What wouldn't YouTuber Emmymade eat? Listen to this week's podcast to find out!

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Emmymade in Japan
Courtesy of Emmymade
| Credit: Courtesy of Emmymade

If one word sums up Emmy Cho, aka Emmymade, it’s curious. The host of YouTube's Emmymade in Japan can't resist unfamiliar food. If it's part of a tradition or culture, she'll taste it. She's fascinated with the stories, histories, and rituals behind a dish — not to mention, how to make it, how its elements work together, and how it tastes. Listen to Homemade on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and everywhere podcasts are available.

Emmymade's curious, can-do nature has led her to recreate foamy Japanese candy, pine rosin potatoes, chicken cooked in mud, and more. To be sure, she's not one to overlook simple recipes. But whereas other cooks might whip up lemon icebox pie because of its five-minute prep time, she tells us she's drawn to it for other reasons.

Emmymade connects with Homemade host Martie Duncan to recount the cooking shows she devoured as a kid, what she cooks for her own kids, and the kitchen appliance she hasn't moved without. She also dishes on finding accidental fame and how viewers inspire her videos.

Recipes and Foods In This Episode

About Emmymade

Emmy Cho launched her YouTube channel in 2011 while she and her husband taught English in Japan. Emmymade in Japan began as an after-work outlet wherein she tasted candies from Japan. As Emmymade gained viewers from the world over, she added their favorite sweets to her lineup. Her channel (and its name) returned to the U.S. with her. Today, this self-taught cook has gained a fanbase of almost two million subscribers who seem as receptive as she is when it comes to learning about food. She and her family now reside in Rhode Island.

Follow her on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and check out her website.

Episode Transcript

MARTIE DUNCAN Welcome to Homemade from Allrecipes. I’m Martie Duncan. Every week on this podcast we celebrate the idea that some of our favorite dishes have really interesting backstories. And today, have I got some stories for you. I’m talking to Emmymade of Emmymade in Japan, a woman whose career in food has that’s taken her around the world and back in time.

Emmy is a YouTube sensation with 2 million followers, y'all, and she is a brave girl. I am in awe of you. I love that you have a fascination for old-timey or historic recipes. I love that you are so genuine and just so brave. And welcome to the Homemade podcast, Emmy. We are so excited to have you.

EMMY CHO Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it.

MARTIE Girl, you will try anything.

EMMY I will. I will. I am really curious.

MARTIE I am the opposite.

EMMY Really?

MARTIE I'm a big chicken.

EMMY Martie.

MARTIE Listen, I'm brave when it comes to things. I am not brave when it comes to food. Not a bit. And people who really know me know that. But I am so fascinated with you. I could just watch your videos forever. I learn something in every single one of them.

EMMY Oh, good.

MARTIE I want you to tell us a little bit about how you got started and how you built up this international, wildly engaged audience of millions of followers.

EMMY It was an accident. Like all these kinds of beautiful things that happen. It was really just an accident. I started when my husband and I were living in Japan. We were teaching English, and I just didn't know anything about editing, whatsoever. And I really missed talking to people in fluent English. I was teaching English, but I just miss talking. And I talk a lot.

So I said, well, I'll go to the grocery store. I've always have been captivated by food. So I just picked up some things as I went shopping. I'm like, well, what if I just film myself talking about whatever it is that I'm exploring or opening or tasting and just — it just started from there.

So it was mostly candies. There's just an amazing candy selection in Japan with these kits that you can make and assemble and pour and shape. I'm like, this is me. So here I am, a grown woman sitting in front of a laptop in front of the window, opening packages of candy and mixing. And it was the best. It just started from there. And I just continued and that was — gosh, we're coming on 10 years now.

MARTIE Wow.

EMMY So a while ago.

MARTIE Yeah. So you and your husband just packed up and moved to Japan because you wanted to experience the culture?

