Welcoming Iris & Zoe
You may sense a theme in our blog, because after starting it as a mother-daughter effort in 2014, we brought on Kathy Yuan and Mala Mama to contribute their family recipes from Sichuan in 2021 and are now welcoming Zoe Yang and her mom, Iris Zhao, to share their stories and recipes from Jiangnan—the area south of the Yangtze River, including Shanghai and Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. They are from Nanjing, specifically, from which they immigrated when Zoe was 6 and where she later returned for culinary school.
I met Zoe on Instagram when I spotted her adorably fluffy kitten Xerxes posing with our Mala Market chilies, but I soon discovered that she is an extremely thoughtful essayist on culture and food (for Bon Appetit and others). Only later did I learn she is a recipe developer—often in cahoots with her mom—and that the two of them would welcome this chance to write together. One could credit social media for this happy connection, but I call it kismet!
(And as a former WSJ editor, I can’t help myself—I’m always on the lookout for super talented contributors. Do you and your mom cook?)