“To explore through food the adventure that is finding your identity. I still don’t have a plan after this, and maybe that’s okay. I’ve never been happier, success is finally defined by my own terms now.” Frankie Gaw, ‘introvert’ and author of the cookbook, First Generation,
Frankie left his tech job at Airbnb in 2020 and pursued his dream of writing a cookbook, and in the process, he discovered that he had always defined success in terms of what people expected of him.
“So with this cookbook, I decided to just say f*ck it and not hold myself back. I’ve never not held a stable, comfortable tech job, and to put all those insecurities aside to follow my dreams has been both uncomfortable and so rewarding.” he expressed to the AHN community.
But this is no ordinary cookbook, it conveys an identity that reflects the resilience of the immigrant spirit through recipes and stories.
A young girl living in an abandoned mansion in the 1940’s, an Asian family who adopts whiteness to survive in suburbia, and a millennial who has it all except his father, “I write about my dad and his scallion pancake recipe, even though I haven’t seen him in 7 years.” he said.
Frankie even shared about his grandma with dementia who snacks on roasted peanuts while asking him why he still hasn’t married an Asian woman every hour.
His story resonates with a lot of Asian Americans who always felt somewhere in-between. Despite growing up in American culture, Frankie never felt white enough to feel like he belonged, however, he was so Americanized inside that his Taiwanese roots never truly seemed like his own.
“That resulted in me spending so much of my life trying to fit in, to hide the fact that I was Taiwanese, or that I was gay, or that my parents were immigrants.” he added.
Although Frankie is an introvert who despises vulnerability and is afraid of the thought of sharing, his goal was to write something that celebrated the buried shame and tremendous delight that comes with being a first-generation Asian American.
First Generation: Recipes from My Taiwanese American Home, is being published by Ten Speed Press and is available now to pre-order and officially comes out October 25, 2022.
You can pre-order the book here.