Have yOu eaten recipes of resistance reflection: an asian american cookbook
I n t r o d u c t i o n M u s a S a l e e m G r a c e M o k V i g n e s h G o p a l a n A n o n y m o u s V a l e r i a Y i n J o a n n e Z h e n g A n o n y m o u s E m i l y L i u C h r i s l y n C h o o P a t H o n g E l i z a b e t h L e e M i c h e l l e Q i o u A n o n y m o u s A n o n y m o u s M i c h e l l e L i L u c y D o n g S a n h a L i m S h e r r y H u a n g ìœ¤ M u y i Z h a n g Ty l e r L i a n S a m a n t h a W h i t t M i c h a e l H o n g M a r y Z h a n g A m i W o n g S a m u e l Z h u J u s t i n C h i n g S a r a h Z h o u A n g e l a C h o H e l e n Ya n g
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n chefâ€™s note:
a big thank you to everyone who has helped make this possibleâ€”we could not have done it without you
This zine is the culmination of work starting in February of this year. But in reality, Have You Eaten has existed in our minds and our bellies for much longer than that. In fact, there can be no exact point of creation because our cultural foods are so deeply embedded within our bodies—they are the weight with which we anchor ourselves to our old homelands, the knife with which we carve out new ones, and the thread between our past lives and our future lives. So to talk about our foods is also to talk about the construction of our identities, our families, about belonging and longing, and about the histories that far precede us and yet intimately affect us. Food has power, and it is often a manifestation of power as well. Globally, many historical Chinatowns developed as a result of racial segregation and discrimination, with food businesses often playing an integral role. As these neighborhoods were ghettoized, so were its restaurants. Before American fascination with tofu took off, it was largely introduced via Japanese internment camps, where the Japanese grew soy and made tofu to supplement their rations. The soldiers became familiar with tofu and developed a taste for it, also preferring it over military meals. Though curry is perhaps the most recognizable Indian dish, curry powder is not Indian at all, but rather a British attempt to recreate the dishes of its crown jewel colony. It became a type of dish rather than a descriptor—a term used to encompass the food of an entire region, flattening it. Thus, food is political. How ironic it is that the food at the center of Chinatowns, once reviled, is now trendy and therefore profitable, even contributing to gentrification of the historic neighborhoods it came from. Soy is now America’s second largest cash crop, a bean partially introduced to white consciousness through its own racism, and now a 700 million acre economic capitalization off of xenophobia. Underlying many of these food histories is the effect of capitalism, consumption under capitalism, and labor politics. The ubiquity of curry in Britain is lauded as evidence of its multiculturalism, yet also exists as a direct construction of its imperialism. Often the histories of our foods are tied to violent histories of war, imperialism, labor, and racism. And ownership over these foods and control over their esteem is tied to ownership of power. So this cookbook is a reimagining of ownership, a celebration of our foods through our words, our art, and our histories. Just as many of our foods have transcended borders, this zine is not meant to be like other cookbooks that tie food to specific place, fabricating boundaries and defining what doesn’t belong by describing what does. Just as the Asian continent is large and its diaspora far-reaching, the backgrounds and cultures shown here are by no means representative of Asian/American cuisine and experience. We invite you to think about who and what is missing, and the systemic structures at play regarding who is visible and included within the AAPI community at Duke. We see through our shared stories and recipes continued redefinition and adaptability. Large communities of Vietnamese settled in New Orleans following the Vietnam War, and you can easily find a po’boy/banh-mi combo. Chino-Mexican restaurants abound as a result of the Chinese Exclusion Act as Chinese migrated to Mexico, Cuba, and other Latin American countries instead. Why eat french fries with ketchup when you can eat them with spicy chili oil, or both? If our food includes stories about marginalization, then they are also recipes of resilience and resistance. Finally, this has been a labor of love for all of us. And that is the theme we will leave you with—food is one of the strongest labors of love because the love multiplies as it is shared. Just as we have all experienced the joys of sharing a collective meal, we knew that this cookbook must be a collective experience, drawn and sourced from our communities and families—the ones who have strengthened our bodies and souls. Therefore, these pieces are on food, but are also recipes of reflection that are rooted strongly and unabashedly in and about love. And there is power in this love and in our foods. So thank you to all those who have contributed and thus entrusted us with a little bit of your love, and we hope that it multiplies as it is shared with you. Happy eating, Lucy Dong Elizabeth Lee Michelle Li Helen Yang Joanne Zheng Samuel Zhu
totalizing tropes rule ethnic representation on campus. they puncture tradition and dwindle it down into fragmented, packaged experiences stampmarked as authentic. these experiences serve one primary function: a test for a person's 'authenticity', the legitimation of a person's 'loyalty' to their ethnicity, and thus, ultimately, the conferring of guilt onto the individual for deviating away from this loyalty. these tropes come alive in everyday conversations. ask me or my south asian friends in casual conversation about our opinions on Tandoor and our reply will often be framed around the food not being a representation of true south asian cuisine, of being a reduction of actual south asian cuisine, and of being inauthentic south asian cuisine. a fundamental trope that guides our discussion is one revolving spice: authentic south asian food is spicy, but Tandoor isn't. but why does this make Tandoor inauthentic? inferring from our replies seems to hint that it's because Tandoor produces food on a mass scale not exclusively catered for South Asians, but rather to the tastes of everyone else, not subject to the demands of authenticity, but rather to the demands of profit. the call to the exotic that we south asians on campus long for, expressed here through the trope of spice, is therefore a consequence of our recognition of the commodification of our food, our heritage, and thus, the most intimate parts of our experience. this longing for the exotic to heal the damage capitalism has waged on us, however, is dangerous, for it creates a hierarchy between the undesired 'inauthentic' and the desired 'authentic'. this hierarchy mediates all our interactions with our ethnicity and creates fixed assumptions about ethnic identity that dominate and damage. the authentic south asian can tolerate spice; the inauthentic one can't. betraying this almost innocent assumption is the larger theme that stratifies the south asian who has stayed true to their roots from the south asian who hasn't. aspects of identity, therefore, do not exist as forms of community and inclusion anymore, but rather as forces of exclusion.
