Chef David Chang
This message comes from. npr sponsor. Ibm when deciding how and when to safely return to the workplace. You need to be informed. That's why ibm watson helps you. Prioritize employee safety with watson works visit. Ibm dot com slash. Watson works to learn more from whyy in philadelphia. I'm terry gross with fresh air today. David chang who has won james beard awards as a chef and restaurant tour. His first and best known restaurant is momofuku. The food was influenced by the food. He grew up with who they used to embarrass him. His parents are from north korea. He's opened restaurants in new york. La vegas toronto and australia. He's had to close a couple because of the pandemic he's had bipolar disorder for many years and credits cooking and his restaurants with saving his life later will listen back to my nineteen eighty nine interview with travel writer memoir east and historian jan morris. She died last friday. She was ninety four when she started writing. She was known as james mars. She completed transition surgery in nineteen seventy-two and wrote about it in nineteen seventy four memoir conundrum. My guest david. Chang is one of the most celebrated chefs restaurant tours in america because of the pandemic he's had to shut down some of his restaurants and rethink the others. His first restaurant momofuku was named the most important restaurant in america by bone. Apetite in two thousand thirteen. It opened in two thousand and four and a small storefront in manhattan is and became known for rama noodles pork bones and it's casual atmosphere since. Then chang open more than a dozen restaurants in new york. La vegas. toronto and australia is one five. James beard awards including best new restaurant and outstanding chef. He hosts the netflix series ugly delicious which focuses on foods and the cultures or mix of cultures that they derive from he's also written a memoir called. Edp each as you'd expect. The book is filled with insights about food and restaurants but he also shares his insights about himself. His parents emigrated from north korea. When china was growing up he was embarrassed by the foods. They ate and how their kitchen small different from the kitchens of his friends families he has. Bipolar disorder has frequently dealt with suicidal thoughts and credits cooking and his restaurants with saving his life. Thank you again. David for being here. So david you have so many restaurants. How many have you had to close because of covid and how many are open. Well first of all terry. It's a real honor to be part of your show and It's a hopefully people learn something about the restaurant business for myself but in terms of the restaurants that we've had to close we've closed to in one in washington. Dc one in new york city. And we've had to temporarily relocate another so all in sort of three and hopefully that number doesn't increase. How are the ones that you're keeping open managing to stay open. Because i think what you have to say we'll be indicative of what other lot of other restauranteurs would say. Well it's a little bit difficult right now Because it's weather dependent as winter is hitting most of the east coast and outdoor dining was a a great boon to everyone but as winter approaches. It's a little bit hard. You're talked a lot appears. Sales have gone down quite a bit and at the beginning of the pandemic Those that were doing delivery and pivoted to delivery focused menu really did well but when everybody pivoted to that cell sorta decrease so We're all in this together and we're all trying to figure it out and our restaurants do the same. We're we're doing anything and everything To to stay afloat and to keep as many jobs as possible but we've had the advantage of having consumer product goods over the past few months. We've been selling salt and spices and soy sauce that we've developed over the past decade plus so we had that plan in place but not everyone is fortunate to have that are you doing. We're like delivery. And how does it feel to be doing. What would you like. what don't you like about it. i I've always wanted to do delivery. You try to deliver your failed. They did they did. Maybe the timing wasn't right. I think it would have been a a great opportunity now but i. I'm fascinated with delivery because it's another way for restaurants to sort of have a revenue stream. And i feel very strongly seven eight years ago that if we didn't diversify restaurants in general didn't diversify. We were too dependent on the income of the four walls. The happening in restaurants so as much as i don't always want to have restaurants that deliver food. We all have to embrace it. I think it's here to stay and it was going to happen. A lot of what's happening right now with restaurants we're going to happen was going to happen over. Attended fifteen year period. But we wouldn't have notice all this seismic shifts with restaurants closing and restaurants. Moving to delivery or take away would have happened so gradually. You wouldn't have noticed but delivery and food logistics with your smartphone. That's here to stay. And we have to find a better way because right now a lot of restaurants. You've been making money doing that. Because of the delivery fees from the the people that do the delivery services aren't taking big cut when you started in the restaurant business Well