Comedian, chef, and YouTube star Hannah Hart knows holidays can be hell for queer people. The goal, she says, with her new cookbook, My Drunk Kitchen Holidays, is to help make them not only better but a lot funnier.
My Drunk Kitchen: Holidays, which Hart says could also be called How to Be Queer At Christmas, is filled with Big Name holidays (Halloween) and lesser-known celebrations (Middle Child Day) and includes a recipe or two to go with them. Some of the recipes are simple (see: "Make a cupcake. Put frosting on top"), while others take a little bit more effort.
Hart makes sure to put her comedian skills to good use as she fills every recipe with quips, jokes, and personal opinions.
In addition to adding humor to every recipe, Hart also mixes in short, humorous essays about the holidays -- how to notice the little happy moments in life and celebrate them. "Sometimes it's hard to relate to those whom we are related to." Hart writes for National Drink Wine Day. "I find talking about food (and drinking wine) is a good place to start. What's your favorite kind of pasta? Forgive them if they say 'butter noodles.'"
Out spoke with Hart about her new book, her favorite holiday memories, and how a blintz is like a middle child.
There are lots of fun and weird holidays in this book -- Color Day, Free Thought Day, Ravioli Day, to name a few -- how did you pick which ones to use?
Honestly, I read through l lists and lists of holidays and did research looking at what the most universal holidays are. Then I pulled out the ones that appealed to me the most in my research.
What was the process like of matching a recipe to those holidays?
For Ravioli Day, there's, you know, ravioli, but Middle Child Day is a really great example because I myself am a middle child, and at the time, I was really craving a blintz. I was like, "A blintz is like the feeling of being a middle child. Your siblings that come before you, those are the crepes, the siblings that come after you, they're the dressy berry sauce you pour on the top, but what makes a blintz so great is what keeps it all together in the middle."
Do you have a favorite holiday food memory?
[My fiance], Ella, and I hosted a Thanksgiving for everyone. It was really nice to work as a team, which we get to do quite a bit, but not in that way. It was fun to cook together I made a spreadsheet of what temperature the oven needed to be and how to get every item out on time, and we crushed it. Everyone was so impressed and so happy, and the older people got to relax instead of doing all the work. In fact, in the book, I talk directly about the recipes we made. There are four recipes in the book that are the exact recipes we made. That's the month of November.
On that subject, food and cooking are often tied closely to family and loved ones. Can you tell me why you wanted to focus so much on that part of the holidays in your book?
Holidays are nothing if not an accepted cause for celebration. I wanted to write the book because as someone who had to learn to be proud of myself and learn how to feel like there's something worth celebrating, it was very much the next evolution in that journey for me.
My first book [My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating, Drinking, and Going with Your Gut] was a testament to being in your rough and tumble 20s, trying to get your shit together, and trying and failing and flailing.
My Drunk Kitchen Holidays focuses the holidays, yes, but really it's a testament on how to savor and celebrate the year. In my 30s, I'm like, "OK, this is the adult I've been growing up to be -- how do they celebrate? What traditions do I bring from my past? What do I want to bring with me and what do I want to leave behind?"
Who do you hope buys this book?
Honestly, I hope members of the queer community, my community, buy it. I hope they find themselves reading a holiday cookbook that is very welcoming, that doesn't fit the traditional gender norms, that's inclusive, and that has made room for them. A lot of holidays can be very triggering for people, I know that certain holidays are triggering for me. And this book is my attempt at trying to, honestly, unfuck the holidays.
My Drunk Kitchen Holidays is available in stores and on Amazon October 22.