Wednesday, November 27, 2013

No reply

I recently had an exchange of email messages with Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics), Corbett, Oregon USA, on the subject of depletion of stratospheric ozone. Fulks appears to disagree with the mechanism proposed by Rowland, Molina, and Crutzen, the 1995 Nobel laureates in Chemistry. I challenged him to produce references in the scientific literature supporting his position. 

The exchange reminded me of an afternoon I had spent in Kenneth Colby's laboratory at Stanford, in which he demonstrated several exchanges with the computer program, PARRY.
In 1972, at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Colby built upon the idea of ELIZA to create a natural language program called PARRY that simulated the thinking of a paranoid individual. This thinking entails the consistent misinterpretation of others' motives – others must be up to no good, they must have concealed motives that are dangerous, or their inquiries into certain areas must be deflected - which PARRY achieved via a complex system of assumptions, attributions, and “emotional responses” triggered by shifting weights assigned to verbal inputs. (from Wikipedia)
We were encourages to test PARRY ourselves. It proved all too easy to drive PARRY into a state of silence.

The original post by Fulks to his list of "global-warming-realists" google group (in which I seem embedded despite never having a wish to join) contained this passage:
Worldwide measurements of ozone depletion began in late1978 with the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometers (TOMS) on satellites.  The Antarctic Ozone Hole was recognized shortly thereafter.  The Montreal Protocol  was approved in 1987.  And Rowland-Molina were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995 for their supposed explanation of it.  Still later, one of their reaction rates was found to be considerably erroneous such that the Freon connection was much less important than they had imagined, and we are back to natural causes.  No surprise.
I felt compelled to respond. Judge for yourself the nature of our email exchange.

I apologize ahead of time for the length of this exchange. Look for the bold-faced passage below. Here is Fulks's original post, my replies interspersed with his, with phone numbers, email and snail mail addresses removed, and edited (line insertions only) for clarity:
From: gordonfulks
To: bill.osborne
CC: blanca.gonzalez, drforbing
Subject: RE: Commentary
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2013
Dear Mr. Osborne,
Thanks for your prompt response.  Can you tell me how your policy of "dialogue representing the full range of legitimate and credible views..." applies to Global Warming?
My sources in San Diego tell me that your paper is very one-sided.  Have you ever allowed credible scientists like me to oppose the self-serving science (SSS) coming from Scripps and UCSD?  They publish internationally and in your paper but seem immune to criticism let alone counter-arguments.  Real science is a messy business of arguments and counter-arguments as we attempt to converge on the truth.  But unlike the law where rhetoric may carry the day, the Royal Society correctly understood centuries ago that it is necessary "to verify all statements by an appeal to facts determined by experiment."  As Albert Einstein said, "One man can prove me wrong."
Science knows no political, religious, racial, ethnic, or geographic boundaries.  If you impose these to protect the local boys, you are not doing anyone a favor.
Please let me know if you would be receptive to commentary from me questioning the home team.  When I attended the University of Chicago (from 1955 to 1975), I remember countless times when our home teams (White Sox and Cubs) were obliterated by competition from out of town.  And in our physics department, we never went easy on the home team either.

Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)
Corbett, Oregon USA
P.S. My father attended Cal Tech (not far from you) just after it was formed in the early 1920s.  And I am a former Californian (from Santa Barbara) who has lost his tan and begun to rust here in Oregon.
From: bill.osborne
To: gordonfulks
CC: blanca.gonzalez
Subject: RE: Commentary
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2013
Hello Dr. Fulks. And thank you for the thoughtful note.

We try as best we can to present a dialogue representing the full range of legitimate and credible views on all important issues of public policy. We are human, so we don’t always succeed, but that is our policy and our goal. There are many reasons why a particular commentary is not accepted by us for publication. The most common reason is, of course, that we receive far, far more unsolicited submissions than we could possibly publish. Another is that we prefer local authors and local issues because, while there are many sources for readers for global or national or state issues, we are the only source for most readers on local issues.

