My Life with CAFS --
Highlights of 30 Years
Food Science Consultant; Former
FDA and USDA Research Scientist; Past CAFS President;
The beginning at a dinner table:
It was during the 1974 IFT convention in New Orleans, I
joined a group of about 15 Chinese-speaking attendees in
a German restaurant for dinner. We had a good time there
and discussed about inviting more people and having dinners
together every year at IFT conventions.
Then the next year when the IFT meeting was in Chicago,
Dr. Sam Wang reserved a Chinese restaurant and 50+ Chinese
food scientists showed up at the banquet. Naturally, an
organization named "IFT- Chinese Association"
was formed. Dr. Joe Jen wrote an article about the event,
and it was later published in the Food Industry Monthly
(Taiwan). Dr. Bor S. Luh was elected as the first President.
The next year, Dr. Luh presented a draft (in Chinese) of
the Association bylaws. The membership dues were $2. All
records and correspondences were in Chinese.
Early days, no computers:
In the 70s, PCs were not yet born, and it was hard to get
a Chinese typewriter. When Dr. Stephen Chang was the President
(1976-77), Dr. Lucy Hwang was the Secretary and I was the
Treasurer, we had several officers' meetings at Dr. Chang's
house. I remember that every time Dr. Hwang would write
meeting minutes in Chinese by hand. I was so impressed by
her neat handwriting.
Under the suggestion of Dr. Chang, the name of the organization
was changed to be more formal, -- "The Association
of Chinese Food Scientists and Technologists in American".
The following year, Dr. Joe Jen was the President, and he
started the quarterly Newsletters, all were hand-written
Annual Banquets, forums and more:
Besides the banquets, other programs were also carried out,
such as Forums, consulting services and workshops. I remember
that I participated in a CAFS consulting team to visit China
and present lectures there in 1983. The trip was organized
and led by Dr. Anthony Chen (President in 1982-84) and supported
by the UN Development Program. Also in 1983, the name of
the Association was changed to "Chinese American Food
Society (CAFS)", which has been used since then.
More and more members and guests attended the annual Banquets.
One year there were 178. I also recall in 1985, Dr. Peter
Wan, as the President-elect, was in charge of the Annual
Banquet. Some how, he recruited an Honorary Member, Mr.
Kit Chen. And, Mr. Chen was very impressed by our organization
and generously paid for the entire expense of the banquet.
I was the treasurer then and was especially happy to receive
one big check for the banquet, not hundreds of small cash
15th Annual Banquet and English Bylaws:
In 1989, IFT celebrated its 50th anniversary and CAFS held
its 15th Annual Banquet. I served as the President that
year, and it was a very busy, exciting and enjoyable year.
At the 1989 Annual Banquet, we had more than 150 people
attended, including 20+ from Taiwan and 10 from Singapore.
During the 80s, PCs began to be used (only in English),
but FAX was not common, and of course neither Internet nor
e-mails were on the horizon yet. I recall that we had to
communicate by first class mails and individual telephone
calls (no teleconference). There were many issues to be
discussed. Thus, I decided to host a mid-winter Exec Comm.
meeting in my house in Athens, Georgia. Dr.Yun C. Jao (Past-president
of that year) and Dr. Daniel Y. C. Fung (President-elect
then) flew over from Indiana and Kansas, respectively. Dr.
T. C. Chen drove a long distance from Mississippi. All travel
expenses were paid for by their personal funds. Other members
attended included Drs. Joe Jen and Yao-wen Huang.
We were ambitious to make CAFS more professional, like
IFT. We discussed about the Society's long-range goals and
short-term plans, English bylaws, computerization of membership
records and fund raising. We finalized the officers' and
committees' operation guidelines, etc. At that time, the
meeting minutes were in English but the Newsletters was
written half in Chinese and half in English.
I also had meetings with other officers, -- George Chu,
Grace Yao, Peter Wan and Y. C. Jao in Chicago two times
to translate the bylaws from the Chinese version into English;
an English version bylaws was required for the application
for a non-profit organization status. The translation job
of the bylaws language was a very difficult task, and finally
we decided to develop an entirely new bylaws in English.
