486: Korean Rice Cakes / Tteok

Molly 0:00

We have a live show coming up on May 13. At 6pm Pacific

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:05

Guess what? It's online register through the link in the show notes or find information on the Reddit or a bit.ly/spilledmilklive21.

Molly 0:14

We are going to be doing a lightning round which means Matthew and I will not know ahead of time. What the topics are. Abby's going to pull them out of a hat. And so we need your help, please submit topic ideas for our lightning round,

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:26

send them to topics at spilled milk podcast.com.

I'm Molly. And I'm Matthew.

Molly 0:37

And this is spilled milk The show where we cook something delicious. Eat it all and sit in our closets.

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:43

Yeah, I said I'm in the in the dining room like at the usual spilled milk recording table today. And it feels so weird to be a table. What made you decide to do that? Because we have a guest today and I think we're going to be on camera and I didn't want to be sort of like leaning off the edge of my bed in front of the guest.

Molly 1:01

It was so you left me here alone.

Matthew Amster-Burton 1:04

Like you there alone in the closet. Nobody but your closet is is like, you know, it's it's it's got kind of a a set. It's such a real vibe to it. Yeah. Whereas whereas really closet like one time one time I like used our usual recording spot for a work meeting and someone said are you in a hotel room? And I was like I need to find a new spot.

Molly 1:26

Boy, okay, well anyway, today's episode is Korean rice cakes or duck?

Matthew Amster-Burton 1:33

Yes. And we're gonna be talking a little about doc in general and a lot about doc Boogie, which is one of the most common and most delicious dishes made with them.

Molly 1:42

Yes. This is the third episode in our rice cakes trilogy.

Matthew Amster-Burton 1:47

Yes. Which, like, does it have to remain a trilogy? Or could it be like one of those like fantasy or romance trilogies? That ends up having like 19 bucks. Books, by the way?

Molly 1:57

I think it could be like that.

yeah. What other I mean, we haven't done. I mean, I'm sure there are lots of other rice cakes. I was starting to say something and then they didn't know what I was gonna say.

Matthew Amster-Burton 2:10

Okay, yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean, like, you could probably make like rice pudding into a cake. I was watching Great British Bake Off, which is like all I watch anymore. And someone made a really ill conceived dessert where they used like rice pudding as a sauce. Or like a garnish on top of the cake. Or like, that can be good. It wasn't. Oh, wow. Okay.

Molly 2:31

Well anyway, today's episode is Korean rice cakes. And we have a special guest today.

Matthew Amster-Burton 2:37

Yes, very excited. We're both pretty excited kind of nervous. I've moved from the from my usual recording spot, which is sort of like leaning over the edge of my bed toward the microphone to the old fashioned dining room table spilled milk studio. It's so lonely.

Molly 2:54

I am really happy to report so you know my bathrobe hangs here in the background of my my closet view.

Matthew Amster-Burton 3:02

Oh, that's the bed the bathroom you were wearing last week?

Molly 3:05

Yeah, this is my bathroom. And you know, it's it's freshly washed. So I feel like I really showed up here for our special guests today. washed my bathrobe. You really

Matthew Amster-Burton 3:13

did. Yes. No. I can see it gleams dizzy. Did you use a dryer sheet?

Molly 3:18

I don't think so. We did use borax. We had borax. Oh 20 mule team. Yeah. 20 mule team.

Matthew Amster-Burton 3:24

Is there another brand of borax? That's a really good brand name. I feel like I don't know what it has to do with borax. But it's very easy to remember.

Molly 3:32

You know, I have been seeing a whole bunch of graffiti around Seattle, the word borax. And I'm like, Yeah, yeah, man. I feel you.

Matthew Amster-Burton 3:42

That's right. Finally, like a youthful street artist who really gets me.

Molly 3:49

They totally get my laundry booster. Anyway, today we are talking about duck and I'm really excited because I just ate these for the first time a few weeks ago. And

Matthew Amster-Burton 4:01

I want to hear all about that.

Molly 4:03

Yeah, so I'm really excited. Okay, so

Matthew Amster-Burton 4:05

does that mean we're on memory lane? Oh, we should tell people about our live show first. Oh, great. Okay, it's it's gonna be online it's may 13. At 6pm you can register through the link in the show notes or go to bit dot L y slash spilled milk live 21.

Molly 4:20

And here's the thing. We are going to be doing this show as a lightning round so that means that you listener so and so can sue listeners you can send in a topic suggestion you can send it to topics at spilled milk podcast calm and producer Abby while we're doing the live show is going to be pulling topics like out of a hat and Matthew and I have to do like a lightning round on that topic.

Matthew Amster-Burton 4:49

Yeah, I can't wait to see this hat. We I don't even know if Abby's gonna be on camera or not. But I think I feel like she should while she's pulling things out of a hat and probably we're gonna

Molly 4:57

be we're gonna be coming to you live on From our closets as we do now Yeah, so this is going to be on zoom. And it's free although donations are encouraged you can learn more when you go to bit.li slash spilled milk live 21

Matthew Amster-Burton 5:15

All right, so should we go down Korean rice cake Memory Lane?

Molly 5:19

Yes. Let me take you down my memory lane please. It begins about a month ago

Matthew Amster-Burton 5:26

March March 2020 2021

Molly 5:27

when we decided that we were going to do this episode which was prompted by by puffed products or pub snacks,

Matthew Amster-Burton 5:37

we started with puffed products. Okay, braid as I said that that word with all the peas in it. Then we said like like we should do rice cakes because those are like the those were like the puffed elephant in the room that we didn't talk about on puffed products. What what are puffed products? I've already forgotten it was like pop chips

Molly 5:58

right? Yeah, it's really weird how we have really drifted downstream here. We started out Yeah, puffed products, which was mostly corn. Right? And then we did rice cakes which are like, which is the technology actually that enabled puft products

Matthew Amster-Burton 6:16

to happen right and right This week we're doing unpopped rice cakes correct

Molly 6:20

and specifically Korean rice cakes. Yes.

