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CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
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January 30, 2022 12:00 pm

CBS Sunday Morning,

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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January 30, 2022 12:00 pm

On this week's "CBS Sunday Morning," David Pogue with speaks Attorney Bryan Stevenson, who has helped to save 145 wrongly-convicted prisoners from execution. These days the man behind Montgomery, Alabama's National Memorial for Peace and Justice might be better known his other job: educating Americans about the legacy of slavery and racial violence in this country. Ted Koppel meets with New Orleans musicians back out in front of audiences and sharing their unique culture, one that was severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, while perpetuating a French Quarter tradition of street performance. Actress Kristen Stewart talks with Tracy Smith about the stress she felt becoming her character, as well as the tabloid frenzy over her "Twilight" stardom, and her ambition to direct.

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I'm Jane Pauley, and this is Sunday Morning. More than two million Americans are in prison. In a country of 330 million, that makes for the highest incarceration rate in the world. Of them, some 2,500 sit on death row, and 40% of them are black.

Now, consider this. For every nine people executed in this country, one person on death row has been exonerated. David Pogue speaks with a man whose life's mission is to even the odds. Bryan Stevenson has helped save nearly 150 wrongly convicted prisoners from death row. Nearly two million died during the journey. But his latest project might be even more ambitious.

If we can create spaces like this in Montgomery, Alabama, there's not another community anywhere in this country that can say, well, they did that in Montgomery, but we couldn't possibly do that here. Exposing a painful past to get to a brighter future, ahead on Sunday Morning. Tracy Smith this morning is in conversation with Kristen Stewart, fresh from her triumphant screen portrayal of Princess Diana. Just the thought of playing Princess Diana made Kristen Stewart so nervous that she could barely open her mouth. Yeah, it gave my body a lot of anxiety that my mind sort of didn't really know about. What do you think was going on there? It was a big deal. You know, I really didn't want to mess this one up.

She needn't have worried. If I ever do become queen, what will I be? Kristen Stewart loosens up later on Sunday morning. With Ted Koppel, we're off to the big easy, where joyful music can break out anytime, any place. Jazz musicians in New Orleans have their own special take on funeral processions. Once the last family car passes the trumpet player, he gives a little bit of a call, something like this.

What will I be? Kristen Stewart loosens up later on Sunday Morning. With Ted Koppel, we're off to the big easy, where joyful music can break out anytime, any place. Jazz musicians in New Orleans have their own special take on funeral processions. Once the last family car passes the trumpet player, he gives up a call, something like this. And then the crowd goes, hey! That hey is supposed to symbolize that the time for bereavement is over. COVID, jazz, and the big easy, coming up on Sunday morning. Faith Salie has a word or two to say about Wordle, that puzzling game captivating millions. And we take comfort in some comfort food and more on this last Sunday Morning of the month, January 30th, 2022.

We'll be right back. He's a man on a mission, saving the innocent from execution, while shining a light on some of the darkest chapters of American history. David Pogue has his story. If you're a movie fan, you may recognize the name Bryan Stevenson as the hero of the 2019 movie, Just Mercy, played by Michael Jordan. It's the true story of a Harvard trained lawyer who saves an innocent black man from execution in Alabama.

If we're just going to accept the system that treats you better, if you're rich and guilty, then if you're poor and innocent, then we can't claim to be just. Mr. Stevenson. Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the court. If you're a Supreme Court justice, you may remember when Bryan Stevenson convinced you to impose a ban on life sentences for children.

And if you're a visitor to Montgomery, Alabama, the name Bryan Stevenson is everywhere. His nonprofit, the Equal Justice Initiative, created this memorial to the 4400 victims of lynchings in America. Each of these monuments represents a county where lynchings took place. It's called the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Its pathway leads you around a big square angling steadily downward.

They start out looking like tombstones or coffins, and by the time we're here, they're like hanging bodies. Stevenson grew up in the poor rural south, great grandson of an enslaved man. He attended Eastern University on scholarship and wound up at Harvard Law School. But an internship in Georgia changed his life.