Thanks again for the note.


William Osborne | Editorial Editor
UTSanDiego dot com
From: Gordon Fulks
Sent: Monday, November 11, 2013
To: Dr Irvin Forbing; Osborne, Bill
Cc: global-warming-realists at googlegroups dot com
Subject: RE: Commentary

Dear Mr. Osborne,
I suspect that no manner of appeals to pay attention to real science or real scientists will make any difference.  Any who disagree with the present paradigms are the Blacks or Jews of the past.  We "do not exist," to quote one politician here in Oregon.  Hence we can be ignored or worse.  Blanca Gonzalez has shown particularly unprofessional behavior toward me, despite the fact that I have written many Op-Eds published elsewhere and have a background similar to the Great Global Warming Guru James Hansen.
Dr. Forbing sent me a copy of one of his commentaries submitted and rejected by the UT.  I especially liked his use of the Royal Society's motto: "Nullius in verba" or "Take nobody's word for it."
As the Royal Society explains:
The Royal Society's motto 'Nullius in verba' roughly translates as 'take nobody's word for it'. It is an expression of the determination of Fellows to withstand the domination of authority and to verify all statements by an appeal to facts determined by experiment.
That is a very simple explanation of what science is.  Despite what we continually hear today, it is NOT dominated by authority, only by logic and evidence.
The Royal Society is the oldest scientific society:
The origins of the Royal Society lie in an 'invisible college' of natural philosophers who began meeting in the mid-1640s to discuss the new philosophy of promoting knowledge of the natural world through observation and experiment, which we now call science.
Its official foundation date is 28 November 1660, when a group of 12 met at Gresham College after a lecture by Christopher Wren, then the Gresham Professor of Astronomy, and decided to found 'a Colledge for the Promoting of Physico-Mathematicall Experimentall Learning'. This group included Wren himself, Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, Sir Robert Moray, and William, Viscount Brouncker.
Unfortunately of course, the Royal Society has fallen into the Global Warming trap as much as any other scientific society.  Politics, religion, and money now speak louder than ideals.
From what I can see, the situation is the same in journalism: high ideals with minimal compliance.
Is there some way to break through the prejudice and bad behavior?

Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)
Corbett, Oregon USA
P.S. I have copied below a short essay that I wrote for the Editorial Page Editor of the Oregonian when he requested suggestions for their editorial focus next year.  Dr. Erik Lukens (PhD in English Literature, Princeton) liked it, as you will see.  Perhaps you will too.  Distinguished physicist Professor Fred Singer (PhD, Physics, Princeton 1948) also liked it with one reservation.
From: drforbing
To: bill.osborne
Subject: Commentary
Date: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 08:22:04 -0800
Dear Mr. Osborne,
To date I have heard nothing from Blanca Gonzalez. In reality, FYI, she has never published anything I have sent, has ignored me, and has been rude to a nationally known  astrophysicist friend of mine who presented  several op eds for consideration.
I was disapointed that the UT gave such little coverage to S. Fred Singer and Robert Carter when they were  there on the Roger Hedgecock show a couple of weeks ago, so it has become apparent that the UT has fallen for the global warming scenario, and like most papers will not publish the opposing views on the actual physics and chemistry that refutes them.
I won't bother further, so no need for you to do so either, nor a need to respond to this e-mail.
Tks for your courtesy.
Dr. Irvin H. Forbing

Thanks  much for the recommendations. I appreciate it.


