CALIFORNIA: Sin & Souffl

From the moment she got off the train in California more than 30 years ago, Lucy Hicks liked Oxnard, and Oxnard liked Lucy. The town was newly rich on sugar beets, and its Chinese and Mexican laborers blew their pay nightly on light ladies, gambling, whiskey and opium. Lucy, a skinny, 6-ft. Kentucky Negro, decided to stay, set out to get a good reputation as a preliminary to getting a bad one. She began cooking for Oxnard's leading families. By the time she opened her first house of prostitution, off Oxnard's crib-bordered China Alley, her genius in the kitchen was...

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