Substitutions; That Almond Dessert
New England Review
Adrienne Su shares what was behind the writing of the poems "Substitutions" and "That Almond Dessert":
“Substitutions” was prompted by my reading of Fuchsia Dunlop’s introduction to a recipe for Dan Dan Noodles in her Sichuan cookbook Land of Plenty—a beautiful evocation of street-vendor cooking. For me it merged with other memories of street vendors my parents have cited, as well as my experiences with street food as a foreign student in Shanghai, in an era surely now lost there, too.
“That Almond Dessert” arose from my reading of Chinese-American cookbooks from the 1960s. Somewhere I stumbled across the name “Almond Junket” and found it irresistible. That sent me to the Joyce Chen Cook Book, which my mother used when I was a child, and which evoked a longing for Almond Float—although I wasn’t sure whether I actually longed for it or just wanted childhood back. Eventually I made a batch, then another and another. I still love it and consider it a partner for canned fruit, but I’d rather have it with canned lychees or longyan than fruit cocktail.
(Excerpts taken from: Su, Adrienne, "Behind the Byline," interview by Rick Barot, New England Review, May 17, 2017. http://www.nereview.com/?s=adrienne+su)
Su, Adrienne. "Substitutions"; "That Almond Dessert." New England Review 38, no. 1 (2017): 86-87.
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