#103 | Breakfast
Breakfast: THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOK ABOUT THE BEST MEAL OF THE DAY
By The Editors of Extra Crispy
Speaker 1: Welcome to the Cookery by the Book podcast with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City sitting at her dining room table talking to cookbook authors.
Kat Kinsman: Hi. I'm Kat Kinsman. I'm the Senior Food and Drinks Editor at Extra Crispy, and we've got a new book, Breakfast: The Most Important Book About the Best Meal of the Day.
Suzy Chase: This book was written by you and the other editors of Extra Crispy. Tell us about Extra Crispy.
Kat Kinsman: Oh, wow. It's such an exciting ... This book, I'm so excited about it. It's actually a collection of material that we've run on Extra Crispy and some new things that we've written. Extra Crispy is your one-stop shopping for everything about breakfast: culture, news, essays, recipes. If it's breakfast, we're going to cover it. I know it sounds silly, so you have a site that's just about breakfast, but since we launched in June of 2016, we realized that, when you go narrow, you can go really, really deep, so we use breakfast as a Trojan horse to talk about a million different things.
Suzy Chase: In 1875, speaking of deep, cookbook author Marion Harland praises eggs as elegant and frugal, so here's the age-old question: Why do we eat eggs for breakfast? I've never understood that.
Kat Kinsman: Oh, my goodness. We actually have an essay. I don't know if it's in the book, but we have run an essay, I believe recently, about why that is. I mean think about it. They're so incredibly adaptable. They can store for a fairly long time. They are a fantastic and inexpensive source of nutrition, of protein. They keep you going for a while. Again, I think it got back to the adaptability of it, that there's so many different ways that you can eat them. They're really personal is what I've realized. It's something that, without a whole lot of effort, you can make for yourself in the morning, and you can make it exactly to your liking, or it's not too hard to guide somebody else to make them exactly the way you want them too. It's an easy way to give somebody pleasure, and sustenance, and a little bit of affirmation in the day, "I see you. I know how to make you happy. Here's eggs just the way you want them."
Suzy Chase: I didn't know that, in the early 1900s, breakfast cereal was invented in response to indigestion blamed on meat and egg consumption. That sounds like B.S. to me, right? It sounds like a marketing thing.
Kat Kinsman: Oh, absolutely was. The people at Battle Creek, the scientists there who came up with Raisin Bran, and flakes, and all that kind of stuff were doing it ... They were wellness freaks in a really early incarnation, and they were doing it to quash libido and-
Suzy Chase: What? Really?
Kat Kinsman: They were doing all sorts of ... Oh, it's just so nuts. It's in the early days of Kellogg's. They got some zealots in there to start to develop these foods that were supposed to be optimized for health but also sort of add moral fiber to your day. If you look at all the stuff that they were doing in Battle Creek and then at these sort of wellness resorts that they had, they were doing these things to control people's emotional impulses and set them on the path of the good and righteous. It was almost culty how all this stuff came about. I'm actually working on a piece right now about the moral intertwinings of the early days of flake cereal. It's really astounding stuff if you dig back just a little bit over a century.
Suzy Chase: I feel like fried eggs are a bit out of fashion at the moment, but I love a good fried egg, especially a diner fried egg. Talk about some ways to upgrade the good old fried egg.
Kat Kinsman: Oh, one very, very easy thing to do is use a ton of olive oil, get it just ripping hot, put the egg in there, and spoon the olive oil a little bit over the edges until they get good and lacy. It's a very ... Oh, I wish I could say the term. It's a Spanish term. Chef Katie Button really drove this home to me, and it's her favorite was to do it, but the way it translates is like lacy eggs. The center of it remains good and runny and beautiful, but if you can get the pan to the right temperature and use olive oil instead of butter, because butter can burn and it gets that sort of acrid taste to it, but olive oil can take a little bit more heat, and you get those brown, crispy, lacy edges and still have that runny yolk, and it's the simplest thing in the world to do.
Another really, really easy thing to do is just put a little bit of Aleppo pepper over top of it, just a little bit, and have that olive oil with it, and that is a little bit of heat, a little pop of ... just a little pop of joy and sensory pleasure to start the day with. The texture of the lacy edges of the egg with a little bit of crunch of good salt, the Aleppo pepper, if you have that with some bread, that just hits every single sensory button, and it's a great way to start the day.
