Every week, we’re spotlighting a different food blogger who’s shaking up the web with tempting recipes and knockout photography. Today, we chat with Molly Yeh of My Name Is Yeh.
Someone just turned 25! All photos: My Name Is Yeh
If bloggers had titles, Molly Yeh’s would be “master of the mash-up.” She’s Chinese and Jewish. She left Brooklyn to live on a farm in North Dakota. She studied percussion at the Juilliard School for performing arts in New York City and wound up writing about food.
When you read her blog, you can tell this is a young woman who knows how to keep the beat. Yeh writes each of her posts in a very stream-of-consciousness way, with charming, sometimes goofy personal anecdotes, all in lowercase letters, like an E.E. Cummings of food blogging. The recipes you’ll find on her site, such as Asian pancake challah and Brussels sprout latkes, represent the cultural mix that is her life. For Yeh, culinary creativity is a must—finding Chinese and Jewish specialty food items in New York was easy, not so much in North Dakota.
Love is the reason Yeh left the big city for a small town. She moved there with her then-boyfriend, a fifth-generation farmer known to her readers as Eggboy because of all the eggs he used to consume. (The two met at music school.) They were engaged earlier this year and will be married in December. Eggboy follows a dairy-free and gluten-free diet, which is also a big influence on Yeh’s recipes.
Yeh on the farm.
Just last week, Yeh’s profile increased significantly when The New York Times featured her in a video about making lefse—the traditional Norwegian flatbread—with a little help from her fiance’s family. In the short film, she ‘fesses up to the time she made lefse with sweet potatoes instead of traditional regular potatoes. The experiment didn’t go so well, but this personable mixmaster remains undeterred.
Yeh with family and Sam Sifton of The New York Times (at right).
Here’s is a bit more about Yahoo Food’s Blogger of the Week:
Where are you from originally?
Glenview, Illinois. Right outside of Chicago.
How did you wind up going to Juilliard?
Music has always been a part of my life. My dad’s a clarinetist—he plays in the Chicago Symphony—so I grew up watching him perform, and when I was really young, I’d pull out all of my mom’s pots and pans and play little drum solos with the spoons and whisks. Becoming a percussionist just felt like the right thing to do. I love playing really big instruments—really, really loudly—in orchestras, rock bands, and operas. Juilliard was crazy. Sometimes I don’t really know how I came out of there in one piece, but I absolutely loved it.
What kind of music do you like to listen to in the kitchen?
If I’m cooking for guests, my default is jazz or oldies. Lately, I’ve been into My Brightest Diamond, Son Lux, Stars, Gabriel Kahane, Lorde, and Lucius when I’m recipe testing or cake decorating. And The National and Sufjan Stevens. But, of course, if I’m really lucky, Eggboy will be practicing his trombone in the next room.
What encouraged you to go from music to food?
I love both so much and I find that there’s such a delightful intersection between the two. Food people love music, and music people love it when you bring freshly baked brownies to rehearsal. I’ve always loved food, but I really got serious about it when I was at Juilliard and discovered New York’s restaurant scene. I’d sneak out of the practice room early to go try a new burger place or I’d take gigs in parts of the city that I hadn’t yet explored, just so I could try the food. I spent all of my work-study money on restaurants, but now I look back on that as important research.
Why “My Name Is Yeh” as the name?
I wanted something that wouldn’t dictate what the blog would be about. Sometimes I don’t trust myself to stick with just one thing, so like right now my blog is a food blog. But in the future, what if I get really into alpacas and need to shift the focus of my blog to alpacas? I can do that with My Name Is Yeh, but not so much with, say, Molly Likes Eating Food. Now, getting married and changing my last name, that’s another story…
Yeh with her fiancé, “Eggboy.”
You’re getting married in December. Congratulations!! Who’s doing the cooking for the reception?
Thank you!!!! I’m so glad you asked this question!!! Part of the food will come from our perfect little town bakery that makes the most amazing dumpling soup. And then the other part, made by my mom and me, will be a selection of pies made from recipes developed by some of my closest blogger friends. It just felt right to have a little part of them at my wedding. And then my sister is making the cake! Funfetti, of course.
What is your favorite thing to make, bake, or cook?
I love decorating cakes. Whenever I have one I need to make, I go bonkers thinking up all the ideas! I need to expand my skill set though. One day, I’m gonna go knock on Linda Lomelino and Lyndsay Sung’s doors and beg them for a cake decorating lesson.
Who is or was your biggest inspiration in the kitchen and why?
My mom! When I was growing up, she’d turn her nose up at things like store-bought Oreos or mac and cheese and say, “Oh don’t be silly, we can make those from scratch.” And we would! They’d be amazing. I grew up thinking that everyone’s mom baked and made home-cooked dinners every night, and baking and cooking was always seen as this wonderful fun thing to do.
Check back all this week for recipes from Yeh. On Friday, we’ll talk to her about a few of her favorite things. In the meantime, be sure to check out her blog.
Who’s your favorite food blogger? Tell us in the comments!