In Isolation with Charlotte Guest

Location: Geelong, Australia

There is a theory that Pythagoras wouldn’t eat broad beans because they look like dicks. Sheathed. The beans, that is. Or, apparently, because beans look like the gates of Hades. Maybe also because they are destructive, or like the nature of the universe, or symbolic of the oligarchy. This is according to Aristotle. If you asked Pliny the Elder, he would tell you not to eat beans because they contain the souls of the departed. Porphyry is more aligned with Pythagoras’ thinking and writes that if you split a bean, leave it in the sun, and come back a while later, it will smell like semen. Cutting the flower of the bean when it starts to blacken and putting it in an earthenware pot for ninety days will result in either a child’s head or female genitalia.

Today has been Bean Day. Yesterday was Honey Day. I am researching food in antiquity for the novel I’m writing so I don’t make any glaring errors like serving fish to the poor. Class decided what you ate and how much of it—just as, intersecting with race and gender, it does now. Flour, for instance, became less efficiently sieved the poorer you were, and therefore contained higher portions of phytic acid, which inhibits vitamin and mineral absorption. The poorer still, the less flour you had in the first place. I remember the aisles in Woolworths from the end of March: the ransacked shelves. No rice, no pasta, no flour. A lone elderly man looking lost and confused where the baked goods used to be. The Church had to stop its soup kitchen for fear of spreading the virus. But then where were the homeless going to eat? Perhaps tomorrow will be Flour Day.

I consider the significance of the broad bean as I plunge my hand into a bag of Harvest Snaps, which the packet assures me is a healthy snack of baked peas. Heavily seasoned, sure. But baked, not fried. The Harvest Snaps will be my lunch, because I don’t each much for lunch, and because I hate cooking. Even the thought of assembling things on a plate, like nuts and fruit, fills me with a sense of malaise. I wish I felt the joy others do at combining ingredients and plating up a meal. But I don’t. I can’t seem to enter the kitchen without sighing and picking at whatever morsels I can find that don’t require preparation before consuming. Pushing the limits of this method is how I gave myself salmonella poisoning some years ago. I am lucky, now, to have a boyfriend who so relishes cooking that he hasn’t complained once about preparing every single meal we’ve ever eaten. Yet.

There are two dinner party scenes in my novel; they act as a kind of frame. As in all societies at any given time, food in the classical world had two functions: nutritional and symbolic. Certain foods meant certain things. The apple, for instance, is laden with meaning. Apples appear in Greek mythology and suggest love and fertility. Pomegranates also gesture at the loins. Food and sex were intimately linked, as they are now. You had to be careful dining at a pub in ancient Greece and Rome, however, in case you were served human flesh passed off as pork. Galen of Pergamon writes with grotesque familiarity on the texture and taste and appearance of a person compared to pork. Ass, he writes, needs marinating for a long time before it is digestible. It took me a moment to realise he meant donkey.

Dinner parties were occasions to philosophise and proselytise, both in life and in the literature of the day. They were, they are, about gathering together. Eating is a vulnerable and intimate act. I remember learning years ago that the ritual of clinking glasses—cheers!—has its origins as an act of trust. To share food and drink with others is to open yourself up: your mouth and your soul.

I am halfway through Galen’s On the Properties of Foodstuffs, written in the second century AD, which is, admittedly, a few hundred years after the time of my novel. In the three books that comprise the work, he hierarchises food based on its value and abundance, with, to my surprise, bread and cereals firmly at the top. Cereals include seeds and legumes, rice, wheat, beans, barley, and so forth. All the things that vanished in the first few weeks of quarantine. I think of the man standing aghast before the empty displays at Woolworths. I imagine, for no reason, that he is Galen.

To share food and drink with others is to open yourself up: your mouth and your soul.

I have been writing about these people welcoming their friends into their home—hugging, kissing, clasping hands—to eat together, pass drinks around, laugh, and talk over one another. There are more than ten people in the room. And while I am not sentimental about the preparation of food—never having enjoyed cooking—I am sentimental about sharing it. I write these scenes of jollity and celebration, and I am alone on the loungeroom floor with a small bar heater. Its electric whine amplifies the silence. My characters embrace, and I haven’t touched another person, other than my partner, for months. I lived alone for many years and thank the Gods I am not alone for lockdown. I check in on friends who are, and their little digitised faces pop up, discreetly, on my screen. My phone is always on silent. Meanwhile, my characters make noise. My house is quiet. My characters, being Romans, wipe their mouths and sneeze and cough and roughly grab for food in a riotous mess that I cannot help viewing through the lens of social distancing and religious sanitising with abject horror. The person who last handed me a takeaway coffee was wearing a pair of blue gloves.  

