"A Peanut Never Forgets Its Shell"
Life as a Third Culture Kid with Chinese-Indonesian M.
Aimee's grandfather was perpetually hungry, subsisting sometimes on as little as a sweet potato a day. So when he was given the opportunity at 12 years old to leave China and join his uncle in Indonesia, he took it. He didn’t see his parents or siblings for 30 years. Two generations later, M. Aimee left the comfortable life that her grandfather had built for her and arrived in Canada to study. She’s lived there since. Today, she and I discuss the dish that perfectly encapsulates her Chinese-Indonesian heritage and the experience of being a third culture kid growing up in a minority, mixed-race home in Indonesia and immigrating to Canada. This year, I've returned to the roots of the podcast - everyday people with extraordinary stories that teach us about the resilience of humanity and the way food binds us to our past and heritage. Aimee is the perfect example of this type of guest and I'm honored to have her today. Thanks so much for tuning in, listeners.
- The stories behind the mysterious names of M.Aimee and Milk of Thy Kindness
- Memories of, meaning behind, and methods to make Mie Goreng
- Kecap Manis: The Indonesian soy sauce
- The resilience & success of Aimee's grandfather
- Why Chinese migrants went to Indonesia during the Dutch colonization
- How 3rd culture kids (TCK) create their own cultures; pros & cons
- "A peanut never forgets its shell"
- Leaving Indonesia for Canada at 17 - and never returning
- Her mission to make "ugly delicious" food beautiful with #fareastfridayfeast
Also listen on:
How To Contact M. Aimee of Milk of Thy Kindness
This Episode's Storied Recipe
M. Aimee shared a delicious fried noodle recipe full of greens and proteins. The sauce is made from the sweet, caramelized Indonesian soy sauce - Kecap Manis. One of my favorites ever from the podcast!
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A Note on This Episode
"I've just listened to the episode "A peanut never forgets its shell" and your guest mentioned cooking with chicken fat. I assume this is due to Indonesia being a predominantly muslim country that chicken fat is used rather than the more usual lard.
I am from the neighbouring Malaysia where it's more liberal ( our government did not ban the chinese minority from practising their culture and language) and we do share the use of kecap manis. (an interesting fact: the english word "ketchup" is borrowed from the malay word "kecap / kicap") It's used in braising to add colour as well as flavour. We also use it mixed with granulated sugar and chopped chillies as a dip for unripe sour mango for snacking.
I thought you might want to know that you can render chicken fat from skins by spreading it on a baking tray and roasting it in a 200C oven for 10 - 15 mins, depending on how big the pieces of skins are. I do this quite often with skins from chicken thighs. You end up with moreish golden amber shards of crackling and lovely flavourful fat. I save the fat for spreading on toasts to go with soups in winter for my husband's lunches (He's English) It keeps well in a jar in the fridge. I've been lucky with my local butcher - he would sometimes give me chicken skins that they trim off the chicken parts that they sell. In return, I occasionally bake him cookies."
From Aiwon, A Malaysian Chinese listener
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The concept of The Storied Recipe is unique - every guest gives me a recipe that represents a cherished memory, custom, or person. I actually make, photograph, and share the recipe. During the interview, I discuss the memories and culture around the recipe, and also my experience (especially my mistakes and questions!) as I tried it. My listeners and I are a community that believes food is a love language unto itself. With every episode, we become better cooks and global citizens, more grateful for the gift of food, and we honor those that loved us through their cooking.
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