241 The Korean Vegan with Joanne Molinaro


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In this episode of Follow Your Different, let’s talk about food. On the base level, food is about survival, sustenance, and safety. Yet it is also a centering point for life and culture, and even expressing love. Joanne Molinaro joins us today to talk more about it. Joanne Molinaro is a lawyer-turned-author and Tik Tok info-tainer, as well as a social media rockstar. She has developed a massive following by fusing Korean cooking, veganism, life lessons, and story-telling into a legendary stew that her fans can’t get enough of. Her food blog “The Korean Vegan” is one of the top in the world, and her social media and Tik Tok have millions of followers. She also has a new book called The Korean Vegan Cookbook. We get into it and much more in this episode, so stay tuned. Joanne Molinaro‘s Relationship with Food The conversation starts off with checking in on Joanne and how she feels about her new book. Joanne shares that she’s a bit nervous since it was her first cookbook, and she’s worried that people might not like the recipes in it. Though given the quality of her content, it should not be a problem at all. From there, Joanne shares her relationship with food, in which she loves it so much. She loves cooking, but she especially loves eating, as well as trying out new foods and cuisines. Though she realized early on that she particularly like eating her own food best. “I realized pretty quickly that I like eating my own food best. Not because I’m persnickety about what goes into my food, although that's part of it. But mostly because I think my food tastes the best, because I know what I like, and I know how to make my food the way that I like. I think a lot of people are like, Oh, I love eating grandma's food, I love eating my mom's food. And sure I love eating my mom's food too. But a lot of times I'm like, I can make this better for me.” - Joanne Molinaro For Joanne, food makes her very happy, and it is something she looks forward to. Joanne Molinaro on the Contradiction of Safety and Danger in Food For a lot of people, food gives them a sense of safety, because it gives them sustenance, and they are made with love by our parents and grandparents when we are young. It reminds them that they are loved and cared for. Although for some, it can be a source of insecurity as well, and Joanne had to deal with both when she was younger. As society’s views on a “healthy and proper” body leaned on being slim and thin, eating and enjoying food seems like a bad thing to do. Not being to enjoy what you like can cause anxiety. Not being able to comfort that anxiety by eating your favorite food just adds to the stack. “In the past, I've also had a very fraught relationship with food. I was told very, very young that part of my value was tied to how I look and how thin I was. Unfortunately, food consumption contributes to your size. And as a result of that, however much I love eating food and how much I love cooking food, it also creates a great deal of anxiety and danger. So it's sort of that very strange juxtaposition where a bowl of kimchi-jjigae makes me feel so safe, but a bowl of kimchi-jjigae also equals calories which makes me feel unsafe.”- Joanne Molinaro Being at the Forefront of Food Creation Now that she has become a food superstar, Joanne feels like she has to be more fastidious about guarding against or obsessing about food she eats. While it has become an impulse that was brought on by years of being careful of what she ate, she does not want it to influence her work as a food creator. “Now that I'm front facing about my relationship with food, and as a food creator, I feel very responsible about not just sending the correct message out into the world, but by living in accordance with that message. I can't, on the one hand, tell people, “Hey, stop counting calories!” While I, myself, am counting calories. That doesn't make sense.” - Joanne Molinaro Instead of focusing on calorie counts,

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