February 6th National Chopsticks Day

Chopsticks are called “Kuaizi” in Chinese which means, “Quick little bamboo fellows”. Makes sense. The fork of the East. Now I have never mastered the use of the chopstick, my bad, I should have because it’s very popular today. And apparently, it’s the only way to eat sushi. Maybe that’s why I don’t eat much sushi.

Now there are do’s and do not’s associated with the use of chopsticks. You don’t point at someone with them, you don’t use them like drumsticks and for some reason it’s not allowed to be stuck into food upright. it is okay to stab things with it like meat or really big vegetables.

Well, maybe this year I’ll learn to use them. The most common are bamboo but they are made out of plastic, ivory (illegal if they are new) and other materials.

How to celebrate – Learn how to use chopsticks. Whittle your own chopsticks. Visit China.

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December 11th National Noodle Ring Day

It is finally time to honor and cherish those noodles shaped in a ring,. You can have your pasta, and eat it too, in any shape you want! Today is the day we celebrate both those noodles that are make to look like a ring and those put into the shape of a ring.

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If you can’t do it yourself you can buy them prepackaged.  The point of having circular noodles or putting your noodles in a circle is… is… beyond me. Although it is sort of fun to eat them… either way.

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If you put your noodles in a circle, or heart shape, that leaves the center open to put things like sauces, meat, cheese or whatever you like to eat with your pasta. It does make the dish more fun to eat. (But no, it’s won’t taste any better.)

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It kind of makes it a pasta pie! Now since pasta isn’t really Italian, I guess you could consider it a Chinese pie instead of a piazza pie… but then pizza isn’t really Italian anyway so it doesn’t matter at all.

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And once you’ve cut into your ring in actually isn’t a rink anymore so the ring is a short lived thing. I suppose you could use any geometric shape but if you do, you will be going against the reason we are celebrating this day. After all, it is National Noodle Ring Day, not National Noodle Triangular Day.

How to celebrate – Have some Spaghetti-o’s. Make a circular noodle ring for dinner tonight. Make your pasta ring into something interesting.

February 6th National Chopsticks Day

Chopsticks to me, are the leading diet tool in the world! It is okay to stab your food with a chopstick but a challenge when you are going after a pea. Never point at someone with your chopstick, never attack your food over the top with your chopstick, and please, they are not drumsticks.

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Most of western society needs to be taught how to use a pair of chopsticks. They also need a mop and a broom while learning because more food is going to end up on the floor than in their mouths.

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Asian food is supposed to be cut and presented to be mouth sized so that no knives are required to eat it. If you have ever tried to cut your steak with a wooden chopstick, you know why. Over 1/4 of the world’s population uses chopsticks to eat with and it has been this way for over 5,000 years.

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In China chopsticks are called “Kuaizi” which translates into “Quick little bamboo fellows”. You do have to be quick if you use them though if you are hungry because you’ll have to make many, many quick returns to the dish for more food.

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How to celebrate – Learn how to use chopsticks. Whittle your own chopsticks out of a tree in your back yard. Have an Asian inspired meal for supper tonight.

August 29th National Chop Suey Day

The term ‘Chop Suey’ actually means “Assorted Pieces”. Your first question should be, what’s assorted pieces? It is supposed to be made with chicken or beef, fish, prawns, or pork. Mixed in are eggs, cabbage, celery, and sprouts. It is normally served over rice and considered a complete meal. Of course, it always has those little ears of corn that must come from some sort of Bonsai plant.

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The problem with chop suey is that no one knows exactly where it came from. Though it is believed to actually be an American dish, made by Chinese in America, there is some mention of it in the Taishan Guangdong province in China, according to E.D. Anderson, an anthropologist. It was in Taishan that the first of the Chinese immigrants to America came over from.

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Chop Suey may have come about because of the Chinese helping build the railroad across America in the mid 1800’s. It would make sense since supplies were generally hard to come by and a creative improvisation for something that tasted good was a must. Bits and pieces from this and that would go a long way all mixed together.

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Another legend says that chop suey came from San Fransico when a Chinese chef had to come up with a dish to feed some hungry miners in the 1860’s who had been drinking a bit too much. It had to be good or else! Since we heard nothing “else” the miners must have enjoyed their meal.

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And then there was Premier Li Hangzhang’s, of the Qing Dynasty, visit to the U.S. in 1896 and the chef who could find nothing to serve him worth his status. In order to show the Premier that relations between America and China were good, the chef decided to prepare a meal that offered the best of both worlds. It must have worked since we did not hear anything about heads rolling during the Premier’s trip.

Whatever the source, in 1903, Liang Oichao, from Guangdong, traveled across the U.S. finding chop suey being served nearly everywhere he went. It was the only Chinese dish being served that he had never heard of in China.

How to celebrate – Have some chop suey for supper tonight. Create your own chop suey dish. Check your family recipes and see if you can find a recipe for chop suey that might precede 1860.