Special Sauce: Priya Krishna on Cooking and Being "Indian-ish"

[Priya Krishna photograph: Edlyn D’Souza. Saag photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

In part two of my delightful conversation with Priya Krishna, she delves into her book Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family in so many unexpected and revealing ways.

"Indian-ish" is not just the name of the book; it also describes her mindset and worldview. "For my whole life I always felt Indian and American but not quite fitting into either of those molds," Krishna says. "It was like I was too American to be Indian and too Indian to be American. But I think that as time has gone by I have found ways to really feel proud of that tension. You know, in my book I talk about how we wear our kurtas with jeans and we listen to Bollywood music alongside our top 40 hits and...these are all equally important parts of what we do. I love Indian food, but I also love Italian food and I don't think that those things need to feel mutually exclusive."

Krishna admits that she is no expert on Indian food. "I don't want to pretend to be an authority on Indian food because I'm not," she says. "I didn't want this book to be like, 'This is your guide to Indian food.' This is a guide to the food that I grew up eating."

Krishna is very comfortable being a missionary for Indian food we can make every day: "I feel like food media just, there is still this mentality that American cooking encompasses Western cuisines and everything else is the other. I still think Indian food is treated as this sort of strange esoteric thing and I really want to change that. I admire people who are doing that for other cuisines. I absolutely adore Andrea Nguyen, who just authored Vietnamese Food Any Day. I hope to do what she's doing for Vietnamese food for Indian food."

As an example, one of the things Krishna hopes to educate people about is the importance of chhonk, which Priya rhapsodizes about in the book. As she describes it, chhonk is "this this really fundamental technique in South Asian cooking and basically the idea is that you're heating up some kind of fat, whether that's tahini or oil, tossing in spices and/or herbs and basically crisping them in the oil. You pour it on top of a dish and it adds this unbelievable texture and extra layer of richness and complexity."

Of course, I asked Krishna what she plans on doing next. "There will always be some kind of collaboration with my mom and me," she says. "I think that the best recipe developers are people who kind of just have this intuition about cooking and I don't think I have that intuition. I think my strengths lie elsewhere. I'd love to develop more recipes, with my mom. My mom the other day told me, 'I think I have enough recipes for three cookbooks.' And I was like, 'Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Mom.'"

There's so much more in my conversation with Krishna that will resonate with Serious Eaters everywhere. But don't take my word for it, listen to the whole episode. I guarantee you won't be disappointed—not even a little bit disappointed-ish.

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Transcript

Ed Levine: Welcome to Special Sauce, a Serious Eats' podcast about food and life. Every week on Special Sauce we talk to some of the leading lights of American culture, food folks and non-food folks alike.

Priya Krishna: Yeah, I'd love to develop more recipes with my mom. My mom the other day told me that she has, she was like, "I think I have enough recipes for three cookbooks!" And I was like, "well, let's not get ahead of ourselves, mom."

EL: That's awesome.

EL: Priya Krishna, author of the lovely Indian-ish is still with us. So you're writing for various pubs. By the way, some serious, like high-quality pubs. We're not talking about Weekly Readerr or the Chelsea News. You know, the New Yorker, The New York Times. It's pretty impressive. I bet even your mom was impressed.

PK: Yeah. I think they were both really ... I think they didn't know what was going to happen when I went freelance, and they were a little bit worried, and then-

EL: Once they could tell their friends that Priya had written a piece for The New York Times.

PK: Yeah exactly.

EL: I know I had the same thing with my mother-in-law. Finally, my mother-in-law has something to tell her friends about what her son-in-law does.

PK: Totally. Because otherwise, it was very hard for them to understand what I did for a living.

EL: Yeah, for sure. But how did the book come about?

PK: The seeds of it where kind of planted while I was working it. Lucky Peach, we worked with an amazing editor, this woman named Rika Alanik at Clarkson Potter.

EL: Who was the assistant for my very first book.

EL: Wow, When she was an undergraduate at Yale and a friend of my nieces.

PK: That's amazing! Wow! I absolutely love her and she edited all of our books and we had a book come out called Power Vegetables and my mom contributed more recipes than anyone to that cookbook because I'd asked her for recipes and Rika in particular had just kind of fallen in love with the recipes my mom contributed. Also loved my mom's story and she felt like that story felt like one that was really relevant and that there also wasn't a cookbook that made Indian food feel like simple and doable on a weeknight.

EL: Got it.

