We’ve asked it a million times…who is General Tso and how did he come up with such a great chicken recipe?
According to Wikipedia (insert disclaimer here about Wikipedia not being the most reliable source):
General Tso was a Chinese statesman and military leader. He was born in Wenjialong, north of Changsha in Hunan province in the waning years of the Qing Dynasty.
He served with brilliant distinction during China’s most important (and
the world’s largest-scaled at the time) civil war, the 14-year-long Taiping Rebellion,
in which it is estimated at least 20 million people lost their lives.
He was also known for being a voracious consumer of amounts of diced,
fried chicken, which eventually led to the creation of the common
Chinese American dish known as General Chows Chicken”. The Tso
in General Tso is sometimes misspelled “Cho” in English, probably due
to Cantonese influence. The correct pronunciation of the name in
Mandarin is [tsuɔ tsʊŋtʰɑŋ].
I took a look at his military history and it seems like he actually led some volunteer forces and had success at driving out rebels from various cities. For the most part, his distinction came later as a statesman, but he definitely had success as a military leader early in his career.
Colonel Sanders on the other hand:
Sanders was born in Henryville, Indiana.
His father died when he was six years old, and since his mother worked,
he was required to cook for his family. He dropped out of school in
seventh grade. During his teen years, Sanders worked many jobs,
including steamboat driver, insurance salesman, railroad firefighter, farmer, and enlisted in the Army as a private in 1918, although he spent his entire service in Cuba; after all, the war was almost over before he got there.
At the age of 40, Sanders cooked chicken dishes and others for people who stopped at his service station in Corbin, Kentucky.
Since he did not have a restaurant, he served customers in his living
quarters in the service station. Eventually, his local popularity grew,
and Sanders moved to a motel and restaurant that seated 142 people and worked as the chef. Over the next nine years, he perfected his method of cooking chicken. Furthermore, he made use of a pressure fryer that allowed the chicken to be cooked much faster than by pan-frying.
He was given the honorary title “Kentucky Colonel” in 1935 by Governor Ruby Laffoon.
Sanders chose to call himself “Colonel” and to dress in a stereotypical
“Southern gentleman” costume as a way of self-promotion.
Colonel Sanders never saw any military action and spent his time in Cuba where there wasn’t any battles being fought. He never achieved rank of colonel, he just got the name for his chicken cooking prowess.
Who Wins the Battle? General Tso wins actual military battle, but if they faced each other in a culinary challenge, the Colonel wins.