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Chicken chop suey, my father’s story of radish

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Chicken chop suey, my father's story of radish

I sent some chicken chop suey with sweet-salty radish to father’s house today. Examining the food, my father told me the following story.

My father went to a major university in Wuhan in the late 50s. During the 4th year in the university,  the school canteen ran out of food, meat or vegetables, as they were not able to source any supplies locally. With very little excess funds, the university  asked the students for loans. When the school collected sufficient money, they sent a truck to farms in the next province and came back with a load of radish. Students were organized into groups to preserve the radish – peeling, sliding and drying the radish in front of the dormitories.  The canteen cooked dried salted radish most of the year with steamed plain wheat buns (‘mantou’).  That was the year my father suffered malnutrition with swollen legs. Many people died over this period, referred to as the ‘Great Chinese Famine’. Fortunately, the situation improved quickly after a couple of years.

My father and other college students having a picnic after a swimming session,  summer 1961
My father and other college students having a picnic after a swimming session, summer 1961

Father and I sat down to enjoyed the chicken chop suey I made. It was juicy, sweet and salty. We were thankful for our delicious food.

Recipe is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »