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Do you ever wish you could get more from your podcasts?


Well, you can, with BuzzFeed Daily hosted by me, Casey Rock'em and me Zaphod on our show, we've got more good news and more pop culture, more Meems and more celebrity to more of everything that's blowing up your timeline and trending on the Internet every weekday evening, we're giving you more of what you need to enjoy your day, because what's life, if it is it to be enjoyed?


Listen to BuzzFeed Daily. I mean, I heart radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. You and me both is a production of I Heart radio. I'm Hillary Clinton and this is you and me both where I get to talk to people who are doing extraordinary things, you know, the holidays are upon us. And while we may not be able to gather with friends and family the way we wish we could, we can still take pleasure in another important tradition, making and eating food.


Today, we're going to talk about that, we're going to talk about, you know, food insecurity because for many people, food is in short supply, whether because of the pandemic and economic crisis or maybe natural disasters or because of the everyday reality that millions live with. And then we've got the insecurities in the restaurant industry when it comes to trying to keep businesses open, trying to be safe, but also produce a good product in these tumultuous times.


And of course, then on a lighter level, there's a fact most of us just don't feel all that secure when it comes to cooking at all. Well, we're going to get into all of that. We're going to hear from Chef Jose Andres, known for his Michelin star restaurants and for his work bringing food to people in moments of crisis. I'll also be talking to Rocco DeFazio, the owner of DeFazio Pizzeria in Troy, New York, which makes some of the most delicious pizza I've ever had.


But first, Semin Nasrat I was so excited to talk to to me, not only is she the author of the cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid Heat, which is also a Netflix series, she got her start learning from a chef I've admired for a really long time. Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. Hello.


Secretary Clinton. Oh, so I mean, you've got a whole podcast set up going there. I love it. That is so cool.


You know, I've read so much about you, how you came to cooking and then, you know, working in restaurants and becoming a chef and then food writing and and all of it is really interesting to me because although I love to eat, I am not someone who is a natural in the kitchen.


Let me just say that despite my best efforts. So give me a little bit about your background. I know you were raised in California. You're the child of immigrants from Iran. But how did you end up doing what you're doing?


Well, I also was not a natural in the kitchen. I definitely came to the kitchen through eating through the love of eating. And my parents came to California from Iran. And my mom really wanted to instill in me and my brothers a sense of our culture through our food. And I think, you know, what I've come to learn as I've grown up and become a cook and just a person in the world meeting people from all over the world is that food is a way that people really connect to their family history.


And especially if you are forced to leave where you're from, you know, it's a way that you connect to your homeland. And so for my mom, I think in the 70s and 80s in Southern California, there weren't a lot of our traditional ingredients from Iran available. So she really made it her full time job to sort of traverse the city and even the state to find the flavors of home. And she is an extraordinary cook. But like a lot of immigrants, what she wanted for me and my brothers was for us to succeed at school and to be really sort of successful in life.


And so she didn't want me to be a cook. She didn't want me in the kitchen. She wanted me doing my homework. So apart from, like a few sort of cleaning fava beans or the occasional picking herbs, I was not really in the kitchen, although I will say she had a lot of sort of hippy tendencies.


So we you know, we didn't have a lot of desserts in the house. And so if we wanted anything like that, we had to make the dessert ourselves.


That's a good rule. Yeah.


So I did do a little bit of baking as a kid and that was something I did do.


I have to say that among my friends and acquaintances in the Iranian American community, there's a lot of emphasis on keeping that cultural connection to Iran, to their Persian past by the food. Absolutely. Did that make you feel a little bit like an outsider when you were growing up?


I think I always felt like an outsider. And definitely, you know, my mom would make us our delicious we have this kind of a frittata called coocoo sabzi. And so she would make that and then we would have coocoo sandwiches for lunch and no other kids had that in their lunch boxes. So I was very aware of having different foods. And, you know, that my foods looked and smelled different and I was made fun of that. You know, I was very aware of being different.


And I have always felt like an outsider. And now I think that in a lot of ways that's the source of probably my strength. And it's definitely what kind of guides all of the choices I make in all of my work and in all of the things that I want to do, because I don't really ever want to make anyone feel that way. So I try to create work that makes everyone feel included.


I love that. So when did you begin to realize that you wanted to go from admiring your mother's cooking and the effort she put into it, into wanting to cook and not just in your home kitchen, but in the outside world?


It was just total serendipity. I moved to Northern California for college in Berkeley, and my sophomore year I fell in love and my boyfriend was from the Bay Area in a big way of how we spent our time together was eating food. And so he had always wanted to eat at a restaurant called Chez Panisse. And, you know, to me, I just knew it as a fancy restaurant. I didn't really know anything about it. And so we had this.


Kind of like change box that we saved all of our laundry quarters in and and then eventually we went and ate there and we had kind of what ultimately was a life changing meal, not so much in that it was like this kind of mind blowing, delicious meal. It was delicious.


But for me, it was the first time I ate in a restaurant that felt like almost like eating in the best kind of someone's home where just everything that you could possibly want was there for you. It was just it was magical. It was magical.


So you have this incredible meal. Mm hmm. And then what happened?


You know, I always had jobs throughout college. And so it inspired me to ask for a job bussing tables, which I did. And at the time, I was studying to be a poet, actually a really lucrative career path.


And so as I was kind of nearing graduation, I was sort of struck by this panic of like, oh, I'm an English major, no skills, what am I going to do? And at the same time, I was every day going to work in this amazing sort of sensory temple. And so I was watching cooks. I was watching chefs who were the best at what they did, cook the most beautiful dishes.


And it was so inspiring that within just a few weeks I still have my journals. Within just a few weeks, I was like, wow, maybe one day I could do that. So I started begging them to let me in the kitchen and eventually they said, we can't really like this will never go anywhere unless you really commit to it, because there are people, you know, lining up from culinary schools and kitchens around the world to work here.


So they gave me a stack of cookbooks, you know, 30 books high, and they said, you have to go read these and you need to commit to doing unpaid internship and you have to have years of sort of paying your dues before this will turn into anything. And so I did that and eventually I got hired.


And actually, I have a really funny story that I'm so excited to tell you, because if I'm not mistaken, one of the themes of our conversation today is insecurities. Right. Like mistakes and learning along the way. Right.


And so I had this one week where every single day I went to work, I had these colossal failures day after day after day for two days in a row. I ruined huge batches of rice, which as an Iranian person is like, oh, my gosh, yeah, that's supposed to be your DNA come out totally.


And then the third day, we were preparing to host some sort of, like, picnic in Golden Gate Park for you. Oh, my gosh. I remember that it was going to be like a barbecue or something.


A long, long tables. Mm hmm. And so there was a dish that I was making that had an element in common with something that we were going to serve at your dinner, at your lunch, maybe it was like a pork sauce of some kind. So they said, well, since that's going to be the same thing for I think at the time you were first lady.


So for First Lady Clinton's lunch, then go ahead and just double the batch, double the batch of sauce. And I probably had made this thing two times before. So but I was like, OK, I can do this. So what it was, was it's a pork sauce, which is kind of like a rich stock. So it was like I had to roast these bones and put them in a pot and then pour like rich chicken stock that we'd already made, you know, takes a whole day to make and pour that over it and simmer it for another day and then reduce that into this delicious sauce.


So I did that. I just made twice as much and I put it in this humongous pot and you're supposed to bring it to a boil and then turn it down to a semi and you kind of can forget about it. And then maybe like 45 minutes later, there was this really bad smell, like really bad.


Oh, no. I just kept being like, who is ruining something? Like everyone who could be doing that? Yeah, I was like, someone's really making something. You smell really bad. It just didn't even occur to me that it could possibly be my thing.


So I just let it keep going.


Oh, my God. Oh, my God.


And then eventually the chef came and he like he was like, you have ruined like hundreds of dollars worth of bones and stock.


And he was so mad at me.


And what I didn't understand because I'd never done it before was that all of the weight of these many pounds of bones had, like, compressed down at the bottom of the pot. And because I'd cranked up the heat, it was just like settled on this burner, just burning, you know.


And I felt so terrible. And to me, I wrote about in my book and I was like, and then I ruined, you know, First Lady Clinton sauce.


And so I do remember the lunch. I remember how beautiful it was. A typical Alice Waters special. How long were you at Chez Panisse?


So that first round, I was there about three and a half years. And then I went to Italy and then I went back for another couple of years.


What was the experience like in Italy? Was it dramatically different?


I had always wanted to go to Italy and I think in certain ways there might be parts of Iranian culture and Italian culture that are very similar, certainly the love of food and family. And so certain things about it felt really from. Earlier and in Japanese and in this kind of like California cooking, we have a lot of sort of French and Italian traditions that we pull from. And I always felt much more close to and inspired by the Italian ones.


The French ones are a lot tighter and I'm messy.


I'm not like a neat organized person or cook.


I'm a messy, loose, relaxed cook.


And and I like to sort of use however many tomatoes are left. I like to use whatever amount of onions are on the counter. You know, I like to chop stuff up into whatever size pieces make sense. And that's what Italian cooking is, versus French cooking is like cutting stuff into pieces.


