For this installment of Favorite Foodies, I am so excited to feature Emma Gonzalez, half of the duo behind Eat Our Feelings. Eat Our Feelings is a food-centric web series about two twenty-something New York girls, trying their best to navigate through life, while also showing you how to make approachable healthy recipes. It’s all very Girls meets Portlandia meets Ellie Krieger. I first found out about the series from a chef at work (since Emma is a graduate of Natural Gourmet Institute), who burst into my office demanding I Google it. It’s impossible to ignore the charm of the series, and it’s even recently been named “the future of food TV” by Fast Company. Emma graduated from NYU, with a BFA in television writing, and worked as a nanny after college. She started cooking for the family she worked for and thus discovered her love of feeding people. She then attended culinary school, worked in restaurants, and did events with an urban farm in Williamsburg. Today, she still works as a chef, but hopes to turn Eat Our Feelings into a full-time gig.
Read on to learn more about this hilarious foodie, and how the show came to be.
What was your motivation behind starting Eat Our Feelings?
Sasha [Winters] and I both loooove food television, and nerd out over our favorite food personalities, but we didn’t feel like we were represented in that bunch. As a vegan, I can rarely eat what is being cooked on TV, and sometimes it’s hard to relate to those people who seem so perfect. We want to make cooking fun and goofy and weird – and approachable. We want to show another way to go about food TV, in an angle that perhaps is not out there yet.
Where do you two find inspiration for episodes?
We’re inspired by our everyday lives. Every episode starts with a kernel of truth – often our lack of social grace – and we take it from there! We complain about things, make each other giggle, then make each other lunch. For example – the dating episode came out of a real conversation we had about what role food plays in dating. Once I kissed a guy right after he ate a giant meat sandwich, and none of my friends will ever hear the end of it. We never stop talking, and we never stop eating, and episode ideas naturally flow out of that.
What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened while you were filming?
We shot a scene for the brunch episode in front of an apartment building in Greenpoint, and as we were about to start filming, we realized somebody had dropped a tiny baggie of cocaine on the stoop. (Don’t worry, we didn’t keep it – we’re squares. I can’t even handle caffeine.)
Favorite music to cook to:
I love the classic ladies of country. Dolly, Lucinda, Tammy, etc. But here’s an embarrassing confession: I often put on the movie “Ever After” as background noise. I know it’s not a “good” movie, per se. Drew Barrymore’s British accent is insane, and the historical inaccuracy of the language is almost unforgivable, but I know almost every line, and… I don’t have an excuse. My name is Emma and I love “Ever After.” It’s like it’s a book on tape you might get from the sale bin.
Favorite food moment in a movie:
Big Night is a pretty great food movie all around. Can I flip this question around and choose a favorite food book? I cannot say enough about Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal. I read and re-read it, underlining new passages each time. I love that she gives you permission to be an imperfect cook. Oh my goodness, y’all, read it. It genuinely changed how I think about cooking.
Fantasy dinner party guests (dead or alive):
I’ve been waiting my whole life for someone to ask me this question! Jim Henson, Dolly Parton, John Waters, and Jane Austen.
Ideal last supper:
Can I be greedy? Tostones, congri, avocado, fried green tomatoes with some type of bitter green pesto, a giant green salad with summer tomatoes and lots of seeds, a green curry with coconut milk, watermelon, banana pudding, and a little hot tea. I’m assuming I’ll be hungry.
The best thing I cooked lately was…
I don’t know if I’m just really lazy about chewing, but I’ve been really into soups and smoothies lately. The other day, I made a big batch of spicy tomato, carrot and coconut milk soup with lots of ginger, some saffron, topped with avocado, sprouts and crushed pistachios. And my first thought when I wake up every the morning is, “I’ve got to make a smoothie!” Usually some greens go in there, cacao nibs, nut milk, tahini, chia seeds (they thicken it up nicely), cinnamon and turmeric. This makes it sound like I just major dental work or something, but I do also enjoy foods that require teeth.
An ingredient I’m intimidated by is…
More that an ingredient, I’m intimidated by pastries. I’m a taste-as-you go, follow-your-intuition, paint in broad strokes then fine-tune, cook. I didn’t learn to use recipes until I got to cooking school, so baking doesn’t come naturally to me. But I’m learning to be patient and follow instructions. I’m still not into candy thermometers, though.
What I love most about what I do…
I love being able to open up the conversation of food. I love introducing people to dishes/ingredients they didn’t know they liked. Learning to cook for yourself in a way that makes you feel good – nutritionally, ethically, or whatever – is a really liberating experience. To be a part of that process is fulfilling to me.