Past Presidents
Job Postings


My Life with CAFS -- Highlights of 30 Years

  Cathy Ang, Ph.D.
Food Science Consultant; Former FDA and USDA Research Scientist; Past CAFS President; IFT Fellow
E-mail: CathyAng2005@yahoo.com

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 in Chinese.

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 or checks.

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 my presentation).