Erik Lukens
Editorial and commentary editor
The Oregonian
(503) 221-8142
From: Gordon Fulks
Sent: Nov 04, 13 5:39 PM
To: Fred Singer
Cc: ken global-warming-realists at googlegroups dot com; Lukens, Erik
Subject: RE: A suggestion for your editorial policy

Dear Professor Fred,
Thanks.  I'm glad you liked my letter to Dr. Lukens.
You are always welcome to quibble with what I say!  That benefits both of us, especially me.
However, I'm not sure what you mean here.  According to Wikipedia, the US NAS issued a report in 1976 that supported the ozone depletion hypothesis:
Worldwide measurements of ozone depletion began in late1978 with the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometers (TOMS) on satellites.  The Antarctic Ozone Hole was recognized shortly thereafter.  The Montreal Protocol  was approved in 1987.  And Rowland-Molina were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995 for their supposed explanation of it.  Still later, one of their reaction rates was found to be considerably erroneous such that the Freon connection was much less important than they had imagined, and we are back to natural causes.  No surprise. [emphasis by Onymous Guy]
If you are saying that the discovery of a natural origin for the AOH came after the Nobel award to Rowland-Molina, then I understand what you are saying.  Sometimes I use oversimplified shorthands for well-known theories.  Hence 'Polar ozone depletion from chlorofluorocarbons (Freon)' becomes simply the 'Ozone Hole'  And 'Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming - Climate Change - Climate Disruption' becomes just plain old 'Global Warming.'
Thanks for writing.

Best Regards,
Date: Mon, 4 Nov 2013
To: gordonfulks
From: singer
Subject: Re: A suggestion for your editorial policy
CC: ken
Yr ltr to Lukens is truly excellent
I hope they print it.   Let me know
One slight quibble
The Nobel-Chem prize to Rowland-Molina was awarded Before the discovery of the AOH
In fact, their theory is inadequate to explain the AOH
See attached
Best                                                    Fred

At 05:28 PM 11/4/2013, you wrote:
From: Gordon Fulks
To: Erik Lukens
Subject: A suggestion for your editorial policy
Date: Mon, 4 Nov 2013 22:28:46 +0000

Here is a note that I sent to the Oregonian Editorial Page Editor Erik Lukens as a comment on their editorial asking for suggestions as to how they should focus their editorials in 2014.  It is roughly the length of one of my Op-Eds:
Dr. Lukens:
While The Oregonian Editorial Board loves rhetorical perspectives on hot button issues, these are generally shallow and never get to the heart of the matter.  While most would define "the heart of the matter" as political or religious, that usually betrays a shallow, doctrinaire approach.  And doctrinaire approaches usually involve little more than political talking points.
Your recent editorial on Alternate Energy seemed to be an attempt to get beyond the political nonsense, and that was very good.  I think you should go much further by asking obvious questions, such as whether or not proposed or implemented energy schemes do any good at all, beyond the politics.  Extremely expensive fiascoes like burning our food for fuel (ethanol) would be a good place to start.  I know it is tough to discuss a technical subject when you are not technical, but technical considerations are part of the modern world, and you need to come up to speed.
More generally, I think The Oregonian should deal with the drift of the modern world away from modernity.  Evidence of that can be seen everywhere, from never ending attacks on the industrialization that brought huge improvements in our standard of living during the 20th century to the scamming of science in so many ways.  Science is the ONE great hope of mankind, if it can be kept objective.  You can help by supporting real logic and real evidence (the basis of science) against all who want to substitute consensus and authority (politics) and belief (religion).
While scientific scams have been remarkably popular over the last hundred years, they have also been remarkably destructive.  Eugenics had broad support among the elites but resulted in the killing of millions of Jews.  Lysenkoism was supported by Joseph Stalin and resulted in mass starvation.  Hermann Joseph Muller's 'no-threshold' approach to toxics has cost modern societies countless billions wasted on foolish scares.  Rachael Carson's 'Silent Spring' wrecked vector control programs for the mosquito that carries malaria and has caused 40 million deaths from that dreaded disease that could have been prevented.
Other scams like Acid Rain, Y2K, 60 hertz magnetic fields, and others were similarly based on hyped science that was designed to create a crisis to enable a few to profit at the expense of many.
But those were minor compared to the climate scams of late:  Nuclear Winter, Ozone Hole, Global Warming, and Ocean Acidification.  We have had a succession of these with each new one designed to keep hysteria going, when it becomes obvious that the previous one had little or no substance.  Nuclear Winter was an invention of Carl Sagan to hammer the obvious: nuclear war could be very destructive.  But the actual 'Winter' part of it was nonsense - and Sagan knew it.  Several chemists got the Nobel Prize for their Ozone Hole theory.  Unfortunately the prize was awarded BEFORE we knew that they had not done the calculations correctly.  But the politicization of this issue with the successful Montreal Protocol served as a model for the now heavily ideological Global Warming and Ocean Acidification.
Part of the problem here is the vast scientific illiteracy in the general population and especially among journalists.  I can send you emails from your fellow editors and reporters at The Oregonian, where they argued that consensus was the very basis of science.  That is sooo ignorant.  The paper should have no problem supporting better science teaching in the public schools, including an eradication of climate propaganda.
Part of the problem is a vast funding of scientists who produce the answers that politicians want to see.  Note that President Obama has now made explicit what we have long known:  those who disagree with his climate paradigm do not get funded.
More generally, government funding has been a mixed blessing.  While most scientists love the money and have been willing to forget that they are being bribed to support political policies, that has turned many into little better than prostitutes.  Furthermore, contract monitors invariably pass contract funds to those doing 'safe research,' namely that designed to produce predictable results hardly different from what others have done.  Innovation is too risky both for those who provide the money and those who spend it.  Consequently mediocrity has become the norm and breakthroughs very rare, despite an enormous expansion of government funding.
You could help lead us out of the quagmire of false, hyped science.  The very survival of modern society is at stake, including our environment.
Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)
Corbett, Oregon USA
******************************S. Fred Singer, PhD
Chm, Science & Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) [sic]