Yeah, but, you know, part of you know, look, I think part of your success has been you try to make it accessible for people.


You know, your cookbook, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is framed around what you say are the four fundamental elements of good cooking. And, you know, I feel like you're, in a sense, talking to somebody like me who, you know, my prowess in the kitchen is limited.


And you're basically saying kind of go with the flow, give it a try. Here are things you can do. And I think that it's really a philosophy of cooking. It's not just a collection of recipes. Am I right about that?


Yeah, absolutely. Well, so do you have you ever cooked anything? Oh, God, yes.


I've cooked a lot of things like what's a what's a success? Well, you know, my cooking is I would say workman like sort of serviceable, OK? I mean, it usually is edible.


OK, good. But it it's not anything that I'm particularly secure about. Yeah. You know, that's why I found what you wrote in your Netflix and other you know, even the podcast you're doing now called Home Cooking is really addressed to people like me to kind of root out my own insecurities about, oh, how many pieces of tomato actually have to go in and all of that. But how did you go from being given thirty books, being in the kitchen, finding your way and then really coming up with this incredible theory.


I saw the pattern. I think after about two years in the kitchen, I saw this pattern. We would taste everything and every day they would say, oh, this needs a little salt. Oh, the salad just needs a little squeeze of lime or that soup. It just actually needs a little bit of vinegar to brighten it up. Or are you going to start that carrot soup with butter or olive oil? Do you want it to taste French or do you want it to taste Italian?


Interesting. And even with heat, like, do you want this thing to be blistery and hot or do you want the texture of your meat to be tender and falling off the bone? So it was just these kind of patterns that I saw over time. And eventually I actually went to one of the chefs and I said, oh, I think I see something. I think I see salt, fat, acid, heat. And he said, yeah, like we all see that that's a language we all speak.


And I actually was felt really betrayed. I was like, if you all see this, how come nobody told me what concerns me?


And and he was like, oh, because it's like so natural to us. We all get it. That was when I understood, like, there's something so basic for these guys that nobody explains. And so that was I actually said, I'm going to write this book one day, but I still didn't know enough like I needed to go do still years and years more homework, figure out how to talk about it and teach about it. Figure out how to write, figure out, you know, basic science homework.


I still had so much more work to do before I could sit down and write.


And then the book was a big success. And then Netflix came calling. So talk about that experience.


I mean, I will say probably as early as like 2007, 2008, it occurred to me that my desire was to teach people how to cook as many people as possible because I saw so many people afraid to just do these basic things, because there would be something like I would go to a potluck, let's say, and I would make something so simple, like roasted cauliflower with like pine nuts incurrence. You know, it's like I was like six ingredients pine nuts, currant salt, olive oil, cauliflower, five ingredients.


And people would be like, I don't even know how you did this. This is amazing. What did you put in this?


And I'm like, no, literally. It's like salt. Cauliflower, like, it's nothing. There's nothing in this, you know?


And so it's not that. What did I put in this? It's just that I know that, you know, this is how you sliced the cauliflower. This is how much salt I used. I probably my oven was hotter than yours. Probably. I spaced the cauliflower out on the cookie sheet a little bit more than you did.


You know, I probably roasted it farther than you did. Right.


But like, did I put anything different in it than, you know, it's just I knew a little bit of this, this and this. And so if you knew this, this in this, you could make it to.


Will be. I'm Norma Kamali and I've been a fashion designer for over 50 years. I'm so excited about my upcoming book. It's available on February 2nd and the name of it is I Am Invincible.


I Am Invincible is a handbook for women that gives me the opportunity to share my experiences and tips about beauty, style, wellness and living your best life. These are solutions that you can use to go through each decade.


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There were two other things, though, about the Netflix experience, because clearly they went after you smartly, because that's exactly what you were doing, trying to make cooking less mysterious, more accessible.


But, you know, it took a while to get used to being on camera. Totally. How is that for you?


I always wanted to make a show, but I don't think I understood exactly what it would mean for me to be the person on camera or for me to what it would mean for me to be the conduit for it.


I also don't think I understood that I had a specific talent for it. I just people kept telling me, oh, you're a natural, you're a natural. And I was like, OK, I don't know, whatever.


I just keep showing up and doing whatever you like. And I think later I actually asked somebody, another director who kept saying I was an actor.


What does that mean? And he said, oh, it just means you act the same when the cameras are on and when they're off, you don't stiffen up. And I was like, oh, OK.


But a lot of people do. Yeah, that that is absolutely something that you are lucky that doesn't happen. Yeah. It just happens to be.


