Baker Celebrates Asian American Representation with Her Amazing Cookies

A Pennsylvania baker is honoring the achievements of Asian American heroes in a delicious way by turning them into butter cookies. 

View this post on Instagram

Today’s #apahm #cookieart is Larry Itliong! #representationmatters … Larry Dulay Itliong was a Filipino American labor organizer and leader whose significant contributions in spearheading the civil rights of farm laborers were eclipsed by the more well known Cesar Chavez. … According to an NBC news article from September 2015 commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Delano Grape strike that Itliong began, “…if Chavez became the face of the strike, Itliong was always its heart and soul.” Itliong and Chavez came together to establish United Farm Workers, ultimately a coalition between the older, aging Filipino laborers and the newer incoming Mexican workers. Itliong’s complete absence from history books has become a source of deep hurt for the Filipino community. Alex Edillor, who was a child during the strikes and worked to bring more recognition and education around Larry Itliong, commented, “Not only is it a point of pride, it’s a point of fact. Just understand that we stand on the shoulders of people who struggled before us.”

A post shared by Yummyholic, Jasmine Cho (@helloyummyholic) on

Jasmine Cho, who runs specialty bakery Yummyholic in Pittsburgh, dedicates her free time highlighting the contributions made by Asian Americans and Pacific Islander leaders and activists for the AAPI community.

View this post on Instagram

“Pray for us.” … On this 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I wanted to remember and honor Betty Ong. I want us to remember Betty Ong’s name, Betty Ong’s face, Betty Ong’s courage and resolve, and also Betty Ong’s vibrancy and life. … Betty Ong was a Chinese American flight attendant on board American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to hit the WTC. Her detailed communication of the hijacking to the ground crew led to all flights being shut down across the country and potentially saved many other lives that were endangered that day. … Betty was born on Feb. 5, 1956 in San Francisco, CA. According to her bio on the @bettyongmemorial website, she was known for being able to “feed laughter to anyone’s heart,” and often skipping breaks to tend to passengers. She had a special place in her heart for children and older adults and volunteered her time to make their lives brighter. … Thank you Betty Ann Ong. You are not forgotten. 💜

A post shared by Yummyholic, Jasmine Cho (@helloyummyholic) on

She has recreated the likenesses of numerous AAPI personalities, including West Coast Filipino American labor organizer Larry Itliong, first Asian American Olympic gold medalist Sammy Lee, Japanese American activist Richard Aoki, civil rights activist and philosopher Grace Lee Boggs, and actress Awkwafina among many others, in cookie form. 

After turning the heroic personalities into tasty treats, Cho posts photos of them on Instagram where she noted how she uses cookies to elevate representation.

She also gets involved with local cultural centers and galleries so they can feature the cookie portraits in exhibits.

View this post on Instagram

As we approach the last week of #apahm, I wanted to revisit and share some of the cookie art I created back in 2017 of AAPI activists. Follow along over the next several days, and you might learn something new! #representationmatters #cookieart … Bao Phi is a Vietnamese American spoken word artist, poet, and activist who grew up in South Minneapolis. He is a two-time Minnesota Grand Slam Champion and a National Poetry Slam finalist who also appeared on HBO’s Russell Simmons Def Poetry. … Bao’s literary works primarily explore race and Asian American identity. His published collection of poems, “SÔng I Sing,” is taught in classrooms across the country. … In addition to Bao’s literary activism, he served on the Justice for Fong Lee committee. Fong Lee was a teenager from the Minneapolis Hmong community who was shot eight times in the back and killed by police officer Jason Anderson in 2006. He was unarmed.

A post shared by Yummyholic, Jasmine Cho (@helloyummyholic) on

“I already love baking, so I wanted to apply the gifts I already had to something greater,” Cho was quoted as saying. “Creativity isn’t always about coming up with something original; sometimes it’s just figuring out how to combine things that don’t typically go together, like cookies and social justice.”