EMMY We did. We did. My husband had actually been to Japan in the past doing teaching, as well. But also, I was just in the time of my life where I knew that I wanted to have this kind of live-abroad experience, and always wanted to do it. Regretted not doing it in college. And I wanted to do that before I really kind of settled down and had a family. So I knew this was my last opportunity to do it. So I did it. And so glad I did. Very, very humbling experience living someplace else.

MARTIE It's true. I've lived in a few other places, as well.

EMMY Yeah.

MARTIE And it is. When you don't know a soul and you don't have a go-to. It is absolutely. You realize you are on your own and you have to make your own way.

EMMY Oh yeah.

MARTIE But girl, you did it. My goodness. And then you got millions of people to jump in and come with you.

EMMY Well, it was wonderful because I think what I gained so much from it, but these kind of virtual followers and virtual subscribers and just friends that I've made through this media has just been so wonderful.

So I started doing these Japanese foods and then people started sending me packages of food from their home countries. So it was a series called Emmy Eats. So I would be eating a box of Danish treats or — all kinds of things that were so very much pivotal to Danish culture that I had no familiarity with. So it was just wonderful. It would be just like Christmas, to be opening packages and not knowing how to read them and opening them and tasting them and eating things wrong. And, of course, all the Danes that were watching would get a great laugh. I got a package from Ukraine or — it was just a joy.

MARTIE Wow.

EMMY Yeah. Yeah.

MARTIE Yeah, and then you got to experience their world.

EMMY Right, right.

MARTIE And what they found delicious and interesting and comforting and heartwarming and the things that they love.

EMMY Right.

MARTIE That's pretty amazing. I do think, and I think this is why you're so successful, is that food is our common bond. You know?

EMMY Right.

MARTIE I don't care where you're from. I don't care where or how you grew up. Or I don't even care how old you are. There's one thing that unites everybody.

EMMY That's right.

MARTIE Every culture, no matter where you go. And it's food or drinks. I know that when I go to a new place and they come out and they offer me a tea or a coffee or something, they mean that as a genuine, welcome to my world sort of a thing.

EMMY Right.

MARTIE I don't care where you're from that joins us and unites us globally.

EMMY Well, we all need sustenance. Like you say, you don't need a language to understand it. But food. We all need to eat. We all need to put something in these gobs of ours. We can say, "Here, taste this." And we can say, "This is good." There's something very nurturing and maternal about it, too. Like giving sustenance to someone to feed them or welcome them or offer something to someone. I love that, too.

MARTIE Where do you get your inspiration? Is it from your viewers who send you ideas?

EMMY Yeah. A lot of them are from viewers. I'll have a video about some kind of subject and they will leave comments or they'll get in touch with me via social media and say, "Emmy, you've got to try this." Or, "Have you seen this?" Or, "Have you heard of this?" Or oftentimes people would volunteer to send me things. Or, "I am a farmer and I make this." Or, "I sell these and..."

And so there's all kinds of things that my followers have taught me about things that I had never even heard of, which is just wonderful. I love this kind of communal feel about those kinds of things.

MARTIE The ones I really like are the ones that are old-timey or historic in some way.

EMMY Right.

MARTIE Those are the ones I really like. And weirdly enough, I thought I sort of knew a lot about that. But after watching all your videos, I'm like, I am a novice. I don't know anything about old-timey recipes. I was particularly intrigued by the pine rosin potatoes.

EMMY Yeah.

MARTIE I was completely fascinated with that. Can you tell a little bit about that story and how you came upon that?

EMMY Oh, yeah,  they make beautiful potatoes, by the way. And it comes out of necessity. I think all these wonderful things often come out of necessity and resourcefulness. The story goes that pine rosin is actually a byproduct of turpentine making. So turpentine comes from sap of the pine trees and then it's distilled for the turpentine, which is used as a solvent in painting. And then you get this clear, almost amber-looking solid material, which is the rosin. It's just so beautiful. And so there are large amounts of it. So people said, "Well, what can we do with this?" And so, of course, you can use it for — you can use it on bow strings on violins, but then you can also cook with it.

