meat loves salt
There’s an old folktale that we first read as little girls and returned to later as adults. In the story, a king asks his three daughters how much they each love him. The first two flatter him by comparing their love to lavish things. But the third and most genuine simply says, “I love you as much as meat loves salt.” Offended by her crudeness, the king banishes her forever. It’s not until many years later, when he is served a terribly unseasoned meal, that the king recognizes the truth of her words — and realizes she was the one who loved him most.
Meat Loves Salt is about the meals we grew up with and didn’t realize we’d miss until we had to cook for ourselves. It’s about our longing for the foods, traditions, and stories of our family. It chronicles our search for meaning behind something so basic as what and how and why we eat. It investigates, celebrates, and preserves.
We grew up in a Vietnamese Chinese family, where our foodie father taught us the key to good food is time and care, while our practical mother taught us a couple of shortcuts never hurt. Our father was a pastor whose passion was to feed his many sheep, not least of all, us. After moving away from home, we found ourselves increasingly looking for ways to bring the foods we grew up with into our new lives. At the same time, we wanted to embrace the foods of the families we married into and of the cultures we’ve encountered while living abroad. This blog serves as a living archive of this ongoing journey — a way to document, explore, and share our stories.
Julie is a writer currently based in Beijing, China. She writes about food, travel, family, and culture for various outlets, and has been a guest on the radio show The Splendid Table. She is particularly interested in the anthropology of food — the history, culture, folklore, language, and spiritual aspects of how we eat. She was born in Ho Chi Minh City, grew up in Canada, and is now married to a Chinese American whose family is from Hong Kong. They have a toddler son who loves cheese and dislikes leftovers!
Becca is a designer currently based in Grenada, an island in the Caribbean. She is the owner of Lavender’s Blue Designs, offering custom stationery designs and paper goods. She loves craft, design, and community, and has a passion for the sharing of skills between cultures and generations. She was born in Canada and is now married to a Chinese American whose family is from Laos.