Teresa presented at Tender Table on April 6, 2017 at Compliance Division in Portland, OR.
Teresa Nguyen is a mixed non-binary first generation Viet-Am tenderqueer. They believe every available art medium is a tool for documenting experience, even if no one ever sees it.
One sentence to describe yourself and where you came from: Just a tenderqueer forever examining diaspora as a way of resistance against forgetting the work my ancestors laid out before I came along.
What will you be presenting on? I'll be talking about food as a way of making sense of myself, because cooking Viet food is a vehicle for reclaiming my heritage and navigating diaspora. It's been a journey to strip my thesis way of thinking down to basics and focus on instinct for cooking how I remember things tasting and feeling.
Best piece of advice you ever got about cooking: "That's how I cook, too!!" Any time I talk with other QT/POC folks about how I cook by intuition, affirmation helps me know I'm going in the right direction.
If you could only eat one meal forever, it would be: Yikes, just one? Fried fish with nước chấm over rice and a side of greens. I grew up in a family of fishermen, so it's the meal that ties my heart to the sea.
Favorite food: Thịt Kho
Recommended reading: Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong, Salt by Nayyirah Waheed, Saga series by Brian K. Vaughan, everything by Bao Phi
Best meal(s): Bún bò Huế, bún riêu, bánh bột lọc...I will throw down for any one of these meals.
Food you’d like to try: More Sicilian dishes. I'm part Sicilian and my Nonna on my mom's side is from the island in Termini Imerese. Squid ink pasta?! Gimme.
Additional comments: Go get it if you want it. I spent way too long letting everyone else around me influence all my decision making, and doing something radical like teach myself how to cook Vietnamese food and find out I was actually good at it...best feeling ever.
(Photo note: Cháo “It's typically a plain rice porridge, that can be layered with bone broth or veggie stock, and seasoned with soy sauce, green onions, fried shallots, cilantro, white pepper...it kind of depends on your palate preferences. You can honestly dress it how you like. The beauty is in the simplicity, and the love is in the feel good fullness you get from such a staple feel better soup. Be you sick or just needing your basics, this is a warm hug for a tender belly.”)