how do we triumph beyond these forces of exclusion? it is to note that these forces have power primarily because of the state of fixity they operate from: what it means to be an authentic south asian is fixed in place, whereas people identifying as south asians themselves are ever-evolving, dynamic individuals who do not undergo the same 'south asian experience'. the key lies, therefore, in dismantling this static definition and embracing the multiplicity of experienceâ€”the experiences of more than two billion people that the singular word 'south asian' cannot cover. in this, we must disarm the power of hierarchy to designate certain groups as authentic and others as inauthentic, for this translates to a few of these two billion being oppressors and the rest their guilt-ridden oppressed, reinforcing the cultural capital that translates into economic capital, and thus, fueling the very commodification we long to escape from. and for our resistance against this hierarchy to triumph, we must empathize, must understand, and we must care, not merely under the servitude of our definitions, but rather beyond them, with definitions instead serving us as tools of creativity and cooperation, rather than guilt and alienation.
musa saleem he/him/his trinity â€˜22
“I made these scallion pancakes this summer for the first time, except I didn’t realize until after that I had been using
They were delicious, carby g o o i n e s ss.” 5
grace mok she/her/hers Trinity ‘19
I love idlis.
You say it like ID-LEES. They’re soft and white. They look like mini UFOs and feel spongy. They taste delicious when soaked in sambar, dipped in chutneys— and they’re good for breakfast, or any other time really. But as a third grader eating idlis at lunch, I did not say any of these things. My mom packed me idlis and sambar in tupperware. As soon as I opened it, the aromas were released, the questions were hurtled. “What is that?” “What are you eating?” “Are those Indian rice cakes?” I recoiled. “I guess they’re like rice cakes.” But I hated that answer. I didn’t even know what a rice cake was. It was strange to translate one of my favorite foods for these other kids. And I felt like I did a terrible job— the essence of an idli is in its name, warm feelings and family memories that cannot be communicated Over a decade later, I still think about that lunch. by another, After reflecting on it, I try to communicate especially by r i c e c a k e. my favorite Foods and Traditions to my Curious friends. To me, this sums up a major part of the experience of a child of immigrants— a lifelong series of conversations where you look back at your peers who are looking at you with bewilderment, and wonder, “How can I put this into terms you can understand?” And I’m not bitter because of any of it. In fact, I think we’re all better off. Those on my side navigate t w o cultures, and those on the other side get to learn what idlis are.
Vignesh Gopalan he/him/his Trinity ‘20
My grandpa is stoic and quiet. When he does speak, it is with short phrases and a deep, gruff voice. He speaks Taiwanese, a language that is mostly foreign to me, as I grew up with my parents speaking Mandarin and English. As a five-year-old, Taiwanese was a my mom and dad used when they just wanted to talk between the two of them. As a twenty-year-old, Taiwanese is still just as enigmatic. Most of the time, I still can’t figure out what my a-gong is saying and even more often, I can’t tell what he is .
But what has always made his love and care clear is how he feeds his family. When I said I that my grandma liked the cooked, he reached out with his chopsticks and placed the entire rest of the fish in my When my sister commented on how juicy the mangoes were, he came home the next day with an entire crate of them. Whenever we visit, he brings us to his favorite noodle shop, the same one he’s been eating at since he was in his 20’s. And every morning, he walks to the nearby breakfast shop to buy each of our favorite foods: a sticky rice roll (fan tuan) for me, pork dumplings (xiao long bao) for my cousin, and a sesame flatbread (shao bing) for my mom.
He does all of this quietly, and with a single phrase:
Who knew that most of my identity could be summarised in a grain? I grew up in Costa Rica. Yes, that beautiful Latin American country where the white sandy beaches run wild and free, where the lush, green, voluminous palm trees swing back and forth like they're dancing to bachata, where people smile at you so big that you feel the love pouring out of the gaps in-between their teeth. Here, we don't make rice, lo arreglamos , we spice it up, make it flavourful. We don't just make rice. We alter it, enhance it, make it more sweet, more savoury, we make it more. So after a night of reggaetón and salsa dancing with your friends you can come back and sense the aroma of the arrox reposando for tomorrow. Our food is the interlocutor for our passion. It embodies the little pasito a pasito that we dance to when we cook, the testing, the Chile dulce ... Zanahoria Cebolla Sazón . . . y una pizca de sal.
I was raised in a Chinese home. Yes, I was taught about the importance of honour and respect, of humility and deference. It instilled in me politeness and educated me in the art of listening. My family is my everything. They are my cornerstone, my sustenance, my backbone. We have a family crest, drawn with black ink by my 爷爷, one that traces my father's steps from China to Taiwan to Costa Rica. We are a family that came from nothing and proud ourselves in everything. Nothingness is everything. Minimalistic. Humble. Simple. Straight-forward. Sticky rice. White rice. Basic. Elemental.
水 盐 米饭 大锅 Valeria Yin she/her/hers trinity ‘21
When I got sick recently, the only thing I could think about was my mom’s steamed egg. There is a sense of comfort in my mom’s cooking, and it was all the more apparent what I was missing while lying in my bed on campus. Determined to get better and determined to get a taste of home, I picked up the phone and called my mom. “How do I make steamed eggs?”, I asked.
you add some water, or you can add some chicken stock to some beaten eggs and then add some salt and then steam it” came the reply. Confused and used to the precise measurements of Western recipes, I asked again, prodding for more details and hopefully a more specific answer. Again, I was met with a vague response:
Frustrated, I continued to sit there on the phone trying to get an actual recipe. I wanted her dish. I wanted the exact thing she used to make me when I was sick, when I came home from school, ravenous for my afternoon snack. I wanted the dish she made me when I got braces and when I got my wisdom teeth out because my teeth were too tender for anything else, but most of all I wanted—craved—the familiarity and the comfort from her cooking because I missed home.
I couldn’t just Google the recipe because how could someone else’s recipe taste just like Mom used to make?
