50 min

A Conversation with Angela Garbes From the Desk of Alicia Kennedy Podcast

    • Food

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 Angela Garbes, the author of Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy, and the new Essential Labor: Mothering As Social Change. We discussed how her past as a food writer continues to inform her work, what mothers who are creative workers need to thrive—spoiler, it's basically what all workers need to thrive—informal knowledge building, and the significance of having an unapologetic appetite as a woman. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or adjust your settings to receive an email when podcasts are published.
Alicia: Hi, Angela. Thank you so much for being here.
Angela: Thank you so much for having me, Alicia.
Alicia: Can you tell me about where you grew up and what you ate?
Angela: Sure. I grew up in rural Central Pennsylvania. So—people can't see this—but this is roughly the shape of Pennsylvania, my hand. And I grew up here in what I call the ass crack of Pennsylvania. And it was a very small town, about 4,000 people. And I was one of very few people of color. And my parents are immigrants from the Philippines. You know, I would say that from a very young age, I was, like, born different. But, you know, we have a fairly typical…like, my parents are both medical professionals. So we had a pretty typical, I would say, fairly typical as you could get, middle class upbringing. 
And as far as what we ate, I look back on it now and I think of it as like a perfect combination of like 50 percent American, quote unquote, American convenience food, like a lot of Hamburger Helper, a lot of Old El Paso soft shell tacos, a lot of Little Caesars Pizza, a lot of Philly cheesesteaks. 
And then the other half we ate Filipino food: sinigang, adobo, arroz caldo, tinola... and, you know, I remember my dad, like, hacking up pig's feet, you know, I would come downstairs and he'd be cooking up things like that. And so when I look back on it now, I think it was—I mean, I love Filipino food so much. But I also, I mean, I love all kinds of food. And I kind of eat anything. And it's partly, I think, because I was just exposed to a lot of things. 
But my parents, you know, we lived in this really small town, and they couldn't get all of the ingredients that they wanted to make traditional dishes. But they kind of improvised with what they had. And because they were so committed to cooking Filipino food, sort of against the odds, I would say, you know, we did a lot of…there were not vegetables that [were] available, like you couldn't get okra or green papaya. So we would use zucchini, and, you know, frozen okra to make sinigang. But it was such a way for them to stay connected to their cultures and I feel so grateful to them because what they did was really pass that down to me, from an early age. I was like, Oh, yeah, this is—this is my food, like, this is who I am. And I've never lost that. And I've always loved [it] and, yeah, so it was sort of this wonderful, healthy mix, I think. 
Alicia: For sure, and, you know, it was so interesting to realize, because I don't think I'd realized it before, that you were a food writer. [Laughs] Until I got into your books, I was like, Wait…
And Like a Mother, your first book, starts out like, so…like, such a rich piece of food writing. And I'm like, Wow, now I understand. And then I realized, I'm like, Oh, she is a food writer. So you know, you've come to write your two books about motherhood, but you know, you're also a food writer, and you're writing about food in these books as well. How did you become a food writer?
Angela: First of all, thank you for saying this now because I miss food writing. And I think at hea

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 Angela Garbes, the author of Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy, and the new Essential Labor: Mothering As Social Change. We discussed how her past as a food writer continues to inform her work, what mothers who are creative workers need to thrive—spoiler, it's basically what all workers need to thrive—informal knowledge building, and the significance of having an unapologetic appetite as a woman. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or adjust your settings to receive an email when podcasts are published.
Alicia: Hi, Angela. Thank you so much for being here.
Angela: Thank you so much for having me, Alicia.
Alicia: Can you tell me about where you grew up and what you ate?
Angela: Sure. I grew up in rural Central Pennsylvania. So—people can't see this—but this is roughly the shape of Pennsylvania, my hand. And I grew up here in what I call the ass crack of Pennsylvania. And it was a very small town, about 4,000 people. And I was one of very few people of color. And my parents are immigrants from the Philippines. You know, I would say that from a very young age, I was, like, born different. But, you know, we have a fairly typical…like, my parents are both medical professionals. So we had a pretty typical, I would say, fairly typical as you could get, middle class upbringing. 
And as far as what we ate, I look back on it now and I think of it as like a perfect combination of like 50 percent American, quote unquote, American convenience food, like a lot of Hamburger Helper, a lot of Old El Paso soft shell tacos, a lot of Little Caesars Pizza, a lot of Philly cheesesteaks. 
And then the other half we ate Filipino food: sinigang, adobo, arroz caldo, tinola... and, you know, I remember my dad, like, hacking up pig's feet, you know, I would come downstairs and he'd be cooking up things like that. And so when I look back on it now, I think it was—I mean, I love Filipino food so much. But I also, I mean, I love all kinds of food. And I kind of eat anything. And it's partly, I think, because I was just exposed to a lot of things. 
But my parents, you know, we lived in this really small town, and they couldn't get all of the ingredients that they wanted to make traditional dishes. But they kind of improvised with what they had. And because they were so committed to cooking Filipino food, sort of against the odds, I would say, you know, we did a lot of…there were not vegetables that [were] available, like you couldn't get okra or green papaya. So we would use zucchini, and, you know, frozen okra to make sinigang. But it was such a way for them to stay connected to their cultures and I feel so grateful to them because what they did was really pass that down to me, from an early age. I was like, Oh, yeah, this is—this is my food, like, this is who I am. And I've never lost that. And I've always loved [it] and, yeah, so it was sort of this wonderful, healthy mix, I think. 
Alicia: For sure, and, you know, it was so interesting to realize, because I don't think I'd realized it before, that you were a food writer. [Laughs] Until I got into your books, I was like, Wait…
And Like a Mother, your first book, starts out like, so…like, such a rich piece of food writing. And I'm like, Wow, now I understand. And then I realized, I'm like, Oh, she is a food writer. So you know, you've come to write your two books about motherhood, but you know, you're also a food writer, and you're writing about food in these books as well. How did you become a food writer?
Angela: First of all, thank you for saying this now because I miss food writing. And I think at hea

50 min