you studied at the french culinary institute you worked at cafe glued is fine dining authentic french cuisine kind of fancy restaurant in new york. And you decided that you weren't cooking the kind of food that you eat and so you decided to give up on that kind of fine dining What was the turning point for you in deciding that that wasn't few because a lot of chefs aspire to that kind of fine dining And you you headed in the other direction. We'll tell you. I was just so lost. I didn't know what i was doing. And i think if i was better at cooking and compared to my peer group especially the restaurants i was in. Maybe i would have only cook french food. But so much of how. I've wound up today was because i didn't sort of fit in and i've had to find my way and get some kind of expertise that no one else had and one of the reasons i wanted to get out of french. Dining was or a fine dining in general was traveling abroad and for me the piff any was. Oh my gosh. In asia in japan in a city like tokyo so expensive. I i never would have thought that people of all sort of whether you're poor or rich everyone can eat really well in china. When i was in china you could eat literally on seventy five cents very well. But you couldn't do that in america and i. I thought to myself if you wanted to enjoy food in america in the late nineties early arts if you told anybody i like to go out to dine that was seen as elitist and snob est. And that wasn't the case outside of the world. And that's when i tried to imagine what's the delta here in america right wise food only accessible or delicious for the people that can afford it. Why don't we have a little bit more accessible. So what was the secret to figuring out what kind of food you can cook. That would be delicious and very affordable well again in japan two different times live there Rahman was something that i. I've always grown up eating noodles. But rahman was something that was the providence of college students and twenty five cup of noodles. And when i i was so lucky with timing and so many things in my life i saw japan. Even this renaissance of robin where it was as the fervor voronin was like pizza and barbecue and hamburgers combine. And i was like wait i tasted. It's like nothing i've ever had before people queuing up for two to three hours of certain spots but why this doesn't exist in america and i was like well. I bet you this would be popular in america too. That's why i was like okay. Let me just try to do something. That doesn't really exist quite yet in america and i didn't know if it's going to work you had to make the rahm special cylinder do i didn't make it. Japanese use only american ingredients. Because i too much respect for japanese ingredients and also i couldn't afford it either. The very best stuff in japan is going to be very expensive. So i wanted a tailor. It so is a little bit more of an american palate. So we used bacon from tennessee. Madisonville tennessee alan. Benton was our analogy for analogous ingredient to say katsuyoshi the central ingredient to dashi in japanese cuisine. So we just tried to mix and match and find things that were comparable and also not skimping on quality. We were getting the very best bacon and making a profit out of that so it was. It was trial and error. I say some interesting things about authenticity. You know like you're not you're not into authenticity. And i want you to explain why you're talking about borrowing from asian food but making it american and not calling it fusion. Well everything is sort of fusion anyways. But i just. That was a word that i've sort of had as a burden to sort of carry now. Embraced it because everything is fusion and It is the polar opposite of what authenticity is in food and i find authenticity to be very stifling. Very it's about preserving one idea one way of deliciousness. And i think that can be a very dangerous thing. You know what is acceptable. And what isn't and who gets to decide. That is scared to me. And that's not to say that authenticity can't be delicious but the but the only way you can make a certain food that is problematic to me and the only time i find authenticity to be good is when you have to preserve a culture you have to preserve stories that are helping immigrated from another culture those are things that need to be cherished and we need that kind of authenticity. But what i love about. Food is diversity. I love change and anything that you eat that was quote unquote. Authentic wasn't before it was an amalgamation of different stories in different immigrant stories. Like that's what's beautiful about food. It can be anything and everything. And i love the new. And that's what makes american cuisine. So wonderful it can be anything. And i wanted to try to do something new so a lot of your food has a korean influence even though it's not like authentic korean food But when you were growing up. I think korean food was real source of embarrassment to you. You were embarrassed by by your kitchen. Smelled kids used to make fun of you for. How did your kitchen smell on. What made it smell that way. Man growing up. My kitchen smelled a lot lot of different things. I remember tripe if you've ever cooked tripe at home and kills. Oh man my mom. My mom used to make trump all the time. And that's just not something you anybody's going to want to like smell