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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Chinese Christmas Dinner

The #1 restaurant to go to on Christmas Day is still the Chinese Restaurant. This dates back to when they were the only restaurants open on Christmas because Chinese didn't celebrate Christmas. It's since become a tradition in many families as an alternative to repeating the Thanksgiving turkey.

Chinese restaurants outnumber McDonald's restaurants in the United States. Part of the reason for this is the length of time that Chinese restaurants have been open in the United States. The first Chinese restaurant in the USA was the Canton Restaurant in San Francisco. After the transcontinental railroad was completed and mining began to play out, a law was passed prohibiting the immigration of Chinese workers. An exception to the immigration ban was for business owners. The two major businesses that Chinese immigrants showed an affinity for were laundries and restaurants. That's why so many Chinese run Chinese restaurants. It's actually a delicious artifact of a restrictive immigration law.

Another unusual thing about Chinese restaurants is the perceived affinity between Jews and Chinese food. Actually the biggest group of consumers of Chinese food is a horse race between Jews and Asians. As one character in the movie "My Favorite Year" (one of my favorite movies) remarked, "Jews know two things," he said, "Suffering and where to find great Chinese food." The reason Jewish people patronize Chinese restaurant because Chinese cuisine doesn't use dairy products. Because dairy products aren't cooked in Chinese restaurant kitchens. It is therefore closest to kosher standards which prohibit dairy and meat to be cooked in the same vessels or eaten together.

Funny how traditions get started; in this case, all because Congress thought there were too many unskilled Asian workers entering the country.
They did slow it down some, but Chinese immigrants still managed to flood the country illegally, mostly through, wait for it.......California.

© 2017 by Tom King

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