If you were to read this blog and walk away with one thing, I hope it’s
- a new food to try,
- a new cooking method or adventure to try,
- or even a random food-related fact.
Whatever sparks your imagination to wonder at the world, and brings you closer to your fellow humans. I myself revel in discovering the many ways that food connects us all in our shared human heritage. There may be many a food site on the internets, but this one is mine, with its particular mix of meticulously documented processes, repeated stretching toward trying new things, active pursuits, odd urban policy tangents, and accommodation of dietary restrictions.
Hi, I’m Yiling (eeee-ling, emPHAsis on the E). I grew up with a childhood full of STEM education, a chemist father, and a teacher mother, which has blessed (and cursed) me with a keen curiosity and methodical approach. I was raised in Minnesota, the child of Chinese immigrants, two cultures with strong food-is-love ties. I’ve even lucked into some delicious Pinoy food traditions, too. I live in Seattle, a community with a thriving food culture of 40+ farmers markets, and close to $6 billion [and growing] annually spent on food and beverages. I hold a B.A. in Global Studies (read: poli-sci for the underdog champion, with a global development bent) and Master in Public Policy (MBA equivalent for the public sector). I have a decade+ background of working in public policy, community advocacy and promoting equity.
Some years ago, I had a big life event that made a substantive shift in my life which amplified my real priorities. It made me especially grateful to be alive, and extra mindful of how I spend my time going forward. As a result, I try to balance:
(1) ‘A trying orientation,’ testing out new things or new ways of being. Seizing life by the throat and shaking it around every day.
(2) Working towards living well to 80 years, through eating well, learning to be nicer, and active living. This often involves makes eating healthy easier, with the taste of novelty! This also involves learning new ways to connect with people on a real level, practice kindness, and grace.
When I’m not eating food, I’m thinking about it, growing it, and planning the next meal. I grow my own small garden and love to help my community (both personally with friends and through nonprofits). The obsession with food has always been a thing for me but has been an extra fun challenge given my 80+ yr life goals, and accretion of food challenges (mine, and my friends’).
Other hobbies: Okay, I was a serial hobbyist as a kid. These days, my interests don’t come and go each year, different faucets of the same things come in and out of focus over time.
- Bike commuting, snowboarding, stand-up paddleboard, capoeira and other active living.
- Learning new things: listening to stories of my fellow humans’ lives, of the neat aspects of the world, and food help me learn. Check out the list of my current podcasts rotation in the Inspiration section for a sampling. One faucet of this is tracking disruptive innovation (also see: the sharing economy), which is tied to my urban planning background, bike commuting, and also my experience behind the scenes in local government setting up the regulatory infrastructure around ride sharing in Seattle.
- Connecting with fellow humans, often through food, travel and languages, or local community activities.
- Art: Doodling, you know, with a pencil, watercolors or other tools, like Pencil by 53. Another thread: street art & graffiti- the patterns and trends found in this very human-scale embellishment of our cities have been really interesting to me. Generations of alternative cultures and stories have left traces of themselves in the streets you walk in every day. Keep your eyes peeled for this human-scale urban decor! See Instagram feed for #streetart.
- Having real conversations: I like asking people questions to get at what they really care about. I find it rewarding to actually get to listen to some one talk about what they really love. Do Uber and Lyft drivers find this irksome? Maybe, but I hope not.
- Making lists.
If you have any errant thoughts, suggestions or questions feel free and encouraged to contact me via the comments section or via the contact form section. I love connecting with people and learning their stories.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. I love puns and other word fun and am working on reconciling this with my quiet discomfort on the rare occasion when people make racial jokes that leverage homonym and non-English language words as onomatopoeia. What can I say, humans are walking contradictions. It’s how we survive and make sense of the world…?
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