"Ask yourself: Where did the McDonald's, Wendy's and the Schnucks go? Do their owners live in the ghettos?"

Week of December 21, 2006

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News Real, November 23, 2006

Manor of Fact

He was in the wrong line of work: I don't mean to speak ill of the dead, but "Death of a Professor," Ben Westhoff's unbalanced story on David Manor, was inaccurate. In spite of what his son has said, Manor was not a brilliant individual who cared about his students. As one of his former students from 1982 to 1984, I found him to be a temperamental, arrogant, mean-spirited man with virtually no aptitude for teaching.

I was a student at Parks College when Manor began his teaching career at Saint Louis University. From the start students complained to the department chairman about his teaching style. As far as I have seen and heard from SLU students that I have hired to work for me, this sort of thing continued to the end of his employment at SLU. He was not admired by any student I knew and in fact drove many a good student away from Parks and SLU — and probably to the brink of suicide as well. Manor was not an evil man or something of that sort. Rather, he was someone who picked out a vocation he had practically zero aptitude at.

After reading the open letter his son penned, I discovered that Manor was in fact offered early retirement from SLU but decided to play hardball with the school's leadership and lost. Let's get real: Does anyone know anybody really willing to challenge an employer's right to stop employees from sending "off-color" jokes of a sexual nature to fellow students or coworkers? Can you say "sexual harassment" (or do I date myself by just saying "Anita Hill")? Obviously his attorney would have been all over this one if he felt he'd had a case.

The real tragedy in this story is what Manor did to his family by leaving this world in such a violent way. He placed a horrible burden on them, and nothing positive will come of this act. Scott Dort, Vero Beach, Florida

Cafe, November 23, 2006

Pho Shizzle

And sodium it goes: Unfortunately, one of the poisons of fast food that rarely gets the attention it deserves is salt ["Pho Real," Ian Froeb]. I mention this because almost all soups served in any restaurant contain a lot of salt. Certainly, a little salt is good and essential for optimal health, but most Americans eat way more salt than they realize, to their detriment.
Babak Rejaie, St. Louis

Feature, November 16, 2006

Suey Generis

St. Paul sightings: It's funny that the black community only sees what they want to see. I am an American-Chinese born and raised in the St. Louis area. I grew up in the ghetto and went to Soldan, an all-black high school. I'm also a Vietnam veteran (1967-'68, Bronze Star "V" Device). Our company was half black and half white. I was Asian in a war against Asians. I served as the radio operator's number-one target and was head computer operator for the mortar platoon.

I am writing to set the record straight. I was in the business of supplying the St. Louis chop suey that you talk about. I sold the boxes you depict on the cover; I hired 50 percent blacks in my company. I have more soul in me than some of the blacks I meet. My company was located in the north side of downtown St. Louis for 28 years.

I know Park Chop Suey's Steve Yuen, and he didn't create the St. Paul sandwich. A friend of mine was serving them in the early 1940s. It changed over the years, because the vegetables got higher. They use more bean sprouts in them now. I grew bean sprouts for about twelve years.

For Alderman Charles Quincy Troupe to say the Asians don't do anything for the black community is misleading. If it weren't for their hard work, what would the blacks eat? Most of the American chain restaurants moved out of the inner city. Now you see fried fish and chicken restaurants going up all over town. Are they any better than the Asian restaurants? As for giving back to the community, I and my sisters worked on a project with the University of Missouri-St. Louis to help the kids in Wellston and mentor them in their studies. Since I was in the food service business, I was able to get food from my suppliers for the kids. Some of the kids didn't eat breakfast. Ask yourself: Where did the McDonald's, Wendy's and the Schnucks go? Do their owners live in the ghettos?

Take a look at yourself and the black community as a whole. Turn the mirror around and take a look at yourselves. How many blacks that have made it out of the ghetto have returned to help the others left behind? They live in million-dollar homes and drive the big cars and wear those bling-blings worth millions, paid for on the backs of the poor.
William Hong, Chesterfield

The St. Paul ship theory: I would like to apologize to myself. After twentysomething years of reading Riverfront Times articles that I felt needed to be replied to in reference to my beloved city and only producing "woulda, coulda, shoulda" bar fodder, this is what shook me out of my coma. Nonetheless, Malcolm Gay's statements about the St. Paul sandwich and its origins in "St. Louie Chop Suey" could not be ignored. I am in my late thirties and family lore has it that they were used to wean me off of the teat. So there goes Billy Luu's claim (just simple math).

The legend that I have come to know is that a riverboat was docked downtown on the Mississippi in the early part of the last century (dates are as murky as the waters on this point) with a Chinese galley crew at its wits' end as to what to serve their Western shipmates. They knew the sandwich was a suitable meal but had none of the classic ingredients for this. Long story short, they put egg foo yung (minus the gravy) on bread with the rest of the ingredients, it was a hit, and the name of that boat was the St. Paul. There are several versions out there, of course, but all that I have heard are very similar and none vary from the St. Paul boat theme.

By the way, there are a few places in town that have taken this St. Louis treasure to new ghetto-gastronomic heights: the St. Paul topped with a slice of individually wrapped American cheese served on a hamburger bun. Take that, toasted ravioli.
Doug Morgan, St. Louis

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