From Lian Low – prose editor
Food is essential to our survival, it is nourishing, nurturing and pleasurable, but it can also be a way in to our remembered cultural identities. There are a number of Asian-Australians who have rode the wave as food celebrities – Luke Nguyen, owner and chef of Sydney’s Red Lantern was a SBS regular in Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam; and Poh Ling Yeow who lost out on MasterChef is now a force on her own with her own program, Poh’s Kitchen. Last year’s MasterChef winner Adam Liaw has released a book titled Two Asian Kitchens and will be opening a restaurant in Sydney later this year.
As cooking shows take over Australian lounges, Peril writers sent in their contributions to the theme. Hop Dac reminisces childhood culinary experiences, but spins the exotic out of the experience. Stephanie Lai also reminisces about comfort foods, but writes about the challenge to cultural identity when she became vegan. Thuy Linh Nguyen interrogates the essentialisation of cultural identity and food. Maxine Clarke brings us to England during the dark times of Sir Oswald Mosley’s Anti-Immigration Union Movement. And lastly, Loretta Mui adopts into a playscript her hilarious performance piece from the Ladies of Colour Cabaret in which she in the character of a Mistress tortures 19th century photographer and anthropologist John Thomson.
This edition we also debut our two Peril bloggers. Every fortnight, Peril’s website will be updated with new content from Eurasian Sensation and Lia Incognita, so don’t forget to check their updates!
I hope you enjoy eating the words in this edition!
From Miriam Wei Wei Lo poetry editor
There were some fascinating submissions among the 48 poems received for the Food issue, some intrigued for the wrong reasons (how could this possibly be related to the theme?), others engaged with the theme in innovative ways. I chose five out of the latter category: Cassandra Atherton’s prose poem “Shinjuku Morning” is a sensual conjunction of food and love, set in Japan. Yang Xie’s “Rotting” (translated by Ouyang Yu) is more meditative, and draws our attention to differences between appearance and reality. Karen Greenbaum-Maya’s “Pork Suite” is a foodie rhapsody, Changming Yuan’s “Mushroom” is simpler, but also powerful, in its approach, and Skye Davidson’s “Anorexia” is a different take on food altogether.