Is this guy actually sad that there's too much Chinese food?

Ridiculous New Yorker poem laments that there is more to Chinese food than chow mein.

How in the world does something like this make it into a "prestige" publication like The New Yorker? How did someone actually get paid for writing this ridiculous piece of self-centered white western indulgence?

This New Yorker piece by humorist and food writer Calvin Trillin that begins, "Have they run out of provinces yet?" is a white dude's sad lament about all the different varieties and origins of Chinese cuisine. "Too many to name." It is actually expressing anxiety that there are too many different kinds of Chinese food.

Have They Run Out of Provinces Yet?

Have they run out of provinces yet?
If they haven’t, we’ve reason to fret.
Long ago, there was just Cantonese.
(Long ago, we were easy to please.)
But then food from Szechuan came our way
,Making Cantonese strictly passé.
Szechuanese was the song that we sung,
Though the ma po could burn through your tongue.
Then when Shanghainese got in the loop
We slurped dumplings whose insides were soup.
Then Hunan, the birth province of Mao,
Came along with its own style of chow.
So we thought we were finished, and then
A new province arrived: Fukien.
Then respect was a fraction of meagre
For those eaters who'd not eaten Uighur.
And then Xi’an from Shaanxi gained fame,
Plus some others - too many to name.

Now, as each brand-new province appears,
It brings tension, increasing our fears:
Could a place we extolled as a find
Be revealed as one province behind?
So we sometimes do miss, I confess,
Simple days of chow mein but no stress,
When we never were faced with the threat
Of more provinces we hadn’t met.
Is there one tucked away near Tibet?
Have they run out of provinces yet?

Dammit, why are there so many different kinds of Chinese cuisine? Why there are so many different kinds of Chinese people? Why couldn't it all have remained the simple chow mein and fried rice dishes of the author's yesteryear, when he thought he had easily mastered this Chinese food thing?

How dare a people and cuisine display complexity, nuance and diversity?

(Also, this is just bad poetry.)


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