From the Desk of Alicia Kennedy
From the Desk of Alicia Kennedy Podcast
A Conversation with Daniela Galarza

A Conversation with Daniela Galarza

Talking to the Washington Post 'Eat Voraciously' newsletter writer and former pastry chef.

You're listening to From the Desk of Alicia Kennedy, a food and culture podcast. I'm Alicia Kennedy, a food writer based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Every week on Wednesdays, I'll be talking to different people in food and culture about their lives, careers, and how it all fits together and where food comes in. 

Today, I'm talking to Daniela Galarza, the writer behind The Washington Post's Eat Voraciously newsletter, which goes out Monday through Thursdays offering suggestions for what to cook for dinner. We discussed how she went from pastry kitchens to food media, writing recipes for a broad audience with plenty of substitutions, and walking around Walmarts to see what kind of ingredients are available everywhere.

Alicia: Hi, Daniela. Thank you so much for being here. 

Daniela: Hi, Alicia. Thanks for having me.

Alicia: Can you tell me about where you grew up and what you ate?

Daniela: I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, a few different suburbs. And my mom immigrated to the U.S. in her early adulthood, and my dad from Iran. And my dad moved from Puerto Rico to the mainland in—when he was 9 or 10 years old. And they met in Chicago and realized they had—I guess, they both loved to cook. Or they both loved food. And so growing up, I ate a lot of both of those cuisines, and also a lot of things that they kind of made up together. 

And then, when I started going to school, I started—my brother and I, who’s younger than me, started complaining that we weren't eating enough American food. I loved the Puerto Rican food and the Iranian food that I was eating. It's interesting that I, as a kid, just wanted macaroni and cheese and, from a box. And, I don't know, hot dogs, and—What else? Oh, and baked pastas. I wanted all of this Italian American food, which was so foreign to my parents. And they did their best to try to figure out what we would eat. That manifested in really interesting mas- ups. My dad's take on spaghetti and meatballs was spaghetti, really, really overdone spaghetti in, I think, a canned tomato sauce, and then a fried pork chop on top. And it would get cut up for me. Yeah, there were a lot of translations into American food that I ate.

Alicia: Wow. 

Well, and you've had such a long and varied career in food. So I wanted to start at the beginning. Why food? And how did you start your professional career?

Daniela: I don't know how I always knew I wanted to work in the food, in food, somehow doing something with food. I think I always gravitated towards the kitchen. It wasn't always a happy place in my home. I just loved eating.

Something I get from my mom that I'm more aware of now is a pretty sensitive sense of taste. And I think that that contributed to my enjoyment of eating different foods and different cuisines, whether I was cooking them myself or eating somebody else's at a restaurant or at their home. And that enjoyment—

I remember my parents. My dad was a bus driver for the Chicago Transit Authority. And my mom did many, many different jobs when I was growing up. And it was very clear that both of them worked to work, to pay the bills. And I came away from that experience never wanting to work a 9 to 5 and never wanting to work to just pay my bills. I wanted to figure out how I could work, how I could do something I loved and make a living out of it. 

And initially that was me wanting to go to culinary school. And I had a lot of notions of like, ‘Oh, I'll open a restaurant.’ Or ‘Oh, I'll be like a TV chef like Julia Child,’ whoever I watched on PBS growing up. And my mom had these very strong feelings about like, ‘Oh, you want to be, want to cook for people?’ And in some cultures that—there's a stigma. There's a class attached to that kind of service industry work. And I remember being so puzzled by that when I would hear that from family members just not understanding it at all.

Until I went into working in restaurants and saw how restaurant people are treated, saw how you were treated if you worked in the back of house at a restaurant in general and the assumptions that are made about you. And then, I understood her words a lot more. But I still had a lot of fun doing it.

Alicia: [Laughs.] Well, so you started out in kitchens, right?

Daniela: Yeah. Oh, I didn't answer the second part of your question. Yeah. 

I started out working in restaurant kitchens. My first job was working at a local bakery, selling the bread. And then my second job was at Williams-Sonoma as a food demonstrator in the local mall. And when I went to college, I worked in local restaurants to help pay for books and lodging. And that's when I started getting into pastry. I found some local pastry chefs that took me under their wing, and I got really excited about it and was a pastry assistant for a really long time. 