MARTIE I had no idea.

EMMY Yes. You can't eat the rosin itself. But you can use it as you would for deep-fat frying or something. It's a carrier to cook the potatoes. So, so cool. I don't exactly remember how I stumbled upon it, but I think I saw a kit for pine rosin potatoes. And I'm like, what is this?

MARTIE I saw that in the video. I'm like, wait, there's a kit for that? You can actually get a kit that includes the pan, the rosin, everything you need to make these potatoes. And you said in the video, that that was the most delicious potato you think you might have ever had.

EMMY It really was. I think part of it was also just the process of it all, which kind of was just a big, big tease. And I think that's another part of food that I love, is this kind of communal aspect of it. And then there's a process to it, and there's almost a ritual. So to make these potatoes, you take the pine rosin. You have to heat it up. And you would do this outside because there's such a strong smell of pine that happens. You couldn't do this inside. It's just so strong. So then you cook it up. It melts. And then you drop your potatoes in their jackets, the whole potato right into the pot, in the pine rosin, and they're just bubbling up. You've got your fire. I imagine like in the old days, you had just your big cauldron there.

MARTIE Right.

EMMY You get it going. then about half an hour, 40 minutes, 45 minutes, depending on how big your potato is, the potato starts to float. They come up and then you use your tongs that you have just specifically for this making because everything gets covered in the rosin, which is kind of like tar. But initially when you are melting the pine resin, it's got this clear amber color. But as you keep cooking with it and it turns kind of black, tar-ish — anyways. So you take your potatoes out and then you wrap them in newspaper, just like you would a little candy. Knot them all up and the pine rosin solidifies and the potato’s hot inside. And then once it hardens and you can keep them. So that's another practical thing, is you can keep the potatoes for weeks

MARTIE Ohhh. So it was a preservation thing.

EMMY Right. Right.

MARTIE Ohhh, fascinating. I love that you've taken this and put the story — the backstory to these recipes and have provided, like you said, a time machine to go way back and see what our ancestors did and how they prepared food. I think it's great. By the way, I love that chicken one, too.

EMMY Yeah, so Beggar's Chicken is a story — or like, it's more of almost a myth or a legend — that there's this poor beggar who stole a chicken. And then the emperor came looking for the person who stole the chicken. And in quick haste, he threw the chicken into the mud and then proceeded to bake it as a means of cooking it. But then the emperor ends up eating it and declares it the most delicious chicken.

But the point was that idea that you take the chicken and you cover it in mud and then you cook it in a fire. And I imagine, traditionally, that would have been a fire fire. But it's still made today, this type of Beggar's Chicken. And you wrap a chicken — now, you'd wrap it in leaves to protect it from the mud, in lotus leaves — and then you wrap mud around clay and you bake it in an oven. Some people actually still put it in a fire. And you put it in there for several hours and it bakes. But the clay becomes the vessel in which the chicken is cooked. And then the best part is the ceremony of cracking the clay shell that you've just made with a hammer. So they'll bring it to your table. You have a hammer, and you get to break and crack the shell. And there's your beautifully kind of steamed braised chicken inside, that's whole.

MARTIE Now, I have seen that before.

EMMY Yeah. Mhm.

MARTIE Where did that originate? Where did that come from?

EMMY Originally, I think the story comes — that legend comes from China. But I think many other cultures have similar kinds of means of cooking chicken or food in clay or salt or some sort of — something that encases it. It just makes sense. Before there were pots and pans, how did people cook food besides just cooking it over the fire? Or in Hawaii, for example, there's lots of pit cooking.

MARTIE We do that in the South, too.

EMMY Yes.

MARTIE We put a pig in the ground.

EMMY That's right.

MARTIE There's a Hank Williams Jr. song about, you know, I'm gonna put a pig in the ground. All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight. I used to do that in Chicago and people were like, what is wrong with this girl?

