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To the People, Food is Heaven

Stories of Food and Life in a Changing China

In China, life is comfortable for the fortunate few. For others, it’s a hand-to-mouth struggle for a full stomach, a place to live, wages for work done, and freedom to speak openly. It’s a place where few things are more important than food; “Have you eaten yet?” is another way of saying hello. After traversing the country and meeting its people, Ang shares her delicious experiences with us. She tells of a clandestine cup of salty yak butter tea with a Tibetan monk during a military crackdown, and explains how a fluffy spring onion omelet encapsulates China’s drive for rural development. You’ll have lunch with some of the country’s most enduring activists, savor meals with earthquake survivors, and get to know a house cleaner who makes the best fried chicken in all of Beijing. Through her reporting, Ang bites into the gaping divide between rich and poor, urban and rural reform, intolerance for dissent, and the growing dissatisfaction with those in power. By serving these topics to us one at a time through the stories of ordinary citizens, To the People, Food Is Heaven provides a fresh perspective beyond the country’s anonymous identity as an economic powerhouse. Ang plates a terrific, wide-ranging feast that is the new China, a country convulsed by change and propelled by aspiration. Have you eaten yet?  —Lyons Press

Info
Audra Ang
Lyons Press
October 2012
Author

Audra Ang started at The Associated Press as a reporter in Seattle and worked on the national editing desk in New York before being posted in 2002 to China, where she spent seven years as a Beijing-based correspondent. She was a 2009-2010 Nieman fellow at Harvard University and a visiting scholar at U.C. Berkeley’s Center for Chinese Studies. Ang grew up in Singapore and now lives in Durham, North Carolina. She regularly eats unseemly amounts of food at one sitting.

Telling China’s Stories Through Food, The Seattle Times, December 31, 2012

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