Serving dishes like the one I am holding were commonly found in Chinese restaurants of a generation ago. What they lacked in "oriental" or "Chinese-y" decoration, these minimalist but clean designs by F. S. Louie Co. of Berkeley made up for by keeping your food hot over the entire meal.

At a book talk I gave in San Francisco this June to the Culinary Historians of Northern California at the small but charming Omnivore Bookstore, I was completely surprised by appearance of my friends, Joe and Liz Chan, each of whom have written narratives about their parents' stores for my books, Joe for my Chinese restaurant history and Liz for my Chinese Laundries history.  Joe then surprised me with the gift of this "silver trophy" saved from the 1950's era Mandarin Inn Restaurant of his father in Muncie, Indiana.  The brief history below  of F.S. Louie Co. a supplier of Chinese restaurant tableware, comes from Priscilla Wedgars's site at the University of Idaho.