And then, after I finished college, I studied food history in college and found a number of really great professor-mentors while I was there who encouraged me to stay on the scholarly food path. They thought I would become like them, and I would teach food history or food anthropology. And then, I would write books about my research. Just that whole time, I was just like, ‘No, I'm gonna go become a pastry chef. I'm going to get this degree; I'm going to cross off my list. And then somehow, I'm gonna figure out how I'm going to pay these student loans back by working in restaurant kitchens.’

And so after I graduated, I went to the French Culinary Institute in New York City. And I had to work full-time while I was doing that. A way I found a job in New York was I just read. I started reading all of William Grimes’ restaurant reviews and looking for the ones that mentioned pastry chefs. And I cold-called all of those restaurants and just said, ‘I'm moving to your city. I need a job in a restaurant kitchen. This is my experience. Are you hiring?’ And most of these places hung up on me until one of them didn't. And I mean, I don't know if they still do trails, but I did a two-day trail where I worked for free for two days. And they observed my work and hired me. God, I had a job. I could move to New York, and I could go to culinary school. And I finally thought I had found my place—It's like, ‘I graduated college. And I found what I was, what I've always wanted to do. And I did it.’

I worked in pastry kitchens in New York, and went to France and studied a little bit more in France. And then got offered a job doing product development in Los Angeles. And I never wanted to leave New York. This was a really good opportunity. And it was also an opportunity for me to finally have health care benefits, which I hadn't had before. As you know, they're very rare in the restaurant. 

I went into that, and then the recession hit and this company basically went under. And a friend of mine at the time said, ‘Have you thought about writing about food?’ And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, it had been years since I thought about writing about food.’ I hadn’t thought about writing about food since I was in college. Yeah, they told me about an internship at Eater LA that was open, and I went and applied for it. And that's how I started writing about restaurants and food. 

That was really long.

Alicia: No, I love it. Because it gives me a better sense of—I knew you did all these things. But I didn't know how you know the chronology of everything you've done. And so now, it all comes together.

You've stayed really invested and interested in pastry. What keeps you so excited about dessert?

Daniela: When I was in pastry school, I didn't have a clear sense of what the North American public thinks of as pastry and how it fits into their daily lives and how essential it is. And then when I went to work in restaurant kitchens, they—that's where my first sense of pastry as a business came out. At the time, I was told by a number of restaurant people that the average restaurant sales for rest—in restaurants in New York City was about 30 percent, which was considered high nationally. So 30 percent of people that walk in the door of a restaurant were ordering dessert. And I just thought, ‘Oh, my God, that's horrible! It's so low.’

And it's about, if I'm devoting my whole life to this—but I also knew it from a practical standpoint, where it just so happened that the first restaurant I worked at the dessert sales were 90 percent. And that was because it was mostly a tasting menu. And the restaurant was known for its desserts as this sort of spectacle, and it was something that the chef really promoted. And so, I had this really early skewed introduction to how many desserts people would order at a restaurant. And then progressively in my career I realized, ‘Well, people are, just don't order dessert. They're always on a diet. They’re always making excuses. They’re too full.’

And I was the person at the end of the night. All the line cooks are cleaning up. It's 10, 11 p.m. The kitchen closes, but pastry stays open because people are having their after-dinner drinks. And then, they're gonna order dessert, or you hope they're gonna order dessert. And so, you have all your mise en place. You have all of your beautiful little cakes and the souffle ingredients and all of the things you have ready to go. And then they don't order dessert, and you have to throw it all away. 

And I was crushed. I was constantly crushed when people didn't order dessert. And then, you're walk home at 1 or 2 in the morning, walk 50 blocks home and would just be bummed out the whole time. And after that experience, few years of experiencing that, it just underlined for me the labor that goes into pastry, I feel is so much, can be so much greater than the labor that goes into savory food. And I want to value that. 

I find it exciting just because it's—Pastry is so many things, has so many different ingredients and involves so much chemistry. There's so many different components. And I feel it intersects with a lot of different arts, like architecture and the fine arts, and creates emotion for a lot of people in ways that savory doesn't always. And so, I appreciate it from that perspective, too. But I always think about the person at the end of the night that's waiting to see if you're going to order a slice of cake or a custard. I want to order it from them. Make sure they feel appreciated.

Alicia: I love that. 

You mentioned that you got that job at Eater LA after working in kitchens, working in product development. How did you transition? Because studying food history in college, of course, you have this bank of knowledge. And then, you have this wealth of experience of real restaurant labor. And you have this real knowledge, culinary knowledge. And so, how did that all translate when you ended up at Eater?

Daniela: It was a rough transition. I hope nobody goes back and reads my archives, I hope. I just want them to disappear forever. 