That was the first time I met a condemned prisoner. It's when I learned that people in this country were literally dying for legal assistance. But you were a Harvard Law graduate. Did nobody say to you, dude, you could make a lot more money going into a law firm? It seemed like everybody said to me, you should be making a lot more money. But I don't know that I would be passionate.

Every time I saw this community, and I think I just knew that I'd be engaged. In his 2014 memoir, Just Mercy, Stevenson describes his first meeting with the condemned man. The movie version goes like this. If we get denied there, we could file a Rule 32, then a federal habeas petition. And if all that fails, Mr. McMillan, we could take your case all the way to the Supreme Court.

You think all the fancy words gonna get you somewhere around here in Alabama? All they gonna do is eat you alive and spit you out just like every other black man they do when they step out of line. I got all kinds of death threats and there were bomb threats. People made it really clear that they did not value what I was doing, what we were trying to do.

Why would anyone care? And I think it's because the more you disrupt systems that have operated unfairly for a long time, the more you implicate bigger issues. Those bigger issues are obvious in his latest achievement, a 40,000 square foot museum that traces the entire history of American racism. It begins with the abduction of Africans. Twelve million Africans kidnapped, abducted across that ocean, and nearly two million died during the journey. And the story of slavery. I wish I could hold those children.

I want to let them know that God will take care of them. So these aren't playwright words. No. There are hundreds of what they call slave narratives that we went through. And the museum depicts what arose after slavery was outlawed in 1865, a culture of degradation and violence toward black people. No one represents a lynching that took place in America where community members have gone to the lynching site and dug soil from that site. You know, we just had the 20th anniversary of 9-11.

I listened all day to the coverage. It was powerful. We believe in memorialization in this country. But that's different. It's easier for Americans to memorialize something that was done to us than it is to memorialize something we did to others.

Yes, and that's the irony. This country enslaved black people for two and a half centuries. We tortured and terrorized black people for a century. We segregated and subjected black people to racial hierarchy. We continue to imprison and incarcerate and punish people of color in ways that are not proportionate. But we can be more than a country of enslavers and lynchers and segregators and executioners, but only if we acknowledge that.

And that, he says, is the point of all of this, to confront our unpleasant history as a first step in healing. Of course, not everyone is delighted. You might have heard this term, critical race theory. I have. At this moment, people are saying, people like you are trying to make us feel ashamed of America.

Yes, you're right. Some people are like, oh, I'm afraid to deal with the truth because I don't know what I'll feel. I don't want to punish America for this history. I want to liberate us.

I want us to get to something better. But to get there, we're going to have to talk more honestly about the barriers we constructed over 400 years. What's striking about Stevenson's offices, memorial, and museum is that they all sit on the very streets where black people once arrived in chains.

It doesn't make the city leaders uncomfortable. You're pushing everybody's faces in the shame of this place's ugly history. I think it's really important that we tell these stories in ways that are authentic and represent the power of place. A lot of people have said, oh, your national memorial is really powerful. You just should have put that in Washington.

I want people to come to Montgomery. In your book, you describe yourself as broken. Is this work against this resistance system what made you feel broken? I've had to stand next to people before they were pulled away, strapped in an electric chair, and burned to death.

And so it's hard. I am broken, but I believe in brokenness, I've come to identify with the plight of those who are suffering. Since the case described in the movie... Yay! Brian Stevenson has helped to save 145 wrongly convicted prisoners from execution. But he'll tell you that his work is far from finished. From the outside, it seems like your work generally falls into two categories. There's all this, which is education about the past, lynchings and slavery. And then there's your real job, which is representing people who have been unfairly incarcerated. Is there a connection between slavery then and incarceration now?

Oh, absolutely. I mean, we have the most punitive society on the planet. We tolerate excessive punishment that very few societies tolerate.

And that's largely because we have been acculturated to accept extreme punishment, beginning with enslavement, beginning with lethal violence and lynchings. What we will help us recognize is that this stuff is connected. It's all connected.

