An FOB feeling happy after reading Eddie Huang’s Fresh Off the Boat


It starts with the food bullying that I feel I can relate to Eddie Huang‘s story. Cleverly, he begins the book with dimsum, so that got my interest, but he talked about dimsum for less than 2 pages. The food bullying though, where his classmates said that his food smelled bad, that he wanted the white kid lunches, that’s where my memories came back. The bully for me wasn’t in school and wasn’t by the kids. Comments, always by adults and mostly white females, that the food my mom made made the house smell bad, or the stuff I eat or drink that they haven’t heard of, much less tried, is “gross”, are this pet peeve of mine that I can’t forgive. Sure, they may not be intended to hurt me or anyone specifically, but they’re never well-meaning. They are too minute to confront the speaker about, so I have no way to tell the speaker that she’s disrespecting my whole culture. They are the papercut stings that you feel every time you wash your hands. Eddie Huang and I don’t have anything in common, except we both being born to Asian parents. […]

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Face the omnivore’s dilemma


Did you know that the koala, the pickiest eater on Earth, has a brain so small that “doesn’t even begin to fill up its skull”? The variety of one’s diet correlates with the size of one’s brain. Whether the reason might be the low nutrition (which makes it more economical to shrink your brain and conserve energy) or the simplicity of a diet that requires no thinking (when you see the food world as eucalyptus and non-eucalyptus, what to have for lunch is not a very big question), the koala’s brain would have been a lot more developed had it been an omnivore. (Whether being smart is better than sleeping 20 hours a day is a different question.) The Omnivore’s Dilemma is about choice. This theme I did not quite grasp when I read the first part (Industrial – Corn) a year ago (or maybe longer, when you grow old everything seems like just yesterday). I was on the plane flying back to San Francisco, reading this monumental Michael Pollan book and discussing with a Chilean guy across the aisle about negligent governments, undereducated denizens and public apathy. What does that have to […]

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Little Texas Cookbook


Found this little guy on a bookshelf at home. I couldn’t sleep last night and was browsing the shelves for something to read (which is obviously a great idea to cure insomnia – the more I read the more awake I am, unless it’s a physics book). As a pâtissière friend says, recipe books are only for ideas, so I never read them (I hardly even look at them at bookstores). My mother, like all Vietnamese mothers, never uses recipes either, so I was confused for a second of where this came from. Then I found my host mom’s writing on the inner cover – it was a new year gift from her and my host dad. I lived with them in Texas during my year of exchange study. That year was filled with corn bread, lima bean soup, baked beans and sausage for dinner, pecan pie and Blue Bell ice cream for desserts, and my host dad’s cheese balls for snacks. When I opened the first page of this Little Texas Cookbook, there it was, a recipe for Spicy Cheese Balls. This recipe is completely different from my host dad’s recipe (if he uses a […]

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Alone in the Kitchen with an Onion

One of my onions grew a plump white sprout. So plump that I couldn’t bring myself to throw it out. I left it alone for a week. Then two weeks. Continue reading Alone in the Kitchen with an Onion