Hi, long time! Phew, October is always the wildest cookbook month—it’s even officially dubbed National Cookbook Month—and we’ve been a bit quiet around here. With two little ones running around the house, germs have been rampant, and my voice just hasn’t been cooperating. So we’re catching back after falling a bit behind on our fall release schedule and thrilled to share today’s chat with Hetty Lui McKinnon with all of you.
And now, somehow, it’s Oct. 31 - Halloween! I’m a sucker for anything fall. We’re in a judgment-free zone, of course, so I’ll readily admit that I’m happily ordering pumpkin-spiced lattes. I made chili as soon as the temps dipped a bit after our recent heat wave. I broke out my extra warm sweaters, put them away (see: heat wave), and broke them out again.
Tonight, I’m making a big batch of Eric Kim’s Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese, which keeps it simple with cheddar and Velveeta. It feels equal parts crowd-pleasing (we’re talking actual toddlers here) and nostalgic. (Usually, for holidays, Martha Stewart’s baked mac is my trusted go-to.)
Ah, and costumes. How fitting that we’re talking with Australia-born Hetty today as my family prepares to transform into the animated, hilarious Australian sheepdog family of Bluey, Bingo, Chili, and yours truly, Bandit. Wish us luck on the trick-or-treat streets!
📖 What I’m Reading
- writes about the publication of Butter Boy, the new cookbook from Paul Flynn, “the beloved chef at the Tannery in Waterford and the Irish Times food writer,” wondering: Is a cookbook without photos so retro it's radical?
🎧 What I’m Listening To
Self-promo: I was so honored to share the origin story of Salt + Spine on the Everything Cookbooks podcast with friends of the show Kate Leahy, Molly Stevens, and Kristin Donnelly. This trio (plus fourth co-host Andrea Nguyen) really ask great questions and it made for a fun and engaging chat. Listen here or wherever you podcast!
🍳 What I’m Cooking
You already know the Halloween menu: Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese by Eric Kim [New York Times]
Episode 162: Hetty Lui McKinnon
In this week’s episode,and I discuss:
The loss of her father when she was a teenager, and the impact his passing had on her relationship with her family and with food. “As a child,” Hetty writes in Tenderheart, “I didn’t see living among cartons of fresh produce as anything but normal. … My memories of my father are suspended in time, a disrupted dream without an ending. Every memory I have of him is through the lens of a child. He was tenderhearted—generous, caring, affectionate, kind, and playful.”
Her path to writing Tenderheart, her fourth and most personal book to date. Hetty first wrote about her father’s passing in an essay for Peddler, her self-published journal on food and culture.
How Hetty approaches recipe development and her “deep obsession” with vegetables, which leads to recipes in Tenderheart like Cabbage Carbonara-ish, Chocolate-Eggplant Brownies, Tingly ‘Cacio e Pepe’ Snow Peas with Rice Noodles, Lazy Butternut Squash Tiramisu, and—on of my new favorite lunches—an egg salad in which Hetty swaps out the egg for roasted Brussel sprouts. Genius! (By the way, in addition to Hetty’s cookbooks, she publishes recipes regularly with The New York Times and on her Substack,.)
Plus, as always, we put Hetty to the test in our signature culinary game!
For more great listening, our 2021 episode with Hetty is here:
Tenderheart: A Cookbook About Vegetables and Unbreakable Family Bonds by Hetty Lui McKinnon
Heritage and food have always been linked for Hetty Lui McKinnon. Tenderheart is a loving homage to her father, a Chinese immigrant in Australia, told in flavorful, vegetarian recipes. Growing up as part of a Chinese family in Australia, McKinnon formed a deep appreciation for her bicultural identity, and for her father, who moved to Sydney as a teenager and learned English while selling bananas at a local market. As he brought home crates full of produce after work, McKinnon learned about the beauty and versatility of fruits and vegetables.
We 💚 local bookstores. Pick up your copy of Hetty’s Tenderheart here:
This week, paid subscribers will receive two featured recipes from Hetty’s Tenderheart—a stunning eggplant dish that gets a classic char siu treatment, and a “carrot-laden ramen” that draws on the smell-memory of satay. These are dropping on Thursday, along with an excerpt of Hetty reading from Tenderheart.
Salt + Spine is supported by listeners like you. For this week’s recipes—plus exclusive content and hundreds of other featured recipes—become a paid subscriber today.
This Week’s New Cookbook Releases
Big Heart, Little Stove by Erin French
Hungry As Hell by Michelle Davis + Matt Holloway
Preserved: Condiments Darra Goldstein, Richard Martin, Cortney Burns
Preserved: Fruit Darra Goldstein, Richard Martin, Cortney Burns
Psst, we were quiet the past couple of weeks, so catching up on a bunch of other new releases I hope you didn’t miss!
Just Eat by Jessie James Decker
Rintaro: Food and Stories from a Japanese Izakaya in California by Sylvan Mishima Brackett
The Global Pantry Cookbook by Ann Taylor Pittman + Scott Mowbray
Chocolate All Day by Steve Hodge
Fish Butchery: Mastering the Catch, Cut, and Craft by Josh Niland
Joshua Weissman: Texture Over Taste by Joshua Weissman
Let's Bake Bread! by Bonnie Ohara
Let's Eat Paris! by François-Régis Gaudry
ScheckEats―Cooking Smarter: Friendly Recipes with a Side of Science by Jeremy Scheck
Make It Japanese: Simple Recipes for Everyone by Rie McClenny
Maman & Me: Recipes from Our Iranian American Family by Roya Shariat
My Everyday Lagos: Nigerian Cooking at Home and in the Diaspora by Yewande Komolafe
Polish’d: Modern Vegetarian Cooking from Global Poland by Michal Korkosz
The Chutney Life: 100 Easy-to-Make Indian-Inspired Recipes by Palak Patel