or taste explain. Explain what type is a kind is a stomach lining their several stomachs account. It's it's a basically the stomach of a cow stomach lining of a cow and it has a very peculiar smell and it can be made very delicious. But you know it wasn't just try it for the most part it was something like kimchi or all the fermented goodness in korean cuisine. And even something. Now that people love today is keen the korean seaweed snack that you can even buy at your convenience store or pharmacy. I see being sold. I remembering that to school for lunch because i loved it. I snack on my entire life but as a kid you open up your lunch box and you bring out something that looks like that seaweed. Imagine in one thousand nine hundred eighty four kids. What is that. And you say it seaweed. They're like ooh that's gross. That's the nice version of people making fun of your food. Wait till they smell. Kimchi dang john or any of these from minted. Goodness things that people would make fun of me and they said every possible. And it's not just korean food terry. It's a story that anyone. That's an immigrant to america can share right. It's all the foods that most people have no idea but now in twenty twenty everybody finds delicious so it's just funny how it all plays out. So both of your parents are from north korea and they. I mean they're family. Lived before the north and the south became separate entities. And i think your grandfather was alive when japan invaded korea on basically tried to make korea into a satellite of japan. Have everybody assimilated into japanese culture. You thought you were eating. Korean food was japanese food or korean food or some mix of the two. It was a mix but my grandfather came from a wealthy family. My father came for like nothing. My mother came from a very prominent family and like many. Well do young men. He was educated to be japanese. He didn't like korean food. You went to college in higher education. All in japan and you know japan colonized korea like systematically tried to program anything that was like from the language on up to the food that you make or eat so my did not like korean food at all. He didn't he never ate kimchi. He never ate that things so he always had japanese things made for him. I was introduced to japanese food at a very early age. Threw him and i think it's a main why. I have such an affinity for japanese food because my grandfather was basically you know. He's korean. spokesman had korean friends but like in his heart think is more japanese than he was korean. And when i came back from japan and japan was much better back then. He was so proud that he could talk. Speak japanese to be so happy when your parents emigrated from north korea. What was the state of north korea. And where they lived. What did they have. What did they lack. When came here so my father was born on. What is now. The border. North korea and china. My mother was born a little bit closer to what is now. The thirty eighth parallel town called kiss on and you know they had to. They like most people fled to the south and they lost everything and korea is remarkable. How people think about created today but that progress and the success. They've had i think people forget. Just how poverty stricken korea was they lost everything and i forget even myself that my parents were refugies. The you know for a long time. They they lost everything and they. My dad emigrated to new york in nineteen sixty three to work as a dishwasher because life was so hard better opportunity was going to be in america. And that's how it all happened. And he came back and he married my mother and my i think my mom came back to america in sixty eight or sixty seven. So do you think often about the distance between the lives that they had because they they live through the korean war right. Yes they did. Yeah so do. Do you think often about the distance between the lives. They had in north in north korea and then south korea when they lost everything and live through war. What it was like raising you in in suburbs. You know now that. I'm a father i think about it in a completely different way than i was growing up and when i was a kid i was just so angry at why they couldn't raise us like normal. You know white. America and if it wasn't even then i remember my my my dad's mother staying with us for short period of time and how how mean she was and how frugal she lived and how i just was not just embarrassed about food embarrassed by how they were raised. And i didn't want to be like that. And i'm remorseful of not trying to understand that as at a younger age and what they lived experiences. They had just a cultural difference. They had to overcome like my parents wound up in northern virginia. You know in the early seventies i. I'd imagine what that was like or even from my dad who lived in new york. My dad hated new york city. You visit me occasionally. But he hated it. Because of the trauma he had living there as a as a kid in his early twenties. That didn't speak english in the sixty early sixties. I can't imagine how hard that must have been so the older. I've gotten the more i'm moved by all. They had to sacrifice a win through to to to give the family everything they need it but to put some perspective on your anger you tell a story in your memoir about how in new you're playing in a go kart and I