Suzy Chase: There's an infamous op-ed in The New York Times that says, and I will quote, "Brunch is for jerks." What are your thoughts on brunch, especially brunch in New York City?
Kat Kinsman: Here is my thing. I've always ascribed to the notion that, if it tastes good, it is good. I'm laissez-faire about these sorts of things. I realize the older I get the less prescriptive I am about things that bring people pleasure. I mean we are living in times of turmoil right now where I really believe, if you can bring any sort of simple pleasure into your life and it's not harmful to anyone else, why not? The great thing about brunch is the community aspect of it. I mean sure, you can go have brunch by yourself. That's absolutely fine. You can have it with one other person but, ideally, it's a vehicle for community.
We ran this piece a few months ago by Nik Sharma who ... Oh, my gosh. I love this man. He has a book coming out. It's seriously one of the loveliest cookbooks I have ever seem. Everybody needs to buy Nik Sharma's book. He wrote a piece about why gay brunch is so important and especially in his early days ... so after coming out, and moving, and coming together in this safe space with friends where they could go through what happened that week and talk through their loves, and their heartbreaks, and everything in a safe, communal space before marriage was legalized. It was such a powerful, beautiful space. You talk now about the transition of now that marriage is legal and people are able to host brunch at home with their spouses and invite people over to their houses, but talking about the early importance of these sort of queer spaces to get together over brunch. I mean if mimosas and sort of crappy Eggs Benedict can be a vehicle for that sort of thing, I am all for it.
Suzy Chase: There's a whole section devoted to the Dutch Baby. What is that?
Kat Kinsman: Well, because it makes you look like a freaking genius. I hadn't really made them, and Dawn Perry, who has a few ... She's a goddess on Earth, and she's at Real Simple. Before she had really started up in this position at Real Simple, she was writing a bunch for us, and she ... I trust everything this woman does. Everyone needs to watch her show. She really drove home the fact that they're incredibly versatile. I think this thing was called A Dutch baby is the Little Black Dress at Your Party or something like that but, really, it's this thing where you just bring together a few ingredients. You put them in a cast iron pan. It puffs up. It's such an ooh-la-la kind of moment.
You can make it sweet. You can make it savory. You can adapt it to whatever your particular taste is. You can make them all a la minute at a party and have that great razzle-dazzle moment where it's brunch and, "Oh, no big deal. I just made this great big, explosive popover thing," and everyone you brought there sees your moment of ooh and ah and gets to watch it move and deflate, and it can be dressed however you want. It's a glorious bit of theater that is really easy to pull off.
Suzy Chase: I went down the rabbit hole researching this recipe and, in 1966, Craig Claiborne was at Dave Eyre's home in Hawaii. Eyres was the editor of Honolulu Magazine at the time. David made a Dutch baby for Craig, and Claiborne came back, wrote about it in The New York Times, and it's such a beautiful thing. I know for a fact that Martha Stewart loves the lemon butter Dutch baby recipe that you have on page 47.
Kat Kinsman: Oh, my gosh, what a classic that is. Those particular flavors are ... they just work so beautifully, and it makes it feel like you're eating pie for breakfast, which I wholeheartedly endorse, by the way. Pie for breakfast is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Dutch babies, I feel like they're ... they have such a funny history. There is a town I'm totally blanking on on the West Coast, I feel like it's in California. It was like a Gold Rush thing. I should know about this because I wrote about it for the site recently, but can we talk for a second about Craig Claiborne and what an amazing taste maker he was?
Suzy Chase: Yes.
Kat Kinsman: Oh, my gosh. I think I'm probably one of the few sort of people who, right now, have read the memoir, the warts and all, of his memoir. People have forgotten about Craig, and it breaks my heart. He was such as taste maker. I remember him ... I don't remember when he did it, but the importance of him writing about the shrimp and grits at Crook's Corner with Bill Neal, this dish that ... it has some sort of murky origins and stuff, but he saw the beauty in this, wrote about it in the Times and, all of a sudden, people started really paying attention to this corner of North Carolina.
I've made his mother's spaghetti dish on more than one occasion. I've made his shrimp and grits. What a legacy. He really did the legwork to go around the country, see the things that people were doing regionally, and then ... Nobody should need justification or the imprimatur of a giant publication but, at the time, he used it as such an incredible platform to really sing the praises of these regional dishes and make them national favorites. Sorry, I love Craig Claiborne.