To this date, I haven’t gotten an exact recipe. In the end, I managed to piece together this recipe from my mom: Beat your (2) eggs until homogenous, then add in water/stock. Combine until homogenous. Salt to taste. If you prefer a perfectly smooth top, cover it in plastic wrap with holes. Steam it for 10-15 minutes. They should just jiggle slightly in the bowl if cooked properly. Joanne Zheng She/her/hers Pratt ‘20
anatomy of a culture ୍ହࣟಭઞƪ My mom can pick up a Nanjing accent anywhere. It’s become a running joke in my family, the way she so easily befriends any person once she hears that familiar lilt of her hometown. Next thing we know, she has added her new friend on WeChat and their entire family is coming over to our house next Tuesday to make dumplings together. Dumpling wrappers from 99 Ranch Market
pork and cabbage filling
ખƗϨƗ҉ڢèèè I’ve always been a little wary of Chinese medicine; it seems like so many of the ones I’ve tried are incredibly bitter. But this is a home remedy that I love—it’s a sweet soup that my parents make for me when I get sick, or just if it’s a particularly cold Asian pear with day. wheat noodles
୍ۺቚԀƌ Due to differences in climates, northern China is known for its wheat-based diet (buns, dumplings, noodles), while southern China bases its diet on rice. People say that Northerners are, as a result, more independent because they do not have the same economic incentive for teamwork that rice provides for the Southerners. My dad, then, is a classic Northerner, and judging by my penchant for buns and dumplings, so am I. bok choy
anatomy of a resistance
When I was younger, my family’s vacation of choice (or rather, my parents’ vacation of choice) was joining a Chinese tour group for road trips across the country. Every day, our giant tour bus would pull up in front of yet another Chinese Buffet for dinner—the only restuarant with the capacity to seat our giant group. My brother and I quickly grew sick of the food, and my family would sneak off from the tour group to another restaurant nearby. Now, many years later, I have a newfound appreciation for China Buffets...perhaps not necessarily for the quality of the food, but rather for what it stands for—the ultimate liminal space. $11.99/person served over rice
ᄝ Chop suey directly translates to “mixed bits,” and fittingly so, as the dish is a combination of chicken, bean sprouts, cabbage, onions, truly anything the cook has at hand. Originally a local specialty from the Guangdong province of Taishan, chop suey has been westernized once restaurant owners realized that they could sell more by adjusting the ingredients to suit American taste bits. Gone were the bamboo shoots and dried seafood, replaced by easily-identifiable meats. Is this the story of assimilation or resilience?
miscellaneous stir-fried vegetables
add me on co-star
ށᄕ So much of what is seen as unequivocally Chinese may not be Chinese at all; perhaps the fortune cookie best embodies culinary mythology. The origin story of the fortune cookie is hazy, as some claim that the fortune cookie is actually a Japanese creation known as tsujiura senbei. Others believe it originated in Chinese bakeries. Regardless of its past, it seems to be distinctly Chinese American in its existence now.
EMILY LIU SHE/HER/HERS TRINITY ‘20
crispy sugary cookie
*Happily feeds 4-6 people *Great for team prep: chop, peel, taste-test, mix! *Serve with sautéed shrimp and coconut rice topped with fried egg, sambal, and fried onion
The Base Toss in a large serving bowl. To open the pomelo, slice an asterisk-like star on the ends, then pry open the rind with your fingers. For varied texture, I like to shred half the cucumber and carrot, and peel the other half as ribbons. For an extra kick, add lime chili peanuts from a Mexican grocery. 1 sweet pomelo 1 cucumber 1 carrot (up to you) Handful of salad Chopped roasted peanuts Optional: capsicum (shredded), coriander leaves, cilantro, white onion (chopped), fried shallots (y u m ! )
Roux Cook this simple “secret sauce” in a small pan. Once the raw ingredients thicken, add the coconut milk and bring to a fragrant simmer. Let the roux cool down, then mix in.
1 medium shallot, diced 3-4 cloves of garlice, diced chili (larger, sweet, remove seeds for pepper flakes less spicy) or 1/2 cup coconut milk
You’re the chemist. Adjust to taste! Experiment to find the right balance of salty, sweet, and sour.
Chrislyn Choo she/her/hers trinity ‘16
1 tbsp water 3 tbsp fish sauce 2 tbsp palm or Juice from 1 small
sugar lime 13
Pat Hong He/him.His Trinity ‘20
As my grandma taught me how to cook Chinese food, she would always say the phrase,
It basically means to use one case and apply it to three instances. In the kitchen, you can infer how to make other dishes based on dishes you already know how to cook. For example, with this chicken recipe, you can use the leftover soup as broth for noodles, or to boil eggs in for more flavor. After I learned how to cook spinach, my grandma told me that now I could also cook bok choy, cabbage, and lettuce in the same exact way. I love cooking because its productive, relaxing, and brings a little bit of home into whatever space I’m in. On my computer, I have a document titled 举一反三, full of recipes I’ve learned along the way. Here is a super easy chicken dish!
三杯鸡 (Sān bēi jī)—can use soup to boil eggs, or as broth for noodles by adding water and sesame oil. Cooking time ~ 10min, for about 4 drumsticks.
Wash chicken drumsticks, score the chicken by making two cuts on the front and back, in opposite diagonals. Can cut/mash and add ginger. Add any kind of oil, turn heat on. Add 1 cup each of water, soy sauce, and cooking wine. Add sugar, about three spoons per 4 drumsticks. Add enough water to about fully immerse the chicken. Flip occasionally and can turn down the heat once its boiling. 14
As a kid, I remember my mom and my popo sitting and making joong together, packing the rice tightly and sewing it all up with string. Iʼd watch my popo as she meticulously added each ingredient, scooping nuts into some, and dropping them into a bowl to her left. Then she would make another, skip the nuts, drop them into a bowl to her right, and smile at me and say “for you” in English, chuckling to herself. Before sheʼd boil them, she take the nut free ones and weave a long string between each one, connecting them so that I would know which were mine. Before this, it actually t ook her a few times t o understand that I needed special joong. My mom would gently remind her that I couldnʼt eat what she prepared me because of my a l l e r g y, a n d m y p o p o w o u l d n o d , s t o r i n g t h e information in the bac k of her brain even though she would inevit ably forget. And af t er m o r e a n d m o r e o f m y m o m ʼs n a g g i n g h a d passed, one day my popo had a bag of nut f r e e j o o n g o n t h e c o u n t e r, a n d s h e h a n d e d t h e m to me with a proud smile that she finally remembered. My popo speaks little English, and I speak little Cantonese, and so a lot of our gestures together are small smiles and a few words here and there. But she always says “for you” in English when she gives me a bundle of joong tied together with string and her honest love for me. I would always feel so s p e c i a l w h e n s h e ʼd g i v e m e m y o w n b a g j u s t f o r me, silently bragging t o my siblings over my joong. This was something that was mine, a p hy s i c a l m a n i f e s t a t i o n o f a l o v e a n d a relationship that was present but also absent at the same time. To t h e w o m a n w h o h a s a l w a y s g i v e n t o m e , w h o has always communicat ed through food and actions t o show her love because words were sparse, and then from me, someone not knowing how t o love you and how t o avoid g i v i n g y o u s o m e t h i n g t h a t y o u w o u l d n ʼ t l i ke (or are allergic t o), here is a little piece of ar t for you this time. elizabeth lee she/her/hers 18 trinity ‘21
I chew slowly my disdain tainting the orange chicken that I called fake, but I forget our ancestors had no choice but to change the flavor of Hunan to the color of orange if only to ensure that Our yellow skin could stay here with Their red blue — a that forced us to make our food more palatable, to make Us more For our labor on the railroads, Palatable. they fancied us, maybe. But a trip on those rails to spread our food, our culture— those dreams were derailed. Simplified flavors for others’ simplified understanding, they reduced us to a food foreign to us to make us less foreign to them, believing they were cultured —but with a culture they molded themselves.
