My mom and dad

Grand Canyon’s quieter east entrance

10 October 2016
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My parents avoided the crowds and tension of cities, so we rarely traveled to urban areas on family vacations, unless we did the Asian thing and stopped for a college tour. To their immigrant eyes, the wonders of America were not in cities but in the immense protected landscape of the country, unusual in a […]

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My dad

10 May 2012
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Seven months after my dad’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis, he is gone, after the kind of week for which the word anguish exists. I flew out to California last Monday with my two girls for a weeklong visit, and he was fine. Chemotherapy had failed him, but he was feeling better without its toxic effects. Suddenly […]

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25 January 2012
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My friends and I turn 40 this year. I’m ok with this. We have lost some exuberance of youth, but we have also shed the anxiety of beginners. Volatile years finding our way with careers, relationships and new parenthood have given way to a more relaxed confidence. We’ve learned who we are. We’ve become real […]

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My friend Faith

13 October 2011
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It’s been a strange, volatile week, starting high, plunging low and ending with the realization that most everything is a high compared to the lows that could be. The week began last Thursday with a rare and exciting treat: lunch with a new friend, the lovely, curious Faith Durand, Managing Editor extraordinaire of my favorite […]

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Mom’s barbecue chicken

31 August 2011
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To many immigrant families, fusion cuisine is not a restaurant trend, it’s what’s served at home. Immigrants bring food tastes and memories from their old home country and combine them with available ingredients in their new home country. Sometimes they create faithful reproductions of traditional cuisine, but sometimes – as in the case of my […]

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My favorite houseguests

21 January 2011
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The fact that my husband and I were unambiguously depressed to see my mom and dad go back to California after a three-week visit says a lot about them as parents and people. Tiger moms (not to mention Tiger mothers-in-law) are all about applying pressure; my parents are all about relieving it. They come to […]

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Chinese mothers

14 January 2011
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Many friends have sent me the article by Amy Chua in last weekend’s Wall Street Journal, “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior,” asking what I think of it. For those of you who have not read the article, Yale law professor Chua writes about her experience raising her two daughters in the stereotypical Chinese fashion: command-and-control, […]

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November in my mom’s garden

17 November 2010
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If my mom isn’t in her kitchen, she’s in her garden. In a fantasy world she could retire from cooking, but gardening is indispensable – it’s refuge, meditation, exercise, creative outlet and the key to her good health. Her dream garden is the green version of a dream house. Instead of a carbon footprint, it […]

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The real chinese grandmas

26 July 2010
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The real chinese grandmas I know lived lives of courage, strength and tenacity. They raised children in wartime and left their homes to protect their families. They focused relentlessly on the future but never forgot where they came from. And despite hard lives of war and poverty, they maintained their good humor, compassion and humanity. […]

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Real chinese grandma cooking

17 July 2010
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This is how the real chinese grandmas do it.  We are home to California for the summer, and this is the kind of food my mom makes on a daily basis.  Handmade dumplings, which are just not found anywhere but in a real Chinese grandma kitchen.

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