Suzy Chase: Well, he's one of those guys people say, "If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone living or dead, who would you invite?" He's one of those guys you want at your dinner table.
Kat Kinsman: Oh, my God, him and Clementine Paddleford. There would be no doubt that you-
Suzy Chase: Who's that?
Kat Kinsman: Oh, God, she was spectacular.
Suzy Chase: That's a great name.
Kat Kinsman: Isn't it? She was incredible. There was a bio of her that came out a few years back, and she was an incredible woman who ... She was at one of the rival papers in New York. She flew her own plane, so she was a pilot and would fly her little plane around the country to sort of go in and see how people really were cooking in all of these regions like, really, the kind of cooking that would be in church cookbooks that was not highfalutin restaurant food because there really wasn't a whole lot of highfalutin restaurant food, but really talking about home cooking in regions all over the country. She would get in her little plane and fly there and come back and write in her paper.
She was an established newspaper editor, and then Craig Claiborne came in, few years younger than her, and he was young, he was cute, and he sort of ate her lunch, so people really don't know as much about her legacy, but oh, gosh, I wish I could remember the name. I'm so blanking this morning on the names of all the books, but look up the book about her. It's really, really just a fantastic thing.
Suzy Chase: Food that's weird to people you've never heard of isn't weird to those who grow up eating it, so I guess Livermush would fall into that category. I didn't grow up eating it.
Kat Kinsman: Oh, my God.
Suzy Chase: I have no idea what it is.
Kat Kinsman: I think it could use some rebranding just from the name because, if people actually had it, it would ... oh, it would blow their minds. That piece by Sheri Castle that is in the book ... First of all, Sheri is a tremendous advocate for North Carolina food. She's an extraordinary writer, and she really sings the praises of mountain food and North Carolina food and really sings to the dignity of these foods that ... A lot of these foods come from deprivation, so Livermush is liver and mixed in with grains, and it's essentially made into a loaf and fried, and you slice it, and it gets golden brown on the outside. It's a little bit sort of mushy, spongy on the inside. It's basically like a meatloaf, and it is the most glorious thing.
There are a few towns throughout North Carolina that throw festivals in honor of it. There's brand called Neese's that is one of the premier brands of it, and they have Livermush. They also have liver pudding, which is very like it with a slightly different spice blend to it, and they're just really preserving this heritage. There are a few different brands that make it. My husband's from North Carolina, so every time I go down there I try to seek out all the different regional brands and variations of it. Like what you said, the food that people didn't grow up eating might seem weird to them, but that's part of our core mission at Extra Crispy, is to really give the dignity to these foods that they deserve, because it really bothers me when people yuck other people's yum, just because they're unfamiliar with it. Food is so inextricably tied to identity, that to slam somebody else's food just because it seems weird or unfamiliar is unfortunately, since time immemorial, been a way to other people. It's done to first generation or immigrant kids, who bring their lunch to school and it smells different than what the other kids are eating.
It's something that is often used as a tool to alienate people who might not be from the dominant culture, when in fact it should be a tool to bring people together. Here is this little part of my culture, my heritage. Here's a way to understand a little bit more about me. It's an act of generosity to share your food and it's something that we really, really try to emphasize on Extra Crispy, that we approach all foods with an open mind and an open heart. And ideally let somebody from that culture tell the story of it and why it's so important, and hopefully open up some new doors to it.
Suzy Chase: Eleven fancy butters were sourced, to find the best one which is Bordier. Is it Bordi-a or bordi-er?
Kat Kinsman: That is a really good question.
Suzy Chase: Let's just go with Bordi-a.
Kat Kinsman: Yes. I believe that is how someone who actually knew how to pronounce it -
Suzy Chase: Yes. (laughs)
Kat Kinsman: ... did pronounce it, but we've been all over the place on that. I got to take part in this tasting.
Suzy Chase: I saw on a Mind of a Chef episode, where Chef Ludo goes to the factory. Have you seen that? Where they slap the butter with the paddles and they stamp it, and they put salt on it.
Kat Kinsman: I've seen it.
Suzy Chase: It's glorious.