They order chinese for takeout— it’s cheap, it’s easy— but I think of every summer in Hangzhou, Dad proudly describing the colorful, carefully cooked delicacies that decorate a rotating glass tabletop I think of ever Lunar New Year, Auntie hugging my small fingers to pinch a perfectly shaped dumpling just like her mother once did. Do they even know chinese food? They love orange chicken. But my grandmother would love to know what orange chicken is.
“The history of Chinese food in America was not something I understood before college. I remember visiting the Chinese in America Museum in New York City and being inspired to learn more about the history of my own ancestors in this country. After doing a little research separately as well, I found it fascinating how food culture is Tied inevitably with politics and immigration and has had lasting implications on the way people perceive the culture in America. This poem intends to describe some of my own conflicting feelings and analysis towards americanized chinese food, and the contrast in sentiments towards a food that Michelle Qiou was so important to my upbringing but not well understood by others.”
she/her/hers trinity ‘20
My answer never does the question justice. Am I from where I was born? Or perhaps I am from where I grew up? Maybe I should respond with where I currently live in the . These are questions I do not have the answer to, and I suspect I never will. However, one thing I will always be grateful for is the food. I love foodâ€”whether it is the Indian food my mother cooked for me at home, to the Omani food I got in local Shawarma shops, or the spicy chicken deluxe sandwich I ate at Chick-fila-a. But there is always a special place in my heart for the two wondrous items that have stayed with me since I was a child:
Maggi is a household name for many Indians and even non-Indians. But this special combination of curry-flavoured maggi (found specifically in Oman) & Red Orange juice (originally from UAE but exported to Oman) is one of a kind. The noodles are spicy and leaves a slow burn of flavour and please, while the Red Orange juice acts as the perfect complement to it with a zesty tang. It is a food I have eaten when I was happy, when I was sad, when I was excited, and when I was scared. I have had the privilege of traveling and living in many countries. But to this day, there hasnâ€™t been a country I have gone to without carrying Maggi in my suitcase. I know that America is not the last country I will live in, but all that means is that there are more suitcases to be filled with Maggi and Red Orange juice to keep me commpany in new and exciting countries. 20
michelle Yang li she/her/hers trinity ‘19
My mother is bad at giving love eat more 饺子 she says but you always tell me to eat less, I said. So she says 妈妈教你 Mama will teach you
How to make dumplings Fold it here Nip in here Squeeze it tight Be careful it’s not too big They should be able to stand up. So I folded myself over and nipped in I squeezed tight I had to be careful I couldn’t be too big But I couldn’t stand up Next to her. My mother is bad giving love I said But I was bad at receiving it. 妈妈教你怎么包 Mama will teach you How to bao How to hug How to envelop something with love How to wrap it safely to pass down How to protect her so she could stand up on her own Eat more 饺子 she says I crossed an ocean to give them to you.
Lucy Dong She/her/hers Trinity ‘20
Che guo mi?
Of the handful of phrases I recognize in my parents local Chinese dialect, I at least know the one that means chi guo mei (吃过没)—”have you eaten?”
[an audio guide to nue nue : pork and radish balls from Zhejiang, Jinhua]
In Chinese school I must be taught by the teacher from Beijing to return the depth to my words, that its shang not sang, it’s zheng not zhen. I struggle to remember to curl ends of phrases. And I keep ending every other sentence with that sing-songy le waaa. I may not be able to understand most of what is said around the extended family dinner table, but I am born with my mother’s tongue. Jin-wa-wa is Jinhua hua is 金华话. It exaggerates and it lengthens, it rounds and it flattens, it is onomatopoeic: these are the sounds that raised me.
Báng báng báng
is the pounding of the mortar into the pestle as my grandfather hand grinds homegrown sweet potatoes into a powdery starch. My grandfather passed away while I was in high school, and mom used up the last of the homemade sweet potato starch shortly thereafter. We buy the store-bought stuff now, and it gets the job done, but something will probably always be missing.
Bāng bāng bāng
is the cleaver hitting the cutting board, turning an entire piece of pork loin into tiny chunks (ground meat does not give the right texture – this ain’t a meatball). The size of the pork bits match that of the white radish, expertly diced without even looking down from the Chinese drama my aunt recently recommended.
Gū lū gū lū
is the soy sauce and cooking rice wine poured haphazardly from glass bottles. I find that the more I cook, the more my hands know just how much “you just know” is.
Jíng gēng jíng gēng
is bare hands mixing starch and root and meat and liquid. A palm’s worth of the mixture is passed back and forth gently to be shaped, but not squeezed. What a shame it is that the only word English affords me to describe this delicacy is “blob”.
is the whistle of the steamer. In each basket rests a dozen nue nue on a bed of cabbage, just the leafy green parts. Half an hour of hot steam makes them firm, bouncy, tender, and deliciously delicate.
Xí huā xí huā
is the rush of chopsticks from bowl to mouth. Over eager, we burn our tongues. Mom asks how it tastes, knowing the answer.
