Seitan (1960s); Encyclopedia of Food & Culture (2003)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Fri Apr 4 00:48:07 UTC 2003


by Barbara Jacobs and Leonard Jacobs
Garden City Park, NY: Avery Publishing group

  A better title than BOOZE WITH BEELZEBUB, I suppose.

Pg. 5 (A NEWLY DISCOVERED ANCIENT FOOD):  Seitan--gluten that has been extracted fro wheat flour and then cooked--coes to the United States from Japan, where it was prepared (Pg. 6--ed.) originally by vegetarian Buddhist monks.  It is also known simply as gluten or "wheat meat"; however, we prefer to use the Japanese nae even though technically the word seitan refers to gluten that has been cooked in soy sauce.
   According to Yuko Okada, president of uso Copany, Ltd., one of the oldest and largest exporters of Japanese natural foods, the word "seitan" was coined in the mid-1960s by acrobiotics teacher George Ohsawa.  The word "sei" means _is_ and "tan," which is the first character in the word tanpaku, eans _protein_.  So seitan, loosely translated, eans soething like _the right protein substitute_.

   I didn't have time today, but maybe in a few days I'll look here for seitan:

Call # *OSM (Sakurazawa, Y. You are all Sanpaku)
Author Ohsawa, Georges, 1893-1966.
Title You are all sanpaku, by Sakurazawa Nyoiti. English version by William Dufty.
Imprint New Hyde Park, N. Y., University Books [c1965]
  Humanities-Asian&ME Div   *OSM (Sakurazawa, Y. You are all Sanpaku)
Location Humanities-Asian&ME Div
Descript 224 p. illus.
Note Bibliography, p. 218.
Subject Diet.

MANZANA (continued)

   It's very hard to prove that citations that aren't there were never there.  I can never prove even that "hoosier" doesn't come from "whose ear?".  Sure, we have a lack of any single historical citation anywhere.  But can I prove what those people 170 years ago were thinking?  Maybe they just didn't write it down?  And so it always goes.
   The NEW YORK MORNING TELEGRAPH'S Tijuana writer used slang, used "Big Apple," and did not use "manzana."  He used some Spanish, amigo.  Fitz Gerald called New York "the big apple of racing."  The "square block of racing" just doesn't make sense.
   Hy Schneider also used "Big Apple" in the 1920s on the MORNING TELEGRAPH.  Schneider came from El Paso, and I'm sure he knew some Spanish, too.  He never used "manzana," either.
   Once again, the dismal Google numbers:

"Big Apple" and "manzana"--213
"Big Apple" and "Ciardi"--48
"Big Apple" and "Popik"--39

   It's now six years since I dedicated "Big Apple Corner" after it was signed into law by the mayor.  I'm trailing a person who did no original research whatsoever.

Solomon H. Katz. editor in chief
William Woys Weaver, associate editor
3 volumes

   This book is on the NYPL reserve shelf.  I checked it for "seitan," but it didn't help much.  It has distinguished writers such as "WWW" and Andrew Smith (who will kill me shortly).
   It's like any encyclopedia.  Some things are nicely written and some things are awful.  It's somewhat useful and I learned a few things.
   The question I have is the purpose of the project.  It's too mammoth for any individual to buy and put on a shelf.  There are no recipes.  The average person is going to use the web, where the information (although not always accurate) is free.
   So it's aimed for scholars, but scholars already know some of the stuff and aren't going to use it.  For example, I'm not going to read what Andrew Smith says here about tomatoes.  I have his books on my shelf.  That's what Andrew Smith has to say on tomatoes.
   It's hard to see the use for this, or how it's going to make money.  It's "OK."
   Now for the screaming error:

Pg. 217:  "HOT DOGS AND NEGATIVE STEREOTYPES."  You know what's cited here?  J. J. Schnebel's "Who Cooked This Up?" (  As Andrew Sullivan would say, here's the money quote: "Schnebel credits the sports cartoonist Thomas Dorgan of the _New York Journal_ for inventing the name 'hot dog.'"
   HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?  Alan Davidson gets it wrong for Oxford (he didn't check with OED).  Now this!  Why would you quote Schnebel's web site for anything?
   My stuff (Barry "Popick") is on the web site of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.  It's on World Wide Words.  It's on  It was in SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE.  It was in a hot dog book by David Graulich.  Our DIALECT NOTES of 1900 would show this is wrong.  It's cited in the OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY.  MERRIAM-WEBSTER gives my 1895 date.
   You're going to rely on "Who Cooked This Up?"

. "Pizza" was introduced to America at Lombardi's at 53 1/3 Spring Street?  That's wrong, but the address always changes, too.  Now it's 53 1/3?  Wasn't it 52 1/2?

. "In spite of its (Cuban sandwich--ed.) association with Havana, this sandwich was created in New York and New Jersey."  WWW, who wrote this, obviously never saw my work.  Not true at all, and based on no citations.

. "Philadelphia hoagie (derived from 'hokey-pokey man')..."   WWW is an expert on PA foods.  How could he say this?  Yes, there is one cite that says this and I posted it here, but it's wrong!

. 1926 Cobb salad--Andrew Smith probably meant 1936.  I'll check it on the LOS ANGELES TIMES as soon as it's available.

   I haven't read the whole three volumes.  Again, it's OK.  The "hot dog" thing left me screaming, but overall, it's OK.
   It's still not that much-needed historical dictionary of food and drink.

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