The internet was not happy over a woman’s claim that she “improved” congee. According to Today, the owner of the “Breakfast Cure,” Karen Taylor found herself in a social media storm after she described herself as the “Queen of Congee” and her congee recipe as an “improved” version of the rice porridge. Congee is the name of the Chinese version of the dish.
In a blog post titled “How I discovered the miracle of congee and improved it,” Taylor wrote, “I’ve spent a lot of time modernizing (congee) for the Western pallet [sp] – making a congee that you can eat and find delicious and doesn’t seem foreign, but delivers all of the medicinal healing properties of this ancient recipe.”
“The Breakfast Cure” founded in 2017 sells many flavors of congee packs. Taylor said she was introduced to congee around 20 years ago while attending “Chinese medical school” in New Mexico and that it helped heal her gut.
“(Acupuncturists) are the ones who can bring congee and all its healing powers to the people around us,” Taylor wrote on her site. “As acupuncturists, we understand why it’s actually good for everyone. … Chinese medicine provides us a vantage point that allows us to see beyond trendy fads and draw instead on our beautiful, time-tested traditions.”
The backlash was fierce against Karen Taylor who was criticized for cultural appropriation.
Taylor apologized but told Today she was surprised at the controversy because she was “embraced by the Chinese medicine community” when she launched her brand. But she noted that she was hearing what people were saying and that she and her team will change the description. Additionally, she said she’s willing to have a discussion but she finding it difficult because some of the comments against her were “offensive.”
“I am really sorry for anything insensitive that I’ve said or that has caused any pain or suffering to anyone; that is so far from my intention,” Taylor said. “It’s been a very humbling few days and I’ve hoped some kind of productive dialogue could come out of it, because I love to have authentic conversations and explore how I could do better, because I am trying, and obviously I’ve missed some really important things.”
Ultimately, all Karen Taylor and her company the “Breakfast Cure” want to do is help people’s digestion.
“In America, we really need to address systemic racism and I am totally committed to that, just to be super clear about that,” Taylor said. “But I also feel that we need to heal ourselves from an epidemic of obesity and broken digestion … It’s pretty serious, and the wisdom from Chinese medicine offers a lot of potential healing for that.”