Matthew Amster-Burton 6:25

All right. Yeah, there we go. So anyways, this river gonna take us next to one probably over a waterfall in a barrel.

Molly 6:33

Once we had decided to do this episode, I thought okay, so Matthew suggested Korean rice cakes. That means I should like try Korean rice cakes. I will be perfectly honest and say I didn't I'd never had them. Alright, and anyway, so ash and I got dinner one night delivery from Korean tofu house. Is that what it's called? Yeah, Seattle. Yeah, Korean tofu house. We got a couple of different things being Bob and we also got duck Bo key which is a really Oh my god, it is a stew with kimchi often with like a fish base. Right? Yeah, we're going to talk more about this but with these like cylindrical Korean rice cakes in there, they almost look like like Penny but that are not hollow. Right? And the texture is incredible. And they're so good next, like in this really flavorful, like pungent soup because they are like all texture.

Matthew Amster-Burton 7:33

Yeah, we're gonna talk a lot about this, but there's like, there's like a superior version. I mean, there are a ton of different versions of this dish, but there's like a superior version and a drier version that are both super common made with go to john and OS and fishcakes usually, like it can have added meat it can we'll get there.

Molly 7:51

Okay, cool. Okay, what about you, Matthew, where's your memory lane?

Matthew Amster-Burton 7:55

I was trying to remember and I this is one of those instances where like, I stepped out onto memory lane or like the memory lane of my mind palace. And I immediately got lost in a fog because i don't think i think it was relatively recently for me too, like probably like the early to mid 2000s that I first encountered these, but I don't remember where it would have been at a Korean restaurant in Seattle in the 2000s I'm almost sure and probably in the form of doc Bucky. Okay, and and like immediately like, I love the texture right away. I think this is a super textural food.

Molly 8:34

I was trying to think of how to describe the texture it's like, you know, it's got some of that wonderful, like, springy chew that mochi does.

Matthew Amster-Burton 8:45

Yes, I think like if, if you have had mochi, but haven't had Korean rice cakes, it's based on the same process. So like there isn't any difference like in terms of the product between like what's called mochi in Japanese cooking and what's called dog in Korean cooking. It's just you know how they're used.

Molly 9:04

Okay. Well, I was really surprised by the shape of them. Yeah, I think somehow I pictured that it would be like like a disk like a thin disk. But

Matthew Amster-Burton 9:17

also common but not not usually dope bulky but but that's the other shape.

Molly 9:21

Okay. Okay, cool. Well, let's dive into this. Let's let's talk about before it before we're joined by our guest Yeah.

Matthew Amster-Burton 9:27

I'll be popping in any time.

Molly 9:31

Let's talk about like what these are and how they're made.

Matthew Amster-Burton 9:34

Alright, so there is a wide variety of different Korean rice cakes called doc and they can be made with different types of rice. They can be made with added grains or flavoring, but by far the most common in Korean cooking today are the ones made with steamed sticky rice, short grain sticky rice that's then pounded and turned into a paste and extruded and they certainly can be made at home but are mostly industrially made. And purchased. And when you buy them, they are really fun to work with because they are usually in like kind of a vacuum packed bag. And look there, there are two common shapes. There's the cylindrical ones that you had. And then there's the slices, which are kind of like a third of an inch thick and maybe like a little over an inch long oval slices. Yes,

Molly 10:19

I'm raising my hand. I have a question, Matthew. Yes, yes. So you say they come in, in vacuum packed packages? Is it kind of like if you buy like fresh neoci at the grocery store or something? Do they come in like the refrigerated section?

Matthew Amster-Burton 10:33

Yes, refrigerated or frozen. They're quite perishable. Like once you like the first time I got them, I think like I you know, I opened the box. And the thing is, they seem almost like plastic when you take them out of the package. And then as soon as they get warmed up, then then they soften and they become like chewy and delicious, but you take them out of the package at first. And it's like, you know, like a piece of chalk. Sorry. But so I assumed because they are so firm and and like just kind of this white stick that they would be very durable in the fridge, they are not. So once you once you open the bag, they will they will get moldy real quick because rice because rice is delicious, and all sorts of people and animals and microorganisms love to eat it. Perfect.

Molly 11:19

Okay, so they come in kind of this, this like pinky finger

Matthew Amster-Burton 11:24

shaped size. That can be they're kind of like, they're they're cut by machine, but they are cut into like, like varying lengths, which is which is kind of adorable. And they're sort of like, you know, I think of them as being like, like neoci I'm glad you mentioned yoky because they are, you know, a textural element. They're not something that has a lot of flavor in and of themselves. But they are great for carrying flavor for adding texture and for adding bulk to to a soup or like you know, taking a sauce that you want to eat a ton of and turning that into a meal. You know they are they're like a pasta.