For many Asian Americans, food is how we love. But like us, our memories of food aren’t always perfect. It can be complicated. Food can as easily hurt as it can heal. Food is both love and pain, beautiful arrays of side dishes but sometimes just kimchi and rice. Knowing this, how can we remember that we are loved; how can we find love? Maybe, with an extra sprinkle of green onion, red pepper, and a pinch of salt. 2013-2017
D R EAMS OF FOOD
Every morning, when the sun still snoozes and dandelions yawn, I hear beautiful, gracious, frustrating mother southing my name from the kitchen. “It’s almost 7!” she yells. There is no snooze button for my mother; Still, I’m drawn downstairs by familiar smells of eggs, kimbap, peanut butter sandwiches, and melon. Next to her, a Korean drama sits frozen on a pink iPad. Without fail, packed lunchboxes are always on the counter. In high school, I eat lunch in class. My mother refuses to pack me kimchi because she is worried that it might smell. Some days my lunch is shrimp pasta, other days rice and orange chicken, but no matter what meal, I know that I am loved. Summer 2011 Rubbing the saltwater from my cheeks, I take my bike from the garage. I had been fighting with my parents: me, upending drawers and boxes of Legos into my living room; my parents, starving me until I apologize. The chipping winds sting my eyes, but eventually I stop at the Wendy’s on the corner of the gas station near our church. It’s 4 o’clock and the store is near empty. I take out a few crumpled bills in my pocket. One by one, I put the money on the counter. One junior cheeseburger please. No fries and drink. “Is this enough?” I ask. The cashier looks at me with pity. Of course, dear. I take the burger into the damp locker room of the nearby YMCA. I bite into the burger, and it is the best thing I’ve ever tasted. No one particularly pays attention to me and I slip into my swimsuit. I don’t really want to go to my swim lesson today, so I just lay on the bench. If I slept in here, would my parents miss me? Would they know I had gone? Winter 2018 During winter break, my mom brings home a package of pork belly. Come dinner time, the apartment is sparse. My sister is out, and my dad is traveling. My brother and I are getting hungry, and we decide to start eating. We eat quietly. There’s been a tension here ever since my mother started working once my father transitioned into missionary work. 쌈, at least, is as delicious as I remember it. In the mornings back home and away from Duke, my mom tries leaving me breakfast, but I tell her it’s okay. I prepare for myself and my siblings and quietly wash the dishes afterward. Summer 2011 Our cold war stretches on, my parents and I launching evil side eyes and terse words. It's ugly, and my sister begs me to reconcile with my parents. Let's go out, my dad tells me. I'm wary. The last time I had gone with him, he told me to sleep on an abandoned couch outside the church until I was ready to apologize. I slept on the couch. I'll take you out to eat, he says. I relent and agree to go. I see us closing in on Wendy's. Get what you want, he tells me. I order a double bacon cheeseburger, fries, and a lemonade. If this was to be my last meal, I wanted it to be fit for a king. We sit and eat in silence. After we eat, we drive back to the house. The tension we had before largely dissipated, but we don't apologize. After all, only God knows what we were fighting about. Summer 2018 Growing up, I often spied on my mom in the kitchen cutting fruit. I never questioned why she would eat the core instead of the slices she would serve us. I would steal even that from her, believing that it was a secret treasure she was keeping for herself. We live near a grocery store now. It's just me and my mom at home, and I want to do something nice for her. I slip over to the store, grabbing grapefruit, sugar, rosemary. I spin it into a mocktail for my mother. It's quieter today. As we talk, I wonder about her life, the dreams she had about being a chemistry teacher, the community she left behind in Korea. I'm reminded of the thousands of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners she made for us; I'm reminded how different it is now that I'm in college, where the meals come less frequently, and no packed lunch awaits me. I take a long time to eat, and eventually she says goodbye. I'm left alone in a quiet house, dark everywhere except the dim glow of the kitchen light. I eat stir-fries, luxurious udon noodles, ham sandwiches alone, but full of a secret kind of warmth that I will never lose. In those moments, I know that I am loved.
SANHA LIM HE/HIM/HIS TRINITY ‘21
Sherry Huang She/her/hers trinity â€˜19
y, w e h ut c oodles b n i th rful n ite flavod or wh in rep broth,r hot sou cold o share. with ings to topp
Nothing feels more like home when the noodle soup warms up my stomach with all my beloved ones gathered around the table and slurping noodles with immense satisfaction.
This is always the first thing my family goes out to eat when I return from the states.
The text cursor in the search bar blinks back at me, w a i t i n g . I’m searching for my favorite Korean soup that I grew up eating, and when I close my eyes, as if willing the experience back into existence, I can taste the faint saltiness of soybean paste and the mild earthiness of the greens again. Even still, I can’t seem to translate it all into a name.
I type away at an attempt to romanize the parts of the name I do know, reducing the fluidity of my mother tongue into fragments of English syllables. I repeat the sounds under my breath, forming my mouth in a way that projects sounds that do not have a place in English language. There is a distance between myself and my motherland that seems to grow with every time I forget or fail to remember a part of my Korean culture. I don’t know the names of all the foods that have formed the strength of my bone, and some of them I never knew. As I voraciously swallowed each bite, I left no time for odes to the roots of the radish, the leaves of the cabbage, the sprout of the mungbean. I have never learned to cook my comfort food. So, I savor every bite on my tongue before I swallow. I take part in a history of acquired taste that a people has held together through war and famine. I will always crave handmade dumplings in hot soup of kkalguksu on cold winter days, naengmyun in the summer, seaweed soup on birthdays, ddukguk for lunar new year, and everything in between.
So, I savor every bite on my tongue before I swallow. I take part in a history of acquired taste that a people has held together through war and famine. I will always crave handmade dumplings in hot soup of kkalguksu on cold winter days, naengmyun in the summer, seaweed soup on birthdays, ddukguk for lunar new year, and everything in between. Food is the most accessible and inaccessible part of my culture—it exists in aconstant state of tension. I’m separated from it by my lack of expression, then brought to connection through the love passed down to me in the careful frying of a pancake, a plate of peeled fruits. My Korean culture communicates through food. It asks, have you eaten? in the same breath that it extends a bowl of rice. It asks with consideration at the same time it gives.