guess it overturned your leg was really injured and for five days. You're saying it hurt. It hurt your crying and your father said just walk. And he'd put creamer ointment on it and five days later when your parents finally took it to the hospital you had a badly broken femur which was while you're in so much pain and you know you were so angry at the way you're paying was not taken seriously and that nothing was being done when your leg was in serious jeopardy so i guess that's just one example of why you grow up with so much anger towards your father It's hard for kids to understand the kind of perspective that you were just talking about but it is just like that anger really stuck with you though for for forever for. Unfortunately it did and i. I mean i'm trying not to be me. That's that's my mantra. Don't be me and so much of. It was an excuse to be angry in the past. And i'm trying to have a better understanding not as a an excuse for anything but i've really thought about. That's one story right. I broke my leg. My dad would not let me go to the hospital over a few days and with my i mean. Ics psychiatrists and that's a lot to unpack. Because now that. I'm a father. I can't imagine letting my son not see a doctor. If he broke his leg or got sick so it caused me to evaluate like that my love his love for me was conditional right that i did something wrong but when i think about it more as terrible as that sounds at twenty twenty and it is terrible. My father was just trying to teach me how to be tough and how to survive. And when i think about it in relation to his mother right who stayed with us she she. This is a funny story. She would wash dishes. My brother and i would like go. Check out crazy grandma. Is she's washing dishes. By spew spitting water out like watching like this because she had no running water before and it was about conserving water and that was the easiest way for her to wash dishes and every time she'd make rice every colonel would be dried on the deck. And we'd be like what are we doing. And she'd make us eat it later but she was just trying to teach us how to survive. And when you're little kid you can't understand that. And if that's how she's we're. I imagine how she raised my father. And you know it takes a lot of empathy that i've tried to have a bigger reserve of to pre shit and to understand all the things i never understood about my father and i'm still going through it so in some ways i'm more angry than ever and my dad in some ways i've forgiven him and it's gonna be process. I should mention. He died in june. I'm sorry and i hope you got to like work. Some of those things out with him. we did. We did and he lived a full life. My guest is david. Chang chef restaurant tour and host of the netflix series ugly delicious. His new memoir is called. Edp each we'll talk more in the second half of the show and will listen back to my nineteen eighty-nine interview with travel writer and memoirs jan morris. Her nineteen seventy four memoir. Conundrum was about transitioning to female. I'm terry gross and this is fresh air. this message comes from. Npr sponsor capital one. Welcome to banking reimagined capital. One checking and savings accounts have no fees or minimums and a top rated banking app. That lets you manage your money anytime anywhere. Check on the account. Balance deposit checks pay bills and transfer money on the go. This is banking reimagined. What's in your wallet capital one. Na member fdic. Let's get back to my interview with david chang. He's james james beard award. Winning chef and restaurant tour is most famous. Restaurant is called momofuku. He also hosts the netflix series. Ugly delicious in his new memoir. Eat a peach. He writes about food restaurants his childhood. His parents are from north korea. Any writes about his inner life. So you mentioned that. You're you're troubled You you were diagnosed with bipolar disorder. And of course you had it before you were diagnosed with it so you didn't know you didn't really have an understanding. I suppose of what you were dealing with and you you went through a very long depression you write about like you're suicidal thinking during that period when we didn't really understand what you were dealing with and you had like months of depression and you're thinking Thinking about suicide. You didn't want to hurt your parents by actually doing it but like how. How serious were you in in your thinking. Is that too personal to ask. Is that no. I mean to ask. It's not an appropriate and in part of the reason why i want to talk about. This is so we can talk about these serious subjects. That people never want to talk about and it's hard to find You know stories that people can relate to and it's my story and i'm always careful talking about depression because it never want to see it as prescriptive for anybody else but for me. I reached a point in my life. Where i just couldn't find meaning in anything. Was this before you were cooking. Or after when i was in japan that was my first serious manic bats but when i came back as a cook when i was working at a balloon that was probably the lowest point i've ever experienced and it's hard to explain to anybody that would question. Why would you feel so bad. Like come on. Just step outside. I can talk about it now. In a way that i never was able to talk about when experiencing