Molly 11:59

Yes, this makes a lot of sense. So what is dogboe key then docbook key dish we're going to be focusing on

Matthew Amster-Burton 12:07

Yeah, it is the most common dish made with with rice cakes, and particularly the cylindrical rice cakes in Korea today. And it is enormously popular and I had assumed until I started researching this show, I knew that that rice cakes in in, you know East Asia go back millennia. And so I assume docbook He probably went back at least to like when Chili's first arrived in East Asia. No, it's from the 50s really yeah, so it's it is a postwar food. It was first made and sold in a particular neighborhood in Seoul. And there is like if you if you look around, there is a there is an apocryphal origin story that goes along with it. Everyone seems to agree that was first served in a restaurant run by a woman named Marbach Lim it according to Wikipedia quote when Marbach Lim participated in the opening of a Chinese restaurant she dropped talk into hot sauce accidentally and ate it and found that it was delicious. Like all the fake origin stories of this was this was like one of the dumbest this

Molly 13:10

seems like it it really needs to be like like it's very thin like they need to elaborate on it like we need more like the

Matthew Amster-Burton 13:19

we've talked about this before but like the thread running through all of these like wipsy origin stories is like you know women sure are dumb you know they're in the kitchen just like dropping stuff all the time and Whoa, like that tasted good

Molly 13:32

the total house origin stories Yeah, same kind of thing right? Like oh, my hand just slipped and I threw some chocolate chips in.

Matthew Amster-Burton 13:38

Yeah, and especially like when it involves like something like getting crisp in a pan like potstickers or, or you know, like something with hot sauce like you know, who could have guessed that like you know crispy something up at a pad or putting hot sauce I think would be delicious. No, it had to be a mistake.

Molly 13:55

So how is the dish made? Like you know, often I know there are lots of different ways of making dog bookie yet how what's a typical way of making it these days?

Matthew Amster-Burton 14:05

Okay, so it's usually made with with a stock that's that's based on dried anchovies and kelp go to john which is Korean fermented hot sauce. fishcakes did when you got to didn't have fish cakes in it. It did have fish cakes in it it's usually like a thinly sliced kind of like sheet shaped fish cake. Yes,

Molly 14:23

yes. I wasn't sure what it was actually but I'm glad now explained it.

Matthew Amster-Burton 14:28

Yeah, it adds like another textural element because that's more of more of like a you know, what's what's what's a nice way to say spongy you know, it's kind of it's kind of like a juicy juicy texture compared to like the super chewy texture of the rice cakes.

Molly 14:42


Matthew Amster-Burton 14:44

Rod galleons?

Molly 14:44

Yes. Big time. And um, you know and it's got this the the broth is quite thick. I mean, it's it's really like there it is, undeniably, just like all laced with goto john. Yeah, like so much.

Matthew Amster-Burton 14:59

Yeah. It can be like sometimes it's cooked down so that the that it gets really dry and like you know is that the sauce is really just clinging to the rice cakes and sometimes it's more saucy

Molly 15:09

yeah mine Mine was definitely more saucy Wait What did you write here that what are some other variations?

Matthew Amster-Burton 15:15

Oh yeah so so there is a first of all there's a neighborhood in Seoul the neighborhood in Seoul where where it originated the sin dog neighborhood. There's now a dog pokey town with dozens of restaurants serving it in hundreds of variations and some of those variations have become hugely popular like one one that became popular in the last I was gonna say few years but probably like couple decades now is Rose duck bookie which is made with with go to john and cream

Molly 15:42

rose as in like pink.

Matthew Amster-Burton 15:44


Molly 15:44

the penny alla vodka

Matthew Amster-Burton 15:48

I'd never heard of this and now I'm dying to try it.

Molly 15:51

Oh my god. Wait a minute you you said a curry duck bookie

Matthew Amster-Burton 15:55

Yeah, so there's there's a great great talk bookie there's there's cream sauce, bass, so like like carbonara or Alfredo style. There's non spicy soy sauce base that often has meat in it. There's not dobble key which is docbook key with added ramen noodles. You still have the rice cakes, but also noodles.

Molly 16:14

That was an option when I ordered it from Oh, Korean tofu house. Yeah, you could add ramen. And there's going junk duck pokey, which

Matthew Amster-Burton 16:20

is royal court style made with soy sauce, beef and a lot of vegetables, which looks really good. I don't think I've ever had one other than like the the most common like one one that would be made in Korean home kitchens with go to dog and stock and scallions and fish cakes.

Molly 16:37

I was pleasantly surprised by how well the duck held up as a takeout dish yet the noodles they hold up texturally much, much better than I thought they would. Yeah. So that even by the time this thing arrived at my house in the dead of winter, you know and I live at you know, at the end of a two mile long, unpaved road through the woods and and the end

Matthew Amster-Burton 17:01

here is that memory lane

Molly 17:03

door dash comes on horseback. Yes, yes. Anyway, no. Anyway, it was fantastic. I imagine also that it probably would be pretty good The next day, right? Oh, yeah, I

Matthew Amster-Burton 17:13

think so. Yeah, I think I have regained it the next day. It's become like an enormously popular takeout and delivery item in Korea today. Cool. Michelle zahner is a writer, singer songwriter and multi instrumentalist who is born in Seoul and grew up in Eugene, Oregon. She records and performs his Japanese breakfast her debut memoir Crying in H Mart is out this week and her third Japanese breakfast album Jubilee drops in June. Michelle, welcome to spilled milk.

Michelle Zauner 17:42

Thank you for having me. It's nice to hear someone say Oregon in a not weird way.

Matthew Amster-Burton 17:46

Yes. Oh, yeah. We all know who grew up in Oregon. It really is called Oregon, but we just say Oregon to annoy people.

Molly 17:54

Well, so when this episode airs, your book will have come out two days before. So? Well, God. So you have you've got this book coming out. You've got a new album dropping in June, right?

Michelle Zauner 18:07

Yes. On the fourth.

Molly 18:08

Will you tell us a little bit about each of them?