I mean, I was a terrible writer initially. But I was fortunate in that some of the people that I worked with—and Eater at the time was very small and scrappy. There was so much competition. There was always this feeling we have a chip on our shoulder ’cause we're just a blog. And so, we've got to really prove ourselves. And I don't know, I really glommed on to that. I don't know, I've also been sort of scrappy in my life and just had to make things work. And I think that I identified with that. I identified with ‘work long hours and do everything and don't get paid any money,’ because that was my entire youth and early adulthood. How to do it. I don't think anyone should have to do that. 

But that side of things, that's how I started reporting. I remember, we were always trying to be first on everything. I was just really good at talking my way into restaurants and asking if I could talk to people and asking a lot of questions and being curious. And I don't know, all of that, fortunately, came pretty naturally to me, because I didn't study journalism. But the parts of writing that didn't, and sometimes still don't come naturally to me, are just the practice of putting sentences together and building a story. I think I'm always gonna be learning that. I'm still learning that. I still feel like I struggle with it sometimes. 

But so, it was this progression from Eater LA. And then eventually, LA Weekly called and said, ‘We could pay you!’ Because I was working for free at Eater, and I said, ‘Wow, ok, yes, please pay me.’ And LA Magazine called and said, ‘Yes, we're hiring,’ and they paid a little bit better. And then, Eater came back to me after they got bought by Vox Media and said, ‘Well, we have more money.’ Because I basically said, ‘I'm not going back unless you can pay me a living wage.’ So they did, and I moved. That's when I moved back to New York from L.A., was to do that.

I mean, while I was sort of cobbling together this new, going from restaurant industry to journalism, I was working many small part-time jobs. I was working in marketing. I was working in consumer product PR, which was just a very bizarre space and weird time in my life. And I was working as a private chef. And so, I was doing a lot of different things at the same time. Oh, I was also doing farmers’ markets on the weekends; I was selling products for people that made pestos and tapenades and cheeses and things like that. So yeah, I was working many jobs all the time. [Laughs.]

Alicia: Right. That's such a hustle, my God. 

Well, and then you've been at Serious Eats and now at the Washington Post. And it seems you're doing a bit more recipe work right? In the last few years?

Daniela: This is the first full-time job I've had where I'm doing recipe development, and I'm so appreciative of it because I feel it ties all of my interests and skill set together. It was something I was looking for, was why I left Eater. 

Eater at the time didn't publish recipes. And they were really adamant about that. And I had pitched a number of avenues and ways for us to get into that space. They were shut down. And at the same time, I started getting contacted by other editors at other publications. And I was really curious about what it would be like to work for other New York publications. And so, I went freelance for a year and that was frightening. And also, I learned a lot—learned so much more, interestingly, about editing during my time freelance writing for other editors than I did at Eater. 

And then the Washington Post posted a job for a newsletter writer, and I really didn't think the world needed another newsletter. [Laughter.] I still kind of don't think the world needs another newsletter. It's shocking to me that people subscribe to my newsletter. Joe Yonan, the editor there, sent me an email and said, ‘You really should apply for this.’ And on the last day when the application was due, I remember I went for a walk around the block with my dog. And I thought like, ‘If I wrote a newsletter, what would it be like?’ And I wrote this application email and I got the job after a long interview process.

Alicia: Yeah. [Laughs.]

Well, how do you balance that now? Because you really are focused on the newsletter, but the newsletter is really intense the way you do it. It's Monday to Thursday. It's recipes. But it's also a ton of variations on those recipes for people who have different needs or different allergies. And then also, you're giving the context for the recipes as well, whether it's from a cookbook or it's from your own understanding. And that seems so much work.

How are you kind of balancing all of that now? And how has it been to have to be really kind of relentlessly creative in putting out this newsletter all the time?

Daniela: Yeah, that's a good question. It is a lot of work. And I tried to think about it as, manage the—

I guess when I feel burned out on the writing part, I go into the kitchen. It's using different parts of my brain. Just a weird way to say it. Sometimes I need to sit down and type my thoughts out. And sometimes I need to go into a kitchen away from a screen and put my hands in something. And that balance is really, I think, really helpful for me and really good for me, because I come up with ideas while I'm cooking. And then vice versa. 

Some people, I think, still think that I'm developing four recipes a week. No, that would be insane. I'm not doing that. I'm only developing one new recipe a week. And I develop those recipes throughout the month. And then I hand in a batch of recipes at the beginning of the month. And they go through an edit process and a testing process. And then, they get shot. They're styled and shot by a great team, shot by photographer Rey Lopez. And I just love his photos. 