it. Because i know it's it's not my fault. It's a chemical reaction my brain or a lack of certain things that are working in my brain and there are certainly other factors involved culturally. There's things happened my life with my father my upbringing and it's hard to want to live as crazy as that sounds right and you just think about all the different ways you can end it and the craziest thing about depression to me after all these years is when you're in a state of serious depression all you do is think about yourself. That distorts things are so sensitive to hurt in your self. Confidence is at all time. Low self esteem at an all time low. But you're simultaneously thinking that everything you think is the right thing weirdly. You're convicted convinced enough that anything you think is right in true. And it's this weird paradox. And i went through all of it and i. That's why i try. I tried to hurt myself in ways. That didn't look like suicide. And i reached a point in my life where i had no reason or experience to open up a restaurant but it reached a point where i literally was like life or death is like a scenario like the worst thing is death and the second thing is hurting other people along that road. The other thing is like everything else. Okay right and for me. It was okay. If i what's the worst thing. What's the worst thing i can do. Okay that okay. Let's think about that. Before i choose to do that. Let's try to do things that i would never do once restaurants kind of saved your life. Then you felt like you'd become addicted to work that you were like working constantly And What does it feel like in your life. Do you feel like work has become an addiction. What did it feel like you know it felt. it's i. I'm still working through it and i had a conversation with my wife last night. And she's like gotta stop. You gotta stop. You know. All i wanna do is provide for my family and that's ultimately what my father wanted in the last thing i wanna do is raise my family and my child the way i did my father but i could still get the same result if all i do is work and i'm trying to break these habits. It's really hard and you know in the book. I say the weird thing about work is that the last socially acceptable addiction and the bottoming out in work addiction. Is that the peak of your career. You know it's it's the craziest was so perceptive when you wrote that because usually like an in memoirs or people talk about their lives and they talk about bottoming out with an addiction. It's the lowest point of their life. They're not functional anymore. But like you say if you're dictate to work the peak of your career is when you're most addicted. It's it's it's a it's a it didn't really hit me until i would say a few years back. Probably like ten years into running momofuku. My my mom and dad was like they wanted to screw me up in the ad before. They really did a good job at this moment when they said you have to stop working so much and i was like what. That's what i was like. This is this tracy. If they're telling me. I'm working too much like i have reached a new level and the hardest part tarry too and this memoir and my work addiction is. It's my perspective. And i think along the way i can rationalize anything in my addiction to work and proving people wrong and getting to my goals and reaching the metaphorical mountain top and as a culture. I feel like we've put such a premium on doing that. And the sacrifices worth it right. And now i see that i heard a lot of people along the way and my book only represented some of those stories. Some of those people have reached out to over the years former employees family members friends. When you're on the single-minded track to get to where you wanna go you know it's borderline sociopathic to be like. Yeah it's worth it. I'm gonna do this even though you know what i mean. I'm gonna keep on going. Keep on going and we sort of celebrate that at least i internalize it as that. It's worth it. You gotta get there. You gotta do it and you get there and you realize what the hell was i doing. And that's where i'm at right now. Is i hope. I've done more good than bad and and i think that i have what i ask for forgiveness for the people i've wrong i have to earn you know. Let me say that in book. You say that at some point you hired like an executive coach who is going to give you feedback about how to be a better executive and your restaurants better and the i i think the first thing. The coach said to you It's amazing how long people have worked with you in your restaurants because they hate you. I'm thinking you've probably paid a lot of money to hear that but that must have really hurt to hear about. How did you change after after hearing that. And why were they feeling. So discontent with you. Because i was a horrible boss and i ruled with fear and commands and like your father brought you up. That's the hardest thing is. I spent my entire life making sure i would never be like my dad and i wound up being exactly like my dad to so many people and i just couldn't see it and a lot of the book is about perspective and seeing these things and facing that and realizing that just because i understand. That now doesn't mean that you know i. It doesn't rationalize anything. I have a different perspective. And i have to change that and and that was hard to know that