(I)  Here is my initial reply:
You are making a serious error regarding the chemistry of stratospheric ozone depletion.
I know the one kinetic study you allude to. It was quickly refuted.
(II) Then Gordon's second reply:
Dear Jim,
This is curious.  There are many reasons to question the ozone depletion hypothesis, not just a single study that you say has been refuted.  But I will be happy to look into this further.  Ozone depletion was the dry run for Global Warming and employed similar tactics.

(III) My second reply
Scholarly articles only, Gordon.
(IV)  This resulted in a lengthier reply.
Dear Jim,
I suppose that I should have expected you to respond politically rather than scientifically, because that is your approach with Global Warming too.
If we are really interested in getting at the truth of anything in science, all logic and evidence are permitted as long as viable.  They need not have the Seal of Approval of the Establishment, as you seem to think.  Science, Nature, and certain other prominent publications have sought to dictate the truth by deciding what they will and will not allow to be discussed.  This has certainly been disastrous for science and ultimately for them.  They will never live down their Global Warming censorship.
Perhaps they sense some of the problem when editors of both publications are talking about shoddy science getting published my mediocre people and never being corrected.  Quite surprisingly, this comes from the mainstream media:

Note these words near the end:
Researchers ought to be judged on the basis of the quality, not the quantity, of their work. Funding agencies should encourage replications and lower the barriers to reporting serious efforts which failed to reproduce a published result. Information about such failures ought to be attached to the original publications.
 [OnymousGuy: emphasis in the original]
This is long overdue.  But it will ruin some institutions in Oregon that have long specialized in the mediocre and incorrect.  Too many individuals have figured out how to game the publication process and receive an undeserved Seal of Approval.