EMMY No, it's beautiful.

MARTIE She cooks her food in a ditch.

EMMY It's beautiful. It's an all-day process, and it's a tradition. It becomes, again, this kind of ceremony and this process of doing it. You have to build it. You have to dig the hole, and you line it with rocks.

MARTIE Right.

EMMY And then you make your fire and you get your leaves and you get all these things. And it usually takes a community. You're cooking a big piece of meat and everybody gets a bit of it. It brings everyone together. I just — I just love it.

MARTIE A lot of these things are just flat out fun. Like, you clearly had so much fun making that Beggar's Chicken. Your joy when you broke open that clay was so evident. What other recipes did you have a lot of fun making like that?

EMMY There's usually something that I'm really excited about a recipe for me to even do it. And it's usually when the recipe turns out.

MARTIE Right.

EMMY It could be a 1950s Grammy's jello recipe. It could be anything. But just getting that jello out pristine and not all over my floor is an accomplishment that should be celebrated.

MARTIE It's so true. It is so true.

MARTIE We'll have more with Emmymade right after the break.

Welcome back to Homemade. I'm Martie Duncan. And today, I'm talking to Emmymade of Emmymade in Japan.

So I am very intrigued about the background of you. So I know you're married. You have children.

EMMY Yes.

MARTIE Tell us a little bit about your personal life. You live in Rhode Island now.

EMMY Rhode Island is the tiniest state of the union. And it's not even an island.

MARTIE I've been there once. It's beautiful there.

EMMY It is. We love it. It's more of a town. It wants to call itself a city, Providence. But we love it. It's got what we need. Boston is definitely more of a real city. Kudos to Boston. So if we want to go see some theater or some — well, there's some theater here, too. But yeah. We love it. We love the access to the shore here. It's just so beautiful.

MARTIE And the fresh seafood. Y'all have amazing seafood. And I love coming up there. Chef Michelle Ragussis is a really good friend of mine from my season of Food Network Star. And she lived and worked up there for a long time. And so I would come up and do some events and just having the lobster and everything just right there. It was amazing.

You have two young children.

EMMY I have two boys.

MARTIE Two boys. Now are your children adventurous eaters, also?

EMMY They are. As a parent, I really wanted to instill that into my family. I don't force, ever. My youngest still does not like vegetables, but that was me as a child. I didn't even like starch. I just wanted meat. Just anything meat. Drumstick? Yes. Meat, salami, any meat. No, I don't want anything green. But my mom would always —we'd have these battles. "Eat that one piece of broccoli." Standoffs, really. So my youngest is like that. But I don't even bother with that because I'm like, I'm not going to even get anywhere with this kid.

MARTIE Yeah, it'll come around. If you plant a garden and let them help plant those things, they'll eat 'em. If they planted them, they'll eat 'em.

EMMY Oh, yeah. If they pull up a carrot and they eat it right off, you know. My older one loves vegetables, but the younger one. But I don't fight him about it. People always want to know, "Did your family try that thing, that abomination that you just created?" And I said, hey, I always offer. Like my kids would usually come back home from school and they'll be sitting there on the counter, like, "What is that?" And I said, well, and I tell them, and I offer it. And sometimes they say yes or sometimes they say no. And I say, "Hey, it's up to you whether you not want to try it." But I did this little series a few years ago of eating bugs for Christmas, like a little countdown to Christmas. And my kids were all over it. They were like, "Yeah, this is great! Let's do it."

MARTIE Yeah, boys. That's why. I'm sure they thought that was like, "Oooh!"

EMMY It was fun.

MARTIE Amazing. I bet they're the heroes of the school. "My mom lets us eat bugs." But on a regular night when you're just mom...

EMMY Yeah.

MARTIE What do you make of your family?