My thing is I can block out a lot of stuff and really focus on whoever is there with me. But again, what was funny was I really wanted the show, but I wanted the show because I wanted to to send this message out to the world. You know, it wasn't for me to be the star of it. And I think it didn't really occur to me what I was doing until the show almost came out. What did occur to me throughout the filming was that I am not like a blonde, skinny woman.


I am not, let's say like like I do not adhere to the traditional, let's say, Western ideals of beauty. I am a brown, curvy woman and I would be eating on camera. And I'm a person who really loves to eat. And those things are not historically, you know, like shown on camera.


I also I think that was so endearing. You were enjoying yourself. You were enjoying what you were doing. You were enjoying what you were eating. I think that all contributed to the success of it. Thank you.


But I think there's another element, and you alluded to it, which I connect to. You know, you want people to not only enjoy food, but to feel comfortable actually preparing it. And that has become so important during this pandemic. Yes.


All the people who are at home and, you know, there's lots of articles, you know, they're doing sour bread or whatever it is that is motivating them.


But there are a lot of people who now are able to take a deep breath and out of necessity or choice, are trying to actually get reconnected with food. Absolutely.


And honestly, I think there are so many dark things weighing on us during this time.


But one of the most hopeful things for me is the idea that practice is the way that we become better cooks and this time has forced so many people to cook.


And so when we emerge from our cocoons, you know, I think that there will be an entire generation who has a kind of cooking skill that I think a few generations in this country kind of didn't get. It wasn't passed down to us.


Well, but part of it, you know, speaking for myself and as a young woman, you know, there were two things that you didn't want to do because you thought it was giving in to the stereotypes of the past. You didn't want to cook. You didn't want to type a totally, you know, totally.


So my mother would put three very healthy meals on the table every day during my entire childhood. And, you know, I'd set the table or I'd maybe chop and I'd help clean up. But, boy, you know, the idea of being in that kitchen was not something that it's like what you were saying with your mom. It's not something that I was attracted to.


You know, unlike me, you were ignited. So I just have to ask you, what's on the menu for today in this week? What are you cooking up that you can share with me? Oh, yeah. Oh, man.


I actually I have a pot of beans soakings that I'm really excited to go cook. And then we have these tomatoes that we grow here in California at this time of year that are they're called dry farmed tomatoes, dry farm, dry farmed. And so it means that the farmers stop watering the plants after the plants send out their first leaves. So it forces the plants to send really deep roots into the ground.


And then when the tomato fruits start coming, they're like kind of small and shriveled, but they're really, really intense in flavor. And they are the most delicious tomatoes. They're so good. I can't even tell you how good they're so. Oh my gosh. So I have all the delicious, dry, farmed tomatoes. I was going to make a tomato salad and then I got fresh corn masa. So I was going to make. As I was going to be quesadillas and beans and tomatoes, yeah, you know, I have to tell you something, and this this I'm I'm going to confess this.


My beans don't ever really work out. I mean, I know you're supposed to soak them and soak and soak and all the rest of it, but, you know, beans are such a good source of protein. I mean, I love the idea of beans. And when somebody else makes them, you know, good black beans and good fava beans and all the rest of it, what am I doing either wrong or not?


Enough of OK, I like soaking because I think of it as inactive cooking. So it's like I'm lazy. So I'm like, I'll just go get.


And how long do you soak? I just put it in water the night before. Oh OK. So you did overnight. Yeah.


OK, if I can think of it or if I can't think of it then I'll do it in the morning and then I'll cook in the afternoon or something.


OK, but if you don't have the time to soak and even if I do ok, I would add a little pinch of baking soda to the water baking soda.


OK. Yeah.


And I don't know what your water is like where you live, but if you have hard water. Right. That can make you your beans tough. And if you have even a little bit of just like slightly acidic water, that can make your beans tough so baking soda can help balance out your water, it just makes them a little bit softer. So that is nice. And then I also put salt and whatever other flavorings I want. But I also think the other criminal thing that people do is they don't cook their beans long enough.


So I think in general you just have to cook them much longer than you think.


And so when you say much longer, how long is that? Well, I don't know, because I don't know what kind you are. Like, every bean is different, but probably until the first few are falling apart. Like my friend Tamar Adler says, you have to taste five beans and they all have to be creamy. And that's how you know, OK, yeah, this is very helpful.


OK, thank you for everything you've done to make people like me who are insecure cooks feel much better about trying in the kitchen.


Thank you. Thank you for everything you've done. Thank you, Sammy. You can listen to Samin on her podcast Home Cooking, which she co-hosts with Rishikesh Here Way Simians fantastic cookbook is called Salt Fat, Acid Heat. Up next is chef Jose Andres. I first heard of the chef because of the restaurants that he started opening up and I began to eat at, and then I learned about how committed he was to help people in need. He started a whole nonprofit disaster relief organization called World Central Kitchen.