Michelle Zauner 18:11

Yeah, so I, my book is called Crying in H Mart. And it's about how I really turned to h Mart which is like a Korean grocery chain as a kind of place of refuge. And you know, like a place where I bought my groceries to go on this kind of like healing journey of cooking Korean food. I'm half Korean. And after my mom passed away, have a really aggressive gi cancer, I sort of found myself like having this new anxiety about my like, racial identity. And I just kind of naturally found myself for a variety of reasons, turning to Korean food to kind of like, uncover some memories of my mother that were kind of buried in this trauma of caretaking. And I also feel like I turned to it as a way to kind of preserve this cultural identity that felt sort of like at risk in this new way. And then my album is called Jubilee. And it comes out on June 4, it's my third album under the moniker Japanese breakfast. And my first two records were also largely about grief. And so I think I just felt like after I wrote these two records, and the whole book about the grieving process, and you know, suffering, I love wanted to like, yeah, sort of, like fling myself to the other end of the spectrum and right about this other part of my life. And, you know, I think it was also like, indie musicians in particular, maybe like, are often like mining tragedy in, you know, in a natural way. But um, we're sort of like, expected to like, dwell in our depression. And I love the idea of like, sort of challenging myself to write an album about joy. So this new record is about joy. And yeah, I feel like it's a very ambitious and theatrical record, and the arrangements are some of the largest that we've done a long time. And yeah, the theme is joy.

Matthew Amster-Burton 19:58

Yeah. I the Single be sweet has been like on repeat like in my house and like, you know living living rent free in my head since it since it came out and like reminds me so much of like song songs that I loved growing up in the 80s.

Michelle Zauner 20:12

Thank you. I love to hear that.

Molly 20:14

Video is super fun. That must have been really fun to make.

Michelle Zauner 20:17

It was very fun to me. A lot of rolling around on the ground. Yes, yes, yes.

Molly 20:22

So are you doing a book tour from your home?

Michelle Zauner 20:28

And yeah,

Molly 20:28

so how can people find out where to see you?

Michelle Zauner 20:31

Yeah, I guess by the time this comes out, we have like a little flyer that we can send to you too, but I'm doing a virtual tour. And I'm really excited. Just like, you know, I mean, it's not ideal. It's still, it's still really fun. We've got like a lot of really great guests. Mung ci is going to be on one and bone Yang is going to be on one. Karen, she's doing one. So I'm really, really excited about the lineup of people I get to talk to you and forced to talk about my book.

Molly 20:56

Oh, that's so cool. Well, congratulations.

Michelle Zauner 20:59

And I'm really excited because I get to do something with powells Oh,

Matthew Amster-Burton 21:02

yes. How's the greatest, huge, huge bookstore in Portland that, that I grew up going to all the time and is one of the best places in the world. I feel

Molly 21:11

like the best thing about doing an event at pauwels is they you know, if you're lucky, they put your name on the marquee, and I hope they still put your name on the market.

Michelle Zauner 21:22

Like things will open up enough for us to like, I don't know. I mean, maybe there's a belated bookstore that could happen in person, but I'm not sure how this works. I've never written it before. But I would love to do something in a pen and actual pals someday, but for now virtual is very cool. Yeah,

Molly 21:37

maybe for the paperback. Yeah, well, should we talk about Tteok and Tteokbokki?

Matthew Amster-Burton 21:41

Yeah. All right. So Michelle, did you eat Tteokbokki growing up? And if so was it like at home in Oregon on trips to Korea or both?

Michelle Zauner 21:49

Yeah, I feel like Tteokbokki is like a you know, it's a Koreans largely Korean streetfood. So growing up in Oregon, like, my mom never really made it at home, I feel like it would be the same. I don't know what like the American equivalent, it'd

be like,

this is terrible. It'd be like making like funnel cake at home or something. You know, it's like not really, like, it's not something that like, I feel like my mom would have made because it's just like a thing that you eat when you're out. You know, right. But I know a lot of people like there's a lot of instant versions of cooking now and like, I have made it a few times and really enjoy it. I really like making it with like the big thoughts. Like there's like you can get them at a chart, but they're like, they're like really long, big. I'll send you a photo of I made a really epic copy once a week. But

Matthew Amster-Burton 22:37

do you leave them long when you cook them? You don't you don't? You don't like cut them in?

Michelle Zauner 22:40

Fat boys. Like they're like, you know, maybe an inch thick. And like maybe six inches.

And yeah.

Like I have like these big ones. The thing is, is like Kabuki is like a really big thing. Yeah, like there's this thing you guys know about mcbomb right? Like, I'm sure that idea. Yes. Yeah. So I feel like that book is like a really big thing in the Mk bond universe and I really love it and I feel like after watching a lot of those videos like that, and this specific type of like, ramen that's really spicy is like a really popular thing to eat on these muffins. So I feel like I got injured making it after watching it as a young adult as an adult but when I was younger Yeah, it was like something that you would get like on the street. I feel like I always really enjoyed it. I used to have like a very long chapter in my book that got deleted the second chapter of my book was like extremely hard for me to get right for a very long time and it used to be about my Korean first birthday and duck is like a major part of your Korean first birthday and there's all these different types of it and that's like my obviously my like first memory of duck in general.

Matthew Amster-Burton 23:53

I was like what what kinds of you know, types of duck would be served it I this is not a tradition that I know anything about.

