torsdag 16. mai 2024

Beijing’s Culinary Crusade: Erasing Uyghur Identity through Food

Instruction began early on a November 2018 morning. This lesson was not taught in a classroom, but in a makeshift kitchen as part of Xinjiang’s “household school” program. There, a teacher stood before her class of adult women and asked: “What do you like to eat for breakfast?”

The students responded in unison, “nan and milk” or “nan and tea.”

“You don’t eat a bowl of hot congee?” the teacher interjected. This question sparked additional discussion and “even more curiosity” among the women in attendance.

As described in the official government social media account Xinjiang Women’s Voices, the teacher, affiliated with the Xinjiang branch of the All-China Women’s Federation, then offered hands-on tutorials for preparing fried dough sticks (youtiao), congee, onion pancakes, and steamed buns, among other side dishes. At the end of the workshop, one attendee remarked, “In the past, I only knew how to prepare nan and milk tea each morning; now, I am able to make scallion pancakes, fried dough sticks, and even rose buns. My family’s breakfast will now have more nutrition, vegetables, and congee as a staple, which children love to eat!”