Writing these dinner party scenes during quarantine has been a way to channel the wanting. The longing. The missing. It’s made me realise I crave the glancing touches of close friendship—a hand on a shoulder; a squeeze to indicate pride; an admonishing tap on the knee or forearm—something I wasn’t aware of before. I am now an advocate for the cringeworthy elbow-bump, because at least it’s something. To me, it says: hey, we’re solid.

Yesterday, Honey Day, I learned that Pythagoras believed honey on bread for breakfast was the key to a healthy life. I had manuka honey on toast for a snack. I thought about the bookshop where I work and the number of sourdough cookbooks we’d sold in the last few months. We had a free home delivery service whereby I would cycle books to people’s homes. I’m going to bake bread! customers told me on the phone. I flicked through these sourdough cookbooks before packaging them up to be delivered. Every introduction nods to sourdough as the “oldest form of baking”. One such cookbook, Sourdough by Casper André Lugg and Martin Ivar Hveem Fjeld, begins with the line, “Bread is older than metal,” and continues on to say:

… now there is a movement to reclaim good bread. This is not just a revival, nor just a moment of culinary fashion: sourdough has never been more relevant or exciting.

I cycled these cookbooks to customers isolating at home, who I wouldn’t see, even through windows, because I was gone, pedalling away, before they got to the door. I thought about the expression “to break bread”; its ancient origins. I thought about bread—food—connecting us laterally, to the people and the world around us, but also through time.

I have taken a break from writing. Shuffled to the pantry to find something to nibble on, like a rat, I suppose. I think about when restaurants will reopen again. That’ll be nice, to break bread in some halfway familiar environment. But not right now. Right now, I am in a home with reclining lounges (lectus), a feast laid out, light burning low, in the first century BCE. I am there, at the dinner party, transported through my laptop screen (light glowing low), and also here, on my loungeroom floor, eating nuts and dried fruit, alone.

By Charlotte Guest


In Isolation with Adélaïde Bon

Location: Provence, France

The decision was made in a snap: a garden, where could we find a garden for our six-year-old boy and our own sake, before getting locked in?

I was born and raised in Paris and, like my mother, I am a disastrous cook. Following recipes is far too boring, there’s always one ingredient missing for the complicated meals I have in mind when friends come by, and I never quite understood the subtle art of spices. A true Parisian—far too busy. Always up to something. Biking at full speed around town and arriving late and flushed red to meetings and rehearsals.

My meals are just like me, overcooked. There are so many things you can do, instead of staring at the pan. Usually, since I love food and endless meals, I rely on others: restaurants, catering, friends, my husband.

A few days before confinement began, we took a stack of books, the trumpet, a few clothes and rain boots, gave Niels the goldfish enough food for a month, watered the orchids, borrowed my parent’s spare car and drove south, to my brother’s house, in Provence.

There we were, four adults, four kids, and meals three times a day, isolating in France’s paradise garden where everything grows. My husband and I took turns preparing lunch. One would work in the morning while the other turned into a schoolteacher and cook.

Since we’re both quite stereotypical bobos (a Parisian term for the bourgeois bohemians who gentrified the north of the city, eat organic, despise plastic, and practice yoga), we went to the village searching for local vegetables, fruits, honey, olive oil and goat’s cheese. We picked wild rosemary and thyme in the fields close by.

I was born and raised in Paris and, like my mother, I am a disastrous cook.

We went to a roadside stall three days a week and had to choose between glorious vegetables and fruits that had just been harvested, and only travelled for a couple minutes after being picked from the land. We were all wearing masks in the line, but you could tell everyone was salivating when the first strawberries arrived. Paradise, I told you.

And so I started cooking. I cut, chopped, peeled, browned and roasted. I kept it simple, the bright, fresh taste of tomatoes, eggplants, zucchinis, asparagus, melons or figs making up for my lack of knowledge. Slow-cooked ratatouille. Tian de legumes. Scrambled eggs and asparagus. Salade niçoise.

