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Articles / Vive La Femme

Vive La Femme

Published June 21, 2022

Samantha Irby and Lindy West

“The ‘I boiled this in a pot on the stove and it’s sealed shut against germs’ is not convincing for me. I’m sure it’s real, but I have a mental block when I saw you make something two summers ago … I’m here to rep for the people who like things from the store.” — Samantha Irby

“A thing that is so brilliantly delicious to me is a pepperoni Totino’s pizza. There’s a crispy cracker with extra sweet ketchup. God, it’s so good. And the weird racist white thing — the anti-MSG cult — MSG is so good! Oh, you guys are too good to have MSG? Bummer for you, because it makes all your food better.” — Lindy West

On today’s episode of Food with Mark Bittman, we have two women with wonderfully distinctive voices: Samantha Irby and Lindy West. Both are known for their bountiful senses of humor, and both have used it, with much success, to bolster feminism, social justice, and body positivity. Both are also well known for their self-deprecating, intelligent essays and nonfiction, as well as TV writing — Sam was a writer on the Sex & the City follow-up, And Just Like That, and Lindy developed and wrote for the Hulu comedy Shrill, which was based on her book of the same name — and, in fact, Sam wrote for that show, too (if you’ve seen it, she wrote the famous pool episode). Sam and Lindy are close friends, and so Kate had the good idea to interview them together. It is, needless to say, one of our funnier episodes.

Please listen, subscribe, and review. And we’d love to hear your food-related questions, as we’d like to start doing live Q&A: Email us: food@markbittman.com. Plus! Sam’s recipe for Tuna Noodle Casserole is below.

Thank you, as always — and thank you to Sam and Lindy. — Mark

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Tuna Noodle Casserole

The thing about being black and growing up in the Midwest is that not only do you eat all the stereotypical black foods — your collards, your banana pudding, your cornbread, your catfish — but you also are well-versed in the various delicacies of flyover country — the goulashes, the hot dishes, the pasties, the brats — that no one expects you to know about, let alone eat. Neither of my parents was from the Midwest, but they moved early and assimilated quickly, raising my sisters and me on a steady diet of hash brown casserole, corn pudding, shepherd’s pie, and revolting layered salads.

I don’t know the actual origin of tuna casserole and I refuse to look it up, so I’m just gonna go ahead and assume it was conceived of by a tired mom named Nancy or Gwen who loved tuna and mushrooms and peas and was like, “Wait, should I throw these all together in a dish and serve it to my ungrateful family?” and thus the tastiest, most comforting dish ever conceived was born. Here is how I, a true Illinoisan, make mine. — Samantha Irby