You know, for me, it's all one job, and the job is justice. Two-plus years into this time of COVID, Ted Koppel is taking us to the streets of New Orleans for a refresher course on the healing power of jazz. There are two words you don't normally associate with the streets of New Orleans, quiet and empty. It's not that the music ever stopped in the Big Easy, but with the ebb and flow of the pandemic, there have been times when the music was hard to share. As its name suggests, Preservation Hall was established to preserve the music and the traditions of New Orleans jazz, a place of harmony between generations. They've been open and closed during the pandemic. We were there in December. 89-year-old Charlie Gabriel is in New Orleans Institution, playing here with 33-year-old Brandon Lewis, who is no slouch either.

Brandon has one Grammy nomination under his belt. Fifty years from now, you think you're still going to be blown like this? Well, I would like to imagine so, but that might be wishful thinking. That's pretty amazing, isn't it?

Yeah, definitely. Playing in front of people, having a communal musical experience is part of New Orleans music. That's Ben Jaffe on bass.

Sixty years ago, it was his parents, Alan and Sandra Jaffe, who established Preservation Hall. These days, Ben is its creative director, committed to sharing its music. That's part of New Orleans. New Orleans music isn't something that exists in a room by yourselves.

But Ben, that's part of music everywhere, right? I mean, music without an audience. The nuance of New Orleans music is not only what goes on in the theater, but also what happens out on the street. And when the streets are swept empty by COVID, as they were at the beginning of the pandemic, you go where the rest of the country's gone, online. Preservation Hall put on a benefit concert, live stream, lots of special guests. Half a million dollars raised went to support the 60 or so musicians who rotate in and out of the hall. Among the musicians hit hardest by the pandemic are the ones who usually work on the street.

Like millions of other Americans, Doreen Ketchins on clarinet, husband Lawrence on the tuba, and daughter Dorian on drums worked from home. As many of us have learned, Zoom is helpful, but it's kind of flat. And when you can't see your audience at all, the chemistry is gone.

I can't stand this live stuff. Let me tell you now. For Doreen and her family, Doreen, could you start the song, please? The spark is on the street.

You'd have seen the difference immediately on an unseasonably warm and sunny December morning at the corner of Royal Street and St. Peter. That intersection, as Ben Jaffe told me, is recognized throughout the community as belonging to Doreen. You don't touch Doreen's corner. You don't mess with her.

That corner is the Times Square of the French Quarter. She is world famous. She is, after all, a classically trained musician. Doreen has played with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Doreen has played for dignitaries and presidents and all over the world, but she'd rather be right here on the street than like, no.

Okay? On the street or playing with the symphony orchestra, good times, bad times, New Orleans musicians have been schooled and raised in a unique culture. My free job as a child was a funeral. Charlie played that first funeral 78 years ago.

He was 11 back then, and most of the adult musicians were off at war. That is something that's unique to New Orleans, is not just playing for an audience, but music becomes a way to process your sadness. You go to a funeral in New Orleans, and you end up in a parade. It starts slow and somber. Two blocks from the cemetery, then he picks up the tempo of the music.

The second line, and they have an abode. There's a joy that lives in this city. There's a resilience here that is so important to New Orleans. There's a resilience here that is oftentimes not really understood because we don't talk about it, because it's just something that exists inside the people, and I look to people like Charlie for strength at those moments. Charlie and Ben have a special relationship. My father would have been the same age as Charlie, and my father passed away when he was 51, and I was 16.

These past two years, Charlie and Ben have spent almost every day together, practicing and playing with and without an audience. He would come down and he would say, okay, we're going to play this song today. I learned more songs in the last year and a half. My repertoire grew by like 100 songs. Like so many of us in lockdown, Doreen Catchens and her family were feeling the strain.

I was going crazy not being able to play, and I tell people even if we were out here and nobody was listening, it would still be a blessing. But if you ask Doreen where she dreams of playing, well... Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Albert Hall. Albert Hall?

Yeah, and then I can wear something shiny. How about Milan? You want to go to Milan? Oh, yeah, I've never been to Italy.