While I was discovering the peace that lies in taking time, my husband revealed himself: lapin à la moutarde, artichauts à la barigoule, pavlova à la meringue maison, tarte aux fraises à la crème patissière, and other wonders. We’ve been together for eleven years and I had absolutely no clue he was such a chef.

We stayed in Provence for three months. I had never been away from my hometown for so long and found I did not miss it. The food was too damn good. Do you know strawberries are crunchy when they’ve just been picked? I certainly didn’t and couldn’t stop eating them.

Of course, it was also a time of anxiety, of uncertainty, of tensions. Sad and bad news. Projects collapsing. Frustration. And I sucked at teaching class to my kid.

But we would walk in the forest every day and see leaves slowly curl out of their buds. We had every meal in the garden, alongside birds and butterflies. I’m pretty sure it’s thanks to the nature around us and on our plates that between four adults and four kids, none of us ever broke into too big a fight.

I am thirty-nine, and this spring was my very first spring.

By Adélaïde Bon


In Isolation with David Matthews

Location: Sydney, Australia

I’m on a snow-capped peak, wind whipping around me, the air biting, cloud pressing in. I draw my bowstring and loose an arrow into the night sky. It whistles through the air and strikes its target: an eagle, riding the updrafts. The bird plummets. I scramble down the cliff-face and slip what I find into my pouch: dinner.

Eating in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is foremost about survival. Gathering wild plants or hunting wild animals is as much a part of the game as plot or exploration. Apples, mushrooms, deer, fish—all of these literally restore your life force. If you don’t eat, you perish.

Outside the game, in lockdown, I spend part of my days scrolling through cut-price pieces of meat on Vic’s Meat online, wishing they sold sweetbreads or tongues or something more interesting than dry-aged primal cuts. Parts are spent ordering (cut-price) premium fish and crustacea from Nicholas Seafood, ticking a box for whether I want scales on or off (on), guts in or out (in), lobster dead or kicking (kicking).

Other times I’m immersed in The Wild. By day I stalk boar through the forest and spirit eggs from birds’ nests. I snatch at fish schooling just under the surface of creeks and rivers, pick wild herbs and gather mushrooms growing in the shadow of a cliff hang. Come nightfall I fend off deadly skeletons and swarms of bats, frantically swallowing mushroom skewers and tree nuts to replenish my health. I kill and eat a fox.

Here on The Great Plateau the world is sparse. There are no people, just a maleficent spectre swirling around a far-off castle, tribes of Bokoblins—big, kinda stupid beasty things—the spirit of an old man that keeps appearing, and me. Everywhere there are hints of a once-thriving civilisation: I chance upon a lake and see a wharf collapsed by the swirling current. I find a recipe journal in a dilapidated hut. I find an axe lodged squarely in the trunk of a tree.

I wander the wilderness searching for triggers for my shattered memories, and eating, always eating. I find rice in the verdant fields near Hateno, bushels of wheat in the Tabantha highlands, voltfruit and hydromelons in the Gerudo Desert.

IRL I make fish-fragrant eggplant. I feed Fernando, my sourdough starter. I cook and peel two beef tongues and fuse them into a loaf for sandwiches, and I poach a whole Murray cod and cover it in a herb dressing whisked together with fish stock. I cook dhal and temper it with coconut oil and cupboard spices that have lost their potency.

Cooking in restaurants ruined home cooking for me—there are no stakes, no urgency, no post-service comedown.

Food and cooking, and thinking about food and cooking, mark my days more than usual. I try to find cooking pleasurable, and sometimes I do, but mainly it’s a chore, even if I can’t stop. Cooking in restaurants ruined home cooking for me—there are no stakes, no urgency, no post-service comedown. Mainly, there’s just the thought that if I’d given it more time, or had better equipment, or been more precise, then what I’d made could be more delicious. My time as a restaurant critic has taught me to seek the good in things, but the chef in me knows better.

On screen the dishes pop with cartoonish appeal, in the same way the best cell-shaded soups and stews always manage to look like how you wish every stew tasted. (Watch this supercut of food scenes from Studio Ghibli films and tell me soup has ever looked more sustaining than stirred over live flame in Princess Mononoke, noodles more appealing than in Ponyo, or eggs and bacon better than fried in a cast-iron pan fuelled by Calcifer, the fire demon, in Howl’s Moving Castle.)

