It’s been a bonzer year for food blogger Molly Yeh. (And yes, her name is pronounced ‘yay’, which is sort of perfect for the happy food and her seemingly sunny nature.)
I was introduced to her blog, My Name is Yeh, by my friend Google. I was searching for inspiration for hamantaschen several years ago. She has a range on her beautifully photographed blog — from halva and jam, cardamom and lingonberry and marzipan sprinkle to the more exotic red bean, in which she (in her own words) ‘asianises a Jewish thing’, wrapping a favourite Chinese ingredient in the traditional Purim triangle.
She’s half Chinese, half Jewish and grew up in the Chicago suburbs before attending New York’s Juillard music school. All these corners of her background show up in her colourful, fun food — those red bean hamantaschen sum up the foodie fusions she creates in a nutshell — or a pastry triangle. There’s a whole lot more than hamantaschen and a healthy helping of haimish favourites, from challah and babkas to falafel and brisket and always a few readable recipe posts for chags and holidays.
Now based on a farm on the Minnesota/Dakota border in America’s mid-West with her husband (who she met at Juillard) she’s added local foods to her influences, or rather, versions of them and a huge helping of local ingredients.
She has said in interviews that her carbs and comfort sum up her Ashkenazi mother’s cooking (dumplings, bagels, matzah ball soup, challah and kugel) and her favourite Chinese foods — (more) dumplings and doughy steamed buns. Much like the freezing shtetls in which Ashkenazi food originated, life on the North Dakota border includes harsh and long winters, so comfort food is high up on the menu.
I wasn’t the only one enchanted with her gorgeously photographed recipes. They’ve been so popular that (like many food bloggers in recent years) she was snapped up by a publisher a couple of years ago, making the move to print with her first book Molly on the Range, published in 2016, and more recently, Short Stack Yoghurt. The latter is one of a series of cookery books called 'short stack' by various food writers.
Her star has risen even beyond print, with a television series — Girl Meets Farm — an extension of the blog, showing her cooking up a storm in her home kitchen as well as in the farm field and local town.
And the crowning glory? An Emmy award for the show, which has run for [three] series and, this week. We caught up with Yeh just before she gave birth to her first child, a little girl, Bernie, to find out how she felt about her Emmy nomination:
“I'm just so wildly grateful to be recognized for a project that I absolutely love working on, and that I get to work on with a team of incredible people who I admire and love!" she told the JC.
"I've put my whole heart into cooking dishes that I am passionate about on Girl Meets Farm, and this has been met with such great support from the whole team and the Food Network and now our viewers. My journey from the blog to my books to the show has been fueled by a love of food and sharing it with others, and being able to pursue my passions as a career is a dream come true. The other women in my category are people I've admired for SO long, I'm still seriously in shock that my name has even been uttered in the same sentence as theirs!”
I’m sure baby Bernie (Bernadette) is the icing on the perfectly baked cake.