After attempting various Romanizations, I find the name of the soup— —and whisper it under my breath, again and again. I can taste the words on the tip of my tongue, and I know that they are the right ones.
my family has a running joke that my father only knows how to make two dishes. carrots stir-fried with potatoes, and egg and tomato. two simple dishes because until i was in middleschool, he had never needed to cook. when we stepped foot into america almost 18 years ago, the h4 visa provided my mother little access to work authorization. while i found myself picking up english and making new friends in kindergarten, my father found supportive coworkers and a stable job that provided for us and my newly born sister. my mother stayed at home alone with her thoughts. so she cooked. my mother was someone who had never needed to learn complicated dishes in china but she spent all her free time looking up new recipes. i tried making this noodle dish, she would coax at dinner. your aunt told me her recipe for vegetarian dumplings. i think my mom is an amazing cook. she cooked and fed our entire family by herself in a foreign land on the other side of the world. she cooked until her back gave out and she found herself bedridden for months, hospital visit after hospital visit. talks of surgery. emergency room after emergency room. my mother used to talk of permanently returning to china after my sister and i graduate college. she misses the home she left at the age of 37. but the longer we stay in america the less she mentions china. doctors say her condition can’t be fixed, only managed. she can’t go back home. she can only eat chinese food and tell us how it reminds her of her childhood. to be honest, my father actually knows how to cook more than two dishes. he learned because we spent weeks eating carrots and potatoes alternated with egg and tomato when my mother couldn’t cook. twelve year old me sat with my family every night, worried over the pain in my mother’s eyes and fearful of everything i didn’t know was going on. twenty one year old me still has to push mama in a wheelchair when we go on long trips. but almost a decade later my mother can walk, swim, and cook three meals a day. she can drive. simple everyday things others take for granted but took years for my mother to do. one of the very first dishes i learned how to cook was egg and tomato. it’s quick to make. the seasoning is simple. in college, i’ve made it so many time with friends to celebrate and cook together. egg and tomato brings us happiness while we are far away from home.
from fear and worry to my happiest moments in college. look at us. little by little, we’ve come so far.
&& Muyi zhang she/her/hers trinity ‘19
Summer 2018. Apartment living has been rewarding, but not quite satisfying. I work in my bed and eat on the floor. (There are no chairs.) I cook and clean, sometimes for two. No one has asked me to do this, and yet: hands in soap, crumbs in palms, skin thickened to heat and oil. It's less for therapy than atonement. I make the dishes like my mother must have, I always think: in anonymity and without corroboration, supply without demand. What doesn't get healed gets passed down, as they say. tyler lian he/him/his trinity â€˜20
I always forget how much I owe to her. 28
INGREDIENTS: 3 packs | Skinless boneless thighs (Costco) 2 tsp | Bottled chopped garlic 1/2 tsp | Salt 1/2 tsp | Pepper
3 | Bay leaves 1/2 tsp | Sugar 1/4 cup | Soy sauce 16 oz | Apple cider vinegar
DIRECTIONS: 1. In a large pot, put all contents of chicken packs, garlic, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. 2. Pour vinegar into pot and turn on heat to medium high. Do NOT stir or move the pot once the vinegar is in the pot. 3. When the vinegar is boiling, the contents can be stirred. 4. Let cook unconvered, stirring contents every once in a while. 5. When 1/2 of liquid has evaporated, add sugar and stir. Continue to cook. 6. When about 1/2 of the remaining liquid has evaporated, add soy sauce to taste and desired brown color (approx. 1/4 cup). 7. Let liquid evaporate to desired liquid content for sauce or let all liquid evaporate for no sauce. Chicken can be shredded or left in big pieces.
O AD B O 29
SAMANTHA WHITT SHE/HER/HERS PRATT â€˜21
Michael Hong He/him/his Trinity â€˜21
During third and fourth grade, my parents decided to leave me in Lanzhou with my grandparents to attend Chinese elemetnary school and learn Mandarin. As an eight-year-old, watching my parents leave for the airport and fly back to the United States was emotional, and for a brief period,
I had an irrational thought they would leave me in China forever. The day after my parents left, my grandmother took me to a noodle shop three minutes from where she lived. For $1.50, I could slurp the taste of home and the memories of my time spent with my parents. The following is a homemade recipe my family uses to recreate the dish: Noodles: 1. Combine flour and salt in large bowl. Blend in water slowly and mix until all water is absorbed and there is no dry flour left. Dust hands with dry flour and knead until the dough forms into a soft and sticky substance (15 mins). 2. Dust a large bowl with dry flour and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl with a lid and rest at room temperature for at least 3 hours. 3. After resting, take dough and cut the dough into four equal pieces. For each piece, roll with a rolling ping into a long sheet of round 5 millimeters thick. Brush the dough with olive oil and cover the four sheets with a plastic wrap and let it rest for another 30 minutes to an hour. 4. Bring a large pot of water to a roaring boil. 5. Cut each dough sheet into several strips of varying length depending on if you like the noodles to be flat or thin. 6. Pull a strip of dough until it becomes very thin and almost break apart. Slap the strip against the kitchen counter while holding both ends kind of like a jump rope. 7. Boil the noodles for 1 to 2 minutes and take them out. Beef and broth: 1. Defrost the beef shanks and bones if not fresh. Boil the shanks in hot water until a brown foam floats to the top and remove the foam. 2. Transfer shanks and beef bones to a medium sized pot and cover shanks and bones with water until it completely submerges the meat. After raising water to a boil, add in spice mix. 3. Turn heat down to low and let it simmer for around three hours on low heat. 4. Take out beef and set it aside. Once it has cooled down, slice into slices. 5. Remove spice packet & combine the broth, noodles, and beef.
Lanzhou Handmade Beef Noodles Beef broth: -1 poud beef shanks -2 pounds beef bones -5-7 cups of water Spices (wrap in cheesecloth): -1 teaspoon Chinese peppercorn -1 teaspoon white pepper -1 clove of garlic -2 bay leaves -1 teaspoon clove -Optional: 1/2 stick of cinnamon (gives it slightly tangy aroma) -1 tablespoon salt -Chili pepper oil (Lao Gan Ma strongly preferred) -3 chopped scallions Noodles: -1 pound of all-purpose flour (or, if possible, dumpling specific flour found in most Asian markets) -1/2 teaspoon salt -12 ounces of room temp. water
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Mary zhang she/her/hers pratt â€˜19
Chinese American Fusion Food This is about my mother.