PK: And so she was like, "I want a book that kind of marries those two ideas." That first gen, second gen narrative and the idea of a really straight forward and accessible Indian cookbook that doesn't feel the need to adhere to traditions or explain to you all the different regional cuisines of India but also does move past the food that you see in restaurants. And she sort of painted this picture for me and then I wrote a proposal and as I was writing the proposal it was one of those things where it just all clicked. I was like, "oh, yeah obviously this is a book."

EL: That's fascinating. So it was her idea. We should explain that Rika, after being my assistant, which didn't last very long because she was still in college, became an editor at a publishing house. So she really knew her way around every aspect of publishing when she became an agent.

PK: Yeah.

EL: You say the book is maybe first and foremost about identity.

PK: Mm-hmm,

EL: And that couldn't have come from Rika. We know that comes from you.

PK: Yeah, I mean it all kind of comes back to the title, Indian-ish. It's very apt descriptor for the food in the book, but it's also an apt descriptor for how I feel. You know? For my whole life I always felt Indian and American but not quite fitting into either of those molds. It was like I was too American to be Indian and too Indian to be American. But I think that as time as gone by I have found ways to really feel proud of that tension. You know, in my book I talk about how we wear our kurtas with jeans and we listen to Bollywood music alongside our top 40 hits and this is just, these are all equally important parts of what we do. I love Indian food, but I also love Italian food and I don't think that those things need to feel mutually exclusive. Even though growing up I thought that was the case.

EL: It's fascinating. So it's like you're wrestling with issues of assimilation and identity.

PK: Mm-hmm.

EL: The way a lot of people do.

PK: Yeah, and it almost felt like even more unfair because I was like, I was born and raised here. I am American just like everyone else so why am I made to feel like I don't fit in here?

EL: You probably wrestled with that well before you wrote the book.

PK: Yeah, that was like my entire elementary, middle school, and high school experience.

EL: On of the things that I loved about the book is that you wrote in the book, "Hello". It's like welcome to Indian-ish.

PK: Yeah.

EL: I was struck by that because for a long time on Serious Eats the home page had, "Welcome Serious Eater" and now I'm actually quite annoyed that I allowed some designer to have me take it off because I think the book is very welcoming and I think a welcome is really important. Especially when you're trying to communicate ideas that haven't been put forward before.

PK: Mm-hmm.

EL: You know, this whole idea of you're welcoming people to the world that you inherited and that you're trying to make sense of as you move along in your life.

PK: Yeah, and I also wanted the book to sort of sound like a conversation. Like I was just a friend, standing next to you in the kitchen, just chatting with you.

EL: Yeah, yeah.

PK: So I wanted to keep the conversation really chatty. I want people to feel unintimidated. I wanted them to feel welcomed. Exactly, yeah.

EL: Let's define the "ish" and I know you say that it was just a place holder

PK: Mm-hmm, yeah.

EL: and then it became the title. What does the "ish" mean to you?

PK: It's just like a representative of all of the things that have influenced my family's identity and our food. You know, it's the travels around the world that we took. The fact that I grew up in Dallas, TX and the influences from that. The television shows I watched and the movies I was obsessed with. All of that is in this book and all of that encompasses the "ish"

EL: So you wrote about what you know.

PK: Yeah, and I think that like for me that was the only cookbook that I could write. I don't want to pretend to be an authority on Indian food because I'm not. I didn't want this book to be like, this is your guide to Indian food, and more just like this is a guide to the food that I grew up eating.

EL: It's funny that you mention that because neither you nor your mother had any formal training, cooking either at a restaurant or going to cooking school but you felt like you had something to say and you could communicate it best through food.

PK: Mm-hmm.

EL: And that was your jumping off point for the book.

PK: Yeah.

EL: So did it ever give you pause that you hadn't devoted years to perfecting your cooking craft?

PK: You know, I felt really self conscious about it at first but I think this book is kind of- it's a reflection of exactly who I am, which is that I'm not a super skilled cook who spends hours in the kitchen. I am a pretty lazy cook and you know, my knife skills are fine, not great and this book is reflective of that. There are a lot of recipes that are very forgiving if you don't have good knife skills. These are recipes that I make on a weeknight because if something had like five sub-recipes there's just no way that you would find me making that on a Tuesday night. So I learned to sort of lean into those things that I felt really self conscious about and make that into a cookbook that felt very real to where I am in my life now.

EL: You sort of answer this in the book and I'd love for you to answer it now. In the frequently asked questions about why should I trust you. So why should we trust you?

