I'm coming after all my friends who love food! I'm soliciting my friends to help cook meals they love, markets they enjoy, meal time stories they cherish and to share so that I may be able to capture a little bit of that here :) Here's the first of the series, No. 1 Jocelyn Tran.
My friend, Jocelyn Tran of www.jocelyneatsandcooks.com a graphic designer and a lover of food, was kind enough to allow me to photograph her making one of her favorite sandwiches, banh mi cha lua. But the best part was hearing about her life long love/hate relationship with this sandwich. As an Asian American myself, I think we all have our own rendition of this story. Here it is in her own words,
"Growing up, I ate A LOT, and I mean A LOT, of Vietnamese sandwiches (banh mi). It was the quick meal for my parents to get for their family and pack for road trips. I fairly enjoyed it, but it was definitely not something I love nor craved growing up. At a point in my teenager and young adult years, I was tired and sick of it. Many road trips from the Bay Area to Orange County jammed packed in a car or van for 6 to 7 hours with the smell of pickled daikon and carrots and pate just brought back awful memories. Often being the Asian parents that my parents, aunts, and uncles were, we packed our lunch and ate it at a rest stop (part being thrifty and preferring Vietnamese food than American fast food). Trust me, being in a car for that long with several Vietnamese sandwiches was not the most enjoyable ride or smell.
Now as an adult, I CRAVE and LOVE Vietnamese sandwiches. I'm on a constant lookout for the best banh mi shop. I could eat one every week and still want more. My favorite one is the cha lua (Vietnamese bologna - nothing American bologna), although, the bbq pork and chicken are probably the most well-known ones."
For me it was the homemade Korean lunch boxes, full of rancid kimchi fermenting in the heat of the warm winter room. Don't we all have those seemingly embarrassing stories from our teenage years, but now even with red pepper flakes suck between my teeth, I'm proud and savoring every moment of it! (hehe. ew.)