Relationship: Im/migrant

This pot represents for me not only a way to remain connected to my cultural heritage but also how my parents forged economic opportunity in a new country. Growing up in Canada, I felt estranged from my Chinese roots— except for at the dinner table. The food that my mother cooked, such as the savory Sichuan Chongqing hot pot (火锅) that I salivated over during the cold and blustery Canadian winters or steamed red bean buns (红豆包) during Chinese New Year, were all made using this pot and recipes that my mother had learned from my grandmother, allowing me to honor our shared culture despite my current displacement from the home of the rest of my family, whom I had never met. Whether it was by learning about Chinese vocabulary in reading these recipes and conversing over the dinner table or the traditions of China in asking my parents about the history behind why zongzi (粽子) are served during the Dragon Boat Festival, the food that was served out of this pot was a way for me discover and remember my heritage.

In addition, this pot and the food my mother made using it allowed her to create economic opportunity for herself once we moved to the United States by utilizing her skills as a home cook. Since many of my peers' parents would work long hours, she would cook and deliver meals of Chinese food to their schools and homes. Because of this, when I look at the food I eat, I don’t find difference that sets me apart from other “Americans”, but a sense of solidarity in the shared cuisine of the scattered Chinese population and pride in my culture.

Place(s): China, Canada, California

– Iris

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant