Ep. 272 We Love a Cold Email with Stacey Mei Yan Fong – Transcript

Today we speak with Stacey Mei Yan Fong, creator of the project which spawned her new book 50 Pies, 50 States: An Immigrant’s Love Letter to the United States Through Pie. We discuss how Stacey’s thinking about America changed while creating this road trip of a cookbook, and we hear how she navigated the darker parts of America while celebrating the country. She also gives us her best baking tips, and we fight over a pie not included in the book.

The Stacks Book Club selection for June is Oreo by Fran Ross. We will discuss the book on June 28th with Hannah Oliver Depp


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Traci Thomas 0:08
Welcome to the Stacks, a podcast about books and the people who read them. I’m your host Traci Thomas and today we are joined by Stacey Mei Yan Fong. She’s the author of 50 Pies 50 States: an immigrant’s love letter to the United States through pie, which started as a project to develop a pie recipe for each state in the nation as a way to better understand America as she applied for her green card. Stacy talks with me today about how this project came to be how she navigates celebrating America in a time where there is much to critique and she gives her best baking tips for all of you aspiring pie makers out there, including myself. Remember, our June book club pick is Oreo by Fran Ross and we will be discussing the book on Wednesday June 28th with Hannah Oliver Depp. Everything we talked about on each episode of the stacks can be found in the link in the show notes. And if you cannot get enough of the stacks, I have a whole bunch more for you if you join the stacks pack, which is our community on Patreon. It’s just $5 a month, you get bonus episodes, our virtual book club access to our very active discord where we talk about all sorts of things book related set up our own buddy reads give our power rankings of our favorite snacks and a lot more. Trust me the stacks pack is having a good time. If that sounds like you, or if you’re just like, I want to throw a little money behind my favorite independent book podcast. Head to patreon.com/the stacks and join the stacks pack. Special shout out to our newest members. Nicole torto riello Lupita Reeves, mira, nonde, Brianna, Kayla Calvin and Kristen Smith. Thank you all so much. And thank you to the entire stacks pack. And now it is time for my conversation with Stacey Mei Yan Fong.

All right, everybody. I am so excited. I don’t think we have done a cookbook on this show in years. But I read this book. And I was like, This is so much fun. We absolutely have to do this book on the show. So I am joined today by Stacey Mei Yan Fong who is the author of 50 Pies 50 states. Stacey, welcome to the stacks.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 2:17
Hi, Tracy. I’m very excited to be here.

Traci Thomas 2:19
I’m so excited to be here. So for people who don’t know you and don’t know the book, can you in about 30 seconds or so tell us about 50 Pies 50 states?

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 2:28
Sure. So, I started this project about seven years ago where I decided I was going to bake a pie for every state in America when I was applying for my permanent residency here are my green card. And I would give the pie to someone that I knew from that state. I’m a person that’s obsessed with like Nora Ephron, Nancy Meyers movies, so it was my big grand gesture to the country that I chosen to call home.

Traci Thomas 2:51
That’s so funny. So from the beginning, you knew you were gonna give the pie to someone?

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 2:56
Yeah. Like the pie was a fun part, like a fun receptacle to like, learn about this country. Because, you know, I feel like oftentimes, like when you travel overseas to like when you go to like Portugal or like Italy, you’re like, oh my gosh, like I have to learn all about the food there. I feel like people don’t do that very often in their own hometowns or like in their in their own country. And so I thought it’d be really cool to like, figure out and talk to someone that I knew from that state and be like, hey, like, is there something that you ate while you were growing up in West Virginia? That was like, really cool. And like, can you tell me about it? And could I turn that into pie somehow. And it also like, was able like, a way for like people to look at their state in a different way? Because you get jaded, right? Like, you’re like I was born there. This is my hometown. Like, it makes you see it like for how special it is all over again, which is kind of magic.

Traci Thomas 3:52
So okay, so then this changes everything to me. I just assumed that like giving it to someone was just like for the book kind of thing, you know, but so when you set out to do this project, did you have an idea that it would be a book?

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 4:07
I mean, no. Like, I mean, it’s always like, it’s, that was like the pipe dream, right? Like, oh, like a cookbook would be cool. But I really just did. This is like a thing for me to do. I’m a card carrying Virgo. I love to project. I love being organized. And I thought it’d be really nice to have a fun thing that would allow me to remember like, why I was going through the visa process. Like the visa process is really long. It’s very arduous. There’s a lot of questions. There’s a lot of paperwork, it’s very expensive. And like, after all, you’re like why am I doing this? And I’m, and I’m doing this because I’ve made a home for myself here like the people I’ve met and now the like 17 years that I’ve lived here, like they are my family and this is my home and like it just like tethers you to a place and it kind of like change the perspective And what I felt like home was like, everybody’s like Home is a place right like home. But it’s not like for me home is whoever I surround myself with.

Traci Thomas 5:08
It’s like that song home is wherever I’m with you exactly, exactly. What’s so interesting, because I feel like, you know, I’m a born American born, born and raised Californian. And I don’t know, you feel like you’ve to make the distinction, right? Like you and you made a choice to live here. You were born in Hong Kong lived in Singapore, then? Well, you were somewhere in between for like a teeny tiny bit. I can’t.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 5:35
I was born in Singapore, aboard Singapore. Yeah, I was born in Singapore. And I lived in Indonesia. And I mostly grew up in Hong Kong. So I was in Hong Kong from when I was five to 18. Before I decided to make the very big transition to go to college in Savannah, Georgia. And yeah, and so you, I never really understood the idea of home as like the place that you kept going back to like, I would watch all these American movies. And then when I started making friends here, like they could go back to the same bedroom that they had, like growing up. And that’s just a concept that’s so foreign to me. And to be honest, I was just really jealous. Like, you know, I was like really jealous that like, I couldn’t just like, leave all my stuff in one place. Like my son was like, in various storage units as like, my dad moved around, or like, some of my stuff were with me. And like now, all of the possessions that I own are in my Brooklyn apartment, right? And like, my Brooklyn apartment is the longest apartment I’ve ever lived in, for like one stretch period of time in my entire life, which is like kind of crazy, right? And like, yeah, it’s just like finding things that like tether you to a place it’s not really the place itself. It’s your own body is your home and the people you surround yourself with.

Traci Thomas 6:49
Okay, so I’m gonna ask you something else about America that you briefly touch on in the book, but I have a sense is not totally your full experience, which is America kind of fucking sucks right now. So what was it like for you to write a book that sort of like America is so great, and pies are so fun, and like food is lovely. Knowing that, like, it’s gonna have an American flag on the cover, and like, knowing that it signals something that you sort of, you know, you call America a bad boyfriend. And I think like, other people might use the word like, abusive boyfriend, right? No, like, like, you were very kind. Because obviously, it’s a cookbook. So there’s, you know, there’s some stuff but like, how is it for you writing a book that sort of like, America is so great, and I love it here, knowing that there’s like book banning going on. And like, all of that, and like trans youth are not allowed to do things or be human. And, you know, voting rights are under attack, and all of these things, and like anti Asian violence is on the rise because of former presidents, like how did you negotiate that while you’re trying to be like, America’s great too.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 7:51
So it was extremely difficult. Like, it was truly, very, very hard in the past two years while I was working on the book, and like, to just be like, truly, why am I here? You know what I mean? If if, if the country that I love so much doesn’t want me here, or the people that are in office, don’t want me here, like, Why should I be here? But the thing is, you know, we focus a lot now on like, all the terrible things, which, and that’s totally because of the media, right? Like, I feel like when I was growing up, you saw like terrible things. On the morning news, the evening news. And then like, sometimes in a newspaper, like if your parents had it like out on the table right now, now we’re being constantly bombarded by like your New York Times, notifications and your Washington post notifications. It’s all over Instagram. And like, for example, like, with all the API violence, I didn’t want to see like people were reposting, like the videos and stuff, which I was like, I don’t want to see this. I don’t want to see someone that looks like my grandma being beaten right now right now like and, but the thing is, with all this terrible stuff that happens here in this country, there’s also you see the rise for people wanting to make change. And I feel like that so it gives me hope and like, that’s what tethers me here, I’d like the action that my friends do have, that do have the ability to vote, like how they’re using, like their power in this country to like, try and make change happen. And it’s like, people like me that are talking about how like, the country does have potential, the country can be good. Like, there are people here that like want this place to be a better place and like, what’s life without a little bit of hope?

Traci Thomas 9:32
You know, right now I feel that I feel that did it change? Did your feelings about America or like writing an ode to America change during the process like were you did you see America differently than maybe you had when you set out to start making these pies? Or Americans?

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 9:54
I feel like yes and no, I feel like a little bit where I was like, I have this like very idealistic idea. Right, like from watching movies and coming here on vacation and like listening to country music, like I had a very like, I, you know, put it on a pedestal, right. But the thing is I wrote this book, I wrote this book for the people that are in this book, I wrote this book for my friends, I wrote this book for people that I’ve met along the way in small towns that have like, made me feel very special, like, I moved from Hong Kong to Savannah, Georgia, which is a very, very big move to say the least. Just to small towns coming together. Yeah, exactly. And like, you know, I felt like Savannah, like, welcomed me with open arms, and I got to meet so many different people that I might not have gotten to meet if I just decided to stay in my bubble. And yeah, I feel like at the end of the day, I still love America. And I still love, but mostly it’s for its people. You know, it’s not about the politics. And it’s not about all the terrible things I see. It’s like, how the people have proved to me time and time again, like that. I want to be here and I want to see the change happen in this country, and I want to be witness to it.

Traci Thomas 11:09
I really appreciate it the book because I am a proud and vocal America hater or critic, maybe it’s a nicer way of saying it. I talk a lot about America, because of the show. I talk a lot about systems in America and how fucked up things are. But I have to say, I sat down started reading your book on Saturday or Sunday. I read it all basically in one sitting. And I was like, This is so lovely. It’s so nice that someone likes America, because it’s like, it was like sort of a reminder for me of like, yeah, there’s like delicious food. And like, there’s pretty places where you could I mean, we’re you could sit and drink a beer, I’m more of a cocktail cow. But if you want to have your Miller lights or whatever, do you have name, whatever. Like, it was nice for me to be like, there’s like, you know, obviously, in all of these places, there’s horrible things going on. But like, I don’t know, the thought of pi, like an eating apple muffins. streusel pie in New York City. Like that sounded nice, you know. So I do appreciate that as a reader of like, it was sort of fun to just like, read this book and be like, I like it here too. I’m being mean.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 12:20
But I think the thing is that, like, the reason why you’re so passionate about it, it’s because you care, right? Like, if you didn’t care, then you would be complacent, like James Baldwin quote, exactly, exactly. And it’s like, I care as much as well. And it’s also just like, for me, I need a little bit of levity, or else I literally will just like Doom spiral into my own little, like, rabbit hole. And so it’s like, yeah, it it’s, it’s not that I’m blind to anything that’s happening. It’s just a fresh and another perspective to just like, give yourself a little lightness sometimes, because everything seems so heavy all the time, though.

Traci Thomas 13:00
And like, how are you going to write it in a cookbook? About pie? Like, yes, I mean, it would have been a whole other thing. Yeah. So you talked a little bit about your audience, like the people, your friends and people that you know, but I’m wondering like, was there? Is there a bigger audience for you like, Who do you imagine picking up this book? Who are you thinking about? Maybe people that you don’t know, picking up this book? What who were they? What did they feel like to you?

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 13:24
I mean, for me, the response that I’ve gotten from people that I’ve never met has been really, it like, makes me really emotional. Like, you know, like, I think it’s like, it’s so nice, where it’s like they like I hope that they meet my friends in this book, like, I hope that they meet like my friend Adam from Alabama. He was one of my first friends in college. He’s still one of my best friends today. And I hope that someone reads the book. And they’re like, oh, my gosh, I haven’t asked him to, but her name is Jessica, or, you know, like, their name is John, like, you know, and it’s like, that’s the wonderful thing about connection is everybody will make it in some way. Whether it’s like through food, or through like one silly thing that I did with a friend that you also might have done. Like, one of the greatest connections that I made, I felt like when I was writing the prop, the book was for West Virginia. My friend Jeffrey, he would tell me all about pepperoni rules that he would eat like after school from like gas stations and stuff. And for me growing up in Hong Kong, I would eat a similar thing, but it was like milk bread with like a hot dog in it. And it’s like we grew up on like two different sides of the world and met in Savannah, Georgia. And now both live in New York together and both like kind of ate like similar ish things where like Hayes was like, Italian immigrants coming to West Virginia and making this thing and for me, it was like, Chinese people trying to interpret like Western cuisine and like a fun way you know, and it’s like, the world is so connected in these like, tiny points of interest that I just like, I love I love fighting the dots. I love making that you know that crazy Read yard wall.

