October 2020 Newsletter

Newsletter Index
Editor's Message Events Dinner at Fong Lee's Rava Kesari: Part 2 of AACP's Comfort Food Series Featured Books

Editor's Message

Happy Halloween everyone! And if I missed our deadline, Happy Dia de Muertos!

It has been said that we are what we eat. A great deal of culture and who we are has something to do with food.

The pursuit of food or the means to acquire it, and eating are the most important things we do every day. Celebrations and social gatherings almost universally involve food and drink.

It is not surprising then that we often share food and drink when we wish to get to know people, and to forge and continue friendships.

This month we feature one such historical dinner gathering and also continue our comfort food series with our articles.

Our book selection this month is also filled with some cookbooks that could possibly give you some ideas for the upcoming holiday season or for everyday cooking variety as we continue our pandemic necessitated seclusion. Go ahead and try something different and learn something about the origins of those foods. Perhaps it will bring us all a little closer together.


Thank you Arthi for sharing your wonderful article and recipe for our comfort food series. Thank you to Philip and Susan for your help with the newsletter. Thank you Internet Archives for helping me solve a family history mystery that’s been gnawing at me for many of years (dates and sources) and thanks to all the relatives that planted the seed of that mystery.

Please go vote and continue in our nation’s grand experiment in participatory government. Don’t forget, we’re the fourth branch of our government. Have a Happy Diwali (12-16 Oct.; the 14th is the height of the festival) and Thanksgiving Everyone!

Leonard Chan

Executive Editor


Teachers for Social Justice is continuing their virtual conference on November 14th and December 12th. To learn more about it and to register go to t4sj.org. Note that they also have a video from their first day of the conference at youtube.com/c/Teacher4SocialJustice.


Catch a video of the October 21 Filipino American History Month Virtual Celebration at youtu.be/bP7Jrgjk2tk.


If you have an event that you would like us to mention and or to participate in, please feel free to let us know.

Dinner at Fong Lee's

By Leonard Chan

In May of 1894, White supremacist groups forced Chinese and some Japanese farmworkers out of farms in Fresno, Pleasanton, and the Vaca Valley. They stole, beat, and shot at the Asian workers, and, with the tacit approval of the law and judges, were allowed to seize many of the Asian workers as prisoners for deportation.

This is just a small sample of incidents that reveal the dark racial climate of what was happening throughout California and other Western states during that time. Author Jean Pfaelzer, in her groundbreaking book Driven Out: the Forgotten War Against Chinese Americans, does a marvelous job of retelling this horrible facet of Old West history (this is a must read for anyone that is the least bit curious about how Asians fit into the 19th century American experience). From the years 1849 to 1906, Pfaelzer states that there were over 200 similar incidences in California alone.

This article is not about all the atrocities that were being committed against Asian in the West in the 1800s. This introduction is meant to give you some context to the rest of this piece. On January 31, 1895, approximately eight months after the earlier described incidents, a Chinese man in the town of Oroville, California, chose to break bread with his Caucasian neighbors.

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Rava Kesari

Part 2 of AACP's Comfort Food Series

By Arthi Kruba

In my childhood days, I usually liked eating fried Indian desserts. However, there are quite some non-fried easy-to-make desserts that I like. One such dish that quenches my sugar cravings is 'Rava kesari'.

This dessert is quite common in South India. In some parts of India, it is also called as 'Kesari bath' or 'Suji kesari'. 'Rava' or 'Suji' means semolina. Kesari refers to the saffron color.

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Featured Books

View full descriptions of all these featured books at Bookshop.org where you'll also have the opportunity to purchase them.

Children's Books

General Literature