So as bitchy as I am about not being able to taste things as the Folklife Festival, I walked away utterly enchanted. I knew that as a whole I would probably get pissed at what has been described as a disjointed festival. So I decided to focus only on the Food Culture USA pavilion (kiss off U.S. Forest Service). What was hilarious was that every moderator at the cooking demonstrations was abjectly apologizing for the lack of samples. SCREW YOU FDA! Somehow the FDA thinks that the pristine demonstration kitchens of the Folklife Festival are less sanitary than the lo mein stands at Pride. Ha ha.
Anyway, after seeing how soy milk and tofu are made and then seeing a few celebrity chef demonstrations, I plunked down at the Home Cooking tent and saw the food rockstars Sally and Gilroy Chow and their lovely daughter Lisa. Sally and Gilroy are third generation Chinese, FROM MISSISSIPPI. If you want to know how thick their Southern accents are, think Dolly Parton from Steel Magnolias. Times ten. It was truly one of the most entertaining half hours of my life.
While Gilroy staffed the huge wok Sally regaled the audience with her stories of being Chinese in the DEEP south along with outlining the recipes. While we learned how to make Mississippi Delta fried rice (with ham and bacon), we also heard about the Chow family, their son's crawfish boil rehearsal dinner, and how Sally learned to embrace the term Smack Yo Mama. Sally teaches Home Ec at her local high school while Gilroy is an engineer. Their daughter Lisa is a CPA and their son does marketing for a hospital. Along with his mastery of the wok Gilroy regaled the audience with his own story of how the fields of cotton in Mississippi are so white they look like snow. In compensation for the lack of tasting, Gilroy gave a t-shirt saying "Ski Mississippi" to a lucky audience member.
I was dying to get my picture taken with them but they were mobbed by audience members. They are true rocks stars and if the Food Network knew what it was doing, it would snatch Sally and Gilroy up and turn them into the superstars they are.