Traci Thomas 15:01
Yeah, I mean, I love I love the recipes, because there’s like so many really creative ones. I have a question about audience though. How did you imagine them as far as their skills in the baking department? How important was that part to you? Like? Because, you know, it’s it’s memoir, and it’s cookbook cookbook, and then it’s like trivia a little bit. Yeah, because I should have told me about this. So each state has a recipe for a pie. And it has some facts about the state. And it has like a little essay about the pie that you’re going to be making. So it’s like, the cover, like, there’s like a picture for the state with like, some facts about their not their state food, then it’s like details about the state, then it’s like, this pie you’re gonna make is gonna be like this, because of this reason. And then there’s like, an actual recipe. And then the next page is the friend that you gave it to and a little bit about them. So how much like, maybe this is a conversation with your publisher? Like, how do you decide what kind of Baker your reader is supposed to be? Because there are some cookbooks that I have where it is like, you need to have 7000 tools to make a latticework like, woven with floss, pie crust. And then there’s some books where it’s like, dump it in the pot, and then just like put it directly in the oven, and then just lick the oven. Like, I was wondering how you were navigating that part.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 16:28
I feel like the difficulty of pies vary state by state. And like, in the section like there’s a whole section, it’ll teach you how to make crust. Yes, but I am not a person that’s against the storebought crust. Like for if, if you get so stressed out about making your crust perfect that it’s going to ruin your baking or your cooking experience, just by the crust. Yes, Pillsbury makes an incredible pie for us. It’s delicious. You know, there’s gluten free options that are cross there’s like, just buy it. Like if I feel like, people get really bogged down now about making sure that it looks really pretty or that like, they have to make every single part like you don’t. Sandra Lee made a whole career out of making things. And like, I feel like if you want to focus on just the fillings and the toppings, like do that by the crust. And yeah, there are some that are easier. Like Alabama is like a Blackberry peach pie with a pecan crumble. Or there’s some that are like really kind of crazy, like the Nevada pie. Basically made like it all you can eat buffet, and the recipe is like seven pages long.

Traci Thomas 17:36
But I looked at Nevada, and I was like, Don’t be me. I was like, There’s no way. But I mean, it’s gorgeous.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 17:42
That was that was a very like, that was the most like Virgo-y pie that I’ve ever seen.

Traci Thomas 17:49
The show stopper that you put in the cookbook, but you know, like seven people will ever make it. Yeah.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 17:55
And I cannot wait for someone to do it. And like get in the mindset of how crazy I was when I was making that pie. But yeah, like difficulty wise, I feel like it varies like you can compare state by state, but I honestly encourage you to buy a pie crust if you don’t feel like confident and making your own. But you know, if you want to give it a shot, do it like no one’s gonna stop you. And at the end of the day, even if it’s bad pie, it’s still pie. You can warm it up and put ice cream on it and everything will be fine.

Traci Thomas 18:26
Everything will be fine. I love that. I love that. You said that in the book. I was like this is I mean, I love baking. I am not a Virgo, but I am an extreme rule follower type person. So for me, baking has always been like, I love it here. Like one of my challenges in life is cooking, because I like to cook but I have to be like, you can add more salt, boo, like, do you-

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 18:49
Two tablespoons? Yeah.

Traci Thomas 18:51
I read salt, fat acid heat, which helps me that was the last cookbook we did on the show, which was amazing. And it was really fun. And I was like, okay, I can decide that I don’t want this ingredient. And I can just like change it or like this isn’t have enough salt, I can just change it. But I used to be like, let me get my teaspoon, like 1/8 teaspoon. Exactly. So baking, for me is a real joy because I know that I have to follow the rules.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 19:18
And so I feel like with baking, what’s so wonderful about it is that you have to be in it. You know what I mean? Once you start the process, you’re in it, you can’t leave it. And I feel like with everything that we’re bombarded with all day, it’s really nice to just like shut all that noise out and just like invest your time into something that’s going to make you something that’s like nourishing and wonderful that you can like, either share or eat it all on your own in your soft clothes while you watch TV. But like yeah, like you’re just like in it and I feel like there are very little things in life now that you can just like fully engross yourself in and like baking is one of those things. It’s like yeah, it’s just the best

Traci Thomas 20:00
I love that. Okay, let’s talk about these pie recipes. How did you come up with each recipe? Because some of them tradition, apple strudel. Kind of k pi. Easy, Deep Dish pumpkin. Pretty standard. Then there’s like fucking beef stew with cheese curds or whatever the fuck on top and there’s a bin yay, cat pie with a bin yay, situation. So like, what was your process of like, figuring out what each state’s pie would actually be? And then off the follow up after Go ahead. Okay.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 20:46
So I feel like what I really liked or like, what I was what I set out, I knew I wanted a good balance between sweet and savory pies, okay, because I was born in Singapore, which was a British colony, and I grew up in Hong Kong, which was also a British colony. So for me pie was more of a savory thing than it was a sweet thing. Yeah, like it was like meat pies, fish pies, shepherd’s pie, steak and kidney pie. Like that kind of deal. Steak and Ale kidney. Yeah. And then so like, when I moved over here, I was like, Oh, my God, like there is like apple pies and custard pies and icebox pies, and so many different kinds that I was like, okay, cool, like I can like do a varied situation. And so if the state had like, state foods or fruits are like a very distinctive regional cuisine, I already had like a jumping off point. Or if the person that I was giving the state to had a very, like, strong food memory, like I had another thing to tie it to. And the thing is, I’m not saying that this is the be all end all state pie for Connecticut, or Delaware. This is like my interpretation of like my experience with that state. So when I was doing the project, each state took me like two weeks to a month to kind of like really figure it out, because I wanted to, like, do the research and take my time. And I started the project by writing all the 50 states out all of their state foods, fruits, or regional cuisine if they had them. And I only ever looked at my life three pies at a time, so that I could like fully focus. And yeah, it was a lot of trial and error. I would make like many versions of the pies for myself, but like I wanted it to be. Yeah, my interpretation and just like something that’s like, very, like exciting, where you’re like, oh, my gosh, I would have never thought about that. Or some of it. You’re like, yeah, that’s definitely it like Kentucky, it had to be a derby pie, right. But like for New Mexico, like anybody that I knew that like had gone to college there or had grown up there, all they ever talked about was green chili. So I was like, it had to be a green chili pie in some form.

Traci Thomas 22:54
Did you so you work three pies at a time where they work? Did you work alphabetical? Or did you work like, because the book is alphabetical? Or did you work like ingredient wise?

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 23:04
I worked alphabetically because that made the most sense to me. People have asked me, Why didn’t you do it? In the order the States entered the union? And I was like, can the average American person list the states as they entered in the union? You know, it just seemed so confusing to me that alphabetically just made the most sense. Like I could be like, I’m done with the eight states and then I’m done with the C state

Traci Thomas 23:29
Right. I also had the enter the Union thought only because you put it in the book, but I would have never thought that but you because in each state you like explained when it entered the union. I was like, Yeah, I could have done it this way, too. Yeah. But I wouldn’t have been able to find anything after the fact. No, I would have been like, I actually don’t know the first state that entered the union. I think it’s like Delaware. Yeah, I only know that because I just read the book two days ago. But literally, I’m like, this would be a fun way to do it for someone because then I had the exact immediate follow up thought which was how would I find a single pie?

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 24:05
Exactly. I felt like alphabetically made the most sense to me. And it was also fun to just learn that song that everybody learned in school

Traci Thomas 24:15
I didn’t learn it Yeah, the like the state that state song or whatever. Yeah, I don’t know that so graduations your friends went to a better school than me. I don’t know the states I can do the states in order west to east like visual. I have to visualize yeah, like I can’t like I can’t do it fast. I but I could get I’d get fucked up in New England, but I think I could get there.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 24:40
Because they all like especially when you get to the northeast. It’s all just like sugar on top.

Traci Thomas 24:45
And then there’s like a state like, I mean, I’m remembering it right now. Now, but I’m always forgetting New Hampshire. I’m always forgetting. And Vermont, probably gonna forget that too. might remember but most likely Vermont and New Hampshire gonna forget one of those when I get to the end and Like I did 49 Did you ever have a recipe idea where you were like, okay, for New York, I’m gonna do X, Y, and Z. And then you go out to New York and you’re like, Nope, not gonna do it or whatever, North Dakota, like, was there ever a time where you were you had a plan, and it just was a failure? And you switch it up? Yes.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 25:19
So there were a couple pies where when I first did the project, I was like, I could have done better. I mean, I’m a person that I always feel like I can do better. Like I looked at the finished book, and I was really happy. But I was like, Huh, what if I did this instead? And then I was like, Stacey, you need to stop.

Traci Thomas 25:35
Virgos growth.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 25:37
But um, for like, Alaska, when I first did the project, I did a baked Alaska, because like, that was something that I thought would be really cool. But then when I really thought about it, I was like, No, I should do something that really highlights like the state itself. And the things that Alaska gives us, like, amazing sockeye salmon and halibut, and like, How can I interpret that in a certain way and I made the pie similar to like a fish pie I ate growing up, like in like British pubs and stuff. So I was like, Ooh, like, that’s another way I can like tie into things. So the book gave me an opportunity to kind of revisit each state and see if I did the right thing, or I did the best that I could.

Traci Thomas 26:18
Do you have a favorite pie and a least favorite pie in your book?

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 26:24
I feel like, I can’t pick a favorite. Like that would be there much. But I feel I feel like the one that probably means the most to me is New York. Okay. It’s the place that I live. Now. It’s I’ve lived here for let’s see, I moved here in 2010. So 13 years, and I’ve always wanted to live here I have a letter that I wrote to myself when I was 15. Where I was like, you’re gonna move to New York and you’re gonna go to Parsons, and you’re gonna buy a camo pea coat and you’re gonna live in a loft apartment where the doors at the elevator like open into your apartment, right? Chic.

Traci Thomas 27:04
Cheap to super cheap, super, super, super affordable.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 27:07
And you know, I’ve made some of those things happen and by some of those things, I mean, one thing I live in New York, do you not have a camel coat? I don’t have a camel coat haven’t found the perfect one yet.

Traci Thomas 27:18
Oh my goodness, I know.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 27:19
And I feel like that one just held so much weight because it’s the place I live it’s where most of my friends are even friends that I went to college with like a lot of us moved up here together and just place it so special. Like I spent my adulthood here and like growing up here and like how can I capture all these feelings in like one pie and so I decided to do an apple pie with an intimate coffee cake crumble because elements I feel like people take for granted because you see it in like gas stations and I

Traci Thomas 27:55
I love Entemann’s so much.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 27:57
Same. like you see at a gas stations and supermarkets. But like one of the first times I came to New York, it was with my dad during a business trip. And we were like at one of his friend’s house and they had like a coffee cake and intimates coffee cake like on the table and those two like scent and taste memories were like I was like oh like this is what people do here on a Sunday. Like that’s so nice. And when I was like researching about it I found out that like entrance was like one of the first food delivery systems in the city that would get like all the baked goods like all over New York State like everybody’s homes and that’s what like everybody had on their table on a Sunday or like they had it for like the rest of the week to like pick on and like that’s so special. And it’s like how can I do this and I made a bunch of mini pies and threw like a big party for all of my friends here in the city. And like brought them to all my favorite businesses like my tattoo shop my favorite provision store like my yoga studio like they all got to eat some of the pie because like these are all things that make like my state New York my home that I lived in New York for eight years.

Traci Thomas 29:04
And it that is the pie that I am going to make first love because that is the pilot sounds the most like me, though, Stacy, I have to fight you. Sure. Let’s go there is no sweet potato pie in this cookbook. And as a person who hates pumpkin pie, which it sounds like you do not like pumpkin pie I do not like pumpkin pie there are two pumpkin pies. I know one of those pies could have been a sweet potato. Yes.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 29:33
Which one?

Traci Thomas 29:34
I don’t care. I don’t know just shuffling around. Just be like they celebrate Halloween here. Oh no, that’s pumpkin. Just be like this place is sweet. Here’s the sweet potatoes Hi.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 29:44
Oh leads all roads.

Traci Thomas 29:46
I can’t remember which two were pumpkin ones a deep dish pumpkin and then the

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 29:50
Illinois and New Hampshire.

Traci Thomas 29:52
Ok, well maybe South Carolina or something. Yeah. I just in the next edition in like this in the like another 50 pies for the same 50 states, we need like 17 Sweet potato pies, or at least one because that is my favorite pie. And anyone who celebrate Thanksgiving in this country knows that if there’s a pumpkin pie and a sweet potato pie on the table, you should not touch the pumpkin pie because it tastes like nothing. And the sweet potato pie will give you delicious life and joy. So that is my big complaint with your book. Pretty much my only one all the other pies like sounds good. Or some of them sound gross to me because I’m such a picky eater, but they look beautiful. I’m not a savory pie person. But there were a few savory pies that I was like, I would try that like the mashed potato pie. I was interested in. And then the New Mexico one.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 30:44
I was really interested in green chili pork stew with a blue corn crust.

Traci Thomas 30:48
Yeah. And then the crab pie for Maryland. With the Old Bay crab dip.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 30:54
It was a crafted pie with a hot old baked crust.

Traci Thomas 30:57
Yeah, that looks good. But yes, the sweet potato pie. And when I got to the end of the book, and I closed it, I was like, I’ll have to fight her on the pod.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 31:06
You have to write it in. Yeah, write it in the margins. And like if we ever meet in person, I will write that wrong for you.

Traci Thomas 31:11
Well, why don’t you just write me Traci’s sweet potato pie recipe? I’ll let everybody know that the book is fixed. And I’ll just send anyone like a content addendum. Yeah, you preorder a book from your local indie you can get Tracy I mean, it’s not bad. It’s not it’s not a bad complaint. But My only real complaint is that you didn’t know I personally, seriously non-tobacco. Worse, but we do.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 31:39
I like wanted. I want to hear all the complaints. Like I want to know like, did I get your state right? Or did you think I did it wrong? Like I love to like, start the conversation. You know what I mean? Because you’re like, oh, like, if you see Pennsylvania is this way. Like, how come? I know what I mean? Like I want to know, right? I’m a Californian.

Traci Thomas 31:59
And so I felt like you could have done a million things with California. California was that was really tough. And you did an artichoke pie. And I you know, I was thinking as I was reading through California’s pretty early so I didn’t have a full sense of like, what the range was going to be for the book, but I was like, Okay, maybe she’s gonna do something with avocado. Maybe she’s going to do something with like, oranges. We have like a lot of orange like like, I’m like a cold pie. And then I thought maybe she’d do something with gold because Gold Rush state but I didn’t have a strong sense. Also, California has like a lot of almonds. I think Yeah, so like, I was like, I don’t know. And then it’s also California. So you could have done like, something more like esoteric about curl foreign. Yeah. So I but I’m also excited to try that one because it’s my say pie and because I do love art Chuck because I’m California. Yeah,

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 32:49
I absolutely love artichokes. Like, if there’s an artichoke on the menu, like I’m, I’m gonna order it and like hot avocado kind of weirded me out. Like I was like, ah, like, I don’t know. So I did. Like an artichoke like a savory artichoke pie and, and herbs crust with like a savory almond crumble on top and a red wine reduction to kind of cut how creamy like the filling is. And like that was like kind of my Ode to like, Northern California and like, Napa, the Napa vibes, because like, my friends used to live in San Francisco, and I would go out there a lot and like, my dad took me out there and I was just like, This is so nice. The Parent Trap.

Traci Thomas 33:29
Let me ask you this. What is your best piece of pie making advice for the world?

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 33:37
I feel like my best advice is just chill. Like, just just chill. Not only in the sense where like, just take your time and like no one’s rushing you like you’re the one that’s baking, but also to use your fridge. Your failures. Oh, Joe, you don’t like your fridge is your friend. Like I feel like people will start working with their dough. And then they’re like, oh my gosh, it’s getting so soft. Like what am I supposed to do? Just put it in the fridge for a little while and just like leave it and then like start again. Or and like freeze your pie before it goes in the oven and your crimps will hold better and the butter won’t just come all like rushing out. You know? Just chill like that. And also, at the end of the day you have pie like if it’s warm if it’s cold, put ice cream on it a little whipped cream. Everything’s fixed. Everything is fine.

Traci Thomas 34:23
Oh, you know the other pie want to make the like espresso like chocolate coffee pie with the cream. The creamy on top.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 34:30
Oh, the coffee milk stout pies for Rhode Island.

Traci Thomas 34:34
Rhode Island. Yes, yes. I don’t remember all the names, but I remember the pictures that I wanted to make it. What do you think is the most common mistake people make when they’re making pies?

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 34:46
That their butter isn’t cold enough. Got it? Yeah, like it’s that is the thing that’s like very like everything should be cold like the butter should be cold. The liquid that you’re using to hydrate your crust should be cold. Um, and I have to work pretty fast because I have very warm hands. So flowers Oh, so your friend when you’re like rolling your dough out, or like crimping the edges of your pie, like flour up your fingers if you need to, like I have, like, always have a little bowl of flour that I’ve been dipping my fingers into, just because like my hands are so warm. But yeah, it’s it’s honestly just like enjoy the process, like the process of baking pie or cake or anything like it’s, it’s really wonderful, you know, because it’s like, at the end of the day, you feel like a chem, a chemist, you know, like you’re putting all these things together and then you put it in this thing and then boom, like you have like a special treat.

Traci Thomas 35:39
I love I had a girlfriend who I worked with for a while who was previously a professional like Baker, and I once made a cake that was like all I got all fucked up. It was like the middle of summer I didn’t have air conditioning, it was just all fucked up. And she was like, just put it in the freezer. I was like what, just put it in the freezer, I’ll be fine. I was like, yeah. And ever since then, I was like, I can do this. Like no one ever tells you that when you learn how to bake from the Toll House cookie bag, you know, like it’s like never like Oh, put this in the fridge for two hours and let it chill out. And it made it so because like all the crumbs were coming off my cake because it like got stuck. Oh, so she was like, and then the other trick that she taught me was to put your baking pan. It’s like something is stuck on your stove and heat up the oil again. Yeah, cuz? Release. Yeah, I’ve never I never knew that. But then she was like, then you have to put it back in the freezer. Yeah.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 36:37
You’re very afraid of getting like a soggy bottom bottom with your PI. Like put the sheet pan like in the oven first. So the sheet pan is hot. So when you’re putting like, your pie plate or whatever, like onto the sheet pan, like you’ve kind of like got a head start, you know, and like, it’s just fun tips and tricks that I feel like it’s fun to talk to people about to where you’re like, Oh man, like, yeah, I made this cake and blah, blah, blah, this happened or I made this pie and blah, blah, blah. This happened. And yeah, it’s like, that’s another good thing about baking is that people always want to talk about it. It’s true.

Traci Thomas 37:09
I love it. I love it. I love it. I’ll tell you my big pie baking fear. Yes. So I always try to make like a different pie for Thanksgiving time because I don’t bake pies that often. I like to make the crust. I’m excited to try your crust. I usually do the smitten kitchen crossed her right whatever

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 37:27
else. Great. I did it. It was like this is smitten kitchen fan. She’s great.

Traci Thomas 37:33
But one year I had to do like a par baked or blind baked crust. And I put I don’t know, beans or whatever to like, pull the pie crust down.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 37:43
Yes, yes.

Traci Thomas 37:44
it was a failure. So now I will never bake a blind bake crust. But because of your book, I’m going to try again. I got it didn’t it didn’t hold it down. It got all bubbly still. And so it was like gross. And it didn’t work. So I have to try again. But that was like five years ago and I have never made a pie. Did you have that?

