Coconut Curry Chicken
“It was heartbreaking to think that I was made to feel ashamed of my family’s food. I had this great dad who makes incredible meals, but at the time I didn’t appreciate it because I wasn’t proud of my background,” says Tam. After avoiding Chinese food for a long time, she recently learned to make her father’s ngau lam, Cantonese braised beef brisket.
Things have changed a bit since Tam and I were in school. There are programs to help celebrate different kinds of food now — the kinds of efforts that may have spared me many hungry afternoons.
Minneapolis Public Schools started a program in 2015 to bring culturally appropriate food to 65 sites in the city.
“When we are introducing a new dish we do taste-testing with students. We take samples out into the cafeteria and get feedback from our students,” says Andrea Northup, Farm to School coordinator for Minneapolis Public Schools. “24 percent of our students are English-language learners. Some of our students come from East Africa, Asia and South America. Our goal is to meet the needs of our student population.”