Doreen would knock it out of the park because she is one of the world's great clarinetists. But what has the tourists gasping? What can get close to a million views when videos are posted online are Doreen's long notes. So you can just hold your breath for as long as you can. Oh, yeah. Expel for a very long time. Yeah, but I mean, there are tricks too. I mean, sometimes if I can hold a note just long enough they'll just be loud enough for me to just take a breath really quickly. And keep that note going.

That's right, that's right. We're working our way towards losing one million Americans. That kind of an event has to have an impact. What do you think is going to happen to our music?

Will anything memorialize these times, do you think? Well, in New Orleans it's always a second line. You know, the first line is to honor that person for the Bereve family to express their grief at the loss of their lover. And once the last family car passes the trumpet player, he gives off a call.

Something like this. And then the crowd goes, hey! And that hey is supposed to symbolize that the time for Bereve music is over, it's time to rejoice because that person has gone on to a better place. And they would release doves and those doves would symbolize the spirit, the soul of that person rising into the heavens.

Doves are not easy to come by. People still had handkerchiefs, so that's what it is. You know, you wave the handkerchief in the air. Time for a lot of handkerchiefs these days. Amen. Country is in a lot of pain.

Yeah, country is in a lot of pain. Are we going to hear that in your music? Well, you don't want to remind people of so much pain. And in your music you want to be joyful.

You want to lift them. You want them to feel happy. And in that spirit, we take note of the passing at the end of December of Sandra Jaffe, age 83, co-founder of Preservation Hall, mother of Ben Jaffe.

I suspect she would have liked the music to be happier. This is The Takeout with Major Garrett. This week, Stephen Law, ally of Mitch McConnell and one of Washington's biggest midterm money men. List for me the two Senate races where you think Republicans have the best chance of taking a Democratic seat away. Nevada, New Hampshire. Not Georgia. Well, Georgia's right up there, but New Hampshire is a surprise.

In New Hampshire, people really just kind of don't like Maggie Hassan. For more from this week's conversation, follow The Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Now on to Miss Becky's Place, where Jonathan Vigliati found a safe haven to pull up a chair or grab some comfort to go. Starting at six every morning, diners file into Miss Becky's Place to fill their stomachs and nourish their spirits with a home-cooked meal.

This is good. If the lights are on, odds are Miss Becky James is in. Miss Becky's.

She answers the phone. What would you like? Do you want gravy on those? Takes the orders. Miss Skittin' Gravy?

Yes. And cooks and serves food made from scratch, just like her mother before her. My mother, she wasn't a fancy cook, but she was a really good cook. I love cornbread and fried food. I'm really a Southern girl at heart. A Southern girl at heart and a steel magnolia in this Kentucky kitchen that's helping keep her battered community on its feet.

On December 10th, an unprecedented line of tornadoes tore through Kentucky and surrounding states, decimating town after town, including an estimated 75 percent of Dawson Springs. Miss Becky was home at the time, hiding with family and friends in her basement. I just said, thank you, Lord, that you took care of all my family, that we're all safe. That was my only thoughts. I wasn't worried about the house or the rest of the stuff.

Just, you know, when you come that close to death, you learn right away those things don't matter. Her home sustained significant damage, but she got off easy. The tornado killed more than a dozen in town. FEMA says it will take months just to remove the debris, and many are holding on by a threat, which is why Becky says she's not going anywhere. Miss Becky's place has become a way to escape all of this. Yes, everything's normal when I go. It's like I've stepped back to my world when I go there. It's a home away from home.

How's the life? The kind of place where everyone's known everyone else since childhood. I went to school with Reba.

Did you really? Uh-huh. A landmark since the 70s, and these days, there aren't many of those or anything else left in Dawson Springs. So when the lights came on in Miss Becky's after weeks without power, it was like a beacon for all. And for waitress Debbie Hayes, a lifeline. I opened up for the first time since the tornado, and it was the first time I had any normalcy to my life. Now they're elbow-to-elbow with recovery crews from out of town.