everything i did for a long period was if it's good for me it's good for the restaurant and it's good for the people that work for me and i have that line and then you realize that was. That was just the i could convince myself of anything and again that can be very powerful thing for good and for bad. So you were. We were talking earlier about You know suicidal thinking you your friends your friends with anthony bourdain and he died of suicide the day before your wife found out that she was pregnant. And you'd been trying very hard to get pregnant I have to say. There's so many examples that i've seen in my life. Were a beloved person dies and the wedding is right afterwards or you know some celebration is supposed to come right. Afterwards or child is born right afterwards. And i don't understand exactly why i mean. Obviously i don't understand why it often is that way but it just seems to often be that way but i mean. Did you an ordained talk about suicidal thinking that something you shared with each other. yeah Tell me it is but it's important to talk about and Tony was a big brother to me and You know it was crazy thing when we found out when gray scott actually when we were when the when the pregnancy actually took place. I couldn't believe the timing of it. All it was just so crazy because we have been trying so so long and Tony thought that. I would have been you know. I mean like he would. He was always worried that i was going to hurt myself. And that's the problem. Is i always thought that tony. Tony was a strong one. Tony was invincible and know a lot of people are coastal. Maybe feel the same way that that we should've asked him how he was doing. A little bit more and actually there are always signs. If you think about it. And i feel a lot of guilt. Because i want to tony to be in service of me. And it wasn't exactly the you know reciprocated. And he was always worried about how troubled i was and i never once thought that i know but tony white knuckled everything i mean he was. Who's tony dane. And tell he wasn't. And i think if anything it's a it's a reminder to anyone that just because someone is doing well and has a has everything going for them right the job. The the family the looks the fame. Whatever doesn't mean that they're not going through something. I should mention here in the first episode of the second and most recent season of ugly delicious. It's all about children. Having children feeding children And we see in that episode. You and your wife telling your parents the news that that she was pregnant. And there's just this explosion of joy from your parents your mother system tears and So i if. I want to call our listeners and viewers at attention to that. It's a. It's a beautiful moment but i didn't realize i mean you know what what a lot to go through in the course of twenty four hours euro. Terry that kind of emotion was one of the purest things i've ever experienced and i was so happy whenever told me that telling someone else that your partner is expecting would bring kind of emotion. And that's when. I knew that there was more to life to live right. There's more emotions to seek out. And i was so glad to give that to my parents. My guest is chef and restaurant tour. David chang his new memoir is called edith. Peach will continue our conversation after a break. And let me also mention this. If you've been dealing with serious depression that has led to thoughts of suicide or know someone who is there are people you can contact for help at the national suicide prevention lifeline. You can call them at eight hundred two seven three talk. That's eight hundred two seven three talk or eight hundred two seven three eight two five five. This is fresh air support for this podcast and the following message come from e-trade trading isn't for everyone but each rate is whether it's saving for a rainy day or your retirement you trade. Has you covered. They can help you check your financial goals off your list and with a team of professionals giving you support when you need it. You can be confident that your money is working hard for you. Get more than just trading with each raid. To get started today visit eatright dot com slash. Npr for more information each rate securities llc. Member finra sipc. Let's get back to my interview with james beard award winning chef and restaurant tour david chang. His new memoir is called. Eat up each. i'm thinking about how much your life has changed in the past year. Your son was born a little over a year ago and then not long after he was born the pandemic starts and you know new yorkers shutdown. La shutdown your closing restaurants. You're working lot from home at the same time you're a new parent your cooking. More at home So i don't know in in in some ways has the pandemic enabled you because you're not flying around to your restaurants and sydney or toronto or new york and your home so much of time enabled you to spend more time with your son at a time when you might not have been able to. I wrestle with a lot because this year has been so hard. And i've been so blessed and privilege and i need to understand all of the goodness that i have in my life and it's terrible things have been. I'm weirdly strangely. Grateful because i don't think any other juncture or any other scenario i would have been able to spend this much time with my family and