(V) And my reply
Don't dodge.
(VI) Followed by the equally terse reply
Don't try to establish preconditions.
 (VII) Followed by reply by me (damn that iPad autocorrupt!):
I'm not going to discuss politics.
Either the scientific literature supports your position or it doesn't.
If it does, I would like to see the references.
Either you have the references or your[sic] do not.
If you do, I would like to see them.
Otherwise, no matter how you slice it, whatever else you say is still baloney.  
Best wishes,
 (VIII) Followed by a lengthier reply from Gordon:
Dear Jim, 
Having not seen any backup material from me yet, aren't you a bit hasty and disrespectful in labeling it "baloney."
There are really two important issues here, one of which you obviously miss: 
1) Ozone Theory/Experiment
2) What constitutes legitimate science? 
For an answer to the second, I refer you to a source you are likely to believe, the Royal Society.  They say "Nullius in verba."  And they go on to say: 
The Royal Society's motto 'Nullius in verba' roughly translates as 'take nobody's word for it'. It is an expression of the determination of Fellows to withstand the domination of authority and to verify all statements by an appeal to facts determined by experiment.  
There are no qualifiers as to who can be consulted or how long his publication list need be before he is believable, or what journals are to be believed, etc.  In fact, any of those would certainly run afoul of "the determination of Fellows to withstand the domination of authority."
You seem to want to practice only Safe Self-Serving Science (SSSS).  Translated that means Official Science.  Rather than looking hard at the logic and evidence, I suspect that you want only a battle of references (our papers vs yours).  And as a defender of the status quo, you can win such arguments, especially with major journals making challenges difficult or impossible on their pages.  But that is just Official Science. 
So let me know if you are interested or able to practice real science, and we will proceed to discuss the Ozone Theory. 
 (IX) Followed by my reply
If you have nothing other than this, I will have to assume that you have no citations for scholarly works that support your position.  
You have made very strong statements about Rowland, Molina, and Crutzen. 
In 2001, Linfield College was honored to have Sherry Rowland participate in Linfield's Oregon Nobel Laureate Symposium. Dr. Rowland was kind, very broadly educated in the humanities, and unstintingly generous in his interactions with community members, faculty and staff, and students in particular. I had the pleasure of chaperoning him to and from the airport. Given Portland's traffic, this meant we had quite of bit of time together. Of course we had the common language of theoretical and physical chemistry to enhance our conversations.  
Dr. Rowland became a friend and mentor whom I continued to see at various professional meetings for quite a few more years. 
Almost everything personal that you have written about him and that I have seen is, in my opinion, unsupportable and disparaging to the point of libel, but one cannot libel the dead, who are beyond caring. I take strong exception to your remarks about Dr. Rowland. 
If you wish to toss Latin phrases around, you should pay attention to this one: "De mortuis nil nisi bonum."  
You should know that he too was a Ph.D. graduate of the University of Chicago (1952). 
I have had an extensive interest in the chemistry of depletion of stratospheric ozone since the first paper by Rowland and Molina in 1974. I have followed this subject since then.  
While I have an open mind regarding future developments,  I have seen nothing in the scientific literature (aside from that of Pope et al. and a brief flurry of other work that seemed to be stimulated by that brief controversy) that lends significant doubt to the premise that depletion of stratospheric ozone, as observed primarily south of the polar vortex above the Southern Ocean, is caused primarily by halogen (other than F) radical species that originated from CFCs dispersed at ground level. This was confirmed substantially by Anderson, Brune, and Proffitt's 1989 article and that mechanism in one form or another has held sway ever since. While details such as specific side reactions, rate constants, and activation energies always need refinement, the picture that emerged as a result of the ER-2 flight has remained and stood the test of time. 
If you have references to the scientific literature that substantially contradict this point of view and have held up under scrutiny, I am interested.  
I am not interested in discussing politics or other matters - except possibly discussion of classical music, a passion I also shared with Dr. Rowland.
Best wishes,
(X) There has been no reply.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Szechuan Chef, Portland - a review

For the sake of continuity,  Chinese characters are written three ways,  拼音 pīnyīn pinyin without additional punctuation. For example, 川 chuān river. Focus on the terms you can understand.

不要味精 búyào wèijīng don't need MSG!

