#55: Jason Stewart (How Long Gone)
Jason Stewart (aka @themjeans) on Peanut Butter Filled Nuggets, Nigella Bites, his go-to knife, and more!
Cool people like cool things, which is why we asked cool person Jason Stewart to come on Perfectly Imperfect & spread the hot rec wealth.
Jason Stewart (aka @themjeans) used to be a professional DJ, but these days he’s the producer and co-host of How Long Gone, the wildly popular podcast where he & Chris Black talk about pop culture, fashion, music, food, and everything in between. As avid music lovers, he and Black shoot the shit about new music every Saturday on How Long Gone Radio, a Spotify show that covers everything from “Black Country, New Road” to Ariana Grande. Stewart is also a really great home cook who writes about food on his Substack, Let Me Get a Bite, check it out! Jason has killer taste and lucky for us, he’s here to talk about what he’s been into.
Without further ado
Nigella Bites was a British show hosted by home cook turned star, Nigella Lawson, in the early 2000s. It was very Sex and The City meets effortless chic ambient television and 20 years ago I wondered why I had such a crush on this woman. Watching it now, the recipes are a bit outdated and she uses this giant two-handed Medieval weapon to chop her parsley which didn’t age well, but the overall message she’s attempting to convey does. I yearn for a time in the food world where we weren’t all so concerned with finding the next new thing to post about and could just enjoy the simplicity of things. One time I was at the now-shuttered LA restaurant “Trois Mec” and I spotted Nigella having dinner with Anthony Bourdain. It made me wonder if they were always meant for each other, or just two old dogs from a bygone era trying to make sense of the new and confusing world of food. Plus, the handmade artwork is cute. The last era of television where people could kind of do what they wanted to do, hire their friends to help out, and not have data analytics drive the narrative.
Chris (from my podcast) and I went on a road trip through the south a couple of months ago and his partner Alix happens to be gluten-free. We stopped at some janky ass Whole Foods in hopes of getting some super-spreader salad bar action that I’d been so desperately missing in California. Unfortunately, their selection was shit and everyone ordered sushi for some reason, but someone had the smarts to grab a bag of these for the road. Every one of us in the car could not stop crunching, I became ravenous, hoarding the nuggets. All GF foods have a different crunch to them, sometimes for the better, usually not, but these have a severe crunch, as Chris told Phoebe Bridgers on a recent episode of our pod. After researching them, they’re made with super sustainable sorghum as the base, which is common in the south, it kinda looks like a smaller popcorn kernel, and pops up just the same. If you go to a fancy restaurant in the Carolinas that hasn’t changed in a decade, you might find pops of sorghum on the plate next to some piece of fish or something.
I have a lot of cookbooks but I never cook out of them, people give them to me because they think I will like them. I have never even attempted a recipe out of this book but I love it a lot. Brooks is the chef behind NY fav veggie spot Superiority Burger, and he cut his teeth for years as one of the cities great pastry chefs. I love this book because it’s extremely readable. In between insane Michelin-level recipes, he’ll have stories about his band Born Against (a band I enjoyed in high school!) touring across the world, or just Brooks letting one of his employees share a recipe for biscuits instead of making it all about him. It’s not taking a cookbook deal as the opportunity to change his life and become the next Ottolenghi, he basically made a hardcover zine about his story and how he got to where he is. If you have someone in your life who grew up around punk music and is now old, get them this book. They’ll form a bond with it, even if they don’t know what a Kouign-Amann is. Also, the photography and graphic design are refreshingly honest.
People ask me about kitchen equipment all the time, but most often it’s about a knife. People get excited about a crazy handmade Japanese blade or think they need some gnarly-ass knife to be a real chef, but unless you’re slicing sushi on a daily basis, you really don’t. I got this blade as a gift from my friend Andre, and it never left my drawer. There’s good clearance between the handle and the blade so people with larger hands or fat fingers will have room to chop, the tip is rounded so when you’re slicing an avocado while it’s still in it’s skin, you won’t cut your hand open, spilling blood on your eggs, and there even a hole punched in the tip if you’re the kind of person who likes hanging things on the wall. Whenever I bring my knives in to get sharpened, this Mac blade is the only one that the sharpener man feels compelled to compliment, a knifeman’s knife if you will. Also, at a hundred bucks, it’s perfect for your daily driver knife, you won’t feel the need to baby it like some hand-pounded tech bro carbon steel with a dragon engraved in the handle.
Bibio has been making chill electronic music for a long time. I actually don’t really like any of it for the most part, but he released this record of ambient music a few years ago and it’s really stuck with me. Some of the songs are over 15 minutes long and are extremely calming and cinematic. Whenever I’m spun out and just need to put something on, this always does the trick. It’s straightforward ambient music that you could find from any old Eno on the shelf, but Bib’s blend of piano, pads, and strings just really put me at ease. I also always loved the juxtaposition of the artwork and title for such a calm and beautiful record. The title in all caps, the word “brickworks,” I don’t know what any of this shit means but I like it.
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