Everything we do at Cookable is with the goal of making the experience of cooking at home more delightful. But we also know that our relationship with food isn’t always simple or one-dimensional. Each week, our founder Grace Choi enlists the help of an expert to delve into the messy and wonderful complexities of food in our everyday lives.
Here's the Latest Episode from Cookable Presents: The Psyche Eats:
Joanne Molinaro is The Korean Vegan, a compelling storyteller who weaves together plant-based Korean recipes and the powerful narratives they inspire. After spending the majority of her life as “the big one,” she began to shed this persona when she left a toxic marriage in 2013. Today, she reaches hundreds of thousands of people with an impactful message of metamorphosis and emergence that reverberates in every story she tells.
What makes us who we are? Why is it that you might be a jalapeno-loving thrill seeker, while every other member of your family avoids risk and spicy foods? Our genes lay the foundation for our uniqueness, but they don’t tell the whole story. Neuroscientist David Linden explores the origins and intricacies of these questions in his new book Unique: The New Science of Human Individuality. Available at davidlinden.org/books/unique/buy-the-book.html
In Hungry: Avocado Toast, Instagram Influencers, and Our Search for Connection and Meaning, author Eve Turow-Paul unpacks the ways in which we use food as a tool for communication - communication with others and communication of our identities. In this episode, we talk about how we seek out communities in an age of digital hyper connectivity.
Before co-founding Soupergirl with her mother, former stand-up comedian Sara Polon was not in a good place. This painful two-year period in her late twenties was one of depression and its physical manifestations. It was also one of the most important and defining. From pain came self-discovery, rejection of certain expectations, renewed attention to physical health, and deepened relationships – all of which now live in her company’s products, story, values, and mission.
Julia Coney is a wine enthusiast, writer, and educator. In addition to helping others cultivate their knowledge of wine and providing resources for Black industry professionals, she is a vocal and respected critic of biases against women and people of color within the industry. Here, she talks to me about race, language, pleasure, and health, as well as coming out of my (budgetary) comfort zone.
What do we talk about when we talk about food with our children? What are the differences between American and French dinnertime practices, and how are these differences reflective of cultural ideologies and the roles food play in our everyday lives? Aliya and Tami join me for a lively and engaging discussion on the challenges of learning to cook, raise kids, and shape our children’s perspectives on food from infancy and beyond.
Nom Wah Tea Parlor is a Chinatown mainstay in New York, celebrating its centennial this year. When Wilson Tang took over as owner and proprietor ten years ago, he breathed new life into the establishment, taking it from bakery to vintage dim sum parlor, opening new locations, and branching out into new forms of customer engagement. Opportunities were endless. And then COVID happened. Wilson talks about what this period has meant for him as a caretaker of a business and its employees, a mentor and investor in other hospitality ventures, and as a parent and model for his children. Photo credit Natalie Chitwood.
Rebekah Shackney of A Therapist Takes Her Own Advice invited me onto her show to talk about the ways in which we communicate our identities, emotions, and complex inner worlds through the foods we choose to eat. Why is it that we turn to childhood comfort foods and make sourdough during a time of collective frustration and upheaval? How do our most seminal childhood memories experienced through food?
What people see when they first see Melanie Dunea is an established photographer, beloved in the food world, who has rubbed shoulders with and created intimate portraits for the likes of Jose Andres, Anthony Bourdain, and Melissa Clark. What they don’t see is a history of nose-to-the-grindstone work dating back to childhood summers with her grandfather, early days of apprenticeship, or the ongoing effort of fighting for herself and her convictions. (Compassion factors in as well, as I discover quickly.)
Like many ethnic and racial minorities, Eric Kim is in pursuit of change. A food writer and recipe developer with a passionate following and a Korean American cookbook on the way, he uses his platform to provide entertainment, inspiration, and information. Among many things, we explored what it means to be Asian American in support of Black Lives Matter, and the snowball effect this could have on how marginalized foods like Spam can become normalized by society.
Chewing. Lip-smacking. Sniffing. In repetition, these sounds or triggers are enough to make someone with misophonia experience an intense and involuntary response of anxiety, contempt, or even rage. While everyone's experience with misophonia is subjective, the psychological "fight-or-flight" response is so consistent that it has been the topic of medical study for two decades. It is a fascinating and chronic condition that renowned physician and writer Dr. Barron Lerner lives with and shares with me here.
Michael Parkot of Always Something Farm in Western New York came into farming six years ago, but the seeds were planted five years prior when his wife’s grandfather taught him how to butcher a chicken. His on-the-ground insights on meat production and consumption, how he involves his kids on the farm, his business pivot during this time of COVID, and his hopes for contributing to a more sustainable and healthful existence for all are inspiring and revealing.
Darlena Cunha’s 2014 article “This is what happened when I drove my Mercedes to pick up food stamps” was Washington Post’s most read article of all time for years running. At a time when unemployment numbers are higher than we’ve ever seen, her experience and insights are all the more relevant today. She revisits her experience with me and tells me how her personal struggles following the 2008 recession shaped her identity and prepared her to weather the worst of storms.
In his delightful book Spirits Sugar Water Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World, Derek Brown writes: “The saloon-keep, bartender, or mixologist has provided humanity with the same service that was once reserved for shamans, alchemists, and wizards – they have helped heal, transform, and dazzle us.” Derek is the renowned craft bartender behind The Columbia Room in Washington DC and, in 2015, was named Chief Spirits Advisor to the National Archives Foundation. He sat down with me virtually to talk about his evolution from bartender to spirits and cocktail expert, his pursuit of mental, physical, and spiritual health within a profession that can often divert attention away from underlying internal battles, and how we can foster a more positive and balanced relationship with alcohol in our everyday lives.
An exploration of food and the emotional life.