CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia (WVIR) – A Charlottesville restaurant owner has written a book that honors his culinary heritage. Chimm’s owner and Renaissance School music teacher Jay Pun loves cooking traditional Thai dishes with his family. He says food is the glue that holds a culture together. Now, thanks to his friends and fans, his book is about to be published.
“As much as I am happy that it is funded, it truly is the outpouring of love and community that I see from it. I mean, I had all these amazing artists and Asian community members who wrote to me and told me they wished they had this book when they were kids, ”Pun said.
“Som Tum and Sticky Rice” highlights the bond between mother and daughter. Together, they cook traditional Thai food, also known as papaya salad, and eat it with their hands, a classic Thai custom.
This is something Pun would have liked to see more of when he was young.
“We were one of the first Thai families in Charlottesville in the early 80’s. And it just occurred to me that there wasn’t much representation for me as a kid for my culture. and my people, ”he said.
Representation is essential during development, as children are more engaged in books in which they see themselves.
Part of the reason so many children of color are below grade level in reading is because they are not inspired to read books that have characters that are unlike them, so Jay will bring representation not only to Asian students, but to Thai students, ”said Mack Mclellan, dean of the Renaissance School and friend of Puns.
Pun hopes the book will not only fill a void in representation, but also inspire young readers to embrace their culture.
“I want them to know that they see they are included, that they have a voice and that they should be proud of what they eat and what they love,” Pun said.
The Kickstarter is already 80% funded. “Som Tum and Sticky Rice” pre-order options are available on Kickstarter for next month.
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