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Jeanne's Full Story

Two Little Dumplings is a business that reconciles my past, present, and future. Growing up in a rural town, it never felt comfortable to be of my color and origin. Everything about my family was isolating and survival depended upon untangling myself from my Asian heritage. Yet when I was finally able to journey to Taiwan and reunite with extended family as a teen, my foreignness blatantly stuck out. Surely I thought, there is nowhere I am enough American or Taiwanese. This indictment shamed me. I felt more comfortable making pasta than any Asian food and chose not to pass on broken Mandarin to my children. I wasn’t willing to risk misrepresenting my ancestry, and I wouldn’t risk undoing all those years of trying to fit in.

One day, my older daughter in preschool came home perplexed by a classmate who called her Chinese. My daughter had stoutly defended her New Jersey birthplace. It was when my younger daughter looked around the town pool and concluded that she wasn’t Asian because she clearly blended in. In these instances, I saw that part of who they are was missing because I never named it, never celebrated it.

In 2020, the pandemic gifted us my parents' time and support to share with my children a background they knew little of. We began with cooking because food is our mutual love language. My children were wide-eyed and hands-on with making dumplings, tang yuan, and baos. After feasting on food and memories, I dreamed up Two Little Dumplings while cleaning a messy love-filled kitchen. In a world that was hurting, I wanted to give the comfort and beauty of our dumplings to our friends, colleagues, and neighbors.

TLD reopened a door I closed long ago, giving me a way to both explore my heritage and to make my family’s food for others. As Asian Americans, it is empowering to determine how we embrace both existences within our unique circumstances and abilities rather than striving to meet expectations from one side or the other. Our food has become a vehicle for adventures in recipe testing, researching, adapting, and finding common ground. We’re here to share and we welcome you to the experience.