EMMY I make no-nonsense food because I'm busy. Well, when I didn't have children, I would do more involved recipes. But I don't like fussy recipes, and I want ones that taste good. So simple things, things I can cook in less than an hour or so. A curry. What did we have for dinner last night? I made, like, chicken tenders. I make some Japanese recipes because we lived in Japan. So I'll make a miso soup, put on a pot of rice.

MARTIE Ooh, yummy.

EMMY And then we'll have a piece of fish and I'll just broil it for 10 minutes in the oven. But really simple stuff. And then on the weekends, I might do a little bit something more ambitious. I might make dumplings or something.

MARTIE I think everybody's like that. During the week where everybody wants to be simple.

EMMY That's right.

MARTIE And they save their big, adventurous, time-consuming cooking for the weekends where they can spend a little bit more time in the kitchen.

EMMY Right.

MARTIE You obviously have a very well-stocked kitchen. What's your number one go-to piece of equipment? What do you use the most?

EMMY I mean, I use my stovetop the most. But I think of the thing that I probably talk about most, that I really love — and I think as an Asian-American maybe others can agree — is my rice cooker because we eat a lot of rice. We probably eat rice almost every day. And I love this thing, this thing I've had for years. It's moved with me many, many times. And I just love that it cooks perfect rice. People ask me, like, "Your rice is so good. How do you cook it?" I'm like, "I don't know. I just put it in this machine and I push the button, and it just does it. I don't know."

MARTIE I don't have one. I never got one. But you're making me want to go get one. I love rice. And, you know, we grow a lot of rice down here in the south. Louisiana grows a lot and Mississippi, too. They grow a lot of beautiful rice. And I haven't quite a lot, but I've never gotten a rice cooker. So you're making me want to go get one.

EMMY I could only recommend it, highly, if you eat a lot of rice. I mean, we eat it as a staple almost every day. So in that sense, I love it 'cause I can set a timer. For like a 12-hour timer, I'll wash the rice and have it sitting in the thing and by dinnertime it's ready. So I don't have to think about a starch. It's already there. They have fancier ones now that can cook breads and quinoa and all.

MARTIE Right.

EMMY But the one that I have is pretty just straight. It just cooks rice.

MARTIE So did you get started cooking at home with your parents or with your mom or did you learn from family? You just seem like it’s inside you, ingrained in you. Cooking is a thing that you just know.

EMMY Yeah. I love food. I think, I love it. I love anything about food. If I'm traveling, I'm always looking at the food. I'm thinking of my next like two meals. I'm like, obsessed.

MARTIE So your mom was a good cook?

EMMY Yeah. My mom is obsessed with food as well. She's like this tiniest, smallest, thinnest person you've ever met. But she always does think about food and would always love to cook for us. And my brother and I — I have a younger brother — on Saturdays, we'd watch PBS. They would have these little marathon, you know, cooking shows. So we'd be up...

MARTIE I watched them too.

EMMY Yeah, from like 9:00 to like 3:00. We would just marathon watch, like, all of them. And we would record them and just obsessed with food. So I think that's where it started. So a lot of that, my training, if you want to call it, comes from this cooking shows. So we would watch Jacque and Julia. We would watch Jacque Pepin by himself. All of them. Like Frugal Gourmet, Lidia Bastianich. This was before even like the Food Network.

MARTIE Right. I used to watch the Galloping Gourmet.

EMMY Yup. Yes.

MARTIE I mean I would run from school in time to watch Galloping Gourmet. And then here we had Justin Wilson.

EMMY Oh, of course.

MARTIE You know, the Cajun cook?

EMMY Oignon.

MARTIE Aayiii. That one.

EMMY Oh, my.

MARTIE We used to run home from school to watch him. What a bunch of nerds we are.

EMMY It's the best.

MARTIE My brothers wanted to watch, like, Scooby-Doo and I'm like, "Get out of the way. I'm watching Justin Wilson."

EMMY Oh, we would just wait for him. I'm like, "I hope this dish has onions in it. Because I want him to say onions. Please say onions, Justin."

MARTIE Oignon. You're like me, I think you watch for the accent.

