Today is August 29
Last Beatles Concert
August 29, 1966
The Beatles give their last concert. It was held in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. With a capacity of 42,500, only 25,000 tickets were sold at between $4.50 and $6.50 per ticket. Between the Beatles’ take of about $90,000, the city of San Francisco getting 15% of paid admissions, and other expenses the concert was a loss for the promoters.
Their last public performance would be an unannounced live appearance in January 1969 on the rooftop of the Apple building.
Last Wild Indian
August 29, 1911
50-year-old Ishi, the last survivor of the Yahi Indian tribe, wanders into Oroville, California. He became known as the “Last Wild Indian.” The name Ishi was given to him because, according to Yahi tradition, he was not allowed to say his name until formally introduced by another Yahi tribe member. When asked his name, he responded “I have none, because there were no people to name me,” meaning that there was no other Yahi to speak his name on his behalf.
In 1865, Ishi and his tribe were attacked in the Three Knolls Massacre, in which 40 of their tribesmen were killed. Cattlemen then killed about half of the 33 who escaped the massacre. The last survivors, including Ishi and his family, went into hiding for the next 44 years, and their tribe was believed to be extinct.
In late 1908, a group of surveyors came across the camp inhabited by Ishi, his uncle, his younger sister, and his mother. The former three fled while his mother, who was too sick to flee, hid herself in blankets. The surveyors ransacked their camp and Ishi’s mother died soon after his return. His uncle and sister never returned. Ishi wandered in the wilderness for three years until he was captured while foraging for food.
Ishi was able teach researchers much about the culture and language of the Yahi people.
NATIONAL CHOP SUEY DAY
Get your chopsticks ready! National Chop Suey Day recognizes this American Chinese culinary cuisine each year on August 29.
Chop suey, which means assorted pieces, is a dish in American Chinese cuisine. The main ingredients include meat (chicken, fish, beef, prawns or pork) and eggs. As the meat cooks over high heat, add vegetables (usually bean sprouts, cabbage, and celery). The dish is bound in a starch-thickened sauce. Typically, rice accompanies the flavorful dish, too.
According to food historian Alan Davidson, chop suey is “A prime example of culinary mythology.” These food myths happen with popular foods. Below we illustrate several colorful and conflicting stories telling of chop suey’s possible origin.
Chop Suey Stories
Some believe chop suey was invented in America by Chinese Americans. However, anthropologist E.N. Anderson finds another conclusion. According to Anderson, the word tsap seui means miscellaneous leftovers and hails from Taishan, a district of Guangdong Province. Many early Chinese immigrants traveled from their home in Taishan to the United States.
Another account claims Chinese American cooks who were working on the transcontinental railroad invented chop suey in the 19th century.
One tale stemming from the Quing Dynasty connects to premier Li Hongzhang’s visit in 1896. According to the story, his chef wanted to create a meal suitable for both the Chinese and American palates. Another version of the story tells that Li wandered to a local Chinese restaurant after the hotel kitchen closed. Despite feeling embarrassed because he had nothing prepared to offer, the chef made a dish for Li. Comprised of leftover scraps, the chef created the new “chop suey” dish.
Still another myth tells of an 1860s Chinese restaurant cook in San Francisco. When drunken miners arrived after hours, the chef avoided a beating thanks to some quick thinking. He threw leftovers in a wok, providing a makeshift meal to the miners. The miners loved the dish, asking him for the name of the entree. To which the chef replied, “Chopped Sui.”
Traveling to the United States in 1903, Liang Oichao, a Guangdong native, wrote that there existed a food item called chop suey. While regularly served by Chinese restaurateurs, the local Chinese people did not eat this dish.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalChopSueyDay
Of course, the directive of the day would be to enjoy some chop suey. But why stop there? Dive into these suggestions:
- Take a cooking class and learn to make it yourself.
- Pick up a Chinese American cookbook and find a new recipe.
- Share your favorite chop suey recipe.
- Give a shout out to the restaurant that cooks it best. We love it when you do that!
Be sure to use #NationalChopSueyDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL CHOP SUEY DAY HISTORY
National Day Calendar continues researching the origins of this elusive food holiday. However, one of the above origin stories places the invention on August 29, 1896.