Sweet and Sour, Chinese American Museum of Chicago, May 21.
This jewel of a museum in the heart of Chicago's Chinatown is one of my favorite venues. It has a dedicated and energetic group of volunteers to support its competent staff. I was delighted to talk about my Chinese Laundries book there three years ago because the classic book on the topic by Paul Siu was based on Chinese laundries of Chicago in the mid-20th century. A few months later, the museum suffered a major fire that shut it down for over a year. Due to the determination of the people of CAMOC, it was not only restored, but even enlarged. I was privileged to be able to return there last week to speak about Sweet and Sour, which included some historical facts about early Chinese restaurants in Chicago and narratives from two people who grew up in their families' Chinese restaurants. One of them, Bill Tong, still lives in Chicago and was willing to make a 'cameo' appearance during my presentation to speak about the history of Tong's Tea Garden, his family's restaurant.