Cafeteria Style "Chow Mein" During The 50's and 60's

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DawnT
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2011/09/20 00:52:41 (permalink)

Cafeteria Style "Chow Mein" During The 50's and 60's

 
Those of us that ate something called Chow Mein during the 50's and 60's at cafeterias and lunch counters at five and dimes should remember a concoction that was like a thick gravy that had celery, bean sprouts, red peppers, onions, and some mystery meat be it chicken or something else. This slush was never served over rice, but served on packaged chinese type noodles and soy sauce. I never really tasted real chinese food until the 70's and it was a real shock tasting all kinds of flavors that were wok stir fried instead of this pot made gravy swill that most folks equated with chinese food. Still, the taste had fond memories and pretty much disappeared from lunch counters and cafeterias about the same time that Chung king canned products and Jeno's canned and frozen foods started dominating the ethnic and frozen food sections of supermarkets during the early 70's. I'm no stranger to authentic Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine and can do some mighty credible recipes on a high pressure burner and cast iron wok outside, but I'm still intrigued by the American foodservice interpretations of years ago. They were good in a weird way and even though their taste was funky after you ate the real thing, it was what you understood as Chinese during those years. Anyone have any 50 or 60's Americana interpretations of Institutional Chinese
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