Chinese Chastise Calvin Trillin

Calvin Trillin - Guardian - Chinese Food - Chicago Tribune

What’s the latest beef about author and life-long foodie Calvin Trillin?

Apparently, it had better not be Szechuan…

So read headlines like these:

Why the big stew?

A cheeky poem!

New York - April 4 2016Have They Run Out of Provinces Yet?” is a poem by Trillin that ran this month in the New Yorker magazine.

-> Click here to read the poem.

-> Click here to listen to Trillin read his poem.

No matter than “Szechuanese was the song that we sung”: the Chinese were stomaching none of it.

Could it be this particular bit that is sticking in China’s craw?

So we sometimes do miss, I confess,
Simple days of chow mein but no stress,
When we never were faced with the threat
Of more provinces we hadn’t met.

Was Trillin alluding to recent Chinese imperialism — like expansion in the South China Sea and the new airbase China is building on one of the Spratly Islands?

Or was it just fond food memories by a master of pen and pan?

A centennial looks at global cuisine, a la Hilaire Belloc‘s “On Food” from his wonder Cautionary Verses for Children?

Chinaman in On Food by Hilaire Belloc drawn by BTBBelloc had written:

Alas! What various tastes in food,
Divide the human brotherhood!

He then declaimed in the next breath:

Birds in their little nests agree
With Chinamen, but not with me.

Trillin sounds far more tasteful, even if his verses dish out to China in artfully loving spoonfuls that cut like a knife.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *