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Ayesha Curry Is Serving Virtual Connection With A Pot Of Chili


And finally today, you know we like food around here. I mean, we really like food. And now that many of us are stuck at home, we've been cooking more. But many of us are also missing the camaraderie of sharing that food, so many of us are turning to social media to fill that gap. Recently we had Samin Nosrat of "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat" to encourage us to make lasagna together. This week, Ayesha Curry is with us. She is the celebrity chef and cookbook author and restaurant owner. She's no stranger to social media, where she often shares about her time in the kitchen. But today, she's here to tell us about her upcoming virtual chili cook along. It's called Chili and Chill. And Ayesha Curry, thanks so much for joining us.

AYESHA CURRY: Thank you for having me.

MARTIN: So how is the self-isolation going with three little kids?

CURRY: I was going to say, the self part of it, I mean, I don't know if that exists at our house. But it's going great. We're finding the silver linings, enjoying the time with the kids, finding ways to get organized. It's been, for the most part, quite nice on our end - chaotic with school and keeping stuff clean. But other than that, we can't complain.

MARTIN: So why the virtual cook along and why chili?

CURRY: So we just launched my new magazine, Sweet July, this month. And it was a perfect platform for me to have my own voice and not have it be misconstrued and fill it with all of the things I love and pieces of gratitude and mindfulness and, of course, tons of recipes. And so the first issue has 22 recipes. And people have been so sweet, posting them cooking the recipes already in the magazine. So I said, hey, you know what? We need to celebrate in a way with everybody and do a cook along. And so I went through all the recipes. And I said, you know, the chili is warm and comforting and easy to make. So let's do a Chili and Chill. And, like, let's just get down and dirty and cook on Insta Live. And I'm so excited. It's just going to be a way to connect with everybody.

MARTIN: Well, for some people, social media is new because they're using it because they have to use it. But you've always been kind of - maybe we could put it this way - a hybrid person. I mean, you do obviously enjoy getting together with people in real life. But you've also been on social media for some time. So this doesn't feel strange to you, I guess.

CURRY: It doesn't feel strange, but I did go through a moment the past eight weeks where I was so unsure of what was appropriate to say and what was not. And then Stephen and I were watching the news the other morning. And Lin-Manuel Miranda came on. And he started talking about how "Hamilton" the movie was coming out. And, like, we - that is our - like, we love "Hamilton." And so when he announced that, the joy that came over us, we were so excited. And I said, oh, you know what? People do need bright spots. They do need a sense of joy during this time. And maybe it's OK to talk about, you know, some positive things that are going on, give people a distraction.

MARTIN: You mentioned Steph. I just want to mention, for people who aren't aware, you're married to Warriors superstar Steph Curry, with whom you share three children. And it's interesting - what I think I hear you saying is you weren't sure - you didn't want people to feel that you weren't taking the current situation seriously.

CURRY: Yeah. But we started to realize, hey, we actually are tired of watching the sadness on the news. Like, we need bright spots, too, so I'm sure everybody else needs bright spots.

MARTIN: Well, you've given us some time to prepare. And I know you've posted your grocery list and so forth. But for people who really don't cook, is there something you could recommend to get them started?

CURRY: I feel like cranking up that heat and getting a good browning on everything and then letting it simmer once it's all together for a little while. The longer it simmers, the better it gets. And not to be afraid of their seasonings. I feel like a big thing with, like, novice cooks when they start out is they're afraid of the seasoning. So just don't be afraid of it. Taste as you go along. Add a little bit at a time. You can always add more. You can't take away. So just taste as you go along.

MARTIN: And before we let you go, we mentioned you have three little people in your house. Do - you know, I've heard from some people that what's really been stressful for a lot of people is balance, the balancing. It's like, I'm trying to work and the small people want my attention and I need to cook dinner and I need to cook lunch and I need to cook breakfast. What are your tips for juggling all that?

CURRY: For me, it's always been when I'm pressed for time or things are stressful, I turn to a sheet pan dinner almost every single time. I cut things up in equal pieces and it roasts off in the oven on high heat. And it's just the easiest thing. And not being afraid to repurpose things. So, like, if you're ordering groceries, whatever, going to the grocery store, having like a roast chicken on hand, there's a million things you can do with a roast chicken other than just eat it as is, you know. And so it's just little things like that, not being afraid to repurpose and be inventive with the simple things.

MARTIN: Ayesha Curry is a chef and cookbook author and a restaurant owner. You can participate in her Chili and Chill virtual cook along on Instagram. It's this Thursday, May 21, at 7 p.m. Eastern time, 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time. It's on the Sweet July Instagram page. Ayesha Curry, thank you so much for joining us.

CURRY: Thank you. Thank you so much. It was great talking to you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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