‘Karen, Queen of Congee’ opposes branding of ancient Asian dish for Western palate

A breakfast brand that “upgrades” the congee for the Western palate sparked controversy over the weekend after Twitter users accused it of cultural appropriation.

Company context: Founded in 2017 in Eugene, Oregon, Breakfast Cure sells packets of various flavors of “congee” that focus on “organic whole grains, gluten free and a wide variety of ingredients”. He calls each of his portions a “bowl of zen”.

  • Breakfast Cure was founded by Karen taylor, a licensed acupuncturist who started eating congee about 25 years ago and was interested in the process of slowly cooking grains for better digestion. Since then, she says she has tried different combinations to find “some really tasty and healthy combinations, some based on an ancient tradition and others. [her] own creations.

  • There is currently 13 flavors of Breakfast Cure prepackaged “congee”. These include “Apple Cinnamon”, “Coconut Blueberry Bliss”, “Golden Spice”, “Karen’s Kitchari”, “Mango and Sticky Rice”, “Masala Chai Spice”, “Mega-Omega”, “Om Berry”, ” Pear- Fection “,” Pineapple Paradise “,” Romano Bean Dream “,” Tangled Up in Blueberry “and” Three Treasures “.

  • The brand claims its “simple congee method” spreads the wisdom that hot and cooked foods “heal, soothe and energize.” The benefits listed include hydration, gentle cleansing, and an overall metabolism and energy boost.

What the critics are saying: The company began to receive backlash over the weekend after a Twitter user accused it of cultural appropriation. Other users have since joined in criticizing his methods and statements.

  • In one thread, Twitter user Casey Ho (@CaseyHo) shared screenshots from Breakfast Cure’s Instagram posts, including a photo of his all-white team. She also shared what appears to be an earlier version from Taylor’s blog post titled “How I Discovered the Congee Miracle and Made It Better.”

  • In her original post, Taylor wrote that she spent a lot of time “modernizing” the congee “for the Western palette. [sic]So that “you” can eat it and find it “delicious” and not “foreign”. The post appears to have been edited as of this writing, but a quick Google search still shows the original title.

  • Chinese-American writer Frankie Huang (@ourobororoboruo) is one of the reviews of Breakfast Cure, writing: “Like a broken record, I have to say it’s unbelievably boring to see white people ‘interpreting’ the cultures of millions and billions of living people as if they were archaeologists. Being treated like we were dead gives me want to lie down. “

  • Jenn Fang from Reappropriate (@ reappropriated) also took a jab at Breakfast Cure: “Leave is not only ‘boiled rice’, it also contains specific and traditional flavor profiles that should not be totally ignored; and certainly not treat as odd or unappetizing … it is definitely offensive for anyone trying to “reinterpret” the congee to do so by presenting the traditional version as crass and disgusting, and that their “reinterpretations” will somehow save it by making it better or easier for white people. “

  • Taylor, who was once called “Our Founder and Queen of Congee” on the Meet the Team page of the company’s website, is now called only “Our Founder.” name, Karen, a derogatory alias who has come to represent problematic white women on the Internet.

The company responds: In a statement to NextShark, Breakfast Cure apologized for its problematic language and vowed to continue supporting the Asian American community. The company said it donated to the Asian Mental Health Collective and currently supports Asian Americans for the advancement of justice.

Read Breakfast Cure’s full statement below:

“At Breakfast Cure, our core mission is to create delicious, full breakfasts to give you the fastest home-cooked meal possible. Our Oregon porridge is inspired by the traditional rice congee, an incredible healing dish. with references dating back to 1000 BC

“Recently we have failed to support and honor the Asian American community and for that we are deeply sorry. We take full responsibility for any language on our website or in our marketing and have took immediate action to address it and educate ourselves, revise our mission not only to create delicious breakfasts, but to become a better ally for the AAPI community.

“Previously, in March, we donated 15% of our sales to the Asian Mental Health Collective, showing our support and speaking out against hatred of Asians. We will continue to donate 1% of all sales or 10% of profits, whichever is higher nonprofit and activist organizations. Currently, all purchases support Asian Americans for justice. “

Featured Image via Made With Lau

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