Stories that recount an embarrassing “lunchbox momentcan be effective accounts of lived discrimination, writes Angie Kang, but they shouldn’t be the only ones. “Telling this story has its limits,” she writes. In this fantastic illustrated essay for Catapult, she urges storytellers to create new, varied stories that don’t simplify Chinese culture and the wider Asian American experience. “There are so many other stories to tell that aren’t only food-related,” she writes, pointing to shows and films like Fresh Off the Boat and Everything Everywhere All At Once as examples. Kang’s resonant words and lovely illustrations combine in a fresh and powerful piece about narrative and representation.

I don’t discount the importance of food as part of culture.

Food and language are two forms of intimacy in the same mouth, and former might be a more accessible option for some people.

Language and art require time to understand, but food can be eaten tonight.

Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.