Discussion Questions and Further Reading

We hope the stories in each issue of Oregon Humanities are the beginning of conversations and exploration for our readers. Here you'll find some prompts for discussing these articles with others, as well as links to books, articles, and organizations where you can learn more about the stories and ideas explored in the "Feed" issue.

Discussion Questions

  • In “Kitchen Ghost,” Lola Milholland writes that her mother describes herself as a “disinheritor,” but also cooked Filipino dishes that she learned from her own mother. What does it mean to be an inheritor or disinheritor? How do you choose which family traditions or expectations to carry on?

  • This issue contains three short essays—”Stepping Up in Southern Oregon,” “Things Gleaned,” and “Mama Will Feed You”—offering perspectives on how volunteers in Oregon are working to redistribute food. How are such efforts related to those of the Oregon Food Bank and other large organizations? Do the efforts described address root causes of hunger in Oregon? How do they benefit volunteers and communities?

  • “Clicking” describes the tensions between the assumptions we make about spaces and people that share our own interests and the realities of individual experiences and beliefs. In addition, it makes us think about how we build community in those spaces. How do you bring your full self when building community with others? What does a community that fully welcomes you look like?

  • In “Preserving Food, Cheating Death,” Jennifer Burns Bright talks to people who find meditation, community, and creative expression in food preservation; she also describes canning and fermentation as magical wards against death and decay. Are these characteristics unique to food preservation? Are there other activities you do that provide both practical and emotional/spiritual benefits?

  • In “Dead Horses,” Grace Castle writes about the history and perseverance of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians from her perspective as a person who grew up in Siletz and has family members who are Native but is not herself a member of the Tribes. How did identity affect the author’s understanding of Native history and traditions? How did her understanding evolve through her childhood? 

  • In “Eid Al-Adha, Festival of Sacrifice,” Nada Sewidan talks about her experience and challenges in navigating her Egyptian and American identities. What are some identities you hold? Do these identities come into conflict? How do you understand and navigate these conflicts?

Further Reading

“What’s Growing in John Day”


“Kitchen Ghost”

  • Carlos Bulosan, America Is in the Heart. 1943.
    “Published the year my mother was born, 1946, this is an incredible, moving account based on Bulosan's life as a Filipino immigrant, farm labor organizer, poet, and activist. Bulosan vividly describes life as an itinerant worker in California, the insidious racism he faced, and the collaboration between Filipino and Mexican farm laborers that gave rise to the farm labor movement. It’s a significant chapter in American history I only learned about recently. In the final chapter, he heads on a bus to Portland, and I’ve always imagined him arriving here, and the life the book doesn’t describe that begins on that day.” —Lola Milholland
  • Nora Daza, Let’s Cook with Nora. 1965.
    “The cookbook I’ve turned to the most for Filipino recipes. Initially published in 1965, it touts itself as ‘a treasury of Filipino, Chinese and European dishes compiled and kitchen-tested.’ Author Nora Daza asks the same question I have asked: Where is Filipino food in the US canon? Her response is this inviting collection of diverse recipes that flow from the Filipino diaspora.”
  • "Painting the Philippines with an American Brush: Visions of Race and National Mission among the Oregon Volunteers in the Philippine Wars of 1898 and 1899,” Oregon Historical Quarterly, Vol. 104, No. 1 (Spring 2003).
    Accessing this article requires logging into JSTOR. Multnomah County residents can do so through the Multnomah County Library. A somewhat less readable PDF is available without a login here.
  • Bienvenido Santos, “The Day the Dancers Came” and other writings
    “Bienvenido Santos wrote dozens of novels and short stories about Filipino life in America that are textural, personal and eye-opening. “The Day the Dancers Came” is a good starting place for his work. A short story, published both alone and in an eponymous collection with other stories, it talks about life in the Manong generation, unsure of one's identity in a hostile country, longing for an idea of home. (Available online here.)


“State of Hunger”



  • James Baldwin, Collected Essays
  • Mia Birdsong, How We Show Up
    “This recently published book challenges our culture's hyper-individualistic bent and showcases different ways people have found and built community. The book also explores how we are interdependent and how care for community is care for self and vice versa.” —Marbla Reed
  • Jason Blakely, We Built Reality: How Social Science Infiltrated Culture, Politics, and Power
  • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow
  • Rachel Heydemann and john a. powell, On Bridging. Othering and Belonging Institute, 2020.
  • Oren Jay Sofer, Say What You Mean
    “A primer on nonviolent communication mixed with mindfulness written by a Buddhist student and teacher”
  • Howard Thurman, Jesus and the Disinherited.
    “Martin Luther King Jr. traveled with this book, and Thurman was a mentor to him on nonviolence and loving those who hate.”
  • Braver Angels, braverangels.org
    “Okay, this isn't a book! But I haven't found a more inspiring place to see/hear real dialogue.”


“Preserving Food, Cheating Death”


“Dead Horses”




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Also in this Issue

From the Director: What It Means to Be Seen

Editor's Note: Feed

What's Growing in John Day

Kitchen Ghost

Stepping Up in Southern Oregon

Things Gleaned

Mama Will Feed You


Preserving Food, Cheating Death

Dead Horses

Eid al-Adha, Festival of Sacrifice


People, Places, Things

Discussion Questions and Further Reading