Mar 25, 2020 34 min
E78: People Need Community (w/ Candice Fortman)
This week has been rough y'all. But we're finding small comfort in this conversation with Candice Fortman, a Detroit-based journalist (Outlier Media, MuckRock) and founder of Ladies Who Pizza – a social group for women to have fun, be vulnerable, be free and, as the name suggests, eat pizza. The concept sounds simple, but Candice says the stories and experiences that have come out of it have made an indelible mark on their lives, especially in a world where women are often made to bear the brunt of the burden at home, at work, etc. This is a safe space, free from the "male gaze," for women – most of whom are strangers – to find community. Stephanie and Candice talked about a lot – from Detroit's resilience in the face of crisis to increasing media transparency for people who lack access – and it all came back to the importance of community. Produced by Stephanie Kuo and Juan Ramirez. Music by Brad Turner and Blue Dot Sessions.
Mar 11, 2020 32 min
E77: What Do You Write? (w/ Javier Cabral)
This week, we sat down with The Glutster a.k.a. Javier Cabral — Editor-in-Chief of the LA Taco, co-author of Oaxaca: Home Cooking from the Heart of Mexico, and associate producer of Netflix's Taco Chronicles — to talk about code-switching, food writing, and the diversity of Mexican food in Los Angeles. Javier tells us how his rebellious teenage years and eating disorder lead him to write about food and why he decided to focus on Oaxacan food, in particular. He also gives us a brief Mexican migration history into Los Angeles and how that helped shaped Cal Mex food in the area. But first, Stephanie and Juan discuss COVID-19 and its ramifications on Asian communities across the U.S. and the West: how xenophobia surrounding the virus has affected small Asian-American businesses and how we respond to the virus says a lot about divisions in social class and privilege. Produced by Juan Ramirez and Stephanie Kuo. Music by Brad Turner and Blue Dot Sessions.
Feb 26, 2020 32 min
RERUN: Erasing Black Barbecue (w/ Johnny Walker, Adrian Miller, Daniel Vaughn and Brent & Juan Reaves)
Whoa, it's been a full year since Racist Sandwich switched off the lights and took what was, then, an indefinite hiatus. We're so glad we made the decision to come back. We may be down two essential members, but we're stronger and hungrier than ever! To celebrate how far we've come, we wanted to highlight one of our proudest moments of the past year: getting nominated for a James Beard Award for our episode on the erasure of barbecue's Black roots in America. -- We're talking barbecue. It's delicious, it's trendy, it's decidedly American. But barbecue's story today has pretty huge holes. Over the past several years, joints like Franklin Barbecue in Austin have commandeered the barbecue narrative, and mainstream food media have fallen over themselves to give Aaron Franklin and Central Texas pit masters like him their spotlight – largely ignoring the regional diversity of barbecue in Texas (and across the South) and ultimately erasing the Black and Brown folks who created it and built its legacy. For this reported episode, Stephanie talks to Soul Food Scholar Adrian Miller, Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn; Brent and Juan Reaves, co-owners of Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que in Dallas; and Johnny Walker, owner and pitmaster at Momma Jean’s BBQ in Lampasas, Texas. Produced by Stephanie Kuo. Music by Robert Earl Keen, Pierce Murphy, AF the Naysayer, Blue Dot Sessions and Brad Turner.
Feb 12, 2020 33 min
E76: Black Vinegar is Art (w/ Stephanie H. Shih)
This week, it's the Stephanie show! Stephanie Kuo talks to artist Stephanie H. Shih about her collection of Asian pantry items. She hand-makes everything from ceramic Chinkiang black vinegar bottles and Yakult containers to Morinaga caramel boxes and packets of instant Indomie. Through her work, Stephanie hopes to free Asian imagery from the Western gaze, which rests on clichés (ahem, the Chinese takeout box). Stephanie and Stephanie talk about childhood memories, making art that's "for us by us," and connecting to the Asian diaspora through the mundane and private items in their pantries. Produced by Stephanie Kuo and Juan Ramirez. Music by Brad Turner and Blue Dot Sessions.
Jan 30, 2020 38 min
E75: I Know a Bodega When I See One (w/ Quizayra Gonzalez)
This week, we're talking bodegas. What's a bodega? Well, for a lot of us (New Yorkers, especially), it's a corner store that sells food and other household goods. But for our guest, Quizayra Gonzalez, who grew up in a bodega, they're a lot more than that. She and Stephanie talk about how bodegas are such a thriving nexus of cultural and economic activity, how they anchored immigrant communities in the U.S., and how they're being gentrified out of their neighborhoods today. But first, Stephanie and Juan recap his epic trip to Mexico, which sparked the inevitable conversation about one of the worst books ever written. Produced by Juan Ramirez and Stephanie Kuo. Music by Brad Turner and Blue Dot Sessions. Photo by Stephanie Nortiz.
Jan 15, 2020 34 min
E74: Bad Kimchi (w/ Noah Cho)
This week, we're talking about Korean food with Noah Cho, who writes "Bad Kimchi," a column on the online magazine Catapult. The name of the column says a lot: the most egregious crime against Korean food, he believes, is getting kimchi wrong. But the title also signals some of Noah's struggles with his identity as a biracial person, who didn't feel Korean enough to cook or write about Korean food "authentically." He and Stephanie talk about what it means to let go of those expectations and to make your culture and its food your own – like putting American cheese on Shin Ramyun :) But first, Stephanie and Juan talk about a party they threw together. Produced by Stephanie Kuo and Juan Ramirez. Music by Brad Turner and Blue Dot Sessions. Photo by Andria Lo.
Jan 01, 2020 38 min
E73: There's Never Been Anyone Else Like Me (w/ Soleil Ho)
Happy New Year! We kick off 2020 with someone you may already know: our fearless founder and friend, Soleil Ho. She's about to celebrate her first anniversary at the San Francisco Chronicle, and she sits down with Stephanie and Juan to reflect on the year as the paper's new and revolutionary food critic. They talk about her favorite (and most ruffling) pieces, what it's like to eat out 350 times in a year, and how she's coped with people who aren't ready for her hot takes. But before all that, Stephanie and Juan have some exciting news about their travel plans this spring. Produced by Stephanie Kuo and Juan Ramirez. Music by Brad Turner and Blue Dot Sessions. Art by Wendy Xu.
Dec 11, 2019 38 min
E72: A Tortilla is Not a Blank Slate (w/ José Ralat)
This week, we're talking to José Ralat, the taco editor at Texas Monthly and author of the forthcoming book, American Tacos: A History and Guide. It sounds like arguably the best job in the country (and yes, it is), but it's not just about eating great tacos. José has committed the position to being as much about the history, the culture, and real voices as it is about the food itself. Juan and José chat (for a long time) about what makes for the perfect taco, the gentrification of tacos in the U.S. as well as the cost and labor behind them – which is why they deserve all the respect. And if you contribute to our Patreon at the $15/month level or higher, you can listen to a bonus minisode (we told you they talked for a long time) on the great "Burrito vs. Taco" debate. Produced by Juan Ramirez and Stephanie Kuo. Music by Brad Turner and Blue Dot Sessions.
Nov 27, 2019 34 min
E71: Nourishing the Soul (w/ Karla T. Vasquez)
Juan catches up with Karla T. Vasquez, a food justice advocate by day and a food historian by night, on a journey to preserve Salvadoran culture one recipe at a time with SalviSoul. When a Google search turns up just two existing cookbooks and just as few narratives, Vasquez says "documentation is power." Vasquez is currently researching and writing a Salvadoran cookbook, highlighting the stories of Salvadoran women. She and Juan talk about learning from her mother, the power of cookbooks to pass on stories and the obstacles she’s faced trying to get her book published. But first, Stephanie and Juan discuss the state of subway policing and what that means for food vendors. Produced by Juan Ramirez and Stephanie Kuo. Music by Brad Turner and Blue Dot Sessions. Photo by Marisa Sarto Photography.
Nov 13, 2019 32 min
E70: Avec Rien, On Peut Faire Quelque Chose (w/ Dany Hellz Kitchen)
This week, Racist Sandwich is going international. Juan interviews Dany, who’s cooking up spectacular meals from inside his prison cell in France. He makes everything from Moroccan tagine to tiramisu with nothing more than a small induction burner and a few items from the prison commissary (and sometimes a little something extra smuggled in from the outside). They talk about Dany’s passion for cooking, how his Instagram page went viral, the politics of prison life and his plans to start a career in food when he gets out. But first, Juan and Stephanie discuss the state of podcasting and check some jerks on the Internet. Produced by Stephanie Kuo and Juan Ramirez. Music by Brad Turner and Blue Dot Sessions.