Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States

Hardcover | July 21, 2009

byAndrew Coe

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In 1784, passengers on the ship Empress of China became the first Americans to land in China, and the first to eat Chinese food. Today, the United States is home to more Chinese restaurants than any other ethnic cuisine. In this authoritative new history, author Andrew Coe traces thefascinating story of America's centuries-long encounter with Chinese food. ChopSuey tells how we went from believing that Chinese meals contained dogs and rats to making regular pilgrimages to the neighborhood chop suey parlor. From China, the book follows the story to the American West, whereboth Chinese and their food struggled against racism, and then to New York and that crucial moment when Chinese cuisine first crossed over to the larger population. Along this journey, Coe shows how the peasant food of an obscure part of China came to dominate Chinese-American restaurants; unravels the truth of chop suey's origin; illuminates why American Jews fell in love with egg rolls and chow mein; and shows how Nixon's 1972 trip to China opened our palatesto a new world of cuisine; and explains why we still can't get dishes like restaurants serve in China. The book also shows how larger historical forces shape our tastes--the belief in Manifest Destiny, the American assertion of military might in the Pacific, and the country's post-WWII rise tosuperpower status. Written for both popular and academic audiences, Chop Suey reveals this story through prose that brings to life the characters, settings and meals that helped form this crucial component of American food culture.

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In 1784, passengers on the ship Empress of China became the first Americans to land in China, and the first to eat Chinese food. Today, the United States is home to more Chinese restaurants than any other ethnic cuisine. In this authoritative new history, author Andrew Coe traces thefascinating story of America's centuries-long encou...

Andrew Coe is an independent author and food historian. He is co-author of Fois Gras, A Passion (Wiley, 2000) and a contributor to the Oxford Companion to Food and Drink in America. Andrew Coe has also dined at Chinese restaurants around the world.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pagesPublished:July 21, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195331079

ISBN - 13:9780195331073

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