And they sit with people they've never seen some of them and don't know and don't care. But on this day, the diner is filled with regulars. What you had to go with is special tonight. They were wonderful. Well, thank you. And it became clear this place is about something more. When my wife died, I started losing weight, and I've been thinking about those vegetables.

You had them all tonight. Today, Miss Becky may be this town's real special. I think if you feed somebody, you help them.

You make them feel better. It's a form of love. Faith Sailey has the last word on a new word game everyone seems to be playing. Are you a nerdle? Have you fallen in love with Wordle, the new craze?

Or are you confused by yellow, gray, and green boxes bombarding your social media? We asked New York Times crossword editor Will Schwartz to explain. Wordle is a game of logic involving words. You try to guess a five-letter word. The computer tells you which letters are in the correct position of the answer and which letters of your guess are correct but in the wrong position.

You get six guesses. One day, you're a smug genius because you got it in two or three, but the next, you're on your knees after five. My advice?

Try some faith. Wordle is the pastime for our current time because it's an addiction you don't have to feel bad about. There's only one a day.

If you miss it, it's gone, flown. Wordle is a habit you can't binge. And the first word you choose can be an existential statement or a strategy. So I always go with a rose to start.

It's got five common letters, three of which are vowels. So this gets you off and going. It's something that connects us with only positivity and maybe some healthy competitiveness. It's satisfying to feel like a word detective every morning and exercise my little gray cells as I quaff my coffee. Ooh, quaff is a good one. Wordle offers us a spiritual lesson.

You've got to fail to win. You have to journey through the gray to find life's answers. And here's the best part. It's just a word we're all looking for, no subtext. In a world where words are constantly being redefined and claimed and defended, Wordle asks us only to arrange five little letters in a way that brings us closer.

Wait, that doesn't fit. Close? They're circling. It seems they're circling just me. Not you. Just me.

Perhaps it's because I always take care to close my curtains. That's Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana in the critically acclaimed new movie, Spencer. After nearly 50 films in a 20-year period, she calls it the role of a lifetime. She's in conversation with Tracy Smith. In her all-too-brief lifetime, Princess Diana held a few official titles, but her unofficial title, The People's Princess, is the one that stuck. She was also known as the most photographed woman in the world. Her every move and every outfit captured on camera, even in her most difficult times, like the days after her separation from Prince Charles. Whatever uncertainties the last few weeks may have brought, I want you to be certain of this.

Our work together will continue unchanged. Of course, we can't know what Diana's life was really like when she was out of camera range, but that hasn't stopped filmmakers from trying to fill in the blanks. Your Royal Highness. Mummy.

The family are all gathered in the drawing room. They are waiting. Spencer, the title comes from Diana's maiden name, is, in the words of director Pablo Lorraine, a fable based on true events. The events in this case are a 1991 Christmas gathering at the Queen's estate. Back when Diana's marriage to Prince Charles was going down in flames. So stand very still and smile a lot.

And she was presumably fed up to here with the constraints of being a royal. You know, you have to be able to make your body do things you hate. You hate.

That you hate. In the film, Diana is played with brittle intensity by actress Kristen Stewart. She seems to nail every detail. From her high-born accent. There is no future.

Past and the present are the same thing. To her kind of trapped animal look. To her relationship with the press.

Something Stewart knows a thing or two about. Can you get out without being followed by cameras? Sometimes. Sometimes.

If I run really fast. At 31, Kristen Stewart, like Diana herself, has become the kind of celebrity that the paparazzi can't seem to get enough of. She shrugs off comparisons with the late Princess Di, but she's fiercely proud of how she played her. Tell me what you felt or thought when you first saw the movie all together. I think it's Diana.

It's probably not. It's our view of her. It's our love for her. And when I watched the movie, I couldn't stop crying. I just couldn't, like I just, because at the end it kind of, it has this sort of lighter note, but I feel the loss of her so intensely. So often.

Sasha Harry. Best part of Christmas so far. And I know I'll get the truth from you, sir. When you arrive, Mummy, sir. Thank you, sir. To do Diana justice, Stewart spent months perfecting the princess's speech and movement.