And I'm so grateful that I get to work with this team of people who really help me remember that I have to keep this thing going. They're all these people who are depending on me to keep this thing going. Otherwise, I so admire people like you that have your own motivation. If I didn't know there were people waiting for my work in order to do their work. I don't think I would do anything. I think I would stay in bed all day. And it's this fear of letting people down that keeps me—Yeah, I do. really enjoy my work. And I'm really grateful I get to do it.

Alicia: How do you keep that fresh and provide so many substitutions too? Where did that idea come from? And how do you kind of conceptually think about that? How do you figure out where in the recipe, there's room for variation and play?

Daniela: I think that is something that came up organically as I was writing the newsletters. And it was initially inspired or prompted by the fact that the newsletter started kind of in the early days of the pandemic, or less than a year into the pandemic. And so, people were still really concerned about going to the market more than once a week, or more than once a month in some cases. And there was a lot more caution, and there was still an availability issue. The Washington Post also reaches an international audience. And so, when it was springtime for, let's say Washington, D.C., it was not springtime in Perth, Australia. 

I had information coming at me from many different places, many different sides. I knew initially, from the very beginning of the newsletter, I wanted to offer as many meatless options as I could, because it's just a way I'm trying to eat myself. And so selfishly, I was wanting to challenge myself to think more broadly about the way I eat and how I can, let's say, satisfy my cravings for certain things and maintaining a level of nutrition, but not always default to meat as the center of the plate. 

So, I started doing that, building off of what I learned. I lived in a vegetarian co-op in college for two or three years. And I learned so much from that crew of people. Shout out to the Triphammer Co-Op. I actually don't think it exists anymore. But it was a great, incredible group of people that were very committed to being vegetarian and vegan, and challenged my thinking as a person who grew up eating meat. That was my first introduction to taking a vegetarian diet, a vegan diet very seriously. And I learned so much from them. I learned all of the building blocks of what I know about vegetarian cuisine from them. 

And when I started writing this newsletter, I was thinking a lot about that. And I was thinking about how much I wished I could still talk to those people, and then just decided—it just sort of started to flow. Or it was like, ‘Alright, if I made this. If I got this recipe in my inbox, and I thought, ‘Ok, this sounds good, maybe I'll make it. But I'm looking in my pantry. And I don't have, I don't know, let's say all-purpose flour. I'm out of all-purpose flour, or I'm out of onions, or whatever. What would I do?’

And I think that most people who cook, who are very confident in the kitchen, and most people I happen to talk to like this the way we're talking? I think we know these things intrinsically. I think we know, ‘Ok, if I don't have lemon juice, I can use white wine vinegar. I can make it. I can make things work with these very obvious substitutions.’ But I also have a lot of friends who don't know how to cook at all. And I think about them in the kitchen. I think about them holding their knife, or I think about like, ‘Oh, if they saw this recipe, they would just assume they couldn't make it because they don't have rice in their pantry right now.’ 

And I'm just like, ‘Actually, maybe I can outline this in a way that's sort of easy to parse, and hopefully not too obvious for all the people that know how to cook, but also gives people ideas if there have an allergy to something, or they find cilantro doesn't taste good to that. What are the ways I can offer them ideas around that?’ And that has turned into this signature of the newsletter. I get dozens of emails every day from people who are like, ‘Thank you so much for putting that in there.’ I didn't consciously start doing it. It just started to happen. And I'm glad it's resonating with people. 

Alicia: Yeah, it's so interesting to find—when you are so obsessed with food, and you have kind of done all the trial and error over time. I mean, for me, I've learned how to cook through trial and error. You've learned how to cook in an actual formal setting. But for it to come really naturally, and that you think about these things is so obvious. It is a really delicate balance in recipe writing to speak to the people for whom it isn't a natural thing to substitute—

I made a Sohla recipe from Bon Appetit, an eggplant adobo, and it had pork in it. And I was like, ‘Alright, well, I'll just—I'll substitute that with minced mushrooms. And I'll just add more oil, so that there's fat there.’ But other people wouldn't think of that because they'll just be like, ‘Oh, it has pork in it. If I don't want to eat meat, I'm just not going to make this.’

And so that's why I think that your newsletter is so important, because it really does show people that thought process. And I think once people start to learn that, what can be substituted or what can be replaced and where there's room for adaptation, then their regular cooking is just going to get better because they're going to start thinking that way, too. Basically you're lending people your brain [laughs], which is a really great—the way you do it is so cool. And I love it because it makes it so clear and so simple. 

