The Dumpling Vendor
“You’d think the US government had bigger priorities than treating honors students like criminals, yet here we are”
because I come from the roots of fighters. my mother fought to come to this nation. she has worked hard every single day from cleaning someones house to taking care of your children….. although I was born here. my solidarity, my love and understanding of having family being undocumented and seeing them suffer, cheated by lawyers, deported….I cannot stress enough how much we are in need of IMMIGRATION REFORM.
“In a Room Full of Naked Koreans, Margaret Cho’s Body is an Unwelcome Sight”
Le Sigh. Keepin’ it real.
These were all women of various sizes and shapes and some, like me, bore the marks of a difficult life. My tattoos represent much of the pain and suffering I have endured. They are part of me, just like my scars, my fat, my eternal struggle with gravity. None of our bodies are ‘perfect’. We live in them. They aren’t supposed to be ‘perfect’. We are just us, perceived flaws and all. I am just only myself. I like a good scrub and a sauna, especially when you can watch Tiger Woods while it’s all going down. (Margaret Cho)
over the years, i’ve experienced something in my vietnamese family’s that i call “fierce love”. it’s what i would imagine if my mom, a petite cute rooster zodiac woman, met beyonce.
it’s the love that i don’t necessarily experience with hugs, kisses, and constant verbal and physical affirmation, but through assertive discipline, passionate judgement, resilience, and lots and lots of making food and me eating it.
i’ve combined this concept of fierce love with one of my favorite things to do - writing love letters. dedicated to the mothers, daughters, grandmothers, and fierce food females who’ve nourished us.
My submission to Common Ground’s last show with the theme “Food for the Soul”,
Laotian Noodles, Banh Canh Lao, khao piak. My mom lived in Vientiane, Laos for more than 10 years before entering refugee camp in Thailand. Through her dishes, I can better understand her life and her journey through Laos, Thailand, and the Philippines.
Food was my mom’s expression of love. The way she goes to the market every single day to pick the freshest ingredients, only to use the best ingredients for dinner.
"When I was your age, I was observing chefs, that’s how I learned to cook"
"How are you going to raise a family with American food? Your children would be overweight over mac and cheese!"
My mother is the Goddess, Masterchef, Executive chef in her kitchen.
Sometimes if I sit there long enough, she would tell me stories. How she skipped 3rd grade to work at the market, fetched water from the well, grew up on bowls of porridge and peanuts. In her 20’s, she immigrated over to Laos to work for my grandma’s restaurant. Cooked nem nuong, grilled pork for 10 years and raised her siblings.
Through these kitchen conversations, I started to realize how my own awareness of cultural diversity and senses developed as I ate my mother’s food. Food for the soul is not just sustenance, but also sustaining the mind and spirit to continue living with purpose.
Poetic Justice - Elli Ingram
addicted to this cover.