Ami Wong she/her/hers trinity ‘22
1. Japanese Curry Thick Japanese curry with chicken, carrots, celery, and potatoes. Introduce to your children in a Hello Kitty episode where Hello Kitty thinks she can eat as much as her father, only to discover to her dismay that she cannot finish it. Simultaneously teach them how to portion control and appreciate something outside of mac and cheese. Served on warm fall and winter evenings when the sun has gone down and you’ve had a long day, or as a welcome home meal after your daughter comes back from a conference or a month of college. Served over rice in a bowl. Must be immediately mixed in to coat every grain of rice. Appreciate the steam for a second as it rises comfortingly, like a blanket or the idea of chimney smoke. Appreciate the smell, too, and how it fills your home with something that is, for once, spiced. Dwell on how each item in this bowl felt the steel of your knife and how the hours sweating over a hot stove is equal seeing the smile 2. Pan Fried Salmon with on your children’s face for a few minutes. Teriyaki Sauce They may have learned to eat healthily, but Salmon fillet served basking in that doesn’t mean they have learned to eat a pool of liquid teriyaki sauce, slowly. Eat with a spoon to maximize garnished with scallions for enjoyment. Also comes in a chickpea curry extra flavor. Pan fried so that option for when your son takes a philosothe outside skin is phy class and decides to support the just crisp enough to animal liberation movement by going add the perfect vegetarian. texture. Taken from a Japanese cookbook because 3. Build Your Own Sandwich you love Japanese Choose to make a sandwich cuisine, and because from whatever there is in the Chinese cuisine calls fridge, which is usually far more to mind too many options than there are in any memories of living in sandwich store because you an Orwellian society have stocked the fridge in the aftermath of because you know the Cultural your children will Revolution. You be hungry and they remember, briefly, the need to be able to stories of how they make something would come in during for themselves, of dinner, drag those themselves. Bread you loved out the is homemade bread, learned through trial and error over years of practice because your door and go, leaving daughter complains that there is too much rice all the time and she doesn’t even like the food still hot with Chinese food—she wants to be an American. So you learn to make bread and you pack no one left to eat it. her sandwiches for school after the girls make fun of her in elementary school for eating Serve on nights rice balls, and you perfect the craft until by high school she is known for having the best where you are too sandwiches for lunch. You pack her lunch because you are afraid of letting go, and you tired to find know that you cannot always take care of her, but as long as you can you will. But you something new, and must teach her to fish, as an old Chinese proverb says, and if she can’t bring a rice you want something cooker to college and is too lazy to learn all the traditional dishes that you know and familiar that does not have been aching to pass down, then you have to find something else. So you tell her to remind you of fear. slice the bread cleanly and to spread the condiments evenly, and you teach her how to Serve, as always, with place the ingredients so the bread isn’t too soggy and so she can have something to eat rice, because that is when she misses home. You see her, and you hope she feels American now, just like you what you know. learned to be when she was too young to know what it meant when she said she hated what you cooked.
Step 1: Pastry Dough Combine flour, oil, and water to form a water dough. In a separate bowl, combine flour and lard to form the lard dough. Divide each dough into twelve equally sized pieces and cover with the towel your wife bought that reminds you of her. Step 2: Filling In a medium mixing bowl, combine candied winter melon, water, sugar, oil, and glutinous rice flour. Separate into 12 balls. Step 3: Pastry Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll out a water dough ball into a flat disk. Place a lard dough ball in the center, then bring up the edges of the water dough to enclose the lard, just as you wish you could encircle your wife in an embrace.Roll out the ball into a long strip. Roll it widthwise, then turn it 90°. Flatten and repeat. Roll the log into a disk, then spoon 2 tablespoons of the winter melon filling onto the center. Bring the edges up and seal. Cut off any excess dough, the flatten gently before placing on a greased baking tray. Precision at this step will ensure your pastries will sell, bringing you one step closer to reuniting with your love. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds in the center to fill the void you cannot see but know is there. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven carefully and cool. Care for any wounds from the hot pan and your wife’s enslavement. Falling tears act as an excellent ointment in a pinch. Step 4: Distribute Sell your wife cakes. Carry your desperation deep within yourself, careful to exude only a healthy amount of pity. Take the money earned and pay the ransom to set your wife free.
Samuel zhu he/him/his trinity ‘19
“An Alternate Recipe for Wife Cakes”
Wife cakes are one of my favorite Chinese pastries. To this day, whenever my mom goes on her annual conference trips to Hong Kong, I still ask her to bring back wife cakes. The cakes have become a reminder of physical separation and a celebration of being reunited. Step 1: Separation Depart for Hong Kong. Though you’ve known this day would come, allow the harsh truth of physical separation to hit you in the face. Watch the tears stream down your son’s face and promise you’ll be back soon. Tell him to WhatsApp you.
Step 2: Separation Arrive in Hong Kong. Stand in line for customs and realize that you are truly leaving your son behind. When the customs officer asks if you have anything to declare, state how much you miss your son. Every time you eat dim sum, look at the paper menu and think about how much he would love to be there with you. Ride the MTR to your conference sessions each day and remember how strangely much he loved the subway. Step 3: Separation At the close of your stay in Hong Kong, schedule time to go around to the bakeries in search of gifts to bring home. Walk 40 minutes to Kee Wah to buy walnut date candies. At the airport, visit Wing Wah to purchase the Wife Cakes your son so enjoys. Look for signs of steam, indicating freshness, to ensure your son can appreciate the pastries as if he were in Hong Kong. Board the plane and start counting the hours until you are reunited. Step 4: Reunion Arrive in Albuquerque. Deplane and walk the short length of the terminal toward baggage claim. As you walk through the security doors, scan the congregated crowd for signs of your family. Looking for the few Asians in the group may yield the fastest results. Spot your son and start running, enclosing him in an embrace fiercer than the New Mexican sun. Tell him you bear gifts, though he already knows what you’ve brought. Your presence is a present enough.
a conversation between me and my mom: “It’s not too hard,” my mom says absentmindedly while she flicks the spatula against the pot, filling the room with a soft sizzle. “Ok . . . after you add the cooking wine and the ginger what do you do?” “You add the pork and you need to make sure that you brown it just the right amount to keep the mouisture in,” she tells me while I scribble down the minutia. “And then . . . ?” “And then you add the fish sauce, salt, and pepper.” “How much?” “I don’t know.” “What?” “I don’t know.”
k n o w ,” and she smiles at me. I laugh, and wonder how I could ever just know. Know how to fill a house with the scent of broth, or how to make the clang of pots and pans sound like music when you walk in the door. I inhale, and let the smell envelop me, and tuck me in like she has done thousands of times.”
