The weather was cold with drizzling rain, but that wasn’t enough to keep devoted readers and writers away from the 20th Oxford Conference for the Book. For reading addicts, Oxford is one of the state’s meccas with Square Books and Rowan Oak among the regular attractions. This conference brought together a wide range of fiction and non-fiction writers to discuss topics of interest, including art books, politics, the civil rights movement, poetry, writing and teaching, and literacy and the language barrier.
One of the more entertaining sessions was a Q&A between Eddie Huang and food columnist John T. Edge. Huang is only 30 years of age but has already accomplished quite a bit with food and writing. He is the proprietor of Baohaus in the East Village of New York City where he dishes up Taiwanese street food. In his memoir, Fresh Off the Boat, he describes growing up in America as the son of Chinese immigrants. Much of his childhood was spent in Orlando, Fla., a city he describes as “urban sprawl that’s turned to s- -t.” From his odd-mixture background of customs and cooking that combine mainland China, Taiwan and Southern, his own food style emerged. “A lot of people put too much seasoning on food instead of letting the true flavor of the food be prominent,” he said.
Asked which he prefers – food or words – Huang quickly responded “words” before chiding Edge, “Aww that’s an impossible decision to make. I love them both.”
Huang has appeared on Anthony Bourdain’s TV show ’24-Hour Layover’ and as a commentator on The Cooking Channel’s ‘Cheap Eats.’ Bourdain said of Huang, “Long before I met him, I was a fan of his writing and his merciless wit. He’s bigger than food.”