Last July, my husband and I had a marvelous vacation in Washington, D.C., and the surrounding areas. I wrote about visiting historic sites like Gettysburg and enjoying amazing southern food and hospitality.
One thing I didn’t emphasize enough was the Smithsonian Museum’s programs on the Asian American experience. It was newish at the time and in the Natural History Museum, I lingered at a wall exhibit on Asian American food, reading up on noteworthy chef, restaurateurs, and celebrities such as Cecilia Chiang, Martin Yan and David Chang. It’s not like the Asian-American food experience is totally different than that of other people in the U.S. but it comes in different flavors.
The Smithsonian is being creative with how it is collecting information on Asian American foodways. For example, author and writer Pat Tanumihardja’s blog, Pickles and Tea, is being hosted by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. Pat asked if I’d do a Q&A about the banh mi evolution/revolution and I immediately said, “Yes!”
I’ve done a number of press interviews and Q&As since The Banh Mi Handbook released, but no one asked me what it was like to eat banh mi as my school lunch, or how different I felt growing up, eating food that was different than that of my friends and neighbors. Then there’s the bit about the banana leaf hacking and my mom’s mock dog stew. Read the complete Q&A here. (There’s also a book giveaway too.)
Although I touched on some of those cultural points with Christine Gallary, food editor at theKitchn.com, we mostly focused on strategies for crafting the perfect banh mi sandwich. Get the lowdown from Christine’s story, “8 Expert Tips for Building the Perfect Banh Mi”.
P.S. I’m traveling this week and as you may have gathered from my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram posts, I’ve been taping radio interviews with two of my favorite food radio programs: Good Food, hosted by Evan Kleiman on KCRW and The Splendid Table, hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and American Public Media. I’ve also been setting up what promises to be a very fun banh mi event in downtown Los Angeles. I’ll keep you updated as things develop and air dates are announced for the radio interviews.
If you had awkward experiences eating 'weird' things while growing up, do tell! I can't imagine that I'm alone…
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