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 to try out, 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, 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 annually spent on food and beverages. I hold a B.A. in Global Studies (read: poli-sci for the underdog champion) 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 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’).
- Bike commuting, snowboarding, stand-up paddleboard and other active living.
- Behavioral economics a.k.a tricking yourself into doing things that are actually good for you in the longer term, e.g. clear containers at eye level for good snacks, opaque jars with heavy lids for bad. Yes, I am a frequent Freakanomics podcast listener.
- Connecting with fellow humans through travel and languages.
- Doodling, you know, with a pencil or other tools, like Pencil by 53.
- Tracking disruptive innovation (also see: the sharing economy).
- Making friends with my neighbors. I’m really into community-building.
Okay, I admit, 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.
- The complex and storied histories tied to our food, which connects disparate parts of our community (i.e. the world) together. Lately, I’m getting into the hidden ways in which seemingly very separate things tie us together across history and geography, especially when they have to do with the underdog in a mainstream history.
- 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! See Instagram feed for #streetart.
- Capoeira: just started this Brazilian martial art form that I used to think ‘what, me?! Never..’ So far, it has finally gotten me to learn how to clap and sing at the same time -a terribly big deal for some one rhythmically challenged like me. Working through the cultural appropriation debate. Love the community.
- Having real conversations: I like asking people odd questions to try and get at what they really care about. I find it rewarding to our souls to actually get to listen to some one talk about what they really care about and love. Do Uber and Lyft drivers find this irksome? I have no idea, but I hope not.
- Making lists: just kidding, that’s always been a thing with me, not a passing trend.
If you have any errant thoughts, suggestions or questions feel free and encouraged to contact me via the comments section or yiling[dot]wong[at]gmail[dot] com. 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. More on this later.