You're listening to From the Desk of Alicia Kennedy, a food and culture podcast. I'm Alicia Kennedy, a food writer based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Every week on Wednesdays, I'll be talking to different people in food and culture, about their lives, careers, and how it all fits together and where food comes in.
Today, I'm talking to Andrea Hernandez, the oracle behind the newsletter Snaxshot, which explores food and beverage trends with humor, broad insight, and gorgeous graphics.
Nothing about the conversation went according to plan. I had to reschedule because of Puerto Rico's archipelago-wide blackout, my usual recording software wasn't loading, my laptop and Andrea's AirPods were dying, and we went totally off the prepared script to discuss the limits of tech that doesn't cross borders, having to be self-motivated as independent workers, adaptogens, commodification of culture, and much more.
Alicia: Hi, Andrea. How are you?
Andrea: I'm good. I'm actually doing good. [Laughter.] Thanks for asking me, how about you?
Alicia: I'm good. I'm good. I know, you've had some power problems lately.
Andrea: I was honestly, yesterday, I was like, Oh, God, because yesterday, I woke up with no electricity. And then at night, the power went out too. And I'm like, I don't know if we're gonna be able to do this. I was gonna have to— I don't know if tomorrow will be okay. But thank God, there's been no issues. I don’t wanna jinx myself. [Laughs.]
Alicia: Right. Well, yeah, we rescheduled this because there was a blackout in Puerto Rico and then there have also been problems in a lot of other places as well. It's interesting, because someone messaged me in the Pacific Northwest, in Oregon, and was like, “We're having bad weather, I don't know if the power is going to hold.”
And I feel like this is something that's underestimated and that's not as discussed, I think, because people in New York and LA don't have these problems right now, you know, and so I did want to talk to you about that, about how do you get your work done, and how do you keep your kind of resolve because also, as independent writers—as I know, of course—we are self-motivated completely with kind of, these unpredictable issues that happen.
Andrea: Yeah, it really sucks at times when, at night, because it's like, well, I don't really have anywhere else to go. My phone has been sort of like what I default to, which is, like, so funny that you put yourselves in these positions, like I've literally, like, learned to do like, writing on Substack on my phone, which is like the most tedious thing—I wish they would like improve upon that experience. But I'm also, you know, before my laptop battery died, I will literally use my phone as a hotspot, for whatever, [how long] it can last.
But yeah, I think—it's just so funny, because I talk to a lot of people from literally all over the world, people from Sydney and London and all these places. [And] they are always surprised. They're like, Wait, like, you're in Honduras? And I'm like, yeah, and they're just like, so shocked. They can't believe that someone from an unknown hub could be putting out work that's recognized in their places.
So I think, to me, it's like, you mentioned something, like the self-motivation. It's so true. I talk to people, constantly, that there's no hack. You need to get the work done. Nobody else is doing it for us; we don't have a team so that we can default to—it's on you. So you have to figure it out, and I think growing up, my parents taught me that sort of resiliency of, you have to figure it out. Like, there's no backup. So, you have to…there's a saying, it's called the “the law of the wittiest,” “la ley del mas vivo” in Spanish, which is like you just have to be streetwise and figure out, Okay, this isn't working, let's try to figure out which angle to work at, whatever. And so I think that's my approach to everything. And I again, we’ve got no power—okay, coo