Michelle Zauner 23:59

Yeah, it's like a lot of celebrations. I feel like like a lot of holidays so there's like yeah, I used to have all these like descriptions of them. There's like some Qian, which is like I have to like look up all of these but like I know some kinda is one where it's like they look like they're like little lubed up dumplings and they have like, red bean and like sesame inside. And then there's one called Mooji get doc which is like a rainbow rice cake. That's like kind of it's almost It looks like a little like Starbucks cake or something but it's like very plain. And then my favorite is called Yak chic. I don't even know if that's like technically thought but it's like in the family. And it's made from like, rice and like like, I guess corn syrup and they have like chestnuts and raisins in it. And I also write about that in my book. That's that was like my favorite one growing up. Yeah,

Molly 24:51

so you would pretty much only eat it then when you went back to create a visit to visit family there. You didn't tend to have it at home right doc? Okay. I

Michelle Zauner 24:59

never really ate that at home my mom it never really made it but I did have like when we would go to the Asian grocery store we would get they would have thoughts so they would have like different types of like this stuck and like we would just eat it like on its own not like the spicy one

Matthew Amster-Burton 25:15

what what else do you remember from food wise from from childhood trips to Korea

Michelle Zauner 25:20

my main memory is always like the first thing that we would always get was like Korean Chinese delivery as soon as we landed like it was always It was like pretty much tradition that like my aunt would like call in an order to this like Korean Chinese place. They come in like 10 minutes. I don't know where there there must be so many others like they come so fast. It's basically like the equivalent of like, I don't know, I guess like American Chinese food but like there's judging Mian which is like these black bean noodles that are like very savory and just like so good. And tongue to you. It's like a deep fried pour like a sweet and sour kind of pork. And then jump bone is like a seafood noodle soup. So we would usually get like the big three and eat that when I was I love Georgia man when I was a kid and that was like a big thing for me going there. We'd always go to this fancy barbecue restaurant in Seoul called Samuel someone garden. I definitely always remember they're like, Calvi. They're like shortrib barbecue, and they have like, the fanciest best like side dishes of like, pumpkin salad and like all like shredded green onion and like acorn jelly like side. It's like it's so decadent and delicious. And they have a really good dungeon jigga which is like a fermented soybean stew that's like also very savory and has like tofu and different kinds of like, you know, potato and zucchini and like different type of very like hearty stew that accompanies this, like shortwave barbecue. And yeah, I mean my aunt every time like my my mom and I would come she'd be like, make a list of like, all the things you want to eat and like all the places you want to go and so it was like such a huge part of my childhood with like, all these things mostly like my mom really missed getting to eat and so I was kind of just like along for the ride like watching her like you'd all these things that she grew up eating and like hadn't gotten to have for many years. Like it was a really big thing for her and I kind of just like reap the benefits of that.

Matthew Amster-Burton 27:12

That's how I always forget to eat enough before we record these episodes. And

Molly 27:17

before that, Matthew and I are like sitting here with dumb smiles on our faces. listening to you just describe all this stuff. Like please

Matthew Amster-Burton 27:24

keep going. Like you're gonna block this drool now.

Molly 27:27

Do you ever cook dog at home? I know you mentioned the giant cylinders. But yeah, how do you cook it at home?

Michelle Zauner 27:35

Yeah, it's kind of a new thing. I don't make it too often. I make a lot which is like brisket soup with like these kind of coin shaped tteok that you eat on New Year's. And I do really like that. And I usually put mundu like dumplings in it. I probably make that the most like in terms of like my consumption, but sometimes I'll make the cookie and I'll do you know, I you make like a anchovy, like dashi and then you put in like fish cakes and go to john. And I think I really like melting mozzarella cheese on top. That's what the muffin people do.

Matthew Amster-Burton 28:19

What? What do you think it is about tteok Fogg cuz I love it too. And like, I find it so relaxing to watch, like, do you do you feel that way too? And if so, like, what do you think it is about it? watching people eat mass quantities of food and like very, very kind of, like, ordinary way that it's so like, heartwarming, somehow.

Michelle Zauner 28:37

I don't know. I mean, I feel like I I used to watch it all the time. And I think that especially right now I'm trying to like eat a little healthier. So maybe I haven't watched it very often. But it gets me like, it gets me like just really pumped to like eat something. You know, I mean, like if I'm like hungry, I'm in bed and like, I don't know what to eat. I know watch someone eat something and they just like, look like they're enjoying it so much. It looks so good. it'll it'll like spark some new ideas and then it'll get me like so excited. Or sometimes I'll like, watch a video of something I'm about to eat. And like get even more excited to like, eat this thing. It's like this person is like enjoying it so much.

Matthew Amster-Burton 29:14

I've never done that. But that's the best idea I've ever heard. So yeah,

Michelle Zauner 29:18

exactly like read before you eat cookie or something like watching one where like, you know, just like it just looks so goofy and like delicious. And it just gets me going. I've like started eating a lot of things like because of mcbomb I feel like what else? My favorite. So my favorite mug bomb is like when someone will eat like a just a giant filet of like raw salmon. And they'll like bite into it like a bear. It's like so it's so central. I can't I don't they at h Mart they sell like a whole filet of like sashimi grade salmon and like it's to like take a giant bite out of like a hunk of salmon. Raw salmon is like it's just very exciting to me. And it's fun to Watch feels like kind of perverse, you know, I like that and then yeah, another thing is like this brand is like called Samyang Bolduc, Boku Mian I think. And it's like this there it's called they call it the fire Noodle Challenge. And a lot of times they'll like melt mozzarella or American cheese on top. And it is really spicy. I'm like someone that's pretty good at spice and it is like pretty intense level of spice the two time one. And I never knew what that was until mcbomb. And then afterwards, I was like, I have to try this and like my GI tract was like really suffering for a while.

Matthew Amster-Burton 30:36

When you mentioned like Terry to a filet of salmon like a bear like years ago, I read like a john Thorne food essay. I don't even remember what he was talking about. But he said like you eat it with knife, a knife and fork because for the same reason you eat you don't haul a steak up off a plate and just shove it in your mouth. You know, it's just more satisfying to cut it up with a knife and fork. And as soon as I read that, I'm like, now I want to pick a steak up off a plate and shove it in my mouth just to see what that's like. I don't think I have but now I'm thinking about it again.

