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Word Count: 708
I was told from a young age the easiest way to get in touch with your cultural heritage is through food Many good memories and cultural traditions are passed down via food Food is a way of connecting people to each other bringing family and even outsiders to the table Food depending on the situation has a way of healing old wounds and making people happier You have a sense of pride knowing you are connected to your culture through the use of food However there are times when you question your cultural food choices Phams trip shows us the Vietnamese culture through the eyes of an assimilated Vietnamese American trying to get back in touch with his roots He hopes to get in touch with his roots mostly through interaction via food In Phams case thats exactly what he does with disastrous results bringing to light his inability to accept his cultural heritage This is strengthened by his experiences in regards to his American assimilation and towards the catfish the Vietnamese stapleAt the beginning of the book Pham is seen as an outsider eager to get back in touch with the culture he was forced to leave behind His descriptions of food are unusual and sad to an extent We see many of his descriptions include him choking down the food in disgust as we saw in the scene of him drinking warm beer or a plate of vegetables and not really taking time to want to enjoy them We later understand why in the following quote I havent been sick in yearsnot even a colduntil I set foot in Vietnam 185This surprised me greatly According to Wikipedia Traditional Vietnamese cooking is greatly admired for its fresh ingredients minimal use of oil and reliance on herbs and vegetables With the balance between fresh herbs and meats and a selective use of spices to reach a fine taste Vietnamese food is considered one of
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