Quick, think of a chicken dish in a Chinese restaurant. General Tsoʼs Chicken. Did I guess right? General Tsoʼs is by far the most popular chicken dish served in Asian restaurants. And why shouldnʼt it be? Itʼs named after a great military hero.
Only we chickens are good enough to share a dish with his name. They donʼt make General Tsoʼs Pig or General Tsoʼs Dog (at least not officially.) Itʼs an honor bestowed only upon chickens. An honor that comes at a great price, however. Remember, the more popular a dish is, the more it is ordered. See where Iʼm headed? More dead chickens. I have no idea what to get-- Wait a second! Iʼll have the General Tsoʼs Chicken. I donʼt even know whatʼs in it but if itʼs good enough for such a great General... Probably happens dozens of times a day. Suddenly sharing the dish with the general is not such an honor, is it?
General Tso Tsungtang had a very distinguished military career in the mid 1800s. He also suffered from malaria. Sorry. I donʼt know why I brought that. I donʼt want you to associate General Tso with malaria. Anyway, the dish wasnʼt invented by him nor did he ever taste it. As best historians can tell, it wasnʼt until a hundred years later (1974) that it first appeared in Pengʼs Szechuan/Hunan style restaurant in New York City.
Blah, blah. I donʼt care. Iʼm sure peaches donʼt care who Melba was either. What I do care about is that now millions of humans order it simply because itʼs named after a war hero. A war hero who had numerous bouts of dysentery, by the way. Oops. Sorry. I accidentally did it again. It would be a shame if you couldnʼt get dysentery out of your head every time you saw General Tso on a menu. Or malaria. Terrible disease, malaria. Not to suggest that dysentery is pretty either. So please try not to picture either malaria or dysentery in your mind every time you see the name General Tso.
Again, sorry I brought it up.