Christine: Where did this Quarter Cup Crisis come from? I mean that both in the sense of the idea for the newsletter itself and what sort of ~ feelings ~ you were encountering to describe it as such, if you're comfortable sharing.
Tanya: Turning 25 terrified me for a number of reasons, but mainly because I worried I wasn’t far along down my “path,” whatever that may be. I think working in media has dramatically affected my perception of success, mainly because I work alongside/admire so many talented young people in this space. It’s really hard not to compare yourself to other successful young people and wonder “Am I on track?” I turned to cooking to deal with a lot of those anxieties. I feel comfortable in the kitchen, even if I may not feel comfortable cooking every single type of food. Cooking has always been a way for me to express myself and feel a bit more in control of my very-hard-to-control life. As I approached the big 2-5, I found more and more that my routines, friendships, etc., were often defined by food and cooking and I really leaned into that as a coping mechanism of sorts.
Christine: What are the biggest lessons you've learned out of this — related to cooking, friendship, life, etc?
Tanya: People always say “food brings people together.” I think that’s true in some respects, but it’s cliche as hell. I more so have found that cooking is one of the best ways to show people you care. I think I most show affection and love through cooking. I want to cook for my mom, I want to cook for my boyfriend, my friends, my colleagues as a way of showing them how much they mean to me. I take note of their tastes and try to create something that I know will mean something to them, even if it’s just for the 15 minutes they’re physically eating it. There are few things that light me up like seeing someone I love devour a thing I’ve made for them.
Christine: Tell me about the instances you mention in your newsletter about cooking + friendship; I'm thinking about the Cook Club, gathering with other strangers around the food, expressing your love for your friends by baking for them. How has your hobby helped you handle the quest of making friends as an adult? Do you think cooking provides opportunities for building friendship that other activities/meetups/events don't?
Tanya: In short, yes. I have made more meaningful and fruitful friendships in the last year that were established through food and cooking than I did in say, college by a long shot. Friendship is a lot like dating, and I’ve invited over people to cook and eat on the like, second or third “date.” What’s great about cooking with people you may not know as well is the actual act of cooking serves as the ice breaker. You’re deeply engaged in a task, giving each other feedback or tips or tasting things and talking mostly about what’s at hand. Then you have the chance to sit down for whatever meal you created and a lot of those small-talk pleasantries you’d be forced to endure at a happy hour or whatever go out the window. I loathe small talk.