Cook Your Anxiety Away
Better Nutrition|July 2021
Rachel Levin and Tara Duggan, authors of Steamed: A Catharsis Cookbook for Getting Dinner and Your Feelings on Your Table, help readers find emotional release in the kitchen.
By Chris Mann

Still queasy from quarantine and tired of turning to cheesecake for solace? Say hello to stress eating’s more productive kitchen-savvy cousin: anxiety cooking. Authors Rachel Levin and Tara Duggan serve up 50 recipes that will help you chop, beat, grate, and pound your way to emotional release—all while whipping up tasty meals like Whacked Lemongrass Chicken Coconut Curry—in Steamed: A Catharsis Cookbook for Getting Dinner and Your Feelings on Your Table.

“We actually sold the proposal for Steamed in late 2019—before the pandemic,” says Levin. “We were anxious and upset about the world in its normal, non-Covid state, about the relentless news cycle and the 2020 election and the wildfires and, you know, all the inequities and injustice in the world—as well as life’s little annoyances, of course.”

“During the early months of the pandemic,” adds Duggan, “when our fears were most acute, I learned how focusing on the tiny steps that go into making sourdough bread—the more high-maintenance the recipe, the better!—helped relieve those fears and gave me a new thing to nurture. And making batches of soups and stews like the Softened Korean Tofu Soup or the Tune-it-Out Chicken Tinga made me feel like I was taking care of my family even as the whole world was on fire.”

The duo’s cheeky, chuckle-inducing prose and easy-to-follow recipes are designed to make even the heaviest of days easier to swallow. “Cooking has always been talked about as being therapeutic,” says Levin, “but rarely has that been explained with wit and humor and recipes in a real-life way.” Rarely, that is, until now.

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