It's made me reevaluate so many things you know. And i want to be present in. And i've been telling myself so much this year that winning is losing and i wanna find ways where you know just yesterday for example. You know there's stuff going on at work. And i was having dinner and i immediately had to like immediately jumped in work mode and i talked to my wife later. And she's like. I understand why you have to do this. But you still always care more about work than your own family. And i want that emotion to be equal to my family. And it's not there. And i'm mad at myself for that. That work can come in and i'm so dedicated to work. I'm i'm so grateful for the team. We have momofuku. With marguerite allan the whole team that i wanna make sure that they're not let down and i'm helping them out and their family too but this is an opportunity for me to be the best version of myself for my family and that's the most important job. I can have an tell myself that. So i i read and i couldn't believe that this is true the until the pandemic you hardly cooked at home. Could that possibly be true. Oh man a lot of professional chefs. Never ever i mean for me and a lot of people. i know. it's just the last thing you wanna do when you come home or on your day off cook when you order out pizza all the time or any. Yeah yeah. I just never cooked in my first apartment. I always actually unplugged the oven. I turned off the gas just with storage because and even on plates until literally when my wife moved in with me. I had to buy plates. And i'll be in ridiculous. What do you cook for yourself and your family. I love cooking for my son and it's the best way to this day still and that's the one thing why food was so important in my family. One thing where we always could agree on. You know even with our differences of trying to eat something delicious. So i cook breakfast for my son. I cook lunch. I cook dinner. And i took a lot of He likes eggs and rice and rice. He doesn't like any vegetables. He doesn't even like meat. And i'm currently at a place where i'm trying to figure out how to incorporate vegetables like every other parent and i am supremely frustrated at my to out what he wants to eat. But it's a lot of rice and but you know just cooking food or anything like i'm cooking just like anybody else. It's not like how. I cook in restaurants but i i tell you cooking at home and actually cooking for my wife while she was expecting hugo like when she was you know he was in the womb. That's when i realized like oh this is cooking and i had never been in a position where i'm trying to generally feed someone else with love and i just want to nurture them and cooking for my wife was the best and then cooking while she was nursing had new meaning. Now it's feeding hugo and the strangest thing has happened. I now have learned a different way. Of course that i never thought that i never would. It's now changed. How i wanna cook in general. I care more about serving a bowl of soup. That looks like you know just plain old soup but made with love its shares. That is just food with love versus food. That's trying to impress david. I can't tell you what a pleasure it's been to talk with you. Thank you so much and thank you so much for being so open. I really appreciate it. I think it's valuable to hear what you have to say. Thank you so much my interview with david. Chang's recorded last thursday at zoom event produced for. Whyy by emily. Kim slow jiang's new memoir is called. Edp each after we take a short break. We remember travel writer. Historian and memoir. Est jan morris. She died last week at the age of ninety four. Her first memoir published in nineteen seventy four was about transitioning to female. We listen back to our nineteen eighty nine interview. This is fresh air support for this podcast and the following message come from master class. A new year is around the corner for a lot of people that means dusting off a creative goal. Whether it's writing a book starting a garden or trying a new recipe one night a week. Maybe you just wanna take twenty minutes a day for yourself to relax and listen to someone you find inspiring with masterclass you can get intimate access and insight from some of the world's most diverse thinkers with easy stream classes. Listen to writers like david sedaris. Learn from athletes like serena williams or watch shifts like yotam. Ot with an annual membership you get unlimited access to more than ninety masterclass instructors from any device so you can watch at home or listen while you're out for a walk. Whatever your creative goals. There's a class that can help you get inspired this holiday when you buy an annual masterclass membership you get another annual membership free go to master class dot com slash fresh air. We're going to remember travel writer memoir ist and historian jan marris. She died friday in her home country of wales at the age of ninety four until nineteen seventy-two. She was known as james morris. She changed her name to jan at the age of forty six after transitioning to female and having gender confirmation surgery two years later in nineteen seventy four. She wrote about gender in her memoir conundrum. She wrote. I spent half my life travelling in foreign places. I have only lately come to see that incessant wandering as an outer expression of my inner journey. When i