During 1988-89, the Fund-raising Committee (Grace Yao and
Michael Tao) raised $3,000 for the CAFS operation fund.
We felt very rich.
Dedication and CAFS' box:
One year I was on the Membership and Public Relations Committee
to recruit new members, and I remember that Dr. Yen-con
Hung, Dr. Ernest Chen and I sent out about 800 invitation
letters with CAFS brochures to food professionals with Chinese
last names. As a result, membership increased much . At
the highest point, we had more than 300 names in the Directory.
For publishing the Directory, although members' English
names and addresses could be typed with a typewriter or
a PC, the Chinese names had to be entered by hand. I recall
that Dr. Peter Wan had cut out Chinese characters from Chinese
newspapers and pasted those characters on the master copy
of the Directory. One year, I received a letter in Chinese
from Dr. James Moy. He pointed out that his Chinese name
should be "Moy ..", not "Moy oo". Then
I realized that we must have cut out all the three characters
from the paper of some one with the same last name. That
time, the name of "Moy oo", the President of Chin
Hwa University appeared on the Chinese newspaper very often.
I apologized to Dr. Moy, of course. Later on, Dr. Yao-wen
Huang entered members' Chinese names by hand. His handwriting
was even better than those printed on the newspaper.
Dr. Daniel Fung and I also sorted out and organized CAFS
important records, operation manuals, Directory and all
back issues of Newsletters, etc. We prepared a box to keep
those documents, and an official society seal designed by
Dr. Fung and a gavel (a gift from the Singapore Institute
of Food Science and Technology). This box was supposed to
be passed on from one President to the next for his/her
reference and for him/her to update the records. Unfortunately,
the box was lost after a few years. That was one regret
I could not forget. We need to make a new box, and better
to have a duplicate one.
I did spend much time and energy on CAFS affairs during
the year of 1988-89. Some one asked me "Why do you
do it? What do you get in return?" I said, "I
am not looking for anything in return. I am just paying
back what I got from the Society". Indeed, I had enjoyed
the Newsletters, the Forums, the Banquets, the friendship,...
It was time for me to serve the Society. I really didn't
expect any reward. But afterwards, I found I gained and
learned a lot from serving the Society. I made many good
friends through CAFS. This friendship is invaluable. Several
of our earlier ideas or dreams were fulfilled through the
collaboration with CAFS colleagues, such as the publication
of the CAFS Science and Technology Monograph Series and
the publication of a book dedicated to Chinese and Asian
Foods (Asian Foods, Science and Technology, 1999).
For the CAFS 25th Anniversary celebration in 2000, Drs.
Daniel Fung, Yao-wen Huang and I co-edited a special booklet
to report CAFS history, milestones, members' photos and
other activities of 25 years. If any readers are interested
in getting a copy of this booklet, you can contact Dr. Fung.
He may still have a few copies.
My gratitude and best wishes:
I felt very honored to have the opportunity to speak at
the Banquet about my stories with CAFS for the 30th Anniversary
celebration. For 30 years, I have attended almost every
Annual Banquet. My career life and CAFS' growth walked side
by side. CAFS has encouraged me in my professional development
and I saw CAFS growing over 30 years. I regard CAFS as my
society. Is it because that "CA" could mean "Cathy
Ang"? Then, CAFS is "Cathy Ang Food Society"?
Seriously, CAFS is not only my society, it is everyone's
society. "CA" could also mean "Come All".
CAFS is "Come All Food Society". It has wide-open
arms to welcome all colleagues with common interests.
After 30+ years in professional life, I am retiring from
my last job in federal service. I may not be able to attend
every IFT convention and CAFS Banquet in future years. But,
I will always remember the good time we had together. My
appreciation to CAFS is more than I can express. I hope
that every member will enjoy CAFS' programs and activities
as much as I did. My best wishes to every one, and wish
that CAFS becomes the best society for all.
(P. S.: I enjoyed very much the CAFS' 30th Anniversary
celebration in New Orleans, July 2005. I would like to express
my special thanks to Dr. Steven Pao for inviting me to present
the talk of my CAFS experience at the Banquet, and to Dr.
Peggy Hsieh for her very kind introduction remarks before