Just a note about 五香粉 wǔxiāng fěn  five fragrance powder, or five spice. It is a common ingredient, with:
八角 bājiǎo star anise
丁香 dīngxiāng clove
肉桂 ròuguì Chinese cinnamon or cassia-bark
花椒 huājiāo prickly ash seeds or Szechuan peppercorns
小茴香 xiǎohuíxiāng fennel (foeniculum vulgare)

China Moon's "ten spice" adds coriander, cumin, black peppercorns, turmeric, and ginger.

SzechuanChef **** (4/5 stars)
川霸王 chuān bàwáng River Overlord
featuring many dishes of
四川菜sìchuāncài Szechuan cuisine

Sun. - Thur.: 11am - 10pm
Fri. & Sat.: 11am - 10:30pm
Lunch 11:00am - 3:00pm
Reservations accepted.

PORTLAND OR 97239-6104

We enjoyed six different dishes in our first visit to Szechuan Chef:
  1. 西湖牛肉羹xīhú niúròu gēng West Lake beef soup
  2. 干扁四季豆 gānbiǎn sìjìdòu Dry flat green beans
  3. 麻婆豆腐 mápó dòufu pock-marked old woman's tofu 3 chilies
  4. 鱼香茄子 yúxiāng qiézi fish flavor eggplant 2 chilies
  5. 孜然羊 zīrán yáng cumin lamb 3 chilies
  6. 干锅肥肠 gānguō féicháng dry pot large intestine 5 chilies
All were presented beautifully, a pleasure to look at, to smell, and to eat.

Please note that images are from the web, not from the restaurant; I tried to find images of dishes similar to those served to us.

  1. 西湖牛肉羹 xīhú niúròu gēng West Lake beef soup 

    West Lake beef soup $9.95

    This soup is a traditional dish from the South, a famous recipe from Hángzhōu, the capitol of Zhèjiāng province. It is said that the color and texture of the soup, with its egg whites and broth, recall the rippling surface of West Lake.

    Traditional ingredients include beef, egg whites, white pepper, sesame oil, and a dash of Shaoxing rice wine. This style of soup, (gēng), is a thick broth made hearty with cornstarch, or even better, jellied meat broth. The version of this dish at Szechuan Chef was quite delicious, with bits of tasty ground beef, clouds of egg white, and a satisfying chicken broth that coated the tongue, a refreshing complement to the spicy food of Szechuan.

  2. 干扁四季豆 gānbiǎn sìjìdòu Dry flat green beans 

    2 chilies Dry Cooked String Bean $9.95

    My Chinese friend, Tang Yu, writes, 
    煸炒是炒的一种,为中餐的一种常见烹调方法。 煸炒的操作是先将炒锅内放少量底油,烧热,加入原料快速翻炒至熟透,调味而成。

    This kind of frying is a common cooking method for Chinese food. The frying method is to first put a small amount of oil in the wok, then heat, adding raw materials quickly fried until cooked and seasoned.

    At Szechuan Chef, this dish of seared green beans, with bits of minced pork, dried chili, diced green onion, ginger garlic, sesame oil, and rice wine was delicious and just spicy enough. The sweet vegetable flavor was nicely contrasted with the flakes of pepper and sesame oil on the outside of the bean. There was more than a hint of heat, but the delicate fragrance of the pepper added depth to the flavor. The aromatic perfume of the spices and oil lasted until the last bite.

  3. 麻婆豆腐 mápó dòufu Pock-Marked Ma's tofu 

    3 chilies Mapo Tofu Szechuan Style $8.95

    Legend says that the pock-marked old woman (má pó), Fuchun Chen's wife, was a widow who lived in the Chinese city of Chengdu. Due to her condition, her home was placed on the outskirts of the city. By coincidence, it was near a road where traders often passed. Although the rich merchants could afford to stay within the numerous inns of the prosperous city while waiting for their goods to sell, the poor workers would stay in cheaper inns scattered along the sides of roads on the outskirts of the ancient city. These poor workers, or heavers, earned their living by transporting edible oil from workshops to restaurants. Often they brought some tofu and beef and ask the pock-marked woman to prepare it for them. As time went by, the pock-marked woman created a special and unique way to cook tofu and her restaurant became well known for her tofu. Someone then named the tofu she cooked as Mapo tofu, which means tofu cooked by the pock-marked women.