EMMY All of it. All of it. And we would always turn it off when Martin Yan came on, because we're like, "Oh, he's hamming it up. Oh, my gosh. You can't watch." I mean, although we love the representation, but we're just like, "I can't watch him do another joke about a cleaver again." But we did watch the Frugal Gourmet and Graham Kerr and all of them. Great Chefs. We loved Great Chefs.

MARTIE Oh, me, too.

EMMY It was like we got to travel.

MARTIE I think that one of the things that you're so good at is describing food.

EMMY Aw, thank you.

MARTIE I think I have a problem with that. I've got like awesome, good, and delicious.

EMMY Right.

MARTIE I'm like, after that, I don't have any more adjectives. You are so good at it. Your descriptions, they draw the viewer in. You're making people salivate with your descriptions. And even if it was something I wouldn't want to eat, you make me not eat it because it just sounds so delicious. How do you come up with all that? Does it just — because it speaks to you somehow?

EMMY I think so. I think it also comes down to my mind, too. I like to break things down with food, with anything. I want to know how it works and what the pieces are that makes the thing work, whether it's building a structure or going through my beehives. I just want to break it down. So the same thing happens when I'm making food and eating it. So I want to break it down, what I'm tasting, what it makes me feel like, what it reminds me of, what it makes me think of. My tagline for my channel for a while was like, "Vicarious calories never tasted so good." Because I really want people to vicariously experience what I'm experiencing.

MARTIE I think you nail it.

EMMY Thank you.

MARTIE I do. I mean, to me, that's one of the hardest things about doing a cooking show of any kind. And when I did Food Network Star, Bobby Flay would say, "If I hear the word delicious, you're out." And I would think, "Oh, my gosh. That leaves me with two words. I'm in trouble."

EMMY Right, right.

MARTIE But you do such a good job with that. Do you think that comes from your curiosity about how something works?

EMMY Yes. The curiosity of how things work. But also, I understand that in the media that I am presenting this food to people cannot taste what it is I'm tasting. And I find when I watch videos or cooking shows and they're tasting something, I want to know what it tastes like. And I get very frustrated when they just say, "It's delicious." Or, "This is really good." I'm like, that tells me nothing.

MARTIE Ooh, I know and it's awful. And I'm so lazy like that. I got to do a better job. But you just make me want to dive right in and try it. Like, get in my car, drive to the store, get the stuff, make the recipe. But, I will say, the shocking thing to me was that some of your recipes are super, super, super simple.

EMMY Yeah.

MARTIE Like it's not like everything is super complex or steeped in all these hours of traditional cooking. Some of that — like, you did a lemon icebox pie. My mom made one about once a week. I was shocked to find that there.

EMMY I'd never heard of it before. And it came out of some other recipe that it did for a cremora tart that came from South Africa, another warm region where you can't have dairy. You may not have refrigeration, and so you have to use these canned products. I'm like, oh my gosh, this is genius, though. Because you're taking a dairy and you're mixing it with an acid. You're getting this reaction that essentially kind of curdles it. And then you get a thickened instant custard. I'm like, what is this? I've never heard of the lemon icebox pie until just then.

MARTIE My mom would make them in the summer. Now, in the other months, she would make a lemon meringue pie with more of a traditional custard.

EMMY Right.

MARTIE With the eggs and everything.

EMMY Right, right.

MARTIE The lemon icebox pie was a staple at our house in the summertime.

EMMY It's so easy.

MARTIE I mean, a staple. And people are like, well, how do you tell the difference between? And I'm like, one you cook and the other you don't.

EMMY Right.

MARTIE One has a meringue and the other one has a whipped cream.

EMMY Right, right.

MARTIE But I was shocked to find that there. So it was really just a curiosity of how the acid and the canned sweetened condensed milk would work together, is that?