PK: Well, I think first and foremost, I think you should trust me because you should trust my mom because she's an incredible cook. Where I am a super lazy, not as skilled in the kitchen cook, like my mom has been doing this for a really, really long time. She has learned on the job and she is super skilled, super intuitive. These recipes are all written by her. I just edited them, had them tested and went through that whole process. So I think one, because of my mom. I think the second is like, I think that as a food writer, I kind of like understood, as someone who has worked on many, many cookbooks and read many, many cookbooks, I kind of understood, okay what does it take to write a cookbook that people will actually use. That will make an impact. That was something I thought about a lot. I also put a ton of effort into making sure that these recipes worked.

EL: Trustworthy.

PK: Yeah, I spent a month doing testing and then I had each of them tested by three amateur cooks. I removed the recipes that got mixed feedback and only kept in the greatest hits. This is a book that- the most frustrating thing is when you buy all these ingredients and you put effort into a recipe and it doesn't work. I didn't want that to be the case.

EL: Got it. No, no. That's the death of all of us.

PK: Yeah.

EL: You write that Indian food is everyday food.

PK: Mm-hmm.

EL: It seems like that's an important thing that you wanted to communicate.

PK: Yeah, I mean I think there's this perception that, many of the publications that I write for, that they treat foods that are not western foods almost as though they're like projects. Like, there's no way you can make Indian food, or Middle Eastern food, or Korean food your average weeknight. That's something you have to devote special time to. And I just wanted to rid people of that notion. This is the food that I grew up eating. This is the food that millions and millions of people eat every single day on Monday through Friday.

EL: So you talk about spices a lot in the book.

PK: Mm-hmm.

EL: Give us a one minute primer on Indian spices.

PK: Sure. The spices are what add the depth and complexity to a lot of Indian dishes. Not every Indian dish has spices though, and that's evident in the book, and not every Indian dish requires you to make a customized spice blend. I feel like that's something that really intimidates people about Indian food. They're like, "well I have to buy a spice grinder and blend up spices." A lot of the dishes, the spices are left whole because they add- cumin seeds taste really different when you eat them whole versus ground. They add a really interesting texture. They taste a little bit different. They're a little bit more intense. So I wanted this book to sort of teach you how to cook with spices in an every day, accessible way, because that's how my mom cooked with them. I also wanted to teach the basics about spices. Like the idea that you have to toast them, either dry or in some kind of fat to really activate their aromatics. The concept of a chhonk, which is when you-

EL: Yes! We have to talk about the chhonk because first of all I never seen the word and we should have a spelling test for everyone who's listening. How do you spell chhonk? C-H-H-O-N-K.

PK: So the chhonk, I get a lot of people emailing me saying, "that's not how you spell chhonk" but chhonk, the way that I spell it in the book is it's sort of a phonetic spelling. It's a Hindi word. And in Hindi there's a "juh" and then there's a "chu" which is a more breathy and this is the "chu".

EL: This is the chhonk.

PK: Yeah, well it's like a little more. It's like chhonk.

EL: Okay. I'm never gonna get it. I can tell.

PK: Give it a little more H.

EL: Okay.

EL: Yeah, so what about the magic of chhonk?

PK: So it's this really fundamental technique in South Asian cooking and basically the idea is that you're heating up some kind of fat, whether that's tahini or oil, tossing in spices and/or herbs and basically crisping them in the oil. You pour it on top of a dish and it adds this unbelievable texture and extra layer of richness, and complexity.

EL: And you say in the book, you can put it on anything, salads, vegetables, meat. It just-

PK: Nachos.

EL: You chhonk it.

PK: Chhonk nachos are unbelievable.

EL: I love that. That's so great.

EL: So in the book you write about- is that how you pronounce your mother's name?

PK: Ritu.

EL: Ritu's tips. And I feel the need to recite Ritu's tips because I do not live up to many of them. And I want to know if you live up to many of them. So I'm gonna quickly go through them. Taste every dish for lime and salt. Never underestimate the power of a statement necklace. I wouldn't know about that. And statement earrings to go with the statement necklace. Change out of your work clothes as soon as you get home. You'll immediately feel more relaxed. Always take the stairs if you can. Appetizers are overrated and distract from all the hard work you put into a meal. Two and a half inches are as high of a heel as you'll ever need. Anything taller is a recipe for bunions. Use cloth napkins even if you're using paper plates. They make everything look better. Better to be overdressed than to be underdressed. Invest in nice pottery you will make your food look ten times more impressive. For dinner parties try to be done cooking food at least two hours before guests come over so you can have a pre-party glass of wine. I have never mastered that. So how many of those have you mastered?

