#121: Carla Lalli Music

Carla Lalli Music drops in to tell us about Toiro Rice Donabes, Competitive Butchery, Handwritten Snail Mail, and more.

Cool people like cool things, which is why we asked cool person Carla Lalli Music to come on Perfectly Imperfect & redistribute her good taste.

Carla Lalli Music is a Brooklyn-based bestselling cookbook author and video host that you may know from her James Beard Award winning book Where Cooking Begins or her food director role at Bon Appétit where she anchored the series “Back to Back Chef” and appeared in many BA test kitchen videos. These days she’s making videos from her home for YouTube and Patreon, and her new book, That Sounds So Good, just came out last week. Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for her upcoming podcast with her good friend, Rick Martinez. Carla has great taste and lucky for us, she’s here to tell us what she’s been into.

Without further ado

Carla Lalli Music (instagram, youtube)

🦴 Competitive Butchery

I watch a lot of random stuff on YouTube—crunchy gori gori foot reflexology, makeup tutorials (preferably featuring drag queens), noisy chiropractic adjustments—oh and the occasional food video, too. Recently The YouTube algorithm goddesses decided I would like to watch a competition-elimination show about butchery, and they were right! This extremely niche show on the History channel is shockingly entertaining? If you like watching animals being disassembled, that is! 

💋 Face First

Speaking of makeup, I’ve gotten better at doing my own stage paint (lol) while shooting videos at home over the last 18 months. My current product obsession is Ami Colé’s Skin Enhancing Tint. This line is designed for black and brown women with melanin-rich skin, and clearly I’m caucasian. However! The lightest shade is an almost-perfect match for my complexion and thank g-d, because the formula is incredible. I feel like I’m wearing nothing but people keep asking what I’m doing for my skin and it’s super hydrating and dewy??? Come ON!

💌 Snail Mail

After approximately one thousand years of rolling my eyes at my parents for telling me to write hand-written notes … I am currently super into writing hand-written notes. Short cute ones! No biggie! Write a postcard—people love the stuff! I am also a sucker for a good stamp from the USPS. I know, the nerd levels are peaking right now. But look at these espresso stamps!! They’re so freaking cute!!

🌶 Hot Stuff

There are a lot of chili crisp brands out there, and on the English-speaking internet, there’s a high obsession rate with Lao Gan Ma brand. Well, this video from Chinese Cooking Demystified includes a taste test for all 18 products in the brand’s line. I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say we might be fixated on the wrong product! Watch, like, subscribe—and then fiendishly scour the internet to find a jar of the stuff they recommend. This channel is a true gift. 

🤓 Real Books

I have always read in bed before lights out, until having a phone ruined all that. Ever since my phone became my alarm clock (several years ago), things have gone steadily downhill. But! I’m trying, and the last few months have reminded me why I love finishing my waking hours tucked in with a book. Recent highlights: The Yellow House, The Vanishing Half, Crying in H Mart, Animal, Three Women, and My Year of Rest and Relaxation.

🍚 Rice Life

After making rice literally every night for six months straight starting in (yep) March 2020, I finally invested in a beautiful rice donabe from Toiro. Donabes are Japanese clay pots that have been used to make soups, stews, rice, and other dishes for many hundreds of years. They’re heavy, simple, beautiful, and designed to hold heat and cook foods gently. I can’t say I’m as good at cooking rice in my donabe as I am in the 2-quart saucepan I used to use, but cooking well is all about repetition. I’m going to keep at it!


Follow Carla on Instagram.

Subscribe to her Youtube and Patreon.

Check out her latest book.


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