What happens to the pheasants? But inwardly, she was so nervous that in the days before the cameras rolled, she couldn't even get her mouth to open. You actually had like TMJ?

Yeah. It gave my body a lot of anxiety that my mind sort of didn't really know about. What do you think was going on there? It was a big deal. You know, I really didn't want to mess this one up. And sometimes your body knows more than you do about your stress levels, you know.

Stress can manifest so physically. It was like everyone had done such an incredible job putting together the world. I was like, all right, bro, now it's on you. And then I couldn't open my mouth. I think also everyone wanted to know if I was nervous so much. I was like, you must be freaking out playing princess. You must be just like straight tripping.

I was like, I'm completely fine. I have no idea what you're talking about. I don't care. I got it. I got it.

I love her. But then somehow it just, you were able, it opened up. I got lucky, yeah.

No, it was like, yeah. It just got lucky, yeah. Seems she's had her share of luck.

Born in Los Angeles, Stewart started going up for onscreen roles as a child. Her parents, who both work in the movie business, reluctantly let her chase her dreams. And when she wanted to blow off an audition, her mom wouldn't let her.

I genuinely remember being like, we don't even need to do this one. And her telling me, you should just go to this last one because you have an appointment. And you should not be somebody who is just like, you know what I mean? Just honor your commitments.

Yeah. And thank God, because genuinely, it sounds like a story. In retrospect, I'm like, God, if my mom wasn't like, don't blow off your commitments, I would have not been an actor.

Do it. By age 11, she was well on her way to stardom in movies like 2002's Panic Room opposite Jodie Foster. Mom, get the **** out of my house. And then there was the Twilight saga. I love you. You started Twilight at 17, shooting Twilight at 17? Yeah. Were you in any way prepared for what happened? Uh, no.

It seems no one was. In 2008, Stewart starred in the first of what would be five Twilight movies, based on the books about a teenage girl who falls for a handsome young vampire. Are you afraid? No. When the final Twilight installment came out in 2012, Kristen Stewart was a household name and the highest paid actress in the world. And as if the movies alone weren't enough to keep fans in a frenzy, Stewart and co-star Robert Pattinson were a couple off-screen as well, and the tabloids could barely keep up. There will be nothing like that in my career, you know what I mean?

It's hard to compare that to anything. There may be. There's a good chance there's not. I'm like, no, there won't. I'm like, no, no, no, trust me, there won't.

He's a great director, just hear him out. Truth is, there have been a few other high points since. For her work in 2015's The Clouds of Sils Maria, she became the first American actress ever to win a C├ęsar, the French equivalent of an Oscar.

In the movie. But these days, Stewart's personal life is still making news. But most recent is her engagement to long-time girlfriend Dylan Meyer. Are you full-on wedding planning now? No, it's a lot. It's a daunting thing, kind of, yeah.

I have a lot going on right now. Yeah, you kind of do, right? Yeah. So there's no date set, it's sometime in the future. Yeah, I think it'll happen when it's supposed to happen.

But I also don't want to be engaged for like five years. Like, we want to do it, you know what I mean? So. Sooner rather than later.

Yeah. Listen to your lips. For now, she's still busy with all things Diana. I've been imagining how they'll write about me in a thousand years. I feel royal.

The more time that passes, the fewer words they used to describe you. William the Conqueror. Elizabeth the Virgin. Diana. Critics have called her performance one of the best of the year, and she's very much in the Oscar conversation.

If I ever do become queen, what will I be? But Kristen Stewart says she's just happy to be here. How much of it do you think is luck? I am so lucky.

I happen to live in L.A. My parents happen to be, you know, respectively script supervisor and first AD. Like, those things are so random. So yeah, I think there's just a vast amount of coincidence. And a little bit of skill too, maybe. Oh yeah, I'll do anything for this.

I'd climb out of a ditch and rip my fingernails off for this movie. All of this sounds completely, like, histrionic and totally, like, whatever. Too much. Exaggerated. Absolutely. It's true. Yeah. You need to, like, love it like a psycho. That's the only way to make something, like, so committed and, like, so true.