Kat Kinsman: We brought in my friend John Winterman who is the managing partner at Batard, but he is also a butter freak. I believe we gave him the name Maitre D'Beurre to guide us through this. The whole Extra Crispy team, we are butter aficionados, freaks, obsessives, whatever you want to call it. We sourced all these butters. It was mostly my fantastic colleagues, Margaret Eby and Rebecca Firkser. I think at some point, Margaret is just going to go off on a butter sabbatical. This is her dream to go somewhere and really learn how to make butter. She and Rebecca went out and sourced all of these different high-end butters. They had already done this with grocery store butters. And in that one, Kerrygold came out top as it should. It's a fantastic butter. But I think we grabbed the corporate card to expense butter. They tried it on bread. I have a gut condition and I can't really eat bread. I'm trying to remember what I had it on. It was radishes. I had mine on radish slices.
Suzy Chase: Oh, that's so smart.
Kat Kinsman: Yeah, it was a really great way to get to do it. Also I didn't fill up on bread. I was mad not be able to have it with the bread, but we work with what we are given. We just tasted them through. Came up with the top few and then put them all head to head. The Bordier was incredible. I have to say, there was a slight followup later because Bordier does variations. With those, we were just doing salted butters, I believe. Otherwise, you can really extra fall down the rabbit hole. Bordier does one with this flint pepper in it. They do a few different variations -
Suzy Chase: Oh, no.
Kat Kinsman: Well Margaret found the raspberry one -
Suzy Chase: No.
Kat Kinsman: They only make a little bit. It is one of the best things I've ever had in my life. So it is butter. It is raspberries. It's raspberry juice. We all tried it and we all just stared at each other.
Suzy Chase: (laughs)
Kat Kinsman: We could not speak. So Ryan Grim who is the editor of the site who is just a delightful human being. If you've ever seen the Instant Pot videos that I do, he is Mr. Grim -
Suzy Chase: Yes.
Kat Kinsman: -- in the videos. He's our boss. But he was just, you know, the 1,000 yard stare, like just eating this. It was the purest raspberries, the most beautiful butter. If you buy it where we bought it, we bought a quarter pound of it, it would be $72 a pound. But we sort of rationalized this because we got a quarter pound and said if you go into a party, you could bring a bottle of wine. That's great. It gets push on the shelf with the other wines. If you roll in with this butter and a baguette, you are the star of the party.
Suzy Chase: Oh, my gosh. Where do you get this butter, do you know? Can you get it in New York City?
Kat Kinsman: We got it ... Yes, you can. We got it at Le District, which conveniently is right below our office in Brookfield Place.
Suzy Chase: Look at that! (laughs) Okay, I'm going down there today.
Kat Kinsman: Yes. Actually if you want me to do it when I get into the office, I will look and see if they have it so you don't waste a trip.
Suzy Chase: Okay. (laughs) Thank you. How did you get the inspiration to turn a king cake into french toast?
Kat Kinsman: So Margaret Eby, who is our senior culture editor. She and I both are New Orleans obsessives. So she grew up in Mississippi and would go to New Orleans all the time. I've been going since ... Oh golly. So I used to work for CNN and I had the pleasure of my intro into New Orleans was we would have these secret suppers. I got to throw one at James Carville and Mary Matalin's house. They are such tremendous ambassadors for the city. They are food obsessives and they let us throw this party at our house. Sorry, at their house. I wish it was my house. So I had sort of a crash course in getting to go to New Orleans. My husband was supposed to meet me and our dog got sick and he couldn't come. So I was okay, well that means we'll have to go back and you'll have to come with me. He fell in love with it too, so we go three, four times a year because we love it so much. Margaret goes as often as she can. She actually rides in a Mardi Gras crew.
So a great act of love from both of us is to bring back king cake when we go. We were just thinking king cake is ... There's a lot of really bad king cake out there. The intention is great, but if we're being honest, a lot of it kind of sucks and it gets stale really, really quickly. So we were thinking, it would also feel like a sin to throw away king cake. So we decided to do it two different ways. We made french toast out of king cake. Then king cake out of french toast. To me, it's exemplified what we do at Extra Crispy where we really do try to tell stories about particular tradition and cultures.
Also we have a chance to get really weird. We sort of joke, the extra in Extra Crispy is that we have permission to take things to strange degrees and just have a whole lot of fun and find joy in this. I mean breakfast is a meal that it can be formal. It can just be for sustenance, but think about those weekend breakfasts when you just get to play and goof and eventually feed people. It's a really, really fun thing. We take people seriously and we take people's culture seriously and their identities and stuff. We don't always necessarily take ourselves too seriously.
