Do you miss anything about living in Texas?
I miss backyards so much. I quarantined with my parents for three months, and I had forgotten what it’s like to have a backyard and a pool.
From your time quarantining at home, what’s your favorite memory?
Every night, my mom would make a different cocktail, like a Negroni or a margarita. We would have happy hour in the backyard.
What things would you change in the food world?
I would hire more Black, indigenous and POC in positions of leadership at food magazines. I would change the tone of recipes and articles so they don’t always center food around white perspectives.
You’ve featured yogurt in your work. Why?
My dad makes yogurt homemade every week. This is true for a lot of Asian families. There’s something so much tastier and more delicious about making yogurt yourself. It’s tangier and has more character. I love the idea that yogurt sort of evolves over time.
Did you bring your yogurt culture from your parents in Dallas?
My mom hand-carried it from Dallas to New York.
How long does the yogurt culture last?
I’m not entirely sure. You’d have to ask a food scientist. We’ve had frozen yogurt culture in our fridge dating back to 2008. And we’ve been able to make it into yogurt still.
Do you eat your yogurt every day?
Most days, yes.
What advice would you tell yourself 10 years ago?
Your perseverance will pay off. You ought to be working as a food writer not just because it’s a great profession, but because you want to change the culture.
How would you say you’ve evolved in your career?
I’ve become a lot more thoughtful, especially when it comes to understanding the sheer diversity within individual cuisines. I’m much more interested in the urgency of labor, environmental and social issues, and I want to center that in my writing. But my fundamental mission hasn’t really changed.