6/20/11

Sweet & Sour @ Culinary Historians of Northern Calif, Omnivore Bookstore, S. F. June 9

It was a special treat, and challenge, to discuss the history of Chinese restaurants with a 'foodie' audience at a wonderful 'foodie' bookstore rather than a predominantly Chinese audience. A friendly crowd packed the confines of a charming bookstore which allowed eye to eye contact with each person, which was essential since I could not display any slides or graphics to illustrate important points.  One surprise was the unannounced appearance of my good friends, Joe and Liz Chan, each of whom have contributed valuable narratives to my books, with Joe writing about his life growing up in his parents' Oriental Restaurant in Ft. Wayne, Indiana for the "Sweet and Sour" book and Liz sharing memories of her life growing up in her parents' laundry in Louisville, Kentucky, for the "Chinese Laundries" book.  Joe gave me a precious gift that I was honored to receive, a stainless steel serving dish, complete with cover, used in the Oriental Restaurant probably over 50 years ago!
    A highlight of the evening was Nellie Wong's recital of 3 of her poems about working in her parents' family restaurant in Oakland, 2 of which she generously gave permission for use in "Sweet and Sour."

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