How Jenna Wortham of the New York Times Does Breakfast
"It feels nice to have something homemade before rushing out of the door and dealing with the frenetic energy of New York"
If you want to stay on top of trends without constantly refreshing Twitter, allow me to recommend the podcast Still Processing. Hosted by New York Times writers Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris, the show covers everything from the evolution of black American cinema to why Beyoncé is a power bottom to why people have such strong feelings about Goop. Wortham also seems to have a strong relationship with self care and wellness, as evidenced by her descriptions of the myriad ways she nourishes herself. I interviewed her over email to find out more about her relationship with breakfast, the podcast, and the importance of sleep.
Extra Crispy: What did you have for breakfast today?
Jenna Wortham: This week I'm on top of my shit, so I meal prepped and stuck to it. I ate half a homemade turkey burger (cold), leftover from dinner yesterday, and a soft-boiled egg (warmish) with avocado, sea salt that I got in Paris and hot sauce that I bought in Puerto Rico.
Is this a typical morning meal for you?
More or less—I’m a big believer in a high-protein breakfast because my days are packed and stacked and if I don’t eat something before the day starts, I’m inclined to have mood swings and binge out on bad food choices later in the day.
I imagine you travel a lot for work. What’s your favorite breakfast to have when you’re on the go?
It depends where I am—I try to schedule breakfast meetings and pick something local/organic/green-feeling and healthy, But I always travel with cashews and protein bars (I like Epic and RXBars) as a last resort. If I’m in LA, I usually have leftover Korean food in my hotel fridge, which is always perfect snack before I head out into the day.
You’ve often written about the importance of self care and health, particularly for people of color. Can you tell me about any regimens or practices you’ve incorporated into your morning routine?
Last night, while cooking a batch of turkey burgers for the week, I made a pot of buckwheat and mate tea, sweetened with a little organic honey, and put it in the fridge. I’ll sip it while I get dressed in the morning, because it feels nice to have something homemade before rushing out of the door and dealing with the frenetic energy of New York.
Is there anything you'd suggest to someone just beginning their self care journey?
You don’t need to spend money to care for yourself. Allowing yourself a slower moment in the morning to transition from the dreamworld into the wakeworld counts as self care. A longer shower can be caring. And sleep more—more than you think you need. My biggest realization is that how much better my mood and disposition is when I’m well-rested for several days in a row. It’s PHENOMENAL.
My favorite thing to do on Thursday mornings is listen to your podcast, Still Processing. Can you explain a bit about why you and your co-host Wesley Morris developed this project?
We wanted to make a space to do cultural criticism that is more dynamic than you typically get in print. We wanted to experiment with multimedia formats and topics and have had full support of the institution to play around. It’s the best part of my week too :)
It seems like you’re always working on so much! What’s exciting you right now?
Instagram. As much as it is a stress bucket and k-hole, I’m really fascinated by how we project versions of our lives for others to engage with and react to, and our sense of selves are evolving online and through social media—for better and for worse.