pengPeng Chang-kuei, 1918-2016

You know it. You love it. It’s General Tso’s chicken, one of your Chinese food favorites.

You may be surprised to know that General Tso’s chicken is not some ancient Chinese recipe. Actually, it was concocted only about 40 years ago by Peng Chang-kuei, who brought the dish with him to the U.S. Here, it became popular when Richard Nixon opened relations with China and it was reportedly a favorite of Nixon’s secretary of state, Henry Kissinger.

Mr. Peng passed away last week in his native Taiwan at the age of 98. As recently as a few months ago he was still cooking in his family’s restaurant.

The Curmudgeon suspects he joins many others in thanking Mr. Peng for his delicious creation of what has become, if he dares say so, an all-American favorite.

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