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How “Crying In H Mart” Helped Michelle Zauner Grieve Her Mother

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Apr 19, 2021

The indie musician Michelle Zauner (who records under the name Japanese Breakfast) always had a complicated relationship with her mother, Chongmi. Michelle was born in Seoul and raised in Oregon, where she never felt like she was truly Korean or truly American. While it was sometimes hard for mother and daughter to understand each other, the thread that kept them together was their shared “Korean appetite,” as Michelle writes in her new memoir, Crying in H Mart. Dan talks with Michelle about losing her mother to cancer before she ever had a chance to learn her mom’s recipes. In the wake of Chongmi’s death, Michelle used food — and frequent trips to H Mart — as a way to rediscover her identity, and to grieve.

Here’s Michelle and Maangchi in 2019, discussing the evolution of Korean food:

Interstitial music in this episode by Black Label Music:

  • "Gust of Wind" by Max Greenhalgh
  • "Rogue Apples" by Karla Dietmeyer and Olivia Diercks
  • "Young and Free" by by Cullen Fitzpatrick
  • "Summertime Delight" by Cullen Fitzpatrick
  • "Mouse Song" by Ken Brahmstedt

Music by Japanese Breakfast courtesy of Secretly Group

  • "Everybody Wants To Love You" on Psychopomp (2016)
  • "Psychopomp" on Psychopomp (2016)
  • "Machinist" on Soft Sounds From Another Planet (2017)
  • "Be Sweet" on Jubilee (2021)

Photo courtesy of Michelle Zauner.

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