I recently dropped by Connie's Cook House on West 4th Avenue, where I ordered a serving of beef with broccoli.
I confess I've done the same at other Chinese restaurants in the vicinity of the Georgia Straight building, like Lin's Chinese Cuisine, when I pop in for lunch.
It's quick and easy, offers a superfood (broccoli) with some protein, and can be polished off in a jiffy, enabling me to get back to work.
It's one of many dishes that commonly appear on Canadian Chinese restaurant menus even though they weren't traditionally offered in China.
In the University of California, Irvine newspaper the New University, writer Rosline Wong pointed out that the original Chinese dish relied on gai lan, which is a leafy green vegetable.
But American Chinese restaurateurs decided to serve beef with broccoli many years ago to suit non-Chinese diners.
There's also an Italian connection to this dish. I learned this from visiting the Chinese Food History website.
Broccoli became popular in the U.S. after it was introduced by Italian immigrants. And this led Chinese entrepreneurs to add it to the menus.
In China, the website points out, cattle were used as beasts of burden. That often made them too valuable to be eaten.
But in North America, beef consumption continues at a brisk pace, notwithstanding the impact on the planet.
It's actually the most resource-intensive meat, requiring 20 times more land and emitting 20 times more greenhouse-gas emissions per gram of edible protein than common plant proteins, according to the World Resources Institute.
Come to think of it, it's probably overdue for me to give up beef with broccoli, once and for all. It's the least I can do to reduce my carbon footprint.
So there you have it folks—a New Year's resolution for 2021.More