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TOPICS INCLUDE: Spanish Speakers, Hawaii, Minorities, Loofah, Mushrooms, Exclusion Acts, Reviews

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Letters to the Editor

Spring Volume: 2019 Issue: 26(1) pages: 5 to 6

This is for your 100th issue; and the question is: My American minority friends are Spanish-speaking, some Black, others Asian and Pacific Islanders, some called Spanish-X; all are minorities in China. What do the Chinese call them?
Garcia, White, and Lin: The largest, according to the most recent Chinese 2010 census report, the Han are the largest ethnic group who once were a mixed ethnic population hundreds of years ago. The next nine the government says are members of their country’s fifty-five ethnic populations are in decreasing order, most to least, they are Zhuang, Hui, Manchu, Miao, Uyghur, Yi, Tujai, Tibetan, and Mongol populations; then Dong, Bouyei, Yao, Bai, Koreans, Hong, Li, Kazak, Dai, and She populations, and following them are Lisu, Dongxiang, Gelao, Lahu, Va, Shui. Naxi, Qiang, Tu, and Mulao people. The smallest group are Tartars, followed by those growing in size: Lhoba, Gaoshan, and Hezhan. There are, you can see, no Hispanics with or without an X.

Hannah in Hawaii says:
Loved the goose and duck articles and the entire super issue with great recipes for preserved eggs which we never tried before but will now.
An wen: Your state has the sixth largest Chinese population so finding where to purchase them should be no problem. The largest Asian populations are in California, Texas, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois. In Chinese markets in all of them you can purchase duck eggs, tongues and other popular Chinese delights.

Min Lum:
Did check the web and Chinese minority information, but it was in short supply, particularly for those living in the Yunnan Province. What groups are they?
Sir: Read the answer to the above response; overall, the last data we saw said Chinese minorities in that province are about one-third. The Yi are the largest ethnic group followed by the Bai, Hani, and Dai in that order. Each have more than one million people, then between half million and a million each are the Lisu, Va, and Jingpo. The Jinu have eighteen thousand people in Yunnan. The Va are one of China’s oldest minorities. Their men wear red or black cloths around their head, their women wear lots of silver jewelry. And yes, girls do comb the hair of boys they fancy, and they sing to them. If they like each other, he can spend a night at her home but no sex as it is forbidden before marriage.

Just got the Fall issue; “it is a doozey, chockablock with good stuff, minority info, duck tongue recipes, and more”. Thanks to you.
HS: You and others do appreciate it; so we thank you all for telling us so.

Editor Newman: Can you advise about loofah and its relatives? I do love that member of the squash family but know little.
Lucille: We also love those Curbitaceae. Why are their names different botanically? There are two large varieties of loofah, both climbing gourds, both originating in Asia, not all in China. The earliest grew in China’s south, such as in Guangdong in the 6th century CE. The angle one you wrote about has nine to eleven ridges and is the most popular family member, Luffa acutangula from the Guangdong Province growing there about one hundred years. Did you know it flowers at sunset? Its closest relative is short and spotted, and we never saw it. Another relative is Chieh-guo also known as Benicasa hispida which many Chinese call ‘Mao gourd’ but no one we spoke to knew why. One chap said it has been grown in his province lots longer. The bottle gourd which some call a calabash or trumpet gourd is botanically called Lagenaria siceria. This information is from a volume called The Vegetables that was edited by Liu Zizhu and Zhang Hua, its ISBN 978-7-5359-6512-7, its copyright is 2016.

From Wong Hi:
You have written about mushrooms before, but please share more about those that are healthy.
Wong: We are not doctors, not experts in TCM, nor in healthy mushrooms, but we did ask several that are. Here is some general health information from them and our mushroom pile. We know to keep all of them cool and in paper bags to reduce their spoilage. We do not wash any of them, do remove dirt with a soft brush or damp cloth.
Straw mushrooms, botanically Volvariells volvorea, are mostly grown in sub-tropical regions, they love damp soil and do help reduce cancer.
Shiitake grow on decaying wood, particularly chestnut, oak, beech, poplar, mulberry, and other broadleaf hardwoods. They are revered in China and all of Asia, are loved as food and medicine, and are tumor-inhibitors, some are immuno-simulators.
Oyster mushrooms are Pleurotus ostreatus; they are found in many colors, their texture resembles their namesake, and medicinally, they benefit cardiovascular and cholesterol-causing issues.
Portabella, Crimini, and Baby Bella are Agaricus bisporus, cousins of white button mushrooms best picked with closed veils. They are good for breast cancer and coronary heart diseases.
Maitake are Grifola frondosa and known as the ‘Hen of the Woods’ mushroom. They have a central stalk, positively impact some cancers and reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Enoki are Flammulina velutipes mushrooms that can contain anti-tumor substances to reduce cancers.
Pom pom mushrooms are Hericium crinaceus known to reduce stomach, digestive, and nervous system disorders.
Beech mushrooms are Hypsizygus tessulatus with strong anti-oxident activity.
Wood Ear and cloud ear mushrooms are Auriculari polytricha, and they reduce heart problems.

Newman please:
Were the Exclusion Acts targeted only for the Chinese?
Sue Lee: One brochure at the Stony Brook University Wang Center says “For sixty-one years Chinese people were barred from immigrating to the US and denied citizenship. These Exclusion Laws were eventually expanded to bar all Asians.” The illustration in its brochure does show an early picture of Chinese and does tout they were not specifically just for the Chinese.

Can you advise about the contents of: ‘An Introduction to Chinese Food Culture?’ The ISBN number I have seems incorrect?
Lou: The correct ISBN is 978-7-04049451-8, and this book costing 49.80 Yuan is published in China, its cover in English and Chinese. The text is 100% Chinese.

To one of your editors:
How old are the exclusion laws? To your question: Read above and do see a fine film with answers to this and its food-related questions. The answer needs more space than we have. Do check with Netflix and other sources for the story behind this 1882 law, and do see the question and response above and more about issues for Asians including immigration, globalization, civil rights, etc. explored in it.

Will you be reviewing the ‘An Introduction to Chinese Food Culture’ book you were given at the 8th Asian Food Culture Meeting?
Bing: Sorry to disappoint you, but as it is all in Chinese, and I can not read or speak this language which I did try to do three times but was a failure so doing.

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