pecans, eggs, paint, photo transfers, napkin
My grandmother, Siu Fong Yu Wong, and I never spoke the same language. As an immigrant
Chinese mother working in her husband’s laundry in Los Angeles Siu Fong Yu Wong (or Pooh),
in many ways was silenced. Being a mixed race girl born in the Bay Area, the depth of my
Chinese fluency floated on the tops of bowls of duck noodles and in Pooh’s meatballs. Food
always drove communication between my grandmother and I, as well as between my
grandmother and American society. Her meatballs typified her assimilation to nineteenfifties
housewifery (as did her jello), while still having the flavor of a dumpling.
In an odd turn of events, Pooh spent the last few years of her life in the culinary heartland of the
states, the South. She came to live the American dream, living in a respectable suburb of
Atlanta. Ironically, just two states over in Mississippi, resided the Whittingtons, my white maternal
family line. This southern confluence had complexity woven like a latticework pie crust. And it
was indeed pie that was the only way I could speak with Pooh about ideas of place, domesticity,
labor, and culture. So one afternoon using pecans, eggs, flour, butter, and sugar we talked.
This piece, Ingredients for Pecan Pie, is an assemblage of that conversation.
Ingredients for Pecan Pie is also in honor of dear Pooh, who after a long life past away