Today, Doris Ho-Kane is constantly filling cookie jars with coconut pandan treats, black sesame ube, and tamarind cocoa beans. In 2019, Ms. Ho-Kane, a pastry chef who used to work in fashion, started selling Vietnamese delicacies made in her own kitchen through an Instagram company called Bạn Bè. “From there, it just exploded,” she said.
The following year, she had secured a storefront with a kitchen in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens. While Ms. Ho-Kane is still “in very heavy tin production,” she said, she also likes to make another dessert, such as a sticky rice-banana cake or dessert soup, which customers can sample at the store or sometimes pre-order on Instagram. , every other weekend.
Ms. Ho-Kane, 41, also manages the online archive 17.21women, which celebrates women from Asia and the Pacific, past and present, and is working on a book based on the project. She lives in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, with her husband, Mark Ho-Kane, 43, a recording artist and composer, and their three children, ages 2, 6 and 8.
BREAKFAST BUFFET I usually wake up an hour before I know my kids will wake up. I’ll scroll through Instagram a bit, but I won’t answer anything. It’s the day I leave technology. We usually do something like a more traditional breakfast, which is like a condensed milk and fruit buffet, where we have things like oatmeal or cereal. It’s very light and very fast because I usually have people pick up cookie jars or shipments that leave on Sundays. So it is a very mixed day of family and work.
FAMILY BUSINESS We only live a few blocks from the bakery, so we go there, and if it’s a cookie jar, my kids stay in the back. If it’s a shipping week, we all help with shipping. We’ll set up their little station in the back, and I’ll be up front, either picking up cookies or shipping.
MARKET RUN We usually go to the Greenmarket, we get apples and pastries and then we deliver treats to friends’ houses – usually parents of our children’s friends – and then we go to the playground across the road. We spend a few hours there, and then they run around. There’s an old giant tree there, and my husband and I like to sit there all the time, and we just absorb the energy from that tree because it’s so old. Something about that tree that draws my family to that playground.
BOOK BREAK Next up is our favorite bookstore, Books Are Magic. It’s a good time for my husband and I to organize our thoughts and be with ourselves, and our kids run to see what books are out there. My husband is a graphic designer and illustrator, so he likes to look at book cover design. I’ll check out cookbooks and see what’s out there. When it’s read, my husband and I stay in the back and sneak in the hand or something else, not counting the kids.
BACK TO THE PLAYGROUND It sounds intense, but we go to another playground that is opposite Books Are Magic. It’s these incredible colors, fuchsia and electric blue. It’s very 90’s so it reminds me and my husband of our childhood. The kids will swing for an hour and then they get really tired.
WEEKLY PARTY We go back to the bakery, and we always like to make a light Vietnamese feast there. We use ingredients I’ve collected all week and left over so we don’t waste them before composting. Or, if we’re feeling really tired, we’ll order Chinese takeaway from Ling Ling Kitchen, just down the street, a no-frills, really cute Chinese restaurant that’s been around for decades. We are vegetarian, so we order the veggie spring rolls, the veggie chow fun, fried rice for the kids, sesame tofu and those fried noodles that you dip in duck sauce. Everything is really fresh and I like to support an older family business in the area.
NIGHT RITUAL I usually make a light, fruity dessert soup for the kids, and then they go to bed. Since we have our three kids and don’t have a nanny, our time is usually 9pm to 3am. When the kids are asleep, my husband and I make a pot of Vietnamese coffee. It’s a very special routine. We choose a random documentary; I usually lean towards fashion or food, and my husband, Mark, leans towards music or paranormal history.
poetic ending My favorite thing to do before going to bed is a little weird. I’ll go to PoetryFoundation.org, and I’ll look up Asian-American poets. I read Ocean Vuong or Mei-mei Berssenbrugge. It really relaxes me and makes me think in a very soft, lyrical way. I have really good dreams if I can absorb more of those poems.
Sunday Routine readers can follow Doris Ho-Kane on Instagram @doris.hokane, her tots @ban_be and her archive @17.21women.