No matter how hungry I was, I always dreaded the lunch period during elementary and middle school. It was either unpalatable food stuff processed beyond recognition, whose quality was on par with a meal that I had in a Texas prison. Or, it was leftovers that my mom packed for us. Neither alternative was appealing to me at the time. As much as I loved my mom’s cooking, eating then unknown Vietnamese dishes while my classmates nibbled on their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches was excrutiatingly embarrassing.

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