Suzy Chase: Speaking of extra, Chapter 6 Franken-foods and mashups.
Kat Kinsman: (laughs)
Suzy Chase: Velveeta chex mix nacho dirt bag casserole. Say that fast five times. That's hard to say.
Kat Kinsman: (laughs)
Suzy Chase: Is always a good thing, right?
Kat Kinsman: So Margaret and I ... I want to explain dirt bag a little bit if that's okay. (laughs)
Suzy Chase: Sure.
Kat Kinsman: So this all came about because I had never ... I had my notion of sort of the term dirt bag. Margaret and I were texting while she was at a lake house with a bunch of her friends. She was leading what she called her best dirt bag life. I was like unpack that for please. She said, you know, it is the self when you are around people who you deeply trust and love that you don't have to put in any sort of guard or errs. You can be wearing whatever you want. You're comfortable. Ideally you're in a lake house or just somewhere where nobody's faultin. Everybody is just their most chill out, lazy, maybe a teeny bit tipsy, kind of self. And you're really happy and free.
She texted me saying here's what we have in the house. We have oh golly, like some leftover bottoms of the bags of various chips. We have some eggs. We have some beer. We have some bread. She asked me okay, what can I make from this? I was like girl, you've got a casserole there. You have everything you need to make ...
I am a big fan of a casserole. You can put absolutely anything together so long as you have some sort of bread-like substance, a liquid, ideally an egg, though you don't necessarily have to have an egg to bind it. You put it in a dish. You stick it in the oven, then put it under the broiler to get the top crunchy. Out of this came ... And I was like especially if you can pour beer into there as the liquid, you win. And Velveeta is its own magical substance. If you don't try to think of it as cheese, you're better off. You can use real cheese if you want to, but Velveeta, I think really gets the zeitgeist there. You can make it with absolutely anything so long as you follow the formula. It's cheesy and delicious and it's even better the next day.
Suzy Chase: In addition to being the senior food and drinks editor at Extra Crispy, you also write and talk about tough, real life stuff; anxiety and depression. You wrote a book called, "Hi Anxiety, Life with a Bad Case of Nerves." You started the conversation in the restaurant community about depression, anxiety addiction and eating disorders on chefs with issues. Talk a little bit about that.
Kat Kinsman: Yes, so I have been pretty open for a long time about my own struggles with anxiety and depression. Then recently a diagnosis of ADHD, which was contributing to the anxiety as I found out. It's something that I have dealt with as long as I can remember. My friends knew about a certain amount of it and definitely my family did. I've never been ashamed about talking about it, but it wasn't necessarily something I led with.
When I was at CNN, I was the food editor there and I also wrote for CNN Living. And I wrote an essay about my experience with depression throughout my life and then later I wrote about anxiety. It opened up a conversation there at work and then we were able to ... Both of them went viral and they were really kind and generous and thoughtful enough to let me really explore that further there with some conversations and community stuff that we did.
What happened was that I also was the food editor, so I would be interviewing a chef there or at my next job when we would be doing some video or whatever it happened to be and I'd be recording it. There would be a moment where we would stop and turn off the recorder to change batteries or change tapes. A couple of times it happened that the chef would be like hey, actually can I talk to you about something? Then they would tell me about their own particular struggles with depression or anxiety or addiction or whatever it happened to be. Or someone who they worked with in their kitchen. That happened once and I felt like okay, this is somebody who just needed to get it off their chest. I'm so grateful that they were willing to trust me with it. Then it happened again. Then it started to happen more than half the time. I started to think there's really something going on here.
So after a few months of this, I threw up a website on January 1st, 2016 and I put up a poll asking people are you dealing with any of these issues? If so, do you feel open talking about it? Do you get treatment? All this stuff. I figured I'd maybe get a few dozen responses. I've gotten well over 2,000 responses at this point. I started getting letters and calls, emails, Facebook messages, Twitter messages from people saying, "Oh, my god. I thought I was the only one."
I realized it was really a huge crisis. The month after I started this site, three different chef owners took their own lives that I knew about. It's constant. I cannot stress this enough. Chefs and hospitality workers and bartenders die all the time and people don't talk about it. Whether it is by suicide or whether it is by as they call it, "slow suicide" of rough choices or addiction or whatever it happens to be. That was three in one month. One that was very, very high profile and two that were less so, but people happened to tell me. I did the math on this and realized just the toll this takes on the industry. So I started this website. I got the opportunity to speak about it at a few conferences.