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 38:00
Yeah, it’s just it’s all about you got to dock the bottom, which is just like poke holes in it with a fork. Yeah. And then really freeze it like, so it comes out and like if you hit a wall, it was shatter, you know, really freeze it. So it like everything holds. And the beans. Like fill it all the way up to the top.

Traci Thomas 38:19
I think that was my mistake.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 38:20
Yeah because it’s to hold basically like the sides of the crust so they don’t slump and also the bottom down.

Traci Thomas 38:26
Yeah, so my bottom got bubbly. And then my side like puffed out. And it looked so ugly, which was devastating to me as a person who cares deeply about the aesthetics of

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 38:37
Exactly, exactly. And like, yeah, just like really fill it. So it’s like super full and like, basically, if you’re using beans or baking beans or whatever it completely like fills that cavity.

Traci Thomas 38:49
Yeah. Okay, we’re gonna transition a little bit to your writing process. First of all, what’s not in the book that you wish was in the book besides sweet potato pie?

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 39:00
Well, I’m gonna say number one sweet potato pie. It’s actually Traci sweet potato pie. You should have been first.

Traci Thomas 39:05
Please ship it to my home. I don’t know. Doesn’t have to be a pie. It could be like a factoid or a person or like it could be anything.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 39:18
I feel like I do wish I could have made like a pie that was like specific to my dog. That would have been a nice pie or like a pie that was like just from my grandpa who’s like, who was my favorite person on the entire planet has since passed. But like it’s my favorite person. And like, Yeah, I wish I could have done a couple like, pies that were like just for certain like people in my life. Like, I got to do Tennessee for Dolly Parton who is a very important person in my life. So yeah, I feel like no, it’s I think I got to make the book that I really wanted to and like yeah, I’m, yeah, no regrets.

Traci Thomas 39:55
I love it. Well, that could be your next book. Like yeah, it’s for different people in your life. because I feel like now you have to, like stick with this kind of thing where everyone gets the pie. So it’s like you could do it for other people. How did you make time to do this project? How did you make time to write the book to bake the pies to tweak the recipes?

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 40:16
That’s a really good question.

That’s a very good question. I mean, you always make time for something that you love, right? And people that you love, and like I loved doing this. So making time for it wasn’t a chore. It was like, I wanted to do it. And like, this was a choice that I made. And, yeah, I always made time for it. And like, I got to sit in this world, where like, I got to rebake all the pies that I had baked in the project. And I got to revisit this the states and like, revisit the memories that I had with the person that I was dedicating the pie to, like, not a lot of people get the joy to do that like to project twice. And like, yeah, I always made time for it when like, yeah, I incorporated my work life into it. And just like, yeah, I always made time because it was very special. And an honest privilege that I got to do this.

Traci Thomas 41:12
We should shout out your at least one of your works, because people who listen to people who are part of the Stax pack on Patreon, one of our first bonus episodes was with Katherine, who, you know, as the people who are listening will know as the owner of big night, my favorite party store in the whole world. And Catherine, it’s a it’s a party hosting store in Brooklyn, and now in Manhattan, and Katherine and I met a long time ago when I used to teach fitness. And you work with Katherine.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 41:42
I do. I was employee number one. And now I am the GM of the Greenpoint store, the OG location and the grocery buyer. And I started working with Katherine after I left for 20 blackbirds, so you know what, we’ll backtrack a little older. So, exactly. So for 10 years, I worked in the fashion industry as a handbag designer, which I absolutely loved. But then I got kind of complacent, you know, like, I got really good at a thing that I really wasn’t passionate about anymore. I still have a passion for fashion, but you know. And during the pandemic, I was already I had already started the project while I was working in fashion, but it wasn’t really you know, top of mind, right, because I had a full time job. And during the pandemic, I lost my job, like a lot of people did. And I knew that I needed to make like a hard pivot, like, what am I going to do with my life? Like, do you want to go back into fashion like it? Like you got a paycheck, but like, you weren’t passionate about it, like, it was so hard for me to find the motivation to, like get out of bed every morning. But I was like, going to be able to pay off all my debt, I was going, you know, going to be able like to go traveling with my friends. But that like the pandemic gave me a lot of perspective. So I was like, You know what, I’m going to do a hard pivot, and I’m going to just cold email a bunch of bakeries that I love in the in the city, and we’ll see if they reply like I’m a pretty good home Baker, I’m willing to learn. So I wrote for in 20 blackbirds, which is my favorite pie shop in the city, and they wrote me back I did a trial day. I ended up working there for a year and a half, which was honestly like the greatest experience because it was like pi bootcamp, right. I like survived two Thanksgivings at 420 Oh my gosh. And it was such an incredible experience and it’s only made me like a better Baker like learning for my supervisor Rica. And like working with the team there like it was like such a special experience that cemented the fact that this is what I wanted to do. And during my time at foreign tiny blackbirds, which I got that job with a cold email, my then literary agent Christopher headland cold emailed me asking if I wanted representation and while he was doing that, my now editor Michael serve on cold emailed me asking me if I wanted to write a book, we love a cold email. We love a cold email. We love a cold Hey, it can happen it can happen. And when book stuff got finalized, and I signed my deal, I was like, I love baking at 420 blackbirds, but I couldn’t work on a line and write a book at the same time. Right? So I had to make that tough decision and big night at the time. Had been open for a few months. I had been I loved it. And I was like, You know what, I’m going to cold email, Catherine. So I did because I mean, Catherine have had long conversations about this, like we love a cold email. And the thing is that what are they going to do say no, right? And it wasn’t even yours to begin with. So you really you’ve lost nothing. You’ve just you know, taken a chance and so through all these wonderful cold emails I now have like, some I’ve so much to be saying For and like, I got to work a big night bask in the wonderful light that comes through both stores, like meet Catherine meet all her friends meet all these wonderful vendors. And like that has only like fueled my passion for food and the way that food can connect people together. Like sitting a big light and being able to be like, someone walks in and they’re like, I need to buy this gift from my friend. She really loves to cook like Italian food, like what should I do? Like being able to help assemble gifts I call it the gift giving Olympics. It’s always nice to you know, metal first place. And yeah, it cements the fact that like food is connection. And like it only worked like hand in hand with putting this project together and writing the book. It like gave me another reason of like, why I want to be here why this project was so important to me. It’s like, you just constantly build connections in your life. And like, even interactions are like small and fleeting. They’re so meaningful. And like you should like remember them and appreciate them.

Traci Thomas 46:02
But I love that. So when I went to visit big night, I, you know, was just hanging out. I was traveling, so I didn’t have room in my bag. All I could get was a hat. And these guys came in and they were looking for a wedding gift and I sold them some like bowl I’d Katherine was like, What did you just do? I was like, I love selling gifts. Like I love talking to people about gifts. You should get this. And they were like, well, we’re looking for something for a wedding. And I was like, well, this ball is so great when I got married. And she like looked at me. Like do you want to work here? I was like, yes, obviously.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 46:38
You pull up your sleeves. You sit in the chair. You’re like Hello, welcome to-

Traci Thomas 46:42
What can I give you? Do you want a giant tin of potato chips? We have that? Yeah. Okay. How do you like to write? How many hours a day? How often? I’m assuming you’re listening to music? Because you are listening to music a lot in the book? Are there snacks and beverages? Where are you? And I guess when you’re writing a recipe, are you writing the recipe as you’re going? Or are you writing after the fact if it’s successful? How does that work?

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 47:12
So for writing, I definitely write in like, our spurts and better in the morning. And then I take breaks like where I just lie on the ground. You know, and like for snacks and stuff. I always have like a bowl of popcorn or something. And I mean Tracy can see this but you guys can’t because it’s a podcast, but I have like a minimum of like three beverages. And I also have all my emotional support beverages. I always just have like a tree. What are they? Right now? It is a smoothie. A coffee, like an espresso coconut water. That’s my like summer drink of choice. And then water with some lemons and chlorophyll in it, you know? Those are my three beverages right now. But yeah, like, I like getting like just really into it. And so like, yeah, it’s always there’s music playing in the background, which some people are like, how can you do that? Like, write and listen to music, but music is like so inspiring. Especially I love I love like old country music because it’s all storytelling, like folk music. It’s all storytelling, and you’re kind of like, oh, like, there’s really good word play and stuff and like, How can I incorporate that into my writing. And then when it comes to recipes, I kind of write out like the bones of it. And then like when I start cooking it is what I write like haphazard notes all over it where I’m like, oh, like less cinnamon, more cinnamon, like could use like longer time and oven like all of that stuff before I get to my final recipe. And yeah, it’s a lot of trial and error. But yeah, with writing, it’s like, everything down and then like so many rereads and then like rewrites and just like constantly working on it. But I like to get everything onto the page and then like, come back and edit.

Traci Thomas 48:56
When you’re doing the recipe part. Are you like so you put your recipe time for the first try? You make it you make your little notes, you do it again? Do you do it as many times until you get it? Absolutely perfect. And then after that, how many times do you test it to make sure that it’s actually perfect and you didn’t do something like different because you know that like I’m gonna get it and you

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 49:19
I’ve given it to some friends like that I know are like more novice bakers are like not as experienced in the kitchen and if they can follow it as well as I can or they give me notes on like, hey, like could you explain like this better than I will go in and like be like actual you know, like, right like shits Creek style fold in the cheese. Like you’re like, what does that even mean? You know, right? And it’s like, using certain words that like, if you’re someone that cooks a lot like you might read that word and know exactly what that means. But for like the average person you need to think like, what’s the best way to like translate this without actually showing them because like, I’m a visual learner, right? So like read Eating sometimes it’s like a little hard where you’re like, How can I illustrate the best picture in your head to? That’s why, in the cookbook, there’s a photo for every single recipe. Yeah, that’s not that typical in cookbooks. But the thing is, with the 50 Pies like they are all so, so different that I knew that if you were baking it, like you needed to see what the end product was gonna look like, or like, could look like.

Traci Thomas 50:23
Yeah. Music really quickly. This was one of the first notes I took. You talked about the national anthem and how much you love it, and how it makes you emotional. And you’d bring up Whitney Houston’s national anthem. But have you heard Marvin Gaye’s? 1983? NBA All Star Game anthem? I have not. Okay. Make a note. Okay. Please listen, text me when this is over. I will. It starts off a little weird, but by January 1983, it’s Marvin Gaye, you’ll know it’s, it’s fantastic. I listened. It’s like this. That is my favorite American thing is that yeah, I love the Whitney Houston. But this one, the time signature is different. It’s like all fucked up. It’s like, and then he like gets off for a second. But then he pulls it together at the end. And you’re just like, the whole crowd starts clapping. It’s just like chills. So I wanted to share that with you. As I said, Who likes it is the best one.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 51:13
Because it’s not. So I think what I love about it is that like, it’s the way it’s written. It like fills your chest like there’s like a swelling. Like when you listen to some songs, like it fills your whole body with like, just good emotions. And like, yeah, like that’s how it feels to me.

Traci Thomas 51:31
So I feel like what’s interesting about the United States National Anthem is that if you are not good, it is an atrocious song yet if you do it well. It’s like, oh, turns out this is a banner, yet. So many people can’t do it. And I’m a big sports person. So like going to sporting events and like watching people try to sing it and like get it like as it starts to build getting there and being like, she doesn’t have it or like there’s no way they’re not gonna listen to you.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 52:04
We should do a bracket. Like the worst. You know what I just like? March Madness style bracket.

Traci Thomas 52:11
Well it’s a hard song to sing.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 52:13
It’s so hard. It’s like people. Sometimes you’re like, yes, believe in yourself, but sometimes, woah.

Traci Thomas 52:21
It’s just why don’t you just play with me over the slides? It’s fine. Okay, I just have a few more questions for you. What’s the word you can never spell correctly on the first try?

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 52:38

Traci Thomas 52:39
Same. That’s a really hard one.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 52:41
I’m always like, I have to keep reading an email if I have. It’s definitely in it because so it doesn’t say defiantly. And I’m like, is that like, it’s some weird like, Freudian slip in our heads? You know, that’s like,

Traci Thomas 52:52
No, I just can’t spell anything. It’s like it’s just period I probably can’t quantify it.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 52:59
It’s definitely a Massachusetts I have a really hard like, you just the series of letters. Just makes no sense to Massachusetts.

Traci Thomas 53:07
Yeah. Yeah. And you’ve had to spell that for your book. I don’t can’t remember the last time I spelled Massachusetts it is either MA or its mass or it’s not happening. I know the book just came out but you’ve been doing the project on your Instagram and stuff and sharing it who’s the coolest person who’s expressed interest in in what you’ve done? What you do?

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 53:27
Oh, wow. It’s definitely Sohla El-Waylly who I love.

