Conversation with Grace M. Cho, the Author of 'Tastes Like War'

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Friday, September 30th, 2022

Friday, September 30, 20222:00PM - 4:00PMBloor - 1st floor Boardroom/Round Room/Library, 315 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON, M5S 0A7
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Tastes Like War

A Korean American daughter’s exploration of food and family history, in order to understand her mother’s schizophrenia.

Grace M. Cho grew up as the daughter of a white American merchant marine and the Korean bar hostess he met abroad. They were one of few immigrants in a xenophobic small town during the Cold War, where identity was politicized by everyday details—language, cultural references, memories, and food. When Grace was fifteen, her dynamic mother experienced the onset of schizophrenia, a condition that would continue and evolve for the rest of her life.
Part food memoir, part sociological investigation, Tastes Like War is a hybrid text about a daughter’s search through intimate and global history for the roots of her mother’s schizophrenia. In her mother’s final years, Grace learned to cook dishes from her mother’s childhood in order to invite the past into the present, and to hold space for her mother’s multiple voices at the table. And through careful listening over these shared meals, Grace discovered not only the things that broke the brilliant, complicated woman who raised her—but also the things that kept her alive.


Grace M. Cho is the author of Tastes Like War (Feminist Press, 2021), a finalist for the 2021 National Book Award in nonfiction and the winner of the 2022 Asian Pacific American Literature Award in adult nonfiction. Her first book, Haunting the Korean Diaspora: Shame, Secrecy, and the Forgotten War (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), received a 2010 book award from the American Sociological Association. Her writings have appeared in journals such as Catapult, The New Inquiry, Poem Memoir Story, Contexts, Gastronomica, Feminist Studies, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and Qualitative Inquiry. She is Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at the College of Staten Island, CUNY.

Organized by the Centre for the Study of Korea and co-sponsored by the Dr. David Chu Program in Asia-Pacific Studies at the Asian Institute, the Department of Sociology, the Women and Gender Studies Institute, the Department of English, and the Centre for the Study of the United States at the Munk School, University of Toronto


Grace M. Cho
Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at the College of Staten Island, CUNY; Author of 'Tastes Like War' (Feminist Press, 2021)

Hae Yeon Choo
Director of the Centre for the Study of Korea and Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Toronto

Main Sponsor

Asian Institute


Centre for the Study of Korea


Dr. David Chu Program in Asia Pacific Studies

Centre for the Study of the United States

Department of Sociology

Department of English

Women & Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto

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