I realized this was way, way, way bigger than me. I couldn't field all of this stuff by myself. It takes a toll. I'm happy to do it and it adds so much to me, but it's a lot. So I started a Facebook group last summer while I was recovering from surgery where people could just come any hour of the day or night, and have open conversations about what they were dealing with. And three months ago, there were 828 people in it. Now, as of last night, there were 2300 people in it-
Suzy Chase: Oh my God.
Kat Kinsman: The thing that happened was Anthony Bourdain killed himself, and yeah, which so many people are still reeling from ... The thing that's been going on also over the course of this last year, two and a half years that I've been doing this is, I've gotten a community of people who are starting this conversation in their own community. There are groups all over the country operating independently where they're gathering together people in the industry in their particular towns to talk about it, to offer the solidarity.
Denver is incredible for that. There was a thing...Recently changed the name from Mile-High Hospitality Hazards...Not sure what the new name of it is, but they're doing great work to get people together. There's Ben's Friends throughout the south. That is specifically for people in recovery in the hospitality industry, and people are really getting together and taking care of one another in a way that they haven't before. And for the first time in awhile, I have hope that people don't feel like they're alone, they don't feel like it's taboo, they don't feel like they are weak for dealing with these things. I'm gutted, still, as so many of us are by the loss of Tony and if there's anything halfway okay that came out of this, it is that people are talking and hopefully more lives aren't going to be lost, even though I know that they have been since him. But hopefully the trend will change.
Suzy Chase: I just got back from our beach house. All I brought were Anthony Bourdain books-
Kat Kinsman: Yes.
Suzy Chase: And I was just trying to find an answer. Is there an answer in this sentence? What happened? Because everything he ever said was, "That was my old life." He got beyond it and had a child and lived for her, it seemed like. And it's just like, "Wow." If he can fall to pieces, we all can.
Kat Kinsman: Yeah. No one's immune to this. And this is why it's really important to me to never say "cure" about mental health issues. We'll never know exactly why, with him, and we have all wracked our brains and our hearts in thinking, "Is there something I could've said, done?" Any of these things that you didn't know, looking back at the last DM that he sent me, and is there something I should've said? But no, that's the thing, is like, it can come and get you at unsuspecting times. I don't say cure. I only ever say manage, and I'm pretty open about the fact that even for me, I've been dealing with this for a long time. I'm incredibly lucky. I am a straight, white, cisgendered married woman with health insurance and employment. I have every single advantage that a person could have, except for the only way there could be sort of more privilege present is if I were a man.
Yeah, but that doesn't make me immune to this. It just means that I have more resources to deal with this. I have an incredibly supportive and fantastic spouse. I have friends and a community for whom I am so grateful. My Extra Crispy colleagues are so fundamental to my heart. It sounds maybe silly to some people to say this about a work situation, but it's so an emotionally great place to work, because we all have genuine affection and respect and care for one another.
And I realize that is a tremendous thing, but at the same time, this summer, I had a very, very dark month where I went down...I have a panic disorder, as well, and I had...It was especially post-Tony. I ended up going around the country speaking with groups of chefs. I do a lot of closed-door meetings with chefs where I just get people together and talk about it, talk about what they're feeling about getting resources. The day it happened, we all found out about it the week before. I had been at the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, where Kim Severson and I got people together and talked about things. I was talking in Charleston over the next couple of days. I was already scheduled for that.
I went to the Aspen Food and Wine Festival the next weekend and talked to the other chefs there. I was on the road. I was ragged. I was revisiting my own trauma. I was sad about the loss of my friend and worried about other friends of his. And I was just in a susceptible place, and I got really, really dark. And I had a panic attack that lasted for an entire month. And I am someone who has all the therapy, has all of the resources, has all of this stuff, and it still happened, which is why you'll see me on Twitter having check-ins with people. It's incredibly important to check in on people who seem like they're doing okay, people who don't seem like they're doing okay, to ask you friends how they're doing and let them know it's okay if they don't say, like, "Oh, I'm fine." They can give you the real answer.
I can't say this enough. It's so important to check in. I also-
Suzy Chase: Especially in this age of social media, where everyone's Kim Kardashian. Everything's amazing. And it might not be.