On the eve of the Lunar New Year, contributor Hua Xu is finding comfort at a store that's just like home for millions of Asian Americans. Every time I remember that my mother is dead, it feels like I'm colliding with a wall that won't give. Author and musician Michelle Zauner was 25 years old when her mother died of cancer. There's no escape. Just a hard surface that I keep ramming into over and over. A reminder of the immutable reality that I will never see her again. This half an inch tumor, like, destroyed my family and tore my life apart. And I think I just needed all of the space and word count and time to sort through that. Her story of climbing out from the depths of grief became a runaway bestseller. For a long time, you know, I couldn't remember my mom before she was sick because, you know, I had lived 3,000 miles away since I was 18, so the last concentrated period of time that we spent together was when she was ill.

These are three different types of rice cakes. In the aisles of the Korean-owned grocery chain H-Mart, Zauner found comfort. The beloved spam. Suddenly I wasn't thinking about my mom losing her hair or my mom losing weight. I was thinking about us in Korea eating patbingsu, shaved ice with sweet red beans, and it was like a parting of a cloud, like a mental cloud. I know we are all here for the same reason. We're all searching for a piece of home or a piece of ourselves. We look for a taste of it in the food we order and the ingredients we buy. Do you feel like you're a spokesperson for H-Mart sometimes? Yeah, I mean, I feel like they're the number one cheerleader.

Zauner's influence is undeniable as soon as you walk through the door. Using Korean food and learning. Her promotional video plays on a loop.

That's actually the first time I've seen this on the TV. Nearly 40 years ago, H-Mart opened this store in Flushing, Queens in New York, selling mostly Korean ingredients as well as other Asian snacks and produce. These are basically like Korean Funyuns.

Today, it's the country's largest Asian grocery chain with more than 100 stores nationwide. This is the New Year's section a little bit. It has become a kind of hub for Lunar New Year shopping. For Lunar New Year, you have to treat yourself to some fancy fruits.

You know that produce is special when it comes with its own down jacket. Zauner is gathering ingredients to make a stew that, she says, works for Lunar New Year and all year round. I think the best thing that I know how to make is kimchi jjigae. It's a Korean kimchi stew and it's kind of like the chicken soup of Korean culture. Kimchi is a staple of Korean cuisine and it's fermented. Often spicy vegetables are the base of this stew. The key to really good kimchi jjigae is really old, funky, aged kimchi.

It's making its presence known. Yeah, this is made with cabbage. It's fermented with red pepper flakes, with onion and garlic, and sometimes carrots and radishes. The longer the kimchi is aged, the more flavorful the stock.

It smells great already. Simmer with some onions and pork, top with tofu and scallions, and? It has such like a depth of flavor.

I can't believe it just took like 20 minutes to make. It's delicious. My mom made really good kimchi jjigae. So for me, when I think of like Korean food and Korean comfort cooking and my mom's cooking, this is one of the main dishes that I always think of and was one of the most important things for me to learn how to make on my own because it was something that I really, really missed eating. There was a part of me that felt or maybe hoped that after my mother died, I had absorbed her in some way, that she was a part of me now.

These days, Michelle Zauner is preparing to go on tour with her indie pop band, Japanese Breakfast, and she's turning her memoir into a movie. Do you see writing and cooking as a way of just bringing your mother back just for these moments? Yeah, absolutely. To have to scour memory and relive and see and smell and taste and hear all of those things again. It's kind of the closest that you can get to resuscitating someone. Thank you for listening.

Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. This is Intelligence Matters with former acting director of the CIA, Michael Morell. Bridge Colby is co-founder and principal of the Marathon Initiative, a project focused on developing strategies to prepare the United States for an era of sustained great power competition. The United States put our mind to something we can usually figure it out. What people are saying and what we kind of know analytically and empirically is our strategic situation, our military situation is not being matched up with what we're doing. Follow Intelligence Matters wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-29 13:02:04 / 2023-01-29 13:17:47 / 16

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