PK: I'm still working on a lot of them, I would say.

EL: That's like an advanced course in gracious living.

PK: Yeah. It's really funny, the one that she cut out that I'm really bummed- I kinda wish I could put it back in, is this is more my dad's rule for living graciously which is, poop in your house in the comfort of your own toilet.

EL: That's for the blooper reel.

PK: But okay, I do, I try and take the stairs. That's one that I do. I feel like I'm always like a statement necklace or statement earrings person, never both and I need to get better at doing both. My pottery collection is very very limited. I just have a tiny apartment and that's stuff chips really easily. I do love the tip about when you come home, changing out of your work clothes. That I found, that's an easy one and I do always feel more relaxed.

EL: Did you initially fight all of your mother's tips?

PK: No, these weren't the things that we fought about.

EL: Got it.

PK: Those were things were I was like, "okay she's got this figured out."

EL: Do you feel that she's right about the heels?

PK: Yeah, I think she's 100% right about the heels. Like, you know-

EL: I feel that way about my heels.

PK: I have since changed my philosophy on shoes. When I was younger I was like always really into the high heels and now I completely agree.

EL: The book has really catapulted you in really interesting ways, right. How has the book changed your work life and how you do your work?

PK: I feel like I never set out to be an ambassador for Indian cooking but I guess I have been. I mean, there are obviously some really amazing and talented people out there who are also blazing a trail. People like, Tejal Rao and Khushbu Shah and Sonia Chopra who are doing unbelievable work to sort of get stories about Indian cooking out there. I just sort of, as I'm on my book tour now and it's the most exciting to meet other South Asians who are like, "I feel seen in this cookbook. I had never opened the Bon Appetit YouTube channel and seen someone cooking with curry leaves." That's cool and exciting to me. I've been lucky enough to be given these platforms and I wanna use them to try to change things.

EL: You do have in your own way a missionary zeal.

PK: Yeah, I mean-

EL: In a quiet way.

PK: It's getting- I'm getting less and less quiet about it. I feel like food media just, there is still this mentality that American cooking encompasses western cuisines and everything else is the other. I still think Indian food is treated as this sort of strange esoteric thing and I really want to change that. I admire people who are doing that for other cuisines. I absolutely adore Andrea Nguyen who just authored Vietnamese Food Everyday. I hope to do what she's doing for Vietnamese food for Indian food.

EL: And you're doing lot of video.

PK: Mm-hmm .

EL: For Bon Ap, and for yourself, and maybe you'll come do stuff for Serious Eats. Will you come do some videos for Serious Eats?

PK: Yeah, of course!

EL: What are the things that you found hardest to master in doing videos?

PK: What's funny is people always ask like, "what kind of training did you receive before you did video?" And the answer is none. At Bon Appetit they just throw you in front of the camera. There's no script. There's no nothing. They're just like, "just, go. Just do it." And they need you to just immediately be able to while the onions are sauteing just talk to the camera and say things. Just to be likable but there's no way to-, you can't- there's no formula for being likable. And it's-

EL: I always used to say to people, that used to do a lot of media consulting and I once told Jeffrey Steingarten d this, he and I did a show together and I said "don't worry Jeffrey, if you just come across as likable and believable on TV, everything else falls into place." And I think that's true but Jeffrey said to me in response, "you'll take care of the likable and I'll take care of the believable."

PK: And it's also terrifying to cook on camera. Like I said, my knife skills aren't great and it was really tough having a camera zooming in while I was doing a not great job of chopping onions. I'm getting slowly, but surely better but I'm just like, "I wish they would not take video of me cutting onions." Or you know turning the heat on medium high and being like okay now medium high heat and the recipe person in the back being like, "well your recipe says medium heat." All right, medium heat it is. Being terrified that you're gonna mess something up on camera. But I think the beauty, at least of Bon Appetit videos, is they kind of, they love leaning into the mistakes and making it seem as real as possible.

EL: Yeah, 'cause I've always wondered whether that gestalt is real spontaneous, or faux spontaneous.

PK: No, it's all very real. You're just in the- you're filming for such a long time that things just happen and their editors are very good at just piecing it together into a really fun ten minute segment.

EL: You didn't set out to become a star. You're not trying to become the Madonna of Indian cooking, who had this insane focus and ambition. I know people who knew her when she was coming up. But in your own quiet way you actually do have this laser like focus. Do you think that in part comes from your mom?

PK: My mom just has always known how to hustle and she just instilled that hustle in me.