In Breath of the Wild a pat of butter melts gently over fluffy crêpes, layers of pure white whipped cream break up rows of wildberries in the centre of a layer cake, pumpkin pies are pert and neatly sliced, stews gleam and steam enticingly, salmon meunière—garnished sparingly with greens and what looks like tomato—is a handsomely darned piece of fish, skin on, with a buttery herb-flecked sauce spilling down onto the plate, and the omelettes are topped generously with tomato sauce like the finest omurice. Presentation, even if you’re eating for one, counts.

Dishes, too, are firmly grounded in Japan. The meunières and the soups nod to Japan’s French-style fine dining restaurants as much as to France itself, the flawless desserts, sweets and fruits—so esteemed in the country’s food culture—are staples, as are curry rice and rice balls. If my childhood was one where 4KIDS so heavily whitewashed the food in the Pokémon anime, it’s refreshing to know that 20 years later, kids, wherever they’re from, can grow up calling an onigiri an onigiri.

In the game, I stuff my onigiri with fish and mushrooms. I sweeten fruit with honeycomb. I steam fish in wild greens, glaze pigeons in salt and butter, and toss crab through rice and omelettes. I wonder if restaurant reviewing will return in the future, and what it’ll look like. Whether I care. The sun rises and sets, stars fall from the sky, the moon shines blood red. I keep eating.

By David Matthews


In Isolation with Mama Alto

Location: On Bunurong & Wurundjeri land, Kulin Nations (Melbourne, Australia)

I’ve been thinking about a time when I was quite young, when, after the sudden death of a close friend, I found it impossible to leave my bed for days and days. I wondered how I could ever move forward with my life, let alone get out of bed, shower, or get dressed.

One morning, my father leaned his head into my room. Quietly, almost nervously, he said, “I will bring you a cup of tea?” 

I whimpered what must have been an almost comprehensible yes, and he paused in the doorway. 

“Do you want a special tea, or do you want normal tea?”

To us, normal tea was a supermarket tea bag, Twinings or Bushells or Liptons, consumed black with a couple of sugars. The kind you’d have throughout the day, every day and any day. And special tea was anything else: green tea, herbal tea, fancy blends, aromatic tea, tisanes with zing and panache. Tea for specific tastes and moods or special occasions. 

In my grief-haze, barely present and half-asleep (but without having truly slept for days), when my father asked if I wanted a normal tea, with the lilting traces of his Javanese-Indonesian accent, it sounded like a different question entirely: “Do you want normality?” 

Some people measure their days in meals: breakfast time, lunch time, dinner time, sleep, and repeat. I measure mine by cups of tea—a far more intuitive ebb and flow process, responding to temperature, emotion, the weather, the task at hand. To drink tea is more a state of mind than an arbitrary point on a clock.

I love food, don’t get me wrong. I adore to eat. But my relationship with food is complex. Having gut disabilities—bad digestion, malabsorption, inability to process many foods, inflammation and pain—can interrupt the pleasure of eating, and mealtimes sometimes become an exercise in complex equations and formulae, or like navigations of treacherous seas. But simple black tea has never betrayed me in that way. 

In times of crisis, mindfulness becomes a mantra and rituals become security. As we shelter in our homes, this has become more apparent than ever. 

But I’ve never been able to meditate. My brain rebels, suddenly contrarian when usually it’s quite content to muddle along to my whims. Mindfulness colouring books bring out my inner perfectionist, jigsaw puzzles riddle me with anxiety. But the act of making tea—the physical ritual of filling the kettle, watching the gentle puffs of steam as the water boils, listening to it bubble and gurgle—somehow stills my mind. 

There is comfort in the quiet, small, domestic certainty. The world may be chaos but water, when boiled, will always let forth that small cloud of steam. Tea leaves, when added, will gradually change the colour and taste of the water to an amber glow or a dark burnt umber. No matter how miserable, distracted, angry or in pain I might be, the sensation of tea rushing over my lips immediately puts me in a state of deep contentment—a tiny moment of stability, of something sure and certain in the midst of crisis.

My father had already guessed that normal tea was precisely what I needed in that moment, and had brought one with him. Beyond the immediate comfort of warmth, of flavour, of aroma, drinking that cup of tea prompted an immense realisation and shift in me. 

In my darkest moments, when I felt beyond low, when the mean reds had a hold on me, or when I was lost in grief or struggling with depression or battling panic, I did not need to wonder how I could make it through each day. All I needed was to know that I could make it until the next cup of tea.

