Issue 85: Ira Sukrungruang


About Ira Sukrungruang

Ira Sukrungruang is the author of three nonfiction books Buddha’s Dog & other mediations, Southside Buddhist and Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy; the short story collection The Melting Season; and the poetry collection In Thailand It Is Night. He is the president of Sweet: A Literary Confection ( and the Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College.

A Profile of the Author

Notes on “Have You Eaten?”

“Have You Eaten?” started as a panel paper about food writing 3 years. My aunt had passed away, and she was (still is) foremost on my mind, especially when it came to food. I started thinking about how food writing as a form of loss. How, once we lose someone so close, we lose everything about them also–their touch, their voice, and the things they used to cook. Aunty Sue shaped my food life, my taste buds. When I was writing the panel paper, in that original form, I added a lot of footnotes and those footnotes were about my aunt. When I gave the panel presentation, I broke down. It wasn’t pretty, and I imagine pretty awkward for the audience, but it was necessary. This piece allowed me to venture into those memories, memories I tried not to look at. It made me recall all the foods my aunt had made, even the simple ones like a grilled cheese. The difficulty of the subject made the essay slow to develop. But I chipped at it a little at a time, and even now it seems to me unfinished. All creative nonfiction pieces are unfinished in a way. I will return to the topic of food. I will write about my aunt again. Her life and her cooking lives in memory.

Music, Food, Booze, Tattoos, Kittens, etc.

I’m addicted to tattoos. I have a bunch. My newest one (pic included) I got before moving my entire family from Florida to Ohio. It’s a dragon and tiger in love with each other. I didn’t want any type of violence on my arm but rather two beings in harmony with one another. These tattoos of mine tell a different narrative of the body. One that I control. One that I shape. Not the culture. Not the world. For a big guy like myself, tattooing was how I learned love the body.

“Have You Eaten?” by Ira Sukrungruang

Found in Willow Springs 85 Back to Author Profile When my Aunty Sue arrived in Chicago in 1968-the summer hot and familiar like Thailand-she didn’t know how to cook. This seemed … Read more

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