People from two very different cultures can learn a lot about one another by cooking together and sharing their native food. That has certainly been true for us. Cooking together was one of the ways we got to know each other almost thirty years ago, when Sami was a young mother and Sheng was a young teen. Even before we had much language in common, our experiences in the kitchen and in the garden helped acquaint us with each other's cuisine as well as our cultures.
Sheng is Hmong-American. She was born in Laos, but immigrated with her family to the United States after the Communists took control of her country. Her personal life is filled with family and cultural responsibilities. She and her husband, Leo, lead a typical Hmong-American life. They work hard to find success and stability for themselves, their six children and to be of service to their people. They remain close to their Hmong heritage. Their home is a hub for their extended families where they often host traditional gatherings.
Sheng Yang & Sami Scripter
Sami is Caucasian-American. She has often chosen avocation over vocation. Her interest in other cultures has lead her to work in schools with multi-cultural populations, and for non-profits and government agencies dealing with internationals, always with the goal of bringing cultures and people together. Six years ago she retired from the Multnomah County Library system in Portland, Oregon in order to write Cooking from the Heart: The Hmong Kitchen in America together with her "second daughter," Sheng.