Jenny Dorsey was 28 when she decided to lay claim to a cultural heirloom: a wok. This tool is synonymous with Chinese cooking but for Jenny it was couched in complex emotions and family memories. She speaks about her childhood and the pressure immigrant families face to assimilate. Jenny also unpacks how her wok became a symbol of sadness, shame, and ultimately forgiveness.
The second half of the episode transitions from the personal to the political, honing on Jenny’s work as a chef, food writer, and the founder of the non-profit community think tank, Studio ATAO. Jenny shares her thoughts on the impact and limitations that personal essays pose to the food media landscape. Host Arati Menon talks with Jenny about exploring the honesty and beauty of a personal essay while maintaining boundaries so as not to exploit it.
Read Jenny’s original My Family Recipe essay. Check out Studio ATAO’s toolkits addressing tokenization in food media and how to achieve equitable representation.
My Family Recipe is created by the Food52 Podcast Network and Heritage Radio Network, inspired by the eponymous Food52 column.