Ever had dinner with a general? I have, and I do so every four months or so. That’s how frequently General Tso’s Chicken is delivered right to my home from a local restaurant.

The newly released book “Chop Suey” — billed as a history of Chinese food in the U.S. — and a review of the book by the Wall Street Journal produced these stats:

  • Roughly 40,000 Chinese restaurants are operating in the U.S.
  • An estimated 80% of these restaurants offer what is called “a limited Chinese American menu.”

That’s a cryptic way of saying the menu is fairly predictable: egg rolls, sweet and sour soup, Kung Pao Chicken, etc.

Back in the mother country, there is more proof that China is rapidly entering the mainstream of large industrial nations. As a recent L.A. Times story reported, a growing number of Chinese farmers are embracing, growing and selling organic foods — hoping to appeal to China’s version of the “Whole Foods” consumer.