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We have much more to share – and learn—about Mrs. Lotus Lum...

A Holiday Recipe

Almond Cookies A Chinese Treat

Christmas is among the most important holidays in both this country and Europe, but says Mrs. Wing Lum, 216 Holden, ‘we don’t celebrate Christmas in China. There, New Year’s, occurring in January or February, is our big holiday.’

Mrs. Lum, who with her husband helps manage the Canton Café, has a recipe for almond cookies, which she thinks might make a good holiday sweet.

She arrived in this country, a new bride, in 1948.”

-The Saginaw News, December 13, 1959.

Above: This is most certainly the interior of the Canton Cafe c. 1961.

With her husband, Quan Wing Lum, Lotus Chin Lum operated the Canton Café, a restaurant founded by Mr. Lum’s family in the first decade of the twentieth century. This link will take you to an earlier post that focused on the history of the restaurant.    

Mrs. Lum’s obituary outlined her life:

“Mrs. Lotus Lum beloved mother, grandmother and sister passed away Sunday, March 24, 2013 at her home, age 86. Lotus was born on May 7, 1926 in Canton, China. She survived the effects of the Great Depression in China and the subsequent Japanese invasion into mainland China. After World War II, she married Quan Wing Lum on December 11, 1947. He predeceased her on February 9, 1987. Lotus and Quan owned and operated the Canton Café restaurant in downtown Saginaw from 1948 until its closing in 1976. Lotus was then employed as a chef at the Mackinaw Middle School and the Saginaw Country Club for many years. She converted Catholicism in the 1960’s and was a member of St. Mary’s Cathedral Lotus enjoyed anything to do with food including growing, shopping cooking and serving of it. She maintained a large garden and loved being in the sunshine. Most of all, she cherished being with her family.”  (The Saginaw News. March 26, 2013.)

In a 1948 article titled: “Chinese Bride Likes America, Prefers Food Here to That of Her Native Land,” The Saginaw News noted:

“‘Except in the large cities, Chinese don’t eat chop suey,’ was the astounding statement made by Mrs. Lotus Lum, now in America for the first time, She came here with her husband, Wing, and her mother-in-law They are assisting their father, Charlie, in the Canton café’” (The Saginaw News, April 28, 1948.)

The article continues:


“She even likes American Food better. ‘Chinese food is too spicy,’ said the Chinese native.”

We have much more to share and learn about the Lum family and their restaurant. However, we need to leave time for you to prepare a batch of almond cookies for the holidays.


The Recipe: Almond Cookies

5 cups flour

2 cups lard

3 tablespoons baking powder

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 eggs

½ teaspoons almond extract

2 tablespoons milk

½ teaspoon salt or ½ pound of butter


Mix all the ingredients together. Drop onto a cookie sheet and top each cookie with a whole almond. Bake at 350 degrees about 15-20 minutes until they appear light brown.


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