Some people find that they can have that one key touchstone to help them when executive function is hard to grasp. Some people swear by making the bed, or drinking a glass of water. Some force themselves to shower. These are small gestures, small pauses in the bustle and business of life, small reliefs from whatever crisis might be at hand. 

For me, knowing that all I need to do is flick a switch on an electric kettle, and I can focus for just a moment, means I can continue and endure, pick myself up, and begin again. One tea at a time.

By Mama Alto


In Isolation with Simi Kang

Location: Pittsburgh, USA

I am writing this from my dining room table in the middle of a grey rain. The smell of methi is dense in the humid air, and my cat and I are nestled in front of a box fan watching bright green elm leaves dance beyond our window. Here in what is called Pittsburgh, the traditional lands of the Lenape, Shawnee, and Haudenasaunee people, Pennsylvania’s governor has reinstated public health closures due to COVID-19.

I have been largely quarantined for over three months. During this time, I have been seeking comfort by collecting stories from my father and his siblings, and studying the Sikh faith. Via WhatsApp conversations that seem to include every Kang in India and the diaspora,  I’ve learned that my paternal grandmother, my Dadiji, made a habit of walking barefoot in the morning dew before making breakfast. In long phone calls with my father about his quarantine garden, I have surmised that karela grows well in this region. Bhindi, sadly, does not. As we reach for each other from what seem like ever-greater distances, the thing we want to talk about most is food. While this is not unique, it has reminded me that so much of how we inhabit the world—as Kangs, as family, as Sikhs—has food at its centre.

Under COVID-19, Sikh service organisations including the Sikh Coalition, Khalsa Aid, and others, have focused on feeding local community members and essential workers, creating food packages for US homeless and communities in need, and caring for refugees within India and globally. These initiatives are not simply about giving people food; they are acts of seva (or selfless service), a central principle of Sikhism. Ensuring that folks have access to staples and culturally-appropriate meals is imperative to their well-being, both body and soul. In this way, making and taking langar—the free, vegetarian communal meal served at gurdwaras twice a day, and available to all—is life-sustaining work.

For me, taking langar has always been the most incredible and faithful element of my relationship to Sikhism. When my Dadiji brought me to gurdwara, the Sikh place of worship, on our annual visits to India, I loved everything about it. Each ritual, from removing my shoes on the cold white marble and washing my hands in the communal spigot outside, to giving an offering in front of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji (our holy book) was precious to me. 

My favourite part of our visits was langar. After praying, we sat on the floor together at the pangat alongside many others, holding tin plates up for the sewadars, or volunteers, who paced between eaters. Working with efficient grace, they walked down the line, one after another, dipping ladles into buckets full of raita, channa, and sabzi before gently letting them rest on each plate. This was a whole category of food for me—it tasted a lot like our family recipes, but was differently wholesome.

Peeking into the kitchen, I was amazed by the enormous pots that community volunteers stirred with ladles the size of small canoe paddles. Watching folks of all genders roll chapatis into perfect circles entranced me, and I was never more hungry than when the bread was placed on bright hot tawas to puff up and then exhale, steam roiling from their seams so densely I could already taste the warm wheat. These meals prepared by local families were early tastes of my culture and shaped how I conceive of my place in the world. Being Sikh means I am a part of a global family whose work it is to care—for and with—perpetually. Relentlessly.

It’s important to identify my stakes in this discussion. I am the child of a white mother and Punjabi immigrant father; I grew up middle-class in the US Midwest, where I often pass as white. In addition to these privileges, I am a working scholar with a PhD. Growing up, I did not have other Punjabis in my daily life except when my father and I irregularly attended gurdwara. I cannot speak Punjabi and don’t always know what to do during our rites, and yet, watching my Dadiji and aunts in their kitchens, I developed sensorial and kinetic memories of our family’s food, absorbing Sikh culture through our foodways. My early life precludes me from feeling comfortable declaring expertise of the Punjab and Punjabi culture, of Sikhism—of Indian-ness writ large. At the same time, my daily life is shaped by who I come from.