She expounded on the importance of representation in her first children’s book back in May titled, “Role Models Who Look Like Me: Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders Who Made History.”

View this post on Instagram

Continuing with #apahm #cookieart history lessons with Saru Jayaraman! … Sarumathi (Saru) Jayaraman is an Asian Indian American attorney, author, and activist. … Saru is the Co-Founder of both the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) and Women and Youth Supporting Each Other (WYSE). Her work includes organizing restaurant workers for workplace justice and providing the resources and support necessary to empower young women to make positive life choices and community change. Her books have highlighted modern methods of labor organizing and exposing sexism, racism, and worker abuse in the restaurant industry. … Saru’s numerous awards and accolades include being named a Champion of Change by the Obama administration in 2014 and the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2015. … Saru continues to fight for social justice alongside her husband, Zachary Norris, who founded Justice for Families, a national network of families of incarcerated youth.

A post shared by Yummyholic, Jasmine Cho (@helloyummyholic) on

Cho was born in Los Angeles, California to parents who immigrated from South Korea. She spent her early years with her family in New Mexico and then Hawaii before settling in Pennsylvania. She is a self-taught baker and artist who started baking professionally in 2010.

View this post on Instagram

I’m sharing two versions of Resistance Auntie for today’s #apahm #cookieart lesson! I did one that was more closely modeled in her likeness for my “Eat This: Revolutionary Cookie Art” exhibit series and the other was just for fun one day when I was feeling extra inspired by artist @sawdustbear ❤️ #representationmatters #resist … Anita Yavich, born in Hong Kong, is an award-winning costume designer, Associate Professor of Theater Design at SUNY Purchase, and a Lecturer in Theater at Princeton University. … Her photo giving a two-gun salute was snapped during 45’s inauguration speech and quickly went viral with the Asian American community lovingly calling her “Resistance Auntie” – a name that might have gained as much traction as it did when artist Shing Yin Khor drew her image with a banner underneath writing “Long Live Resistance Auntie.” … Yavich became a symbol embodying the anger and resistance throughout communities against Trump and became especially meaningful as a representation of and for politically engaged Asian Americans.

A post shared by Yummyholic, Jasmine Cho (@helloyummyholic) on

She has been recognized for her work by CREATOR of the Year (Pittsburgh Technology Council, Creative Industries Network), Small Business Community Champion (Citizens Bank), and the Women & Business Award (Pittsburgh Magazine).

View this post on Instagram

I know your feeds will likely be saturated with rainbows today, and I did make colorful #pride treats that I’ll share later too. But as we kick off #pridemonth, I wanted to reiterate why representation matters so much. For any underrepresented community, representation is about unraveling shame, bringing visibility to the invisible, and shattering the one-dimensionality that was/is forced on us. It’s about reminding people of our forgotten humanity. I can only speak as an ally, but celebrating pride to me includes recognizing the remarkable courage, strength, and resilience of the #lgbtquia community and the reminder of all the work that still needs to be done to create more love and inclusion. … If you’re in Pittsburgh and free this afternoon, please consider attending and supporting @rangolipgh’s event, LGBTQUIA+ Advisory AAPI Town Hall! That’s where you’ll also find my rainbow treats 😊🌈

A post shared by Yummyholic, Jasmine Cho (@helloyummyholic) on

In a speech at a 2019 TEDxPittsburgh event, Cho encouraged everyone to build their own platforms to elevate awareness on social justice issues just as she uses cookies to do them.

 

 

This December, Cho will be graduating with a degree in art therapy, according to Pittsburgh Current. After graduation, she plans on continuing with her bake therapy research. She will also be busy promoting her book and planning to open a bakery cafe space soon.

Feature Image via Instagram/helloyummyholic

NextShark is a leading source covering Asian American News and Asian News including business, culture, entertainment, politics, tech and lifestyle.

For advertising and inquiries: [email protected]