Janit Saechao is a fat, brown Iu-Mien and Khmu femme whose identities as an indigenous person and first generation child of refugees informs the way they navigate their day-to-day. Their roots reach from Richmond, CA to Portland, OR, while they call Laos their motherland. They find their greatest joys in creating whether that be through writing, painting, zine-making, or cooking for their loved ones, and spend much of their time daydreaming of a future for their people that allows them to return to what they have always known; to forage, feed, thrive and be, freely and communally as they once lived.
One sentence to describe yourself: Fat brown Iu Mienh + Khmu, w/ roots in Richmond, CA to the mountains of Northern Laos
What will you be presenting on? Food foraging and how it was/still is a vital part of my peoples' cuisine and overall survival.
Best piece of advice you ever got about cooking: Add soy sauce in your water before boiling eggs, the shells will come off w/ no struggle.
If you could only eat one meal forever, it would be: Probably bun bo hue... but any noodle soup, really.
Favorite food: All seafood!
Recommended reading: Afterland by Mai Der Vang
Best meals: My mom's cooking. And Southeast Asian food in general. Yes to all the fish sauce and fermented things.
Food you’d like to try: Fresh duck blood pudding. Bonus if its prepared and shared w/ loved ones in Laos. I've seen it made and eaten by relatives around me as a child but never got to try it. I love that traditionally, nothing ever goes to waste.
Additional comments: Food is a huge, major part of my identity, my happiness, my survival