EMMY Yeah. That and also that it claimed that it could be a dessert in five minutes. I said, do you know what? They have this on every little journal in front of the cash register, like, "You can make this dessert in five minutes." But I'm like, I think you really can make this in five minutes. And I really want to know, is it really that simple? Just take these two cans and you mix it with f three-quarters of a cup of juice. That's it? And it really is, that's it. That's amazing.

MARTIE Yeah. Listeners, if you're sitting at home and you're still quarantined or next time you do your store run, go on YouTube and look her lemon icebox pie recipe up because it's so simple and it's like pantry things for the most part. With a lemon.

EMMY Right. Well, what's so cool is like so I made the recipe, but then other people were saying, "Oh, we make a version of this using lime juice." And, "We use — instead of using a graham cracker crust — we use cookies." And it's so cool that there's these kinds of international analogies that are very, very similar.

MARTIE Oh, and a lot of variations on it. Like there’s a recipe in one of my cookbooks from a restaurant that's down in the Black Belt of Alabama. And it's called Black Bottom Pie, which uses ginger snaps to make the crust.

EMMY Right.

MARTIE And same sort of techniques for the filling and whipped cream topping. But there are lots of them. Key lime pie and a lot of places is made the very same way with sweetened condensed milk and lime juice.

EMMY Right.

MARTIE And then we have that, of course, you know, the cookies and cream version. And you have lots of versions of those things, but they're a quick, easy homemade dessert that anybody, even the kids, can make it.

EMMY That's right.

MARTIE It seems like you'll try anything.

EMMY Yes.

MARTIE Are there things you wouldn't try or you have refused to try?

EMMY No.

MARTIE Nothing?

EMMY Nothing. I think if someone's eating it and it's considered part of a culture. I mean, I wouldn't — if someone was to say, you know, "Here's a rock, eat it," just as a dare, I wouldn't. But if it's a part of the culture, if it's a part of some kind of tradition, if there's something else behind it to eat it, then I will. And then I do it because I really generally want to know what that experience is about. And then usually there's always more. There's a history, there's a story, there's a reason. And I want to know that, too. But first comes the curiosity of the food itself.

MARTIE So, yeah, I think if you'll eat a tarantula, then you'll pretty much try anything.

EMMY Yeah, there's nothing...

MARTIE How do you even get a tarantula?

EMMY You can just buy them online like you can buy everything — in a can. It comes. It does. It comes processed. It comes and I don't know what they do to it — dehydrate it or something.

MARTIE No.

EMMY Yes.

MARTIE You are...

EMMY I'm serious. You don't eat the — I don't eat the abdomen part. Like the big part, that's like the big, gnarly part. Don't eat that part 'cause...

MARTIE Oh my God, I'm going to die, right this minute.

EMMY No, but the legs are good. They're crunchy.

MARTIE It sort of sounds like a crab, really. You don't eat that gross part in the middle. Well, some people do. But, you know?

EMMY Right. Right, right.

MARTIE The rest of it.

EMMY Yeah. I think of all the insects and things I've tried that they were they're quite tasty. They have like a nice kind of crunchy texture and they have an interesting snack-like taste. They're good.

MARTIE I might die. I mean I'm just...

EMMY I think with insects, the worst part I think would be like if I were to go to Australia and do like, what do they call them? They call it a grub tucker. I'm botching it. But you actually go on this journey and you actually eat the insects and grubs as you go along. And I think that might be more of a challenge, if someone were to give me just a big fat grub that's kind of squirming around and pop that. I would do it, but I think that would be harder than just a tarantula but...

MARTIE You are absolutely my hero.

EMMY No.

MARTIE I would not. I wouldn't even go in the room.

EMMY Come on.

MARTIE Much less try it. No. I would not.

EMMY They will not hurt you.

MARTIE I will not. I'm gonna eat a crab and that's going to be about the extent of it for me. That's my spider. I will eat a crab. It's the same number of legs, the whole thing.

EMMY Crabs are delicious.

