I was very surprised to see this sauce in the grocery store the other day. I’m amazed that it still carries that name. It took me back to my childhood in the 1960s, when racist humor was widespread and blatant. Mr. Magoo’s buck-toothed and pigtailed assistant Charlie called him “Mistah Magloo!” and “Numbah one bloss man.” Confucius jokes were popular: “Confucius say man with one chopstick go hungry.”
We had several 45s* of Buddy Hackett comedy routines delivered in a broad “Chinese” accent, including Chinese Rock and Egg Roll, Chinese Waiter, and Chinese Laundry. My sister and I found them amusing and memorized every word.
When I’ve recited portions to my kids, they’ve been visibly uncomfortable, having grown up in an era much more sensitive to racism. “What’s funny about foreign accents, anyway?” my daughter asked me.
What indeed? I had no answer.
*Vinyl records about the size of a CD with one three-minute recording on each side