C Pam Zhang Recommends...

“I recommend soup, always, and especially now. It is comfort and it is excitement, both specific and universal. Soup is highbrow or lowbrow, it is microwaved or simmered for days from scratch, it is an ox bone yielding up its unctuous interior, it is Campbell’s with a splash of dill to spruce up a dour night.

Most of all, I recommend soup because it reconnects me to that deep pulse of creation. There are days when I have written not a word, when I hardly feel like a person, and I open up my fridge. I accept the contents calmly, because I must: I am, tonight, this bacon fat, this wilted mint, this anchovy and green onion top, a rind of moon-shiny cheese, a homemade stock that I alone in this world possess. My dietary constraints don’t feel constraining. I turn on the stove. I taste and adjust as I go, free of anxiety for once, because with soup there is always another chance to improve, every problem solvable by time (fat to round the acid, more liquid to quiet the salt). Fuck it up, who cares—it’s just soup. There are days when writing is writing and there are days when writing is soup.”
—C Pam Zhang, author of How Much of These Hills Is Gold (Riverhead Books, 2020)