Michelle Zauner 31:06

Yeah, you should. Now's the time for supplies.

Matthew Amster-Burton 31:09

Yeah. You're absolutely right. Like who's gonna know

Michelle Zauner 31:13

who's good enough? No one's gonna know. Okay, so

Matthew Amster-Burton 31:15

I watched I watched a video that you did for Pitchfork in which you described yourself

Michelle Zauner 31:19

talk about the salmon in that?

Matthew Amster-Burton 31:21

Yes, yes. And

Michelle Zauner 31:23

I'm like raw salmon girl.

Matthew Amster-Burton 31:26

Yeah, okay, that's Yeah, we're gonna we're gonna make that your thing. Okay, sorry. Sure. You've got you've got a great book and like several grayed out like your notes,

Michelle Zauner 31:34

your undying love of Ross.

Matthew Amster-Burton 31:38

out of hand. Money in that video you described yourself as a garbage mouth and we are a show that unapologetically loves junk food of all kinds. And so what what is a go to junk food item for you?

Michelle Zauner 31:50

Oh my god, I'm honestly this is like, I don't want people to know this like deep shameful secret. But I've been trying to eat healthier and like during the pandemic because it like offers me a sense of

Molly 32:00

control. That is a dark secret.

Michelle Zauner 32:02

It's a deep dark secret for someone who is like I love food. I write about food so much and like I have been like such a garbage mouth. But like during the pandemic I've been wanting to like experiment with eating have dipped a toe in. But usually my like, real garbage mouth thing that like all my friends know me for is I love flaming hot cheetos with lemon juice. And then I eat it like cereal. Oh, it's like fucked up. I must be so bad.

Molly 32:29

What do you mean? Eat it like cereal? You don't

Michelle Zauner 32:31

like you? Milk on it too. You know, I put like a bowl of hot cheetos in a lab put I put hot cheetos into a bowl. And then I'll pour lemon juice over it. So it's like soaking in lemon juice. And then I'll eat it with like a sweet chopsticks Actually, I learned this trick for my best friend growing up in elementary school was half Mexican. And all her family ate it this way. And I got really into it. It's so good.

Matthew Amster-Burton 32:57

That's great.

Molly 32:57

This is amazing. I can't wait.

Matthew Amster-Burton 32:59

I already eat hot cheetos with chopsticks just to keep them off my keyboard. Yeah, someone. Oh, that's good. So now I'm gonna add lemon juice, for sure. Yeah,

Michelle Zauner 33:08

my friend and her family just ate it with their hands and their entire hands were like just red all the time. And so my one addition is that I eat it with chopsticks.

Molly 33:16

Oh my gosh, this is delightful. I have so many new ideas. All right.

Matthew Amster-Burton 33:21

We don't want to take up too much of your time that thank you so much for joining us. Thank

Michelle Zauner 33:25

you guys so much.

Matthew Amster-Burton 33:26

Yeah, the publisher sent us crying Crying in H Mart I read it. I loved it. I am a person who has a lot of trouble dealing with with like hard things in life. And I feel like you know, reading your book made me feel like when I have to go through something like that, like I'm going to use your experiences as kind of a guide.

Michelle Zauner 33:43

Thank you so much. That means a lot to me. Well, thank you guys so much for having thanks for joining us. This

Matthew Amster-Burton 33:48

was so much fun.

That was so fun. Yes. Okay, so Crying in H Mart get it where books are sold, Jubilee and two other great albums by Japanese breakfast Get it? Where get it where music is sold. What else do we need to say about where to find Michelle and her stuff?

Molly 34:10

Go pick up a filet of salmon. exactly when you show up for Michelle's book tour events which I'm guessing are out there somewhere if you google her name Michelle's honor or I will link to it in the show notes. Yeah, but when you sit down and watch her one of the book events you should just take some some salmon with you.

Matthew Amster-Burton 34:28

Yeah, a lot of salmon not at random Hot Cheetos. Yes or both. All right, so we were talking about dog pokey variations. I did not know about the the big boy. Oh my god, and I imagine you like take bites off of it. Which sounds so satisfying.

Molly 34:46

When she first mentioned it I thought surely she's gonna say that you like cut this into smaller segments again, sort of to bring up neoci like you would do with Nuki right. But like if you're making yucky but oh my god, I'm fascinated by the idea of this giant phallus of rice cake.

Matthew Amster-Burton 35:04

No, it sounds excellent. I have not been to h Mart in too long. Like I'm hoping it's something that can happen pretty soon and I'm going to get one of those and maybe a salmon fillet dip. Fantastic.

Molly 35:15

Anything else that we should say about tteok or Tteokbokki?

Matthew Amster-Burton 35:18

Yeah, a couple couple other things. So there is a great video. From there. There's these great Korean food youtubers named Erin and Claire, I love their channel. We're gonna link to this video in in the episode description. They did a video recently where they make five different cookbook recipes including like the original creamy fried and soy sauce and one other that I can't remember. And like I want to cook all of them they look fantastic and even even if you're not planning to cook any of them like this is this is the video to watch to like get you slavering for whatever it is you're going to eat because Wow, does it look good?

Molly 35:54

What about mon ci?

Matthew Amster-Burton 35:55

Yeah, so mon ci the Korean food blogger and youtuber if you're looking for like a good starter recipe to make at home, I think hers can't be beat. And we'll link to that also. Oh, and mom she has this recipe for chicken chicken Bulldog, which is it's like a spicy chicken bake that that is topped with mozzarella cheese and has optional but you should put in rice cakes. And it is I don't even know like how to describe like what what class of food it falls into. Like if you went to Chili's and they serve this you would be like this is the this like fits in perfectly and is the best thing I've ever had at Chili's.

