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Culinary Historians of Southern California

Dedicated to pursuing food history and supporting culinary collections at the Los Angeles Public Library

We’re not all historians here, but we’re all interested in food history. To see what we’re up to, check out our upcoming events below and some of our previous lectures, and maybe drop by the Los Angeles Central Library for one of our free monthly lectures. If you decide to join, your dues go to purchase books on food and drink for the Central Library’s culinary collection, one of the most important in the country— plus fund CHSC program videos, speaker travel expenses, and newsletters.

UPCOMING EVENT

“A Journey Through Vietnamese Cuisine” - Kim Fay, Kimmy Tang, and Tin Vuong
with moderator Nancy Zaslavsky on the history of Vietnamese cuisine

  • Saturday, December 10th, 2016 at 10:30 AM to Noon
  • Mark Taper Auditorium, Downtown Central Library
  • 630 W. 5th St., Los Angeles CA
  • Free and open to the public

Growing rapidly in popularity world-wide, Vietnamese cuisine is a unique amalgam of influences. For more than one thousand years the 1,025-mile long country experienced occupation, war and foreign trade that resulted in a food culture shaped by Chinese, Cambodians, Indians, French and Japanese to create a national cuisine. This assimilation and transformation of flavors continue to this day. 

Washington-born Kim Fay lived in Vietnam from 1995 to 1999 and has returned regularly ever since. Her book Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam, received a Gourmand World award, and she is the creator and series editor of the To Asia With Love guidebooks.

 

Chef Kimmy Tang was born in Saigon, Vietnam. After the Vietnam War, while still a teenager, she migrated to USA and earned a degree in fashion design from L.A.’s Fashion Institute of Design and Manufacturing. Her love of cooking was stronger, however, and in 2001, right out of FIDM, she opened her first restaurant, Michelia. In 2008 she took a sabbatical trip to explore the world’s cuisines on their home ground. On returning, she opened 9021PHO in Beverly Hills and expanded it to five locations. In 2015 she took another sabbatical to write a series of books, starting with Kimmy Tang’s Asian-Fusion Lenten Cuisine.

Tin Vuong’s grandparents fled Vietnam during the fall of Saigon and passed along a wealth of cooking knowledge to the young Vuong while he grew up in the San Gabriel Valley. Today he is chef/partner of Blackhouse Hospitality with six restaurants including the acclaimed Little Sister in downtown L.A. and Manhattan Beach. Little Sister introduces Angelenos to the influences of Vietnamese imperialist rule cuisine during the 19th century—it builds on classic French technique fused with Vuong’s culinary knowledge.

NEW NEWSLETTER AVAILABLE

Summer 2016 Newsletter now available, click here!
  • George, for Example by Charles Perry
  • Program Notes by Nancy Zaslavsky
  • A letter from the Editor by Sharon Tani
  • Events Around Los Angeles
  • Hop on over: The first American archive of brewing is open to all researchers and beer lovers
  • La Pitchoune: Julia Child's Summer Home Welcomes Guests by Carole Rosner
  • Book Review: :The Joys of Chef Memoirs" by Alison Peters
  • Why We Grew up on Velveeta by Gordon Edgar

NEW VIDEOS

Wanted - Angelology Experts ASAP!

The unwitting Hospitality Committee chair is now in a smug soap bubble due to a near consistent appearance of Angel Volunteers who make him look very very good. Now, apparently he is looking for angelologists to understand how this happens at the Central Library events.

"Most of these angels, even though some of them are brand new Volunteers," he says, "seem to have years of experience around here and perhaps they may even have run the Hospitality Committee in the past." About an hour before each event, they peek in the kitchenette or the reception courtyard…, "and before I know it, it's all done while my back was turned." Sometimes he doesn't even know if they had read his email. Well, even if they have read and responded, their initiative is always a pleasant surprise. 

Any time their numbers swell, he is elated that the constant star angels of the committee, e.g., Edie & Jay, Lanna, Doris, Jill, Jeannie, Toni, do not have to be doing everything every time every moment of every event in addition to the prep work they do at home and shopping - "as much as they say with a smile that they enjoy it, it's just not fair they pull through the whole thing by themselves every time due to acute conscientiousness" he says.

It seems clear that he has a different agenda than research in seeking Angelology Experts. "Any culinary skills enthusiast who appreciates angels that deeply is probably one and therefore conscientious," he says, "and just unaware that these silent angels are being taxed, a little more than what I suspect was their collaborative intent." Given how nice and happy the Culinary Historians are, it must just be a matter of getting the word out. Even if, saying pessimistically, only 90% of the entire membership at the events responds even few times a year, it should be a piece of angel food cake to make these events enjoyable for everyone.

Well, you all know you are one yourself. Would you come help them, this year? Find your way in by email, or via any Executive Committee member you already know, or just walk in and look for the Hospitality Committee on your social Saturday.

"Is it carbon-neutral eco-friendly and sustainable to take Angels for granted?" - for reasons clearly not profound, this was written in third person by Sandeep Gupta the chair of the Hospitality Committee.