    Another less widely accepted explanation stems from an alternative definition of , meaning "numb": the Szechuan peppercorns used in the dish numb the diner's mouth. According to Mrs. Chiang's Szechwan Cookbook: "Eugene Wu, the Librarian of the Harvard Yenching Library, grew up in Chengdu and claims that as a schoolboy he used to eat Pock-Marked Ma's Bean Curd or mapo doufu, at a restaurant run by the original Pock-Marked Ma herself. One ordered by weight, specifying how many grams of bean curd and meat, and the serving would be weighed out and cooked as the diner watched. It arrived at the table fresh, fragrant, and so spicy hot, or la, that it actually caused sweat to break out."

    "Mrs. Chiang's Szechwan Cookbook" is still available:

    True mapo doufu is powerfully spicy with both conventional "heat" spiciness and the characteristic "mala" (numbing spiciness) flavor of Sichuan cuisine. The feel of the particular dish is often described by cooks using seven specific Chinese adjectives: má(numbing), là(spicy hot), tàng (physically hot), xiǎn(fresh), nèn(tender), xiāng(aromatic), and sū (crisp). These seven characteristics are considered to be the most defining of authentic mapo doufu.

    Many Szechuan dishes contain the phrase 香辣 xiānglà (fragrant & spicy). This is essential in mapo dofu. The authentic form of the dish is increasingly easy to find outside China today, but usually only in Sichuanese restaurants that do not adapt the dish for non-Sichuanese tastes. I found the dish in Chengdu considerably hotter and spicier than its Beijing cousins.

    The most important and necessary ingredients in the dish that give its usual flavor are chili broad bean paste (salty bean paste) from Sichuan's Pi county, 郫县豆瓣酱 píxiàn dòubànjiàng Pi County thick broad-bean paste (made from fermented salted broad beans and pepper, which gives the dish its characteristic deep orange-red color), fermented black beans, chili oil, chili flakes of 朝天辣椒 cháotiān làjiāo 'heaven-facing or skyward' pepper [this really does grow pointing up], Sichuan peppercorns, garlic, green onions, and rice wine. Ginger is a not-uncommon addition.

    This dish was very satisfying, with plentiful cubes of soft tofu swimming in thick sauce, bits of meat throughout. It also had the traditional blend of peppers, “三椒 sānjiāo three pepper”( 辣椒 làjiāo chili、花椒 huājiāo prickly ash、 胡椒 hújiāo pepper), adding to the enjoyment. It took quite a while for the complex flavors to unwind in one's mouth, with delicate crunches of prickly ash, the lip-numbing spice, the fragrant perfume of pepper blending with the tang of fermented broad beans, adding almost a hint of almond in the finish.

  4. 鱼香茄子 yúxiāng qiézi fish flavor eggplant 

    2 chilies Eggplant in Hot Garlic Sauce $8.95

    This is a common Sichuan dish. The fish flavor is imbued into the eggplant, but its flavor is not from fish , but a combination of red pepper , onion , ginger , garlic , sugar , salt , soy sauce and other condiments.
    This method is derived from the unique method of cooking fish seasoning in Sichuan cuisine, with a salty, sour, sweet, spicy, fragrant, fresh taste and rich onion, ginger, and garlic characteristics.
    This was a delicious dish, served piping hot, spreading its perfume across the table, rich in pepper, garlic, and ginger. Fragrant and satisfying.

  5. 孜然羊 zīrán yáng 

    3 chilies Cumin Lamb $12.95

     Eating is a very social event in China, and proper enjoyment of food is an important aspect of daily life. 