Justin ching he/him/his trinity ‘19
-when your mother comes back from the Chinese grocery store and she puts a bag of the 荔枝 (lychee) on the counter because she knows that’s where you’ll be looking for it -pinching warm dumpling dough, feeling the fluffy tenderness hugging its insides -the warm sizzling sound of meat on a stir-fry pan because it sounds like rain and it always pours in seattle (home) -铁观音绿茶(green tea) with your mother in a quiet chengdu house -sticky sweet taro soup -when your father glows after you tell him his food is better than the restaurants -people who know the roasting times for different teas by heart -in the height of summer, a son reaches overto swat a mosquito from his father’s 牛肉面 (beef noodle soup) -people who are willing to get the better boba with you five streets away -homemade 米粥 (congee) with fresh and fragrant green onion when your nose is still runny and your head is still spinning from cold sweats -ice cream mochis on a summer afternoon right before they start to melt -北京烤鸭 (beijing roasted duck) for your family’s big fat thanksgiving dinner
Sarah zhou she/her/hers trinity ‘19 38
The people of Korea were left hungry and desperate by the end of a long, cruel war. The Korean War brought three years of devastation and destruction preceded by years of Japanese colonization. I have watched my grandma share of these war stories, herself only nine at the time. As her eyes gaze into her past, she talks of riding on top of trains to flee with her younger sister on her small back. What more have her eyes seen? I hold both grief and pride as I listen—grief of such horror and pride in her resiliency. I admit, they are heavy to hold. It is with the same grief and pride that I share about this dish, “budae jjigae” or as translated “army base stew”. Budae jjigae is a combination of scrounged or smuggled surplus foods from US army bases such as spam, hot dogs, ham, baked beans and other scraps of kimchee, vegetables, and instant ramen. After cooking it all together with spices and an anchovy stock, the stew can be shared communally. What results is a rich flavor to match the rich creativity of a peoples in survival. Like my grandma’s stories, this dish is heavy to hold. Is it okay to enjoy this food when I’m so removed from the hard reality of how it came to be? But… it tastes so good! Yet, I struggle that budae jjigae even exists because that means war existed, imperialism existed, suffering existed. Then again, I admire the resourcefulness and imagination of those who came before me. And as I wrestle with all these emotions, I realize that this is not just about food, this is personal. I am budae jjigae—a mixture of Korean and American. I hold these complexities also inside of me. At the end of the day, as I cook and share budae jjigae with family and friends, I believe that budae jjigae is resistance—turning the scraps left from oppression into survival and then into a glimpse of flourishing. However, we must do well not to be just consumers of our ancestor’s resiliency. I wonder if we must practice grief before we are filled with pride—learning the histories that came before us and mourning again and again the suffering that was and continues to be in order to celebrate and create new possibilities.
Budae jjigae Recipe (as written by Maangchi)— For the stock: • 2 dried shiitake mushrooms • 8 large dried anchovies, heads and guts removed, in a soup strainer or tightly wrapped in a cheesecloth • Dried kelp (a 5 x 6 inch sheet) • 8 cups water • 1 teaspoon salt For the seasoning paste: • 6 garlic cloves, minced • 1 tablespoon hot pepper paste • 2 tablespoons hot pepper flakes • 1 teaspoon soy sauce • 1 teaspoon sugar • 2 tablespoons water For stew: • ½ pound pork belly (or pork shoulder), cut into bite size pieces • 2 ounces of sweet potato starch noodles, soaked in water for 30 minutes and drained • 1 cup worth cabbage, cut into bite size pieces • ½ of a medium onion, sliced • 2 green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces • ½ cup fermented kimchi, chopped • 4 ounces of Polish sausage, sliced • 4 ounces of spam, sliced thinly • ½ of packaged instant ramyeon • 1 cup worth radish sprouts
angela cho she/her/hers pratt ‘16 religious life staff
Prepare stock: 1. Combine the water, anchovies, mushrooms, and kelp in a large pot. Cover and cook for 25 minutes over medium high heat. Add the pork and cook for another 10 minutes. 2. Remove the pot from the heat. Take out the anchovies, kelp and mushrooms. Slice the mushrooms into bite size pieces. 3. Strain the mixture of the stock and the pork into a large bowl. Put the pork into a small bowl. You will get about 6 cups of stock. Stir in the salt until dissolved. Make seasoning paste: 1. Combine the seasoning paste ingredients—garlic, hot pepper paste, hot pepper flakes, soy sauce, sugar, and water in a bowl. Mix well. Arrange the ingredients in a shallow pot (10 to 12 inch): 1. Put the cabbage, onion, green onion, pork, and the mushrooms, on the bottom of the pot. 2. Add the kimchi, and the seasoning paste over top. 3. Add the spam, sausage, rice cake, tofu, baked beans, and cheese. 4. Add the ramyeon and the sweet potato starch noodles. 5. Put radish sprouts on top and add 3 cups of stock. Cook and serve: 1. Cook over medium high heat. Korean style is to cook at the table with a portable burner. Friends and family will be sitting around the pot, talking and laughing, and maybe drinking. You can take a bit of cooked sausage or the meat with your chopsticks as you wait for the broth to boil and the noodles to soften. If you don’t have a tabletop burner, you can cook it on the stove away from the table. 2. When it starts boiling about 10 minutes later, stir and turn the ingredients over with tongs to cook evenly.
you say, helen 快来吃吧 i say, okay i’m coming you say, helen 你怎么那么喜欢出去吃饭 i say, i’m just hanging out with friends you say, helen 你是不是长胖了一点儿 i say, yes i already know you say, helen 你是不是瘦了好多 i say, yes but don’t worry i’m healthy you say, helen 今天吃了什么 i say, there’s nothing good on campus you say, helen 吃得好吗 i say, no i’m too busy you say, helen 你回来想吃什么 i say, anything you make is good don’t you know i say, today i got to cook with my friends you say, 好你回来可以给我做 i think, how many meals will it take to repay you i think, i would be nowhere if it weren’t for you i think, you are the best person i know i think, thank you thank you thank you i say, i miss you so much you say, 妹妹 i miss you too
Helen Yang she/her/hers trinity ‘19
This has been a labor of love for all of us. And that is the theme we will leave you with—food is one of the strongest labors of love becaus...
Published on Apr 5, 2019
This has been a labor of love for all of us. And that is the theme we will leave you with—food is one of the strongest labors of love becaus...