Writing

Food & Wine Magazine

Six days a week, my parents sold Mexican silver earrings to street peddlers for $1.50 at their cramped wholesale jewelry store in Manhattan. Every night, my mother rushed home to Queens to fix delicious Korean suppers from the meat and produce on sale at the Elmhurst Key Food supermarket. Then, in 1981, about five years after we immigrated, my father decided that knowing how to butter bread properly should be as much a part of his children’s education as algebra and spelling. He allowed me, a precocious 12-year-old, to select one fancy restaurant to study each year. On the appointed day, the Lee family would waltz into the likes of Lutèce or Le Cirque.