Molly 36:33

Oh my god, I love that this is the this is the comparison you reach.

Matthew Amster-Burton 36:38

You serve in like an a cast iron skillet. So it's perfect.

Molly 36:42

It's perfect. I was gonna say you know so we've been talking about Korean rice cakes specifically but you know the other place that I think of finding like these sort of disc shaped like sort of, you know, thin slices of rice cake is in some Chinese cuisines and I think about having them stir fried at didn't iPhone. Yeah, Shanghai rice cakes. We mentioned those I guess I just Yeah, absolutely.

Matthew Amster-Burton 37:03

So that that I I bet they're buying a Korean brand at at Din Tai Fung because that's what's most commonly available and it is exactly the same item. So like in Chinese food, especially in Shanghai, like stir fried with that with meat and vegetables. Yum. They're they're so good.

Molly 37:20

They're so good.

Matthew Amster-Burton 37:21

I made I made this a couple weeks ago and I have the rest of the rice cakes in the freezer and I'm going to be making it again very soon.

Molly 37:29

Matthew, it seems like it's time for some sick man.

Matthew Amster-Burton 37:32

It sure seems that way, doesn't it? Mm hmm. All right. How about some spilled mail?

Molly 37:42

From listener Richelle Hello from Saskatchewan, Canada.

Michelle Zauner 37:47


Matthew Amster-Burton 37:48

I'm respond. Whoa, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Molly 37:51

Okay. The letter goes on.

Matthew Amster-Burton 37:53

Now that was it.

Molly 37:54

Back in March, our province fully shut down. Only grocery stores and pharmacies were legally able to be open. It was wild and lasted nine full weeks before we started slowly reopening businesses. I imagine it was similar. Where we are in Washington. It was wasn't it, Matthew?

Matthew Amster-Burton 38:11

Yeah, I think things were closed for longer.

Molly 38:13

I know many of us around here spent that time experimenting or perfecting something in the kitchen flour and yeast were almost impossible to find. For me I finally got it down to a perfect science to make one single loaf of crusty chewy French bread in my shitty home oven. So my question is this Did you guys and Abby to learn or create or perfect any specific dish or item during lockdown?

Matthew Amster-Burton 38:36

Well, I mean, I have a I have a question for listener Rochelle, which is if flowering yeast were almost impossible to find, what did you put in that French press?

Molly 38:44

Nice one, Matthew. So I was thinking about this, Matthew, because, you know, there were some like there's some kind of boring things that I feel like I've really dialed in during the pandemic, but they're so boring. Like for instance, I feel like I have perfected roasted broccoli, which I think is one of the most perfect vegetables like absolutely, I've got the temperature dialed in the amount of oil, the length of baking the way I like slit cutting it anyway, but what I really want to talk about is Yaki soba. Which I mean I should say is my version of Yaki soba. I don't know if it is traditional, but I have learned from Matthew how to kind of make a basic Yaki soba and I've tailored it to my family's tastes so I use bacon, green cabbage, onion, ginger, fresh ginger scallion and then the sauce is equal parts mirin and soy sauce with some chili Chris.

Matthew Amster-Burton 39:38

Oh, that sounds so good.

Molly 39:39

Yaki soba is my lockdown superstar.

Matthew Amster-Burton 39:44

Guess what mine is also an Asian noodle dish and we talked about it on the show. It is it is pod tie from time to time spilled milk gasp piland recipe hi piland I you know, it's like I still I still feel like I like I get a little better at it each time, like it was the perfect pandemic dish because it is not easy to make. You know, the first time you make you'll be like, this is okay. And like, you know, these are the things I need to tweak next time, and it'll be a little better next time and like I've finally gotten it to where like, I feel like oh, this is the noodle texture I'm looking for this is the right amount of sourness for the Tamron the right level of heat, it's like as now as satisfying to make as it is to eat, but also every time we make it I get a little nervous that I'm gonna like really fuck up.

Molly 40:28

That's really sweet. And then producer Abby, we have producer Abby, what her locked down, you know, perfected dish is she said the zatara Cacho, a Pepe from Ottolenghi. And we'll link to the recipe in the show notes. So I'm excited to try that.

Matthew Amster-Burton 40:47

And now it's time for cute animals you need to know

this video might be a little long, so feel free to skip around. It's long, like the animal itself. That's a hint there. So this comes to us from listener alijah. And it's mere cats. So your cats meerkats had a real moment, like maybe, I don't know, 10 or 20 years ago, I have no concept of time anymore whatsoever, maybe the 18th century. But there was like that show Meerkat Manor, and like everybody knew meerkats are like little weasels that like to stand up next to each other. And that's true, they still do that. They haven't stopped doing that. They're skinny little mongooses who will stand on anything. And so we're going to link to this video in mongoose a mongoose is a kind of weasel that likes to kill snakes.

Molly 41:40

So it's in a weasel.

Matthew Amster-Burton 41:41

Rikki tikki Tavi is a mongoose, right?

Molly 41:44

I don't know.

Matthew Amster-Burton 41:46

It's in the weasel family. Oh my god, Matthew.

Molly 41:48

I like when June was younger and we used to go to the zoo a lot. I always loved to stand in front of the the Meerkat display because they were just endlessly fascinating.

Matthew Amster-Burton 42:00

Oh, God,

Molly 42:01

they are so there's something about their posture. And the general like effect that I attribute to this posture. You know, like here I am like anthropomorphizing these little mongooses, but I gotta love them.

