Telling My Family’s Story of Immigration and Assimilation Through the Ingredients We Share
Like with any immigrant story, this style of cooking is all about telling the story of a family through its subtle gestures, quirks, and out-of-place ingredients.
Pooja Makhijani is the editor of Under Her Skin: How Girls Experience Race in America (Seal Press), an anthology of essays by women that explores the complex ways in which race shapes American lives and families. She is also the author of Mama's Saris (Little Brown Books for Young Readers), a picture book. Her bylines have appeared in The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Washington Post, NPR, The Atlantic, WSJ.com, Teen Vogue, VICE, Pacific Standard, Bon Appétit, Saveur, BuzzFeed, CityLab, and espnW among others.
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What I can do for now is to give back in ways that may seem extraneous, but bring delight to the recipient. So, I make frozen desserts.
Do other people ascribe “luck” to objects? I wondered. Wouldn’t it be far better to finally use this kitchen appliance and truly love it?
Breadmaking made me feel purposeful, instead of feeling as if I scarcely had control over anything.
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There is opportunity in forcibly rewriting a story, in trying out identities that might not feel true at first.
The thing my mom told me to do—“Save twenty percent for yourself. Never give one hundred percent to anyone.”—was not selfish after all. Not when thinking about my own survival.