EL: Amazing. That's what I took away. Your mom is a phenomenal hustler in the best sense of the word.

PK: Yeah.

EL: So what's next? Like are you developing- do you feel confident enough to develop your own recipes?

PK: There were always be some kind of collaboration with my mom and me. I think that the best recipe developers are people who kind of just have this intuition about cooking and I don't think I have that intuition. I think my strengths lie elsewhere. So yeah, I'd love to develop more recipes, with my mom. My mom the other day told me that she has, she was like "I think I have enough recipes for three cookbooks." And I was like, "let's not get ahead of ourselves mom."

EL: That's awesome!

PK: But she's set to retire this year so you know, so who knows?

EL: Exactly. Give us three recipes that if someone had just bought the book that they should try.

PK: The first one I think is one that I think has taken off most out of all the recipes in the book and it's the spinach and feta cooked like Saag Paneer or Saag Feta and it's basically like a super, super delicious coriander and cardamom spinach gravy that my mom discovered you can sub out the paneer for cubes of briny salty feta and it is just this wonderful marriage. You top it with a chhonk made of cumin seeds and red chili powder. And it's-

EL: There's that chhonk again.

PK: It's perfect over rice with roti. That's a fantastic starter recipe.

EL: All right.

PK: I also love the roti pizza. It's on the cover, it's probably made more than anything else in our house. The blend of red onions and cheddar cheese and cilantro chutney over roti is just this beautiful marriage. It almost tastes like Indian nachos is kind of how I think about it.

EL: I like that. I like that.

PK: And then the third one I think that everyone should make is the dahi toast, which is like my mom's take on a, almost like an Indian grilled cheese sandwich. You mix yogurt with cilantro and onions and chilis and then you spread it on sourdough bread, you griddle it and then top it with a mustard seed and curry leaf chhonk. You never would think yogurt inside a sandwich, how can that possibly work? But it just works in the most amazing way. It's this tangy, crunchy, bright, spicy sandwich and you know.

EL: It's the essence of Indian-ish.

PK: Yeah, it is. And on the sourdough bread. The sourdough bread is key. And it is just-

EL: Nothing Indian about sourdough bread.

PK: Yeah, my mom just went to California in the 80's, discovered sourdough bread, thought it was awesome-

EL: Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.

PK: And thought it was amazing. But it's things like that, that my mom tried sourdough bread and was like yeah know, in thahi toast the richness of the spices would pair really well with the tang of sourdough bread. That, those are just connections she was able to put together.

EL: Got it. So now it's time for the all you can answer special sauce buffet.

EL: Who's at your last supper, no family allowed. Can be anybody, but no family allowed because everyone always says their family.

PK: Yeah, I know. I wish it could just be like my entire extended family.

EL: See? Can't do it.

PK: That would be great. I feel like I would love to have Mindy Kaling there because she's like, I just look up to everything she has done and I feel like she would be really funny, entertaining, because it's a dinner. And I then I would love to have the Obamas. Imagine like the Obamas, me, and Mindy Kaling.

EL: I like this.

PK: That seems like a great-

EL: Yeah that's a great four-some.

PK: A great meal, yeah.

EL: One more person and then we're done.

PK: Uh, ooh one more person. How about Richard Gere? I feel like he'd be a great conversationalist. That's like a little homage, if my mom can't be there she'd send Richard Gere.

EL: But would you demand that he ballroom dance with you?

PK: I would definitely demand that he like perform monologues from some of his movies.

EL: Got it.

PK: Definitely. Maybe the one from Shall We Dance.

EL: So what are you eating?

PK: So I've always thought that my last meal would be like the first course would be like a traditional Indian meals with all of my favorite things. Like the roti pizza, some [00:23:56] but then after that I think there would just be an assortment of noodles around the world. So there would be like khao soi-

EL: From Thailand.

PK: There would be like maybe some kind of pesto pasta situation, maybe a Bolognese, maybe a pho, a ramen.

EL: A ramen. I like it.

PK: Just like a long buffet of-

EL: Noodles from around the world. I like this. That's- can I come?

PK: Yeah, of course. Yeah, all are invited. I hear the Obamas are gonna be there.

EL: So what do you cook when there's nothing in the house to eat?

PK: I make this tomato- it's like this tomato cheese toast. I toast a piece of bread, I melt, I put tomatoes, cheddar cheese on top and melt it in the toaster oven. And top it with chop masala and have it with a glass of milk. That is what I eat.

EL: The glass of milk is interesting.