He was born in Spain. He moved to New York City when he was a young man, I think like twenty or twenty one. And since the covid-19 pandemic broke out, he's been doing what he does best, jumping into action to feed people. Back in February, he set up a field kitchen to cook for passengers and crew members, quarantine on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, and then just spread across our country and the world to help people.


I was so happy to catch up with him again. Chef, it's wonderful to see you.


And welcome to this podcast, my friend.


Thank you for having me. Well, you're so busy. We've been lucky to find you in between disasters and restaurant openings and all the things that you are involved in. And I want to start a little bit in the beginning, just so listeners know a little bit about how you got to where you are. You were born in northern Spain. You moved to Barcelona when you were just a little kid, I think, around the age of five.


How did you end up going to culinary school when you were 15?


So I was not a very good student in the traditional sense. That doesn't mean that I was not highly interested in learning. But the traditional school system of being in front of a teacher and listening to what the teacher had to tell you didn't work for me. My father knew I had love for cooking. My father always cook at home. He said, why are you going cooking this school? And I went to school, going to school about this.


Sadly, the same thing happened. I barely went to school because I began going to work in the restaurants on me. I am the living proof that you still can learn. Only you have to be learning in the way that really suits you. And that's why I'm a guy that likes to be with the boots on the ground. Right, for learning. And this is the way I've been doing it on my life.


You know, from that time that you came to this country as a very young man until today, you're equally well known for your restaurants as well as then the philanthropic work that you are now so well known for. You almost came up with a vision because I do think it was a vision about how to bring food to people. How did you come to the realization that this was something you had to do? What was the inspiration? What gap were you trying to fill?


Obviously was many things like my mom, my dad, they were nurses. They worked on different shifts on the hospital. The hospital was the place. They change my brothers. And so I spent a lot of time in the emergency room nearby waiting for my mom or dad to take us home. I always saw nurses and doctors going the extra mile.


I think for me watching in the distance, because I was not involved in Katrina and especially seeing what happened at the Superdome in my brain, an arena, a stadium is a gigantic restaurant that entertains with the sports and musicians was no reason that we were supposed to leave so many men and woman is stranded in an arena which actually had every single infrastructure to provide quick and fast relief. So me, I began thinking is I realize that you send doctors and nurses to take care of the wounded and create hospitals.


You rank first responders and search units to look for people under the rubble, to bring experts in every category. But actually, we were not bringing cooks to feed people in need of food. And I realize the problem is very simple is we need to show up on these millions of restaurants around the world is hundreds of millions of people around the world. Let me great organization that is slowly but surely we are able to respond anywhere. So that's how we've began.


Let's be quick. Let's be fast. When anybody is hungry or anybody is thirsty, they cannot wait a week or a month from now for governments or agencies, relief agencies to provide aid for them. Water must be achieved right now. And that's what we began doing. And so far we keep learning. But every day we keep answering to more natural disasters in America and around the world.


I want to talk for a minute about the cruise ships, because you went to Yokohama. With the cruise ship that was haunting there, you also went to the West Coast here and at the time that you went, that was considered pretty dangerous. I mean, nobody really understood what this pandemic was going to mean. Talk a little bit about what that was like, because it's one thing to show up after the disaster has sadly and tragically passed and you're helping to recover.


It's another to show when it's unfolding and you're in the middle of it.


I began following this pandemic right at the beginning of January. One of my best friends, Ambassador Hado, he was the Mexican ambassador in China over six years. So he had a lot of knowledge of China. And he was getting me a lot of information in the thing I love, which is how the Chinese, the Mohanned region was feeding their citizens. So my brain already began working on that problem. When Yokohama happened and the Princess cruise ship was arriving on, many bad decisions were made.


I was a Navy boy. I know a little bit too about being inside a ship. I was very amazed that between all the big agencies in the world, they will not make the right call, which was take everybody out of that ship as soon as we can, especially the people that may be infected and everybody else. But for us, we had a lot of experience in Haiti and in Mozambique with cholera, and we kept all our teams clean and healthy.


And the people we were feeding, the camps, we were feeding healthy. These gave us kind of an understanding of how to behave in kind of the scenes that may be. Thank you. So in the case of cholera, because the conditions of the water and sanitation, but these we arrive and we did a very good job. We fed their 18000 meals a day, almost over 40 days. What I was very proud is that if you will see the health experts in the port and you will see the other people that were in white hazmat, you will have a hard time understanding who are the people taking care of the health code and who didn't.


