Friday, October 06, 2006

"Food and family go together,"
says Vancouver Province newspaper

Food and Family Go Together
BC author blends memories and 'village food'

When Janice Wong began scribbling down her family's history for her nieces and nephews, she thought of it as a "short and lively intiation into the young lives of their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents."
She had no idea her efforts would eventually lead to national fame—and a top book award.
Wong, whose parents were both born on the West Coast—her dad in Victoria and her mother in Nanaimo—took home the "gold" in the food culture category at last week's Cuisine Canada and The University of Guelph's Canadian Culinary Book Awards.

Wong's book, Chow: From China to Canada: Memories of Food and Family (Whitecap) began as a brief summary of her family's Canadian and Chinese origins.

But after her dad, Dennis Edward Wong, died in 1999, the many letters and handwritten recipes his children had collected over the years became the inspiration for a full-length book, says Wong who is also an accomplished visual artist.
The story in Chow is woven with anecdotes, recipes, photographs and Dennis Wong's hand-written notes and letters, giving the reader both a visual and literary feast. The recipes, meanwhile, are based on Chinese "village food," Wong says. Most are easy and delicious family fare using traditional methods of stir-frying, steaming and barbeque.
Chow—meaning both "to stirfry" in Cantonese and "food" or "eat" in colloquial English—offers "wonderful insight into early Chinese-Canadian cultures," says Barbara-Jo McIntosh of Barbara-Jo's Books to Cooks.
Meanwhile, Wong says she's "delighted that my family's story has touched so many people. It seems to be a story that resonates across cultures."
Wong will attend the first ever Asian Cultural New Moon Festival in Gibsons from noon until 9 p.m. tomorrow. She'll also be at the Rice Paper magazine booth at Sunday's Word ont he Street Festival at Library Square, 2 to 6 pm.
For more information go to

-Renee Blackstone, Vancouver Province, September 22, 2006
photograph: Mary Mar and Dennis Wong, Victoria 1940s
photograph: Mary and Janice Wong, 2006, photograph by Jason Payne

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