Kat Kinsman: Yeah. So I also got trained as a crisis counselor with Crisis Text Line, which everyone needs to have this number in their phone to share it with everybody. Text 741741 in the states. You can contact them by direct messenger on Facebook, and there is somebody there 24/7 to talk you, as they call it, from a hot moment to a cool call. And it's an incredible thing, so I trained as a counselor there, so I learned how to really deescalate situations. And a very important thing I learned there was the importance of asking people point-blank if they're thinking about killing themselves. And that is a harsh thing to have to say. I know people think that if you bring up suicide that it makes people more likely or puts the notion in their head. What they told us is that it's actually the opposite, because it bring it out into the open, it makes it not just this taboo thing. It actually shocks some people into reality, like, "Oh my God, yeah, actually now that you say the word"-
Suzy Chase: And verbalizing it.
Kat Kinsman: Yeah. And it's an awkward conversation to have, to ask somebody, but several times recently, I have asked friends that, and sometimes you get a very, very scary answer. But the thing I always say to chefs is yes, it's awkward if your line cook cries in front of you. That's a hell of a lot better than crying at their funeral. And I'm sorry to make it so stark, but those actually are the stakes of it, too.
So during this really rotten time that I was having that was sort of spurred by being away from my support systems, being tired, revisiting trauma, a couple of stressful situations. My sleep was bad, my therapist was out of the country for three weeks and stuff. And I was lucky enough to have people around me who I could say, "I'm not okay" to, and I ended up, my therapist came back in town, I went and saw my physician who put me on an ADHD medication that, honestly, within 45 minutes, my brain felt calmer than it had in a month or longer, and it was an amazing thing. I was lucky to be able to ask for help and to have people around me saying like, "Hey, what are you doing for yourself?" But I'm somebody who talks about this pretty openly, and I think of myself as a solid, stable person who has...I've been lucky enough to have some incredible career opportunities, and it can still happen to me.
So we really, really, really have to keep checking in on our people, no matter what beautiful things they're putting on Instagram-
Suzy Chase: Yeah.
Kat Kinsman: Whatever they're saying, look for the messages between the lines, or even just send them a text saying, "Just thinking about you." It really matters to do that.
Suzy Chase: For season 4 of Cookery By the Book podcast, I am kicking off a new segment called The Last Meal. On a lighter note.
Kat Kinsman: Yeah.
Suzy Chase: If you had to place an order for your last meal on earth, what would it be?
Kat Kinsman: I'd honestly be happy going out with an egg and cheese or a bacon, egg and cheese on a roll from a deli. Cup of coffee. Maybe a glass of champagne. I mean, that egg and cheese sandwich...which I can't eat because my gut thing, but if I knew it was my last meal, it really wouldn't matter. I love that perfect...As my friend Eric Diesel calls it, the deli egg bomb. It satisfies all my texture needs. It never fails to put a smile on my face, so I think it would have to be that.
Suzy Chase: Where can we find you on the web and social media?
Kat Kinsman: Ah. On the web, well, ExtraCrispy.com. That is home base. On Twitter, I am @KittenWithAWhip. On Instagram, I'm @katkinsman, and if you go to Tarts.org, which is the domain that I've had since 1997, I think you can also get there from katkinsman.com...That has all the links to all of the social...And it links to buy this fantastic Extra Crispy book by the editors of Extra Crispy. I just want to give a shoutout to Ryan Grimm, Margaret Eby, Rebecca Firkser, and then Kate Welsh, she recently moved on from the team to a fantastic opportunity, but they all put their heart and soul and everything into this book. Our former designer, Lauren Kolm, did some of the illustrations. The team in Birmingham shot the heck out of this. It's incredibly beautiful. Hugh Atchison wrote an incredible foreword, so we'd be remiss not to mention all those fantastic people.
Suzy Chase: That's like an awards show. I'm playing you off with the music.
Thank you for all of your great work that's changing lives. And thanks so much for coming on Cookery By the Book podcast.
Kat Kinsman: Absolutely my pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Suzy Chase: Subscribe in Apple Podcasts, and while you're there, please take a moment to rate and review Cookery By the Book. You can also follow me on Instagram @cookerybythebook. Twitter is @IAmSuzyChase. And download your kitchen mixtapes, music to cook by, on Spotify at Cookery By the Book.
Thanks for listening.