I was very happy that we went through all of these without getting one person sick, wearing mask, wearing gloves, sanitation, keeping distance. We began that protocol and we began sharing that protocol with all the world's central kitchen family. To this day, we've been very healthy. We had more than twenty seven hundred restaurants across America. We've been feeding people in five, six, seven countries. We've been in Laura in the hurricane. We've been in the fires in California.


We've been in this position in Lebanon. And the teams, the central kitchen, we've been saved because we did simple things to take the Bible seriously, to make sure that success was not getting infected yourself and more important, not infecting anybody else. And this is what has allowed us to keep feeding millions of meals through this pandemic successfully. We're taking a quick break. Stay with us. I'm Robert Evans, host of Behind the Bastards, and it could happen here, and boy, it does seem to be happening here.


I'm going to guess most of the people listening to this are deeply concerned with what they saw happen in Washington, D.C. on January 6th. And I'm here to tell you, it was a fascist insurrection, an attempt by fascists to take over our democracy. And it didn't happen in a historical vacuum. There have been numerous attempts, many of them successful by fascist movements, to take over democracies over the last century in order to protect yourself, in order to protect your family and your very freedom, you need to understand this history and the history of the different antifascist movements that have fought, sometimes successfully, often unsuccessfully, to stop the same things from happening in their own countries.


The knowledge of this history is important, and it's maybe the only thing that can save us. So if you were as concerned as I am, listened to behind the insurrections on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast, or wherever you listen to podcasts, what do explores an Army officer at a Minnesota insurance salesman have in common?


They all wanted to be the first to reach the North Pole, but only one of them made it on Katlehong. Science editor at Mental Floss and host of the new podcast The Quest for the North Pole, which dives into the centuries long race to explore the Arctic, find the Northwest Passage and conquer the top of the world with a cast of daring adventurers and some pretty determined amateurs, the race to the poll reveals the human desire to solve mysteries of geography and the soul.


We'll look at the important Arctic expeditions that filled the blank spaces on the map and recognize how indigenous people made them successful. We'll examine what pushed explorers to venture ever farther into the unknown and uncharted and how the climate crisis is changing the Arctic today. Listen to the quest for the North Pole every Friday on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts. On a personal note, I am so grateful for the partnership between the world's central kitchens and the Clinton presidential center in Little Rock, because when the schools closed there in March, as schools did in most of the country, a lot of those children lost their lunch.


Some of them lost their breakfast. And in partnership between world central kitchens and the staff at the Clinton Center Library, you've been able to feed I lost track. Six hundred eighty thousand people. And now you're putting together produce boxes for people to be able to take home. So I wanted to personally and publicly.


Thank you. You know, I've heard you say often that food is a national security issue and I couldn't agree with you more. And it's a national security issue in a lot of different ways. We cannot be so dependent on external food sources. I saw a graph the other day where a pair grown in Argentina was sent to Thailand to be packaged and then sent back to the United States to go on a supermarket shelf or into a restaurant pantry. This is crazy.


We've got to deal with food as a national security issue, in part by creating better agricultural supply lines, these many things that have to happen at the ground level, but these many things that they should be happening at the top from, in this case, from leadership, Congress, White House. And it's many things we know today that we didn't now 20, 30 or 40 years ago. But one thing is certain. If food is not taken seriously, the next revolution will be because lack of food in a moment that on paper food will be plentiful.


Right now, we had to plague of locusts in Africa back to back. They ended with huge parts of Africa without grain. We've been having fires. We are having issues with water. One day the perfect storm may be coming on. One day we will wake up and realize actually we don't have as much food in our hands as we thought we had. That's why it's important that we need the highest power possible of government, a person that will always be thinking about food.


That's a national security issue. Let's make sure we are ahead and let's make sure that food doesn't become a problem, but that food becomes a solution to keep everybody healthy, better nutrition in a school, creating jobs, making rural America richer again.


And of course, we know right now that a lot of Americans in this richest of all countries are skipping meals. They are lining up in their cars or on foot to pick up food supplies, getting donations from pantries and other charities. And, you know, part of the problem is that we just don't really understand how food insecure, vulnerable people are trying to live. We don't see them. I mean, you see them because you go not only into disaster areas, but you try to help feed the homeless.


You try to have a backup system like you did with us in Little Rock. For kids who are out of school, they don't have that free lunch anymore. How are you thinking about this? Because you're right, we have to have the national security plan and it should start yesterday. But we also have to have the real hunger and food insecurity plan as well.


What I realized is that food should not be political and should be Republican or Democrat issue. Right now, we need the strategic plan until covid is beaten to feed America in a very simple way. Right now, we throw money at the problem. Let's make sure that instead of throwing money with boxes that sometimes there are no even reaching the people. Let's make sure that we put restaurants up on working like Central Africa has done three thousand restaurants that we've been paying for meal.


