10 BEST PODCASTS OF 2021 New York Times BEST FOOD PODCAST James Beard Awards Webby Awards
10 BEST PODCASTS OF 2021 New York Times BEST FOOD PODCAST James Beard Awards, Webby Awards

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A Writer Who Finds His Characters Through Their Food

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Nov 23, 2020
A Writer Who Finds His Characters Through Their Food

In Bryan Washington’s acclaimed debut novel, Memorial, Benson and Mike, a couple living in Houston, are going through a rocky patch in their relationship. Mike leaves to take care of his sick father in Osaka, just as his mother comes from Osaka to visit — which leaves her stuck with Benson instead. Each character’s personal progression unfolds alongside their changing approaches to food and cooking. But like a recipe that keeps evolving, the story resists simple answers. In this episode, Bryan explains why he finds food such a useful literary tool, and how its role in his characters’ lives mimics its role in his own. He also reads from two of his non-fiction essays from The New Yorker: “Bread Pudding and the Comforts of Queer Baking” and “An Adopted Obsession with Soondubu Jjigae, Korean Silken-Tofu Stew.

This episode contains explicit language.

Interstitial music in this episode by Black Label Music:

  • "Star Shooting Light" by Hayley Briasco
  • "Sugar and Spice" by Hayley Briasco
  • "Feel Real Good" by Will Van De Crommert
  • "Dance Hall" by Hans Erickson
  • "Rooftop" by Erick Anderson

Photo courtesy of Dailey Hubbard.

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