Traci Thomas 53:33
Yes! I love Sohla so much. She’s got a cookbook coming out.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 53:36
She has a cookbook coming out that I have pre ordered and I really hope I get to meet her in person at some point in my life, but I did like a side project during the pandemic where I baked pies based on Nora Ephron and Nancy Meyer movies. Oh my gosh. And Nancy Meyers likes to post for the pie that I did for the holiday. And I wish that my roommate had like a recording of me screaming like it was just like, absolute mayhem. Like, I I’m not a girl that loves scary movies or like anything that’s I’m a rom com girl and I’m like, not not afraid to you know. Oh, now admit that. Yeah, I own it. And I made like, a like the pie for the holiday and it just for her to be like you got it spot on was just absolutely mind blowing. Yeah. What was the pie? It was a Christmas fettuccine pie. Oh, yeah. Yeah, so it’s like a pasta pie with like, a garlic bread crust. Because that’s what like Kate Winslet says to Jack back like when he’s feeling all sad.

Traci Thomas 54:42
Yeah, I haven’t seen that movie in a long time. Yeah. Wait so Sohla’s spatchcock Turkey that she talked about on Instagram and like wrote a recipe for is I after actually the same day I went to big night Catherine and I went and got tea. Before the store opened at that place, like right around the corner from the shop. Oh my mind. Yes, they sell Sloane tea, which was the first time I ever had sown tea and people listening to this who know me know that I am obsessed with some tea now because of that day, but she was like, Catherine, I was asking her to help me with my menu and all this stuff. And she was like, you gotta spatch choke your turkey. spatchcock, spatchcock, whatever. Listen, cut the shit up, cut this fight out. Yeah, cut it out. But Solas recipe was what I use. And that’s how I found her work. And now I’m obsessed. But yeah, there’s more about me. Okay, for people who love that despise 50 states, what are some other books you might recommend to them that are in conversation with what you’ve made?

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 55:45
I feel like I love her so much. Cheryl Dee, she’s a baker out of Savannah, Georgia. And she owns a bakery called back in the day bakery. And she’s written so many cookbooks and her most recent one is Cheryl Dee’s treasury of southern baking. And it’s like all of her MA all southern recipes to do with baking. That’s just so wonderful. Because it’s tied to so much of like, the heritage of this country and how like, why we eat certain foods that we eat, like, I think like that’s so amazing. And a book that came to me because of the project because of who I gave the South Dakota pie to Eric Zimmer. He is a historian that was made loved him. Yeah, that was based in the Black Hills of South Dakota. He introduced me to Shawn Sherman, who’s known as the sous chef. And I got to read Shawn Sherman’s cookbook all about like Native American cuisine, which I found, like, so beautiful and fascinating. And like, you know, everywhere across this country, like you get to eat like Mexican food and Korean food and Japanese food and Chinese food. Like, I was always just like thinking to myself, like, why can I eat Native American cuisine whenever I want? Like, why can I also work on seamless, and he has education of the cuisine and like, why, like certain wild rice is used, like how they use berries to sweeten things and like, flavors, like Bergamot to like give like floral notes to certain sauces, like I found, like, absolutely wonderful. And like, that’s like another way for you to like discover new things in the country that you live in, or like, you find out like, oh my gosh, in my state, like I could actually get this thing to make this other thing. And like that’s part of like the heritage of why my state is my state.

Traci Thomas 57:32
Yeah. I love that. What do you hope folks will keep in mind as they read your book.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 57:39
I hope that they have a good time. I hope that they have a good time. And I am very excited for them to meet all my friends. And for them to think about people in their life that you know, mimic or mirror people that I have in my life. And yeah, I just want them to have a good time.

Traci Thomas 57:57
Love it. Okay, last question. If you could have one person dead or alive, read your book. Who would you want it to be?

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 58:02
Hands down, always Dolly Parton? Like there’s no other there’s no question in my mind. Like, it’s Dolly Parton. I’d love Dolly Parton since I was a little girl, you know, just listening to Tennessee mountain home while I looked at the South China Sea, which makes no dang dang sense. But like, um, I just think that she is an embodies like the America that everybody wishes America could be. Yeah, and her music is so poignant. It’s such good storytelling. Her style is fantastic. She is iconic and like she just owns who she is. And like, if I could be half as wonderful as she is. I made it. Did you send her the book? Yes, we did. So I will cross fingers that she gets to see.

Traci Thomas 58:49
I mean, you have a beautiful like drawing of her on a pie. lady she better at least turn to Tennessee and be like what’s up?

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 58:57
Yes, Tennessee is based on Dolly Parton’s favorite breakfast which is biscuits and gravy.

Traci Thomas 59:02
Oh, that’s the other one I want to make. That one looks like me because I don’t like eggs. So for me like I was really excited that it was like a breakfast kind of pie but without that no eggs. Yeah. Okay, well, everybody This has been a conversation with Stacey Mei on 50 pies 50 states. Thank you so much for being here.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 59:22
Thank you, Traci. This was the best and I cannot wait for us to meet in person and then I’ll bake you a sweet potato pie.

Traci Thomas 59:28
We’re gonna meet in person. I’m gonna be in New York in September because I’m doing a tour of the podcast. And Catherine is already agreed to like provide some things for the goodie bag. So I’m sure we’re going to be connected in some way but I will be out there in September. I will be waiting for you to deliver my pie to the stage for me. It shows on a Monday night. It’s Monday, September 25. No nuts, sweet potatoes, would love whipped cream or ice cream. Vanilla is great. Don’t get too fancy. Traditionalist. I can’t wait for my pie.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 1:00:02
Yeah, I got you. I got you.

Traci Thomas 1:00:04
Thank you so much, and congratulations on the book.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong 1:00:07
Thank you, Traci. Thank you so much. I had the best time and honestly, yeah, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start my day.

Traci Thomas 1:00:13
Yay. And everyone else we will see you in The Stacks.

All right. Well, that does it for us today. Thank you so much for listening. And thank you again to Stacey Mei Yan Fong for joining the show. I’d also like to thank Lauren Ortiz for helping to make this conversation possible. Don’t forget our June book club pick is Oreo by Fran Ross and we will be discussing that book on Wednesday, June 28. With Hannah Oliver Depp. If you love the show and want insight access to it, head to patreon.com/the stacks and join the snacks pack. Make sure you’re subscribed to the stacks wherever you listen to your podcasts and if you’re listening on Apple podcasts or Spotify, leave us a rating and a review. For more from the stacks. Follow us on social media at the stocks pod on Instagram and Tiktok and at the stocks pod underscore on Twitter, and of course check out our website the stocks podcast.com This episode of the stacks was edited by Christian Duenas with production assistance from Lauren Tyree, our graphic designer is Robin MacWrite. The Stacks is created and produced by me Traci Thomas.

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