Under COVID-19, I have been craving dishes I’ve never tried to make; overwhelmingly, the things my Dadiji served when we gathered as a family at her table, collected from three continents and tens of cities—like kadhi. My Dadiji would make kadhi only once during our winter visits, using yoghurt she cured for daily use and adding aloo pakoras for heft. I think it became so special to me because of its infrequency. Whereas I could expect to have daal once a day, kadhi was a treat—a reward for my Dadaji and uncles who had worked in the field all morning. A perfect mid-day meal: something warm but light to come home to. I bought yoghurt on our next grocery run, looked up Priya Krishna’s recipe (published by Bon Appétit as “Turmeric-Yogurt Soup”, which, while as close a description as I could probably muster myself, sounds incredibly unappetising to me) and made an enormous pot of kadhi.

The minute I tasted the finished product, I could smell my grandparents’ dining room—the tile floors cold against my feet, windows cracked just enough to let in the rich scent of a burnt sugarcane, a cacophony of spoons against Corelle echoing off the white-washed walls. Krishna is not Punjabi—her family is South Indian—but her recipe felt like my childhood. I immediately took a picture and sent it to my father, who complimented me and decided to make it himself. When my partner tried some she simply nodded, understanding that this food was pure comfort even if it could never transport her the way it did me.

Any other time, making kadhi would soothe me. In the present, it has helped me suture small pieces of my memory back together under COVID-19’s weaponisation against Asian Americans and structurally underserved communities in the US. This, in turn, has given me a greater understanding of who I am within my family’s faith and culture, grounding me in the present as the myth of certainty disappears for all of us. This is somewhat fitting; Sikh history is a series of stories about how we have responded to violence, displacement, and erasure—how we have leaned on each other and survived as a community. My grandparents went through Partition; my father’s generation survived targeted genocide in 1984 India, and while my brothers are too young to remember what it was like after 9/11, I do.

This moment is nothing like those and yet, exploring our foodways has forced me to reckon with the things that have lived in my bones for generations. This includes thinking through our hardest moments and triumphs as a people, grappling with losing my Dadiji, our family’s matriarch, many years later, and loving my family over a variety of distances. It is this latter piece—of trying to stay present with one’s people or at least, what they make—that Valerie Kaur, a civil rights lawyer, memoirist, filmmaker, mama, and Sikh voice in the North American landscape, is doing beautifully and visibly right alongside me.

During the pandemic, Kaur has been cooking with her mom on Instagram live once a week, making family dishes—aloo gobi, daal palak, chohl, and more—as her mother sips chai, advises her daughter on next steps, and answers viewer questions from miles and miles away. Their rapport brings me back to India, where we would gather on lawn chairs and charpois in the late afternoon, drinking chai, eating biscuits, and debating politics or telling stories. It also makes me miss my mother, who, when I was very young, begged my Dadiji to modify some recipes with ingredients accessible in the Midwest in the late ‘80s so she could feed me Punjabi food. (My father, incidentally, is an excellent cook in his own right). Watching these two powerful women share food and love reminds me of food’s function in care work—be it langar for thousands displaced by Modi’s own regime or family (given and chosen) feeding one another—and its ability to heal pasts and presents. 

Last week, I received distance reiki from a friend and after my session, she called me to share what she had learned in journeying my nervous system. When she finished explaining where my body was blocked—my heart, unsurprisingly, is carrying a lot of grief right now—I heard her smile before saying: your ancestors are with you; you are very protected. I began crying and thanked her for her gift. After weeks of calling them in in the kitchen and at my altar, it meant everything that my friend had not only felt my longing for them, but had witnessed my ancestors’ care for me.

That night, I washed rice for dinner, running the grains between my thumb and forefinger. Watching face-masked neighbours walk past my kitchen window, I wondered how many times my kin had carried out the same ritual in the middle of chaos—how often the simple act of making our food had calmed them as it has calmed me. How much it carried them through their own impossible times. I would like to think that this is what we still share, whether they have passed on or are just very far away: the ability to make food as the world changes and violence increases, and giving relentlessly of ourselves in communal need.

Author’s note: This piece was written prior to the US and global uprising against anti-Black racism that has followed the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. While the above does not include an analysis of this ongoing moment, I want to be clear that I unequivocally support the Movement for Black Lives and am with the movement in love and in labour from my small place in the world. In addition to Dining In Place editor Nadia Bailey, I would like to thank Bao Phi, Vidhya Shanker, and Parag Khandhar of ‘Unmargin,’ where this piece was first nurtured, as well as Sun Yung Shin, for their collaborative and generous editorial engagement.

By Simi Kang