    Xinjiang-style food – Uighur food- is some of the most delicious cuisine I have eaten in China and amplified my enjoyment of the social experience many times over every time I had the opportunity to eat it. I first had Muslim food like this in Xi'an, and sought it out repeatedly after that. It is always thrilling, delicious, and even refreshing.

    I came to appreciate this especially in the summer, when the workday seemed to stretch to the horizon. And after that long day of work, the grad students and I would head out to the closest Xinjiang-style restaurant and consume mountains of skewered chicken, beef, and lamb, with more than a few bottles of cold local Yanjing beer. This cuisine was so different from what I had thought of as traditional Chinese cuisine, and its complex flavors so astonishing. I was drawn to its exotic blend of Middle Eastern herbs and spices with Chinese ingredients. It always made for enjoyable eating. Even in winter, if I had time during the day, I would stop at an inexpensive snack shop for a couple of mutton sandwiches, (about 3 yuan for two). When I think of Muslim food, I think to myself, “This will be delicious.”

    A recipe I have created myself in an attempt to duplicate the food I ate in Xi'an and Chengdu uses lamb (in China, it would be mutton), red pepper, onion parsley, cumin powder, pepper, chili powder, cooking wine, mutton broth for de-glazing, soy sauce.

    The name of this dish comes from the spice's name in Uighur:
    孜然(學名:Cuminum cyminum),又名安息茴香或阿拉伯茴香,中文种名孜然芹,“孜然”一词是来自维吾尔语(维吾尔语:زىرە Zire)。亦有譯作“枯茗”。安息古时是中亚,现属伊朗一带。中国的孜然产于新疆、甘肃、内蒙古等地。孜然并不是小茴香。
    Cumin ( scientific name : Cuminum cyminum), also known as cumin or Arab fennel, the Chinese species names cumin, cumin term is from Uyghur (Uighur: زىرە Zire).  also translated as "cumin. The rest ancientCentral Asia , now in the case of Iran the vicinity. Cumin produced in China's Xinjiang , Gansu , Inner Mongolia and other places. Cumin is not fennel .
    Of course, I was thrilled to see Uighur food on the menu at Szechuan Chef. And it was indeed delightful. This dish was everyone's favorite: the rich flavor of cumin, the delicious lamb, crunchy on the outside but tender on the inside, onions beautifully transparent and fragrant, the sliced peppers intermingled with the lamb and onion slices. It was a joy to look at and to eat. I felt a wave of nostalgia for life in Beijing sweep through me with each bite. This is a dish to enjoy over and over again.

    6. 干锅肥肠 gānguō féicháng dry pot intestine 

    5 chilies Dry Cooked Pork intestine hot pot $12.95

    This very hot dish was similar to dishes of this nature I had eaten in Beijing; its Chengdu relatives were considerably hotter and literally took my breath away. I remember eating this dish at a small shack in the hills outside Chengdu on a blistering hot summer day. The hot spicy food was actually soothing and relaxing. 

    At Szechuan Chef, we were presented with a sizzling pot of 肥肠 féicháng slices, mixed with green pepper, a sea of chili peppers, and scallions bathed in a light coating of prickly ash, rice wine, and soy sauce. The féicháng were delicious: tender, flavorful, and nicely contrasted with the sauteed vegetables in the pot. This was quite hot, but not searingly hot as I had eaten in Chengdu. Because some Americans are a little squeamish about eating things like 肥肠 , I asked the waitress not to tell the others at the table what was in the dish; she was discreet. My adventuresome friends who tried it enjoyed it.

    Overall, we found the food quite delicious. The service was excellent. The staff were attentive without hovering. When we first arrived the restaurant was mostly empty, but within fifteen minutes it was bustling and noisy with the sounds of people enjoying their food. Food arrived quickly, piping hot. Just like Mr. Eugene Wu eating Pock-Marked Ma's Bean Curd in old Chengdu, by the end of the meal, we all were steaming, my face was crimson, and we were all in a blaze of glorious euphoria induced by麻辣 málà. I can't wait to go back.

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