And I do think the Washington Post, maybe, it probably becomes more natural to you guys to be a little more open to meatless food, because Joe is the guy writing the bean cookbook and the plant-based cookbook and everything. [Laughs.] So is it kind of understood at the Post that you guys do these kinds of adaptations, or what is the conversation like if you can give any insight into how you guys talk about eating less meat or or giving those options?

Daniela: I mean, definitely think you should talk to Joe about it at some point. There really aren't conversations like that. Joe’s certainly never going to come out and say, ‘We can't publish this recipe because it uses this ingredient. And this ingredient is problematic, because whatever.’ He's just not that kind of person. He's a very open-minded person. And he's also just not naturally a judgmental person. I mean, he's definitely the best boss I've ever had. I'm not just saying that. It's one of two reasons why I'm still at the Washington Post, I can say that. And I so appreciate his openness.

It's more than when we talk about recipes, when we talk about what we're going to be making, he's so enthusiastic about his dishes. And it comes across in his writing, of course. And I think that rubs off on all of us in general. I think that approaching something from a place of enthusiasm, rather than limitation is a real—just so encouraging. It feels more encouraging to me.

Alicia: So I wanted to ask, you've lived in a few cities. How has that shaped your perspective on food and writing about food? Because yeah, you grew up in Chicago. You moved to New York. You lived in L.A.. Do your parents now, are in Arizona?

Daniela: Yeah. They're in Tucson. And I've been living with them in Tucson for the—almost the entirety of the pandemic, or almost two years now. 

And I will say, the assumptions that I want to say that maybe rural America makes of the coastal cities are entirely correct. And I say yes, just from having lived in those cities and been in those bubbles, and essentially still operating in those bubbles. And then living in Tucson, which is a much smaller city. I mean, it's landlocked, and it's also—It's west coast, but it's Southwest. And it has its own brand of politics. And I think it is a fascinating place to live, if all—if you've only ever lived in very, very large cities, because it really outlines for me the ways in which I'm biased, and the way I can make assumptions about anything. 

I mean, the way it plays out in the newsletter is when I'm developing recipes, I do actually go to Walmart and look and see what ingredients are available there on a regular basis because Walmart is the biggest supplier of food in the country. And it is still where most people are shopping. And if an ingredient can't be found there, it's—there's a good chance that the person reading the newsletter might not make that recipe. And I want to make sure things are available to people. 

Big guiding light from the beginning of the newsletter, and when I first—the newsletter concept was not my idea. That was Liz Seymour's idea. She’s a managing editor at the Post, assistant managing editor at the Post. But the way I conceived of executing her idea of this daily news, daily recipe newsletter was that if it was under the brand Voraciously, what does eating voraciously mean? 

And what it means to me is this really open-minded sense of what you're eating. I didn't want to just make whatever, 30-minute pasta dinners every night, obviously. I eat a variety of foods, and I eat from a variety of cultures, and I want it to represent all of that too. So it's a balance between understanding that not everyone lives in big cities. 

And I do hear from people who live in really small towns, and I constantly ask them, like, ‘What's it like?’ I want to know more. There's someone that emailed me who lives in a really remote place in Wyoming in a mountain town and can only go to a store once a month. And they just describe it as so peaceful. And honestly, that just sounds amazing. Sounds amazing to me.

Alicia: I love that you go to Walmart, because, while obviously I'm like, ‘Walmart sucks, is evil.’ But at the same time, I understand that.

The Walmart de Santurce is always packed, and they have a surprising variety that I think maybe if you never go to a Walmart you don't know that they have it. I found Brooklyn Delhi Curry Ketchup. I found Woodstock Farms pickles. They have a non-dairy section. Whenever I have to go for something random like a bike pump or a tube, I go and I look at all the food. And it is really interesting to see that it's actually not at all what people would assume. They also have local foods that they'll sell too. They adapt to what the culture is where they are, which it's not a black-and-white thing where they're forcing Kraft foods upon people or something like that. It's a lot more nuanced than that, which is super interesting. I think someone should write about how Walmart does food buying.

Daniela: I agree. 

And yeah, I want to reiterate, I go and look at what Walmart sells. I don't actually shop at Walmart. 

Alicia: It’s ok if you do. [Laughs.]