spoke with her in one thousand nine hundred eighty nine just published. A book called pleasures of tangled life in the prologue she wrote. There was a time when new to womanhood. She tried to forget that she'd ever lived as a man. But it had grown on her over the years that this was not only intellectually dishonest but rather dull pleasures of tangled life focused on the pleasures that had sustained her over the years. One of those pleasures was indra. Johnny i asked her to explain well androgen. He means to me that. I have shared if not in the president at least in the past a lot of the emotions and the experiences of both genders. And why i say the beginning of the book chief do to make you smile that i Highly recommend the advantages and tragedy. Last says it was that in my experience if you share both the emotions of both sexes. Neither sex is frightened of you. Both sexes are willing to confide in. Nobody thinks your threat and since it seems to me that life in my life anyway has been urged. Consta- surged towards reconciliation and unity. That does seem to me an enormous advantage on in. Life's quest. When you were still writing as james morris you were best known for Being the reporter who climbed mount everest with edmund hillary. You were there with edmund hillary when he scaled to the top. And you're the first person to report it to the press What was the experience like when you got to the top there when you say soda famous you got it right. It was andy warhol's famous fifteen minutes of it but in fact it changed my life. You know I was young and having a even as a sort of Specious success of that kind orders. One holes at choosen attitudes to oneself I was only there similar to write about it. You know And the excitement for me was not so much actually. They're getting this double the mountain as the excitement of getting a scoop as we used in those days to call it anyone ever had you've traveled and written about travel for much of your life. And you think you read in a different style than many american travel writers. Do yes i do and i think the historical reasons for it as a matter of fact yeah. Will you write that. You had to learn to see africa in non-colonial terms what were some of the things you are up against because of your own upbringing that you you had to unlearn when traveling certainly i think the imperial aspect of it because people of my age. I'm sixty three this year. People of my age were brought up in britain to think of the world as ours really added to that is the old english culture rather than our current insular culture which led people back in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to go abroad in spirit absolutely of of of slightly arrogant independence and so one went abroad and a spirit of Of of unfair and illicit privilege i remember alan moorehead writing about British offices in cairo joined the war and he said that all of them seem to think they came from very rich privileged backgrounds. Of course they didn't at all the the richness and the privilege came from history and from the empire and we were all it was true of all and that is something that i did gradually like all the rest i when i was young. I went abroad in that spirit. Not exactly of jingoism said if overweening confidence i think it was at the end of conundrum you rode. I've lived the life of a man. I live now. The life of a woman. One day. Perhaps i shall transcend both. Are you still interested in transcending both. And what do you mean by that. I think it's conceivable that i have transcended both as a matter of fact I feel myself to be part of each under both and that seems to be not unhappy situation. Do they happy or unhappy. Not unhappy in between the two rather like these double negative. Why why would you prefer transcending both sexes. Rather than being part of because as i said before it seems to me purpose of of my life anyways is a quest for unity and reconciliation. And that's the beginning isn't it okay. Well i thank you very much for talking with us. Thank you very much indeed. My interview with jan marris was recorded in nineteen eighty nine. She died last friday at the age of ninety four tomorrow on fresh air. We celebrate thanksgiving in good company with conan o'brien last week he announced he'll be ending his. Tbs late night show in june. After twenty eight years of hosting late night shows will lessen back to the interview. We recorded in october. Two thousand nine hundred. I hope you'll join us for fresh. Air's executive producer is danny miller. Our technical director and engineer is audrey. Bentham our interviews and reviews produced in edited by. Phyllis myers roberta shorrock sam brigger lauren crandall had on enron denardo theresa madden. They had challenor and kayla. Lattimore our associate producer of digital media. Is molly seavy nesper. Seth kelly directed today show. We wish you a happy thanksgiving. We know many of you will be unable to celebrate with family and friends because of covid precautions. Please do what you need to do to stay safe and protect the people you love. I'm terry gross. This message comes from. Npr sponsor three m who continues to expand production of the respirators frontline workers need globally and is on track to supply two billion by the end of twenty twenty more at three m dot com slash. Cove three m science applied to life.