Bi-weekly Bon Appétit Associate Editor Christina Chaey writes about what she’s currently cooking. Pro tip: if you can Sign up for the Healthyish newsletterYou will get the ball before anyone else.
Like so many others, I have sadness and space in my heart for the victims of the Atlanta and Boulder shootings, especially the six Asian women killed while working in spas in the Atlanta area.
When I learn more about the lives, dreams and families of these six women –Daoyou Feng, Suncha Kim, Hyun Jung Grant (Kim), Soon Chung Park, Xiaojie “Emily” Tan, and Yong Ae Yue– I am humble about what I still have to learn (and always have to unlearn). A close friend eloquently reminded me that the deaths of these women seemed inevitable in many ways – the violent result of their particular gender, race and class intersections, the history of war and imperialism of this country, and the devaluation of sex work and other care work that is common is taken over by low-income women with few other options. Committing to learn more about these stories is a small way to honor these women and so many others whose names we do not know.
I am constantly struggling with self-imposed pressures to immediately do and say the “right” things. post the “right” things on social media; Get to know the “right” facts and stories, often in a crash course. give to the “right” organizations. But the reality is that much of this learning and doing will happen over the long term project that is my life. If I can say, “I will allow this type of work to last a lifetime,” then I can make room for other needs, for things like personal heartache and Asian joy.
These days, I call and hang out with Asian-American friends who I adore and admire. I do their work like my friend Jennifer Hope Choiis new NEW op-ed this takes thoughtful account of the generation gap that separates our lives and values from those of our immigrant parents.
Looking for Asian owned businesses while doing retail therapy in the form of soft gray striped bedding from Loyal studioFly through Jing fragrant chillies (and Chilli crispy!) and snacks and supplies from a new online Asian grocer Umami cart. (And I am patiently waiting for a replenishment of that adorable heart of dinner x Andrew Teoh Bok Choy tote!)
I’m also looking for Asian joy by very slowly reintroducing Instagram into my life after a month-long hiatus. I log in for a few minutes each once or twice a week to read nutritious DMs from friends (like this lovely one Poem about Asian anger from the poet Lacy Nguyen). And instead of scrolling, I look for certain people whose content I love very much: The Heart of dinner Page to view photos of smiling homebound Asian elders securely receiving their weekly grocery deliveries; the @asiansformentalhealth Guidance, Support, and Education page; my friend Kimberly Chou Tsun Anwho works so joyfully for the liberation of all; and artists like Chanel Miller, its youngest Artwork perfect, painfully encapsulating a lot of what I’m feeling right now.
There are so many ways to enjoy joy while making room for our collective sadness. I would love to hear how you are finding your own balance between the two right now. I am @seechaey on Instagram, and if you send me a message there, I promise I’ll find you; It might just be a week or so.