The restaurants can be open, they can pay their leases, they can hire their people back. Those people can pay the rent. They can buy from the farmers and the fishermen in the process, the local mayors, they have a place where to go to feed their community need. Every dollar that comes from the federal government or from private donations is multiplied by three. That's his Moriba. Why we don't keep school lunches up and going. Breakfast and lunch in every community, not only for children, but for families.


Why we don't increase is not what we call food stamps so people can use it in restaurants. So people that if you're elderly and you don't want to go out because it's not safe for you to go out, what you can do is maybe it's not nice to get food delivered to your house is. That'll be cheaper because those elderly people are going to be healthy, they're going to be fed and you are investing and keeping the economy up and running right now, we this kind of leadership, 360 degree strategy that we should be putting in place in this moment, but they should be lessons learned about how to make sure that in the process of keeping every American children fed, we keep the local economies running, rural America getting stronger and putting everybody at work in the process of Feeding America.


This will be a good investment in the future of America, but it requires ambition and then political will. Right. Let's hope that we keep pushing on one day. We hope that one place at a time we can keep creating a stronger, a better America.


Well, I hope everybody is listening because that's a great policy overview for what we need to do about food security. And I want to underscore what you said, because I'm not sure many people know this is that World Central Kitchen has been paying restaurants to be their partners so that they can keep their employees employed and they can keep doing what they do so well, namely making food that will nourish people, you know, to wrap up. I just want to reiterate my gratitude to you for everything you do.


But I know how hard you work. I know even in the middle of the pandemic, you're on and off planes. You're going from wildfires to disastrous explosions in Beirut and everywhere in between. It is so important that the people who are helping to take care of others also take care of themselves. You know, you and I have had some pretty long days, but at the end of those days, if we're going to keep being of service and particularly someone who is literally creating a new brand of philanthropy, you've got to replenish yourself, too.


Well, I'm very blessed because I have a wife I don't deserve. She's my best friend. She keeps me honest. She gives me a straight I mean, taking a little break this summer, actually, I lost 40 pounds. And still, I promised her by the end of the year I should be losing another 30 pounds. So this is very important. If I win, I'll be jumping between helicopters and amphibious vehicles. And I want to be doing this is my in life feeding the many.


Obviously, I want my restaurant successful to we have only four hundred working right now, but I cannot wait to have everybody else back sooner rather than later. So yes, the responsibility is on the shoulders. I wish I had the little restaurant in a little island and just be there with my wife making rum sauce and cooking a little grilled chicken on the beach. But I decided to have a slightly more complex life on what Senator Patrick Moynihan back in 1993, on a Sunday morning, almost first customer ever had in my restaurant, Hallal on 7th Avenue Northwest, Patrick Moynihan told me that if you love America, America will always love you back.


America has given me a great place to belong. 3M of beautiful American born daughter, son, opportunity to serve. The least I can do is use to get back a little bit of everything I got. If we all do that, I know America is going to be always a country that we all dream of becoming.


It's a pleasure. Always talking to you. Thank you so much for spending some time talking about food and life and everything in between. Thank you very much for having. Since the pandemic broke out, World Central Kitchen has provided more than 30 million meals and 400 cities across America to support their vital work. Visit W, c, k, dot org. No, I can't talk about food without talking to one of my favorite restaurant owners, Rocco DeFazio, from Troy, New York.


I first started meeting with him, working with him and eating his fabulous food back when I was a senator from New York. I know you can have a big fight about what makes for delicious pizza. I can just tell you that Rocco's Pizza is really special. And I think it's because of all the love that this three generation business puts into it. So I wanted to talk to Rocco about what things have been like at the restaurant during the pandemic, how he's adapting to this new reality.


And, of course, get a little update on his famous pizza and legendary gelato. And a quick disclaimer for those listening. This interview will leave you craving both. Hello, dear. It is so good to see you.


This is not as good as being with you in person, but it'll have to do until, you know, we can travel again.


I still remember very well eating your pizza for the first time.


You never forget it was delicious. But in addition to such delicious pizza, it was just so much fun. The business that your parents started that you've kept going, that you've now passed on your kids. It's such a great American story and it is centered around food. You know, I first learned about you because when I was senator from New York, I used to read local newspapers and I would find things in it and I would say, hey, let's follow up on this.


And I saw this article about how you wanted to try to rebrand Troy, New York, to really make it a kind of Little Italy destination. And I thought that was such a great idea. So I contacted you. But first, my office tried to call to connect with you and you kept hanging on because I want to tell.




