‘Kraft Cheese and Rice? It Feels Like Home’

The Tyee · Sept. 6, 2019

Growing up, rice was always a staple in our house/ We ate most dishes with rice, which were often a saucy meat thing. I wouldn’t say we ate a lot of traditional Chinese or Japanese foods (the latter was extremely rare) so my memories of pairing it with mustard chicken, mushroom chicken or maybe gravy and another meat thing or any kind of curry,

I am sure this is common for those who come from Asian households, but I didn’t realize this was hardly the norm when I mentioned rice and gravy during the holidays (with turkey dinner) was my favourite thing to eat to a white friend. He quickly responded: “But don’t you just eat rice with soy sauce?” I shook my head. Of all things I eat with rice, soy sauce is not one of them.

Fast forward to a few years ago, and I learned that one of my cousins on the East Coast eats rice almost exclusively with butter.

Through the Japanese Canadian community, I’ve heard of families replacing tofu with hot dogs after the war, and many communities creating their own variations of chow mein.

These stories and memories are part of why I created a call for food stories made from a combination of cultures and/or migration stories.

This work was published on The Tyee in 2019.