If Netflix truly cared about those of us sequestered to our homes, with our shelves of beans and bad-news-addled brains, it would release either a new season of Queer Eye or another season of the similarly soothing Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat to help us bide our time. Alas, I have no pull at Netflix, and neither seems to be coming soon.
If cook, teacher, and author Samin Nosrat's beloved Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat—the series based on her exhaustive cooking book of the same name—was the culinary travel show home cooks needed in October 2018, then Nosrat's wholesome new podcast, Home Cooking, is what home cooks need right now as they try to make sense of quarantine cooking.
For the experienced cook, pantry cooking comes easy—but those thrown into cooking out of necessity might find themselves wondering things like, "How do I use all these things on my shelf?" The four-part Home Cooking, which released its first episode today, is here to answer those questions and more. In conversation with musician and podcaster Hrishikesh Hirway, Nosrat is responding to voice memos from listeners (here are their instructions for sending one in), telling stories, and sharing advice and what she's cooking at home. If you're not great in the kitchen and don't know who to go to for advice, well, now you've got a trusted source who can explain not just how to cook, but the formula for making every dish delicious.
But Home Cooking serves a purpose beyond troubleshooting your pantry meals: In a time when isolation is a necessary public health measure, many of us are feeling lonelier than ever, especially if we don't have families, roommates, or partners to share our space. Podcasts can be a tough sell at other times; some people just don't understand why one would want to listen to others yammer on. Right now, though, they can fill the void and give the lonely among us a sense of partnership and connection without sharing physical space. And just as we saw on her Netflix show, what makes Nosrat so appealing is that her attitude and liveliness are like that of a good friend, and her method of cooking instruction just seems like conversation.
As Nosrat speaks with Hirway, it feels like some buddies just hanging out, and you—the listener—are one of them. Even if we're alone in our quiet apartments, it doesn't have to feel that way.
This article originally appeared on VICE US.