in which an estimated 20 million people died. This can really cut into anyone’s spirit of chicken invention.
The Colonel, on the other hand, never had to deal with such distractions because, even though he worked many jobs, including steamboat pilot, insurance salesman, railroad fireman, farmer, and enlisted in the Army as a private when he was only 16, he never really attained the rank of an actual Colonel. In reality, Harland was given the honorary title "Kentucky Colonel" by Governor Ruby Laffoon in 1935.

It’s worth mentioning, however, that though The Colonel’s chicken has made his empire billions of dollars, the tasty General Tso’s chicken has made a few bucks for billions of Chinese food restaurants around the globe.

Sadly, for Zuo Zongtang, it didn’t make him a single Yen. (Though, inadvertently, it probably raises the death toll attributed to the General by a million or so, via complications directly related to the countless cases of diarrhea the dish has caused).

Next time: The Ultimate Knife Fight – Jim Bowie vs. Sal Glesser.

No, not really.

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