Because you thought it was a prank. Give a little bit of history to our listeners about your parents, Anthony and Josephine, and, you know, their American journey, which, of course, led to starting the business.


Yes. Both of my parents came to the United States in the very early 30s. My mother was from a small town outside of Naples and my father was from Calabria. And my mother's friends would always tell her, how did you marry this culebras? Why did you.


Oh, yeah, because the two didn't want to marry this couple days.


So when your parents, Anthony and Josephine, started the business back in 1951, what kind of business was it? Because I know it's changed throughout the years.


Oh, it has. We have changed. Yes. It was a neighborhood store, but there were dozens of these stores.


What was the point at which you all discovered the attractiveness of pizza and especially wood fired pizza? What fired wasn't known anywhere, but we had this building next to us. And so I'm talking to my parents saying, you know, I think we should open up a pizzeria. And they both said, I think you should use a wood for your daughter because both of their parents use a wood fired up. And from the old country. From the old country, that's all they have.


My dad always used to say when things were going well, now we're cooking with gas.


Well, that's where that expression came from. I said, yes, we're moving up. We're moving up the world. Gas, we have gas. When did you actually take charge of the business?


Eighty eight. Eighty nine. I just had this conversation yesterday with people from Brooklyn who were up Detroit and they said, your pizza crust is you. Me.


Well, I can attest to that, having eaten a lot of. Yes. And everybody will say that because it isn't pizza dough, it's my grandmother's Italian bread dough recipe.


Now, is this your Neapolitan grandmother or your.


It's my culebras. So and I tweaked the recipe for pizza.


You know, even after everything you've seen, all of the decades of hard work, the changes in your neighborhood, did anything in your past experience prepare you for a global pandemic? How did you even wrap your head around it and how, as a small business owner, did you figure out ways to survive?


Open the playbook, Matthew. My son, we would talk. We need to open the playbook now. Meaning? Things that we have been working on, we got to do them now, like give me an example. First thing we did, we're going to offer breakfast, interesting breakfast pizzas, breakfast, pizza with a dog and vegetables, which was a big hit.


That sounds delicious. Rather delicious.


The fastest growing food segment is vegan. So now you have vegan pizzas. Yes, we make vegan gelato.


OK, what's it taste like? Tell me the truth.


Haven't really.


The only thing I will eat now, you know, a lot of listeners are challenging themselves by trying to cook through this pandemic. What is the secret to trying to make great pizza at home?


We've been selling a lot of our pizza dough. Oh. Ready to make. And I really tell people, if you're going to make it, just come and buy it from us. Don't buy the stuff in the supermarket. Go to a bakery, a good Italian bakery or a pizzeria that you like their dough. And we sell dozens and dozens of fresh pizza dough to people who now want to do it. Interesting. And I told Matthew, one of the things I want to do for the holidays is a pizza making kit.


Oh, and we also have directions on this. So what we're going to be offering for the holidays is people come by to go to sources and very good imported pecorino Romano cheese. Then you just have to get your toppings to make your pizza and explanation how to do it. And you know what the first step is? If the directions turn off your TV, get off your phone, put some Frank Sinatra music.


Oh, that's so great for Dean Martin or Tony Bennett and then start making it. Oh, my God, that is so perfect. You know, I hope everybody is listening because it's not only the actual ingredients of the pizza. It's like, what's in your mind and your thoughts. Right.


Your heart is beating like it. Well, I hope you're not going to be inundated by people after this podcast runs calling you for pizza dough.


But, you know, you're going to have to get ready, Roko, because that may be, but they have to turn off the TV, turn it off and they'll have to talk to each other.


Thank you. To plan a visit to rocko's visit to Fazio's pizza dotcom. That's it for today's show, wishing you all a happy holiday season and thinking of everyone who can't be with family and friends right now. Let us all hope and work to make it so that our country and the world are different this time next year.


You and me both is brought to you by I Heart Radio. We're produced by Julie Zubrin and Kathleen Russo with help from Huma Abedin, Nikki itOur, Oscar Florez, Brianna Johnson, Nick Merrill, Lauren Peterson, Rob Russo and loan of El Morro. Our engineer is Zach McNiece and original music is by Forrest Gray and a huge thanks this week to Opal Vadon for her help with this week's episode. If you like the show, tell someone else about it.


You can subscribe to you and me both on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcasts. We'd love to hear from you. Send us your questions and comments or even ideas for future episodes to you and me.


Both pod at Gmail dot com. Come back next week when I talk with three incredibly thoughtful people who have struggled with mental health. Veteran author and advocate Jason Candar, Broadway actor and Tony Award winner Audra McDonald and author Allie Brosh. I hope you'll join me then. Oh, do you ever wish you could get more from your podcasts?


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