Daniela: But it's because I have a wide variety of places I can shop where I live. Tucson is not such a small city that there aren’t dozens and dozens of markets. But I respect the fact that a lot of people shop there, because they do have really great prices. I mean, really, it's a really affordable place to buy food, particularly if you're feeding a large family. If I was feeding a large family, I would definitely go there and buy an extra large bag of chips. Because, man, that's a good deal. 

Alicia: No, no, no. I mean, the food costs are insane right now. Everyone's doing Reels and TikToks about how much less food they can buy right now. Gas is super expensive. These are the things you have to think about when you are a recipe writer, is really, what are people actually going to have? And what are they going to have access to, and what's going to be affordable. I'm going to do a pantry series for the newsletter too. I'm thinking about that. 

But also, just by nature of living in a small city on an island have limited options. I don't have maitake mushrooms, as much as I would love to eat a maitake a lot. I can't get them. I can’t always even get organic tofu. I have to get just non-GMO tofu. And these are such little things, but they're things that I really took for granted all the time. 

And I think a lot of people take for granted all the time, is it—when you're living in New York or something is that you can go to a glorified, one of those glorified, gentrified bodegas and get Miyoko's vegan butter. I have to make a very special trip if I want to do that. There's so many things I have to consider when making decisions that I never used to think about. It makes things way more interesting if you do that, if you think about, like, ‘How can I break something down to its absolute essentials, and still make it really, really good?’ I think that’s where we're, where you get to change people's thinking about what it means to cook at home, and how delicious and how accessible that can be.

Daniela: Exactly. 

I want to go back slightly to something, that point of something we were talking about earlier, which is that this idea of giving people these other options and substitution suggestions opens the door for them to learn about how they want to cook and learn about—I mean, obviously learn about these options. 

It was also, for me, kind of a rejection of this notion that I think food media has had for a really long time that you must make the recipe exactly as written, or it might work, won't work. I think there was a lot of steering people away from trying things a different way, because then they're gonna come back to the publication and say, ‘This recipe didn't work.’ I think that there is a lot of almost satirical cases of this, where people are writing in and being like, ‘I made this meatloaf, except I didn't use any meat, and it didn't work, you know?’ And it's like, ‘Ok, well, obviously, it wouldn't work.’ But there are ways that you can make substitutions. 

And I think that it's also giving people permission to trust their instincts a little bit. I guess I don't make any recipe exactly as written, usually. And maybe that's because I'm more confident in the kitchen. But I can also see my friends who aren't as competent in the kitchen looking at a recipe and say, ‘Well, it’s telling me to add a whole tablespoon of salt. Maybe I don't like it that salty. I'm not going to add a whole tablespoon right now.’ I can see them making their own judgment calls. And I want to give them permission to do that. Because I think that's when you feel empowered in the kitchen, you feel more confident. And that's when you open the door to sort of a more exciting cooking life, I think.

Alicia: Of course, yeah. 

And so I wanted to ask you, how do you define abundance?

Daniela: You, helpfully, sent these questions in advance. And I've been thinking about this for a while now. And I think just coming at—I mean, I still feel we're in a pandemic. And I have felt very closed off from my friends and family, some other family that I'm not living with. And I felt disconnected from the social environment. 

And so, I think of abundance as eating with other people. Really sharing a meal with people and relishing the experience of talking to them, whether it's about the food or something else, that makes me think of just a table, a table full of food, but also full of people. I miss people. 

Alicia: Well, for you is cooking a political act? 

Daniela: Well, I think yeah, I think any kind of consumption in a capitalist society is political, can be political. But I also think that sometimes when I'm cooking—and this is again, before the pandemic, when I was cooking for people—I was cooking out of love. I was cooking because I wanted to make ‘em happy. So maybe I wasn't always conscious of the decisions I was making in terms of where I was buying my food or what I was buying or what I was cooking, or whetherIt was cooking on gas or electric, whether I was cooking in a stainless steel pot or aluminum. All of these potential decisions were fading into the background. But in general, it is a political act. 

Alicia: Yeah. 

Well, thank you so much for coming on today. 

Daniela: Thanks so much for having me.

Alicia: Thanks so much to everyone for listening to this week's edition of From the Desk of Alicia Kennedy. Read more at Or follow me on Instagram, @aliciadkennedy, or on Twitter at @aliciakennedy.

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From the Desk of Alicia Kennedy
From the Desk of Alicia Kennedy Podcast
A weekly food and culture podcast from writer Alicia Kennedy, who talks to writers, chefs, and more about their lives, careers, and how food fits into it all.