MARTIE Oh, my gosh, and we have the best ones here. We really do. I have to tell ya. And it's the whole fun process of going and catching them. Down on the lower coastline of Alabama, on Mobile Bay, a lot of my friends have homes down there on the bay and they'll put out crab traps.

EMMY Yes.

MARTIE And we'll get the crab and then we'll just cook them right there in our big old cast iron skillet and fry them up right there on the side of the beach. And it's so fun.

EMMY Is it blue crab?

MARTIE Yeah, blue crab.

EMMY Oh, yeah.

MARTIE And they're so delicious. And then, of course, when the season is right, we have the soft shells, which are the best. That's when we fry them. Otherwise, we'll do like a crab boil or whatever. In fact, here in Alabama — I don't know if you know this because you lived in Japan, you may be aware of it. But here we have something called a jubilee.

EMMY Nuh-uh.

MARTIE A jubilee is when the water loses oxygen and the crab and the flounder and the shrimp and the eel, they swim to the shore to try to get out. And when people see this jubilee happening, the homes along the bay have bells and they'll ring the bell.

EMMY Come on.

MARTIE People will run outside with their baskets and their nets and they start scooping up all the seafood. And then there are crab crackings and fish fries and shrimp boils for days and days and days. And back in the day before there was refrigeration, you know, they would have to cook it all up and eat it right there in a couple of days' time.

EMMY Oh my gosh.

MARTIE But they have that in Mobile Bay. And then on our eastern shore, down there on the bay, and then they also have it in one place in Japan and nowhere else in the world.

EMMY That's great.

MARTIE Emmy, tell our listeners where they can find you on YouTube. Y'all, if you want to learn to cook and you want to try either things that are pretty typical that you just never thought of or something that you would never even imagine, you gotta go watch these videos and follow Emmy. 'Cause she's gonna coach you through it. She's fascinating. Where do we find you on YouTube?

EMMY You can find me at YouTube.com/EmmyMadeInJapan. Or if you just search Emmy Made In Japan, I will come up. Even if you search up Emmy, you'll find me.

MARTIE Listen Emmy, I've had the most fun talking to you. I could talk to you forever. I mean, really forever. I just find you fascinating. I am so tickled that, finally, I've gotten to meet you and talk to you. And I hope we'll be friends forever. And that invitation to come visit in Alabama stands. I am gonna watch everything you do from here on. But I thank you so much for sharing such a big part of your world with us here on the Homemade podcast.

EMMY Thank Martie. I appreciate it. It was fun.

MARTIE It was fun.

EMMY Yeah.

MARTIE Bye.

EMMY Bye.

MARTIE As she said, you can find Emmymade on YouTube by searching for Emmymade In Japan.  She’s got thousands of videos, including ones where she eats tarantulas, centipedes, and beetles – ugh — and a whole lot of regular foods that even I would try.

Coming up on the next episode of Homemade: one of my absolute best friends, Chef Justin Warner of Food Network Star, Guy’s Grocery Games, and Marvel’s Eat the Universe.

We are gonna have so much fun. Don’t miss it. Subscribe to the podcast right now. And please, we’d love your feedback. If you could rate this podcast and leave us a review. I’d really appreciate it.

And don’t forget, you can find thousands of recipes, meal ideas, and cooking how-to’s from the world’s largest community of cooks at Allrecipes.com.

This podcast was recorded in Birmingham, edited in Atlanta, and can be found wherever you get your podcasts. If you like what you hear, please consider leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts or telling your friends about the program.

And don’t forget, you can find thousands of recipes, meal ideas, and cooking how-tos from the world’s largest community of cooks at Allrecipes.com. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This podcast was recorded in Birmingham, edited in Atlanta, and can be found wherever you get your podcasts.

Homemade is produced by Allrecipes with Executive Editor Jason Burnett. Thanks to our Pod People production team: Rachael King, Eliza Lambert, Tanya Ott, and Maya Kroth.

Thanks for listening. I’m Martie Duncan, and this is Homemade.