PK: The milk is critical. It cuts through the cheese and the intensity of the spices. It's really important. And I feel like people are skeptical, but you just have to try it.

EL: All right. I'll try it.

EL: So what's in your fridge most of the time?

PK: Usually like three or four kinds of cheese. I love cheese. And then like a lot of different kinds of specialty butters.

EL: Interesting.

PK: Because I just love like toast with butter. It's very-

EL: So specialty as in French butter, high butter, fat butters, goat-

PK: Your Kerigolds, yeah.

EL: I assume there's ghee, clarified butter.

PK: There is but there's not always ghee. Ghee is not something I always have around. Usually, it's really funny whenever my mom comes to visit, she'll just like throw a few sticks of butter in a pot and like skim of the top and just make ghee and pour it in a jar and she'll have ghee for me. But one of the reasons why in the book it's ghee or olive oils because my mom kind of like trained me that you can cook Indian food with olive oil. She loves the fruity taste and the way that it compliments Indian flavor.

EL: I love that. That's the essence of Indian-ish.

PK: It's not a given the ghee is in my fridge and then a lot of yogurt. I would say yogurt is probably the food that I eat more than anything else.

EL: Is it your father's yogurt?

PK: I wish it were my father's yogurt but I just don't always have time to make homemade yogurt. So it's often just the convenient store brand but it's always full fat yogurt. I feel very strongly about this.

EL: Have you had White Mustache?

PK: Yeah I've had White Mustache. It's good. I'm not as into like the really fancy yogurts. I like just getting a tub of the really basic stuff.

EL: But full fat.

PK: But full fat.

EL: Got it.

EL: what's on your nightstand right now, book wise?

PK: I am reading Balli Kaur Jaswal, she wrote this story called Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows and she recently wrote a follow up to that called The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters and it's about-

EL: You know I actually wrote those books under a pen name.

PK: And I love reading Indian American or just Indian authors generally. And so this is a book about these sisters who go back to India after their mother dies. And I grew up reading books where the characters didn't look or sound like me so I feel like I'm retroactively reading all of these books. And I can relate to the characters.

EL: Got it. That's great.

EL: And then of course, I think Serious Eater is on your night stand.

PK: Yeah, well as soon as I can get a copy of it. I'm planning on bringing it on book tour with me. So that I can read it.

EL: So who's had the greatest influence on you in your career? Is there one person that's been really helpful and meaningful?

PK: Yeah, I think that person would be Tejal Rao, who writes for the New York Times. She and I met when I was at Lucky Peach really early on because our mothers, well my mother and her cousin introduced us in one of those, they way that like moms are like "You should meet this girl."

EL: And she's from Goa, is she not?

PK: No, Tejal kind of grew up all across the world.

EL: Got it.

PK: She has this really amazing, sort of worldly upbringing. And we met and just immediately clicked. And she is someone who has just been like the most relentless advocate for me, has made introductions, has pushed me to believe in myself when I was feeling doubtful. And she's someone who as she's risen up in the ranks and been in positions of power, she's not one of those people who's like, "well, I want to be the only Indian person or the only woman of color" she has brought up other people of color with her and I just really really admire that. And yeah, I don't know what I would do without her.

EL: So who would you love to have a one on one lunch with just to see how he or she thinks?

PK: One person who's mind I'm fascinated by is Brooks Headley, who owns Superiority Burger. I feel like if there's someone-

EL: He's been in that chair and he is, he has the quirkiest, most interesting mind you can imagine.

PK: I would love to just- I've interviewed him for stories before but sometimes I wish I could just peek inside his brain and understand how it works.

EL: I totally understand that. I like that.

EL: It's just been declared Priya Krishna day all over the world. What's happening on that day?

PK: We're eating a lot of noodles and listening to a lot of Bollywood music. I would say. There's just Bollywood music just booming from every speaker everywhere. And we're also eating a lot of pastries, like pies specifically.

EL: Pies.

PK: Tons of pie. I'm very much like a pie over cake person.

EL: So this is like a carb festival with the noodles and the pie.

PK: It's raining pies, we're all eating noodles.

EL: I love this. I want it to be Priya Krishna day!

EL: Well thank you so much for sharing your special sauce with us, Priya Krishna. Pick up a copy of Indian-ish, Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family. And you can find Priya's writing in the New York Times, and Bon Appetit and hopefully Serious Eats again soon. And you can also see Priya's videos all over YouTube. Anyways, she's everywhere. Thank you so much.

PK: Thank you for having me.

EL: And so long Serious Eaters, we'll see you next time.