Matthew Amster-Burton 42:16

Yeah. Also, this just Yana mongoose is not a type of weasel word, but they certainly look like a weasel right.

Molly 42:22

Oh my god. I'm watching one eat it. Oh, God. Oh my God. They eat Oh, they eat reptiles and stuff. Oh, yeah. Yeah,

Matthew Amster-Burton 42:29

they eat snakes. But the thing is, they'll stand on anything, including a BBC photographer. So there's a point in this video in which the photographer is trying to take pictures of meerkats and the meerkats are just standing on on the photographer.

Molly 42:42

Oh my god, I love them so much. And they really do have they have crazy good posture. It's It's impressive.

Matthew Amster-Burton 42:47

They've great yeah, we could we could all learn a lot from so. So mongoose self improvement program. Why? I'm talking about Meerkat specifically not mongoose is in general. But yeah, Meerkat self improvement program. Be alert. Stand up straight. You snake every day. Oh,

Molly 43:04

yes. I mean, what more could you need?

Matthew Amster-Burton 43:06

Stand on a photographer there you guys actually

Molly 43:08

How about now but wow, Matthew, what are you into? Let's

Matthew Amster-Burton 43:10

do it.

I'm into I mean, obviously made to the new Japanese breakfast single be sweet. But also, I want to tell you about Cecile Lou of cc's art cafe CCS Art cafe.com, who makes beautiful like watercolor stickers based on her own artwork, and there's a lot of food themes themed ones and a lot of non food themed ones. They're all great. And you can go to her website which will link to in the show notes and order stickers like all a cart. But the best way to get her stuff is to sign up for her Patreon and join the monthly sticker club like wife of the show Lori did and so now every month we get this little envelope full of stickers and like I always want to open it and see what the stickers are but I have to wait because they're their life of the show Laurie stickers and she gets to decide when to open sissies sticker envelope

Molly 44:02

her artwork is it's like so huggable like it's exactly like the the various food because it's all food right? It's like very cute food. Food with faces. Yeah, yeah, it's just so like squishable I mean if you could squish a sticker

Matthew Amster-Burton 44:19

Yeah, they used to have puffy stickers like are puffy stickers still thing? Oh no love puffy stickers. When I was a kid I covered like my parents dashboard with them.

Molly 44:29

No, I thought puffy stickers were lame. Never like Matthew I did not like puffy stickers. I wanted my Mrs. Grossman stickers.

Matthew Amster-Burton 44:37

What is Mrs. Grossman stickers.

Molly 44:39

Oh, you don't remember that sticker company. Mrs. Grossman. Like it came on these like, it would come on these rolls. So like, you know a stationery store, for instance, would have like a whole section of Mrs. Grossman stickers and there would be rolls of white, you know paper with all the stickers on it and you could. The paper was perforated. So You could tear off like just a certain amount.

Matthew Amster-Burton 45:03

This isn't making any sound I'm not very impressed. Oh my god, I was just looking at to see a loose stickers which are way better.

Molly 45:09

God. Okay, well, fine. I'm going to talk about mine now. But Wow. Maybe I'm like the last person to listen to the point of origin podcast, which

Matthew Amster-Burton 45:18

is you're not because I haven't.

Molly 45:20

Oh, okay, well go listen to it. It's hosted by Steven Satterfield, who is the founder of whetstone magazine. And it's hard to sum up what he's doing in this podcast, basically, like the magazine, he's exploring culture through food. And he's doing lots of terrific interviews with with real people who are defining and preserving global food ways. So he totally pulls it off. I haven't heard another podcast that does what he does as well as he does it. So anyway, they're currently between seasons, but there are a lot of old episodes to listen to. I recently really enjoyed the one that came out last November on food apartheid and like why it's a better term than food desert. So

Matthew Amster-Burton 46:00

Oh, yeah, I can get that. I know, food. desert is a really problematic term.

Molly 46:05

Totally. Anyway. Yeah, that's that's point of origin podcast. So really great stuff.

Matthew Amster-Burton 46:09

All right. I think we're done here. I think we're so done. So we're linking to a bunch of stuff this week. And it's all good. We want to thank Michelle's honor again for being on the show. That was a delight we can ever back Abby Sir catella is our producer and zaatar cacio e Pepe maker

Molly 46:26

we have a read it it's called everything spilled milk. Yeah, that's right first, milk everything and

Matthew Amster-Burton 46:32

I was like, let's just spill milk on everything and see what happens it's gonna get very smelly. reddit.com slash are slash everything spilled milk. It's a great place to chat with other people who listen to the show. You can also send us listener mail, contact at spilled milk podcast comm sending your topics for the for the live lightning round live show topics at spilled milk podcast, calm god, I

Molly 46:55

can't imagine anything else we get possibly need to say today.

Matthew Amster-Burton 46:58

I feel like we've given people so many things to listen to things to read things to watch cute animals to know stickers to stick on themselves this week. Like, I don't know if it's

Molly 47:08

self care exercises to improve posture. I mean, right. We are a one stop shop.

Matthew Amster-Burton 47:13

Yeah, the Meerkat program.

Molly 47:15

Thank you for listening to spilled milk where everything.

Matthew Amster-Burton 47:19

We are everything. And we're everything to everyone. We're the podcast that everybody likes. No,

Molly 47:25

that's true. I'm Molly weissenberg.

Matthew Amster-Burton 47:28

And I'm Matthew Amster-Burton.

Molly 47:35

Michels honor was our special guest. Thank you, Michelle.

Matthew Amster-Burton 47:38

I just literally just said

Molly 47:40

I wasn't listening to you.