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You Gotta Eat

A trained chef teaches you how to keep yourself fed in the face of stress, burnout, and exhaustion—and have fun doing it.

Delivery is expensive. Eating a spoonful of peanut butter is depressing. You can’t imagine having the energy to chop an onion. But somehow, you gotta eat. How does anyone feed themselves under these conditions?

Enter You Gotta Eat, a friendly, accessible resource for getting something on your plate when you have too much on your plate. Part cookbook, part pep talk, and part action plan, You Gotta Eat offers tips and tactics—plus ten “do exactly this” recipes—for making effortless food that’s nourishing, tasty, and even a little fun. Choose your current energy level and learn important kitchen skills:

  • If you can open a package: Turn instant ramen into a feast
  • If you can assemble a plate: Make a cheese board fit for a king
  • If you can press a button: Whip up perfect eggs in the microwave
  • If you can wield a knife: Turn any leftovers into a hearty casserole
  • And dozens more ideas for living deliciously without impossible effort!

Whether you’re burnt out, depressed, overworked, a new parent, living away from home for the first time, or some combination of the above, let food editor, classically-trained chef, and nacho enthusiast Margaret Eby show you how to make your eating experience better—and easier—in every way.

Posted by Gaby Iori

Happy Chuseok! Enjoy This Recipe from A SPOONFUL OF TIME Author Flora Ahn

Happy Chuseok!


When the air begins to turn a bit crisp and some of the leaves start to change color, it means that Chuseok is just around the corner. In America we look forward to Thanksgiving as a time to return home and reconnect with family, but in Korea Chuseok is the big holiday to celebrate in the fall. Long before Christmas became a regular holiday in Korea, Chuseok was celebrated across towns each year as a harvest festival in the late summer or early fall depending on the lunar calendar. But Chuseok is more than just a gathering of family, it’s also a time to pay respect to one’s ancestors. Growing up in Seoul, my mom and her siblings would be treated to new clothes before they’d head out to clean and tidy up family graves where they’d bow and then picnic together.


As part of the Chuseok celebration, families gather together for feasts filled with a variety of traditional foods. In A Spoonful of Time, Maya and her grandmother made songpyeon, small rice cakes stuffed with different fillings like sesame seeds, honey, or red beans. But there are other traditional foods commonly eaten at Chuseok, like japchae. While japchae actually means “mixed vegetables,” it’s mostly known for its long and slippery glass noodles, which my mom said symbolize long life (which is what she says about a lot of traditional Korean dishes). Every holiday or special occasion, I’d wait for my mom to pull out a giant plastic tub and put on her gloves and soon the kitchen would be filled with the aroma of sesame oil. I’d linger in the kitchen stealing bites of stray vegetables or some noodles that my mom would hold out for me to slurp up. But the best part is when it would all come together at the end into a wonderful mixture of flavors and textures that my mom would pile onto a large platter and place on a table filled with different amazing dishes for my family to share.


There are so many different ways to make japchae and every family has their own take on the recipe. Here is a version I adapted from my mom’s vague oral instructions, but you can tweak it in ways to make it your own.



●      8 oz Korean glass/starch noodles (dangmyeon)

●      4-6 oz beef (sirloin)

●      5 dried shiitake mushrooms

●      1 bundle (½ lb) of spinach

●      3 scallion stalks

●      1 small onion

●      1 medium sized carrot

●      1 small red bell pepper

●      2 tsp salt

●      1 tsp black pepper

●      1 egg, fried and cut into thin strips

●      1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

●      Vegetable oil for frying



●      4 tbsp soy sauce

●      3 tbsp sesame oil

●      1 tbsp sugar

●      ½ tsp black pepper

●      1 tsp minced garlic



Slice the scallions, onion, carrot, and red bell pepper into thin strips, about 2” long.

Using vegetable oil, individually stir fry the vegetables with salt and pepper for about 1 minute each and then add to a large bowl or pot. This bowl is where all the magic will happen later and will henceforth be referred to as “the big bowl.”

Soak the shiitake mushrooms in hot water until soft. Rinse and squeeze out any excess water. Slice into thin strips.

Make marinade in a small bowl by mixing well 4 tbsp soy sauce, 3 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp sugar, ½ tsp black pepper, and 1 tsp garlic.

Thinly slice beef into strips about 2” long and marinate the beef and mushrooms with ½ of the marinade.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach and blanch for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Rinse in cold water and gently squeeze out any excess water. Cut a few times into smaller pieces and add to the big bowl.

Stir fry the beef. When the beef is almost done, add the shiitake mushrooms and stir fry for 1-2 minutes longer. Remove from heat, and place the beef and mushrooms into the big bowl.

Cook the noodles in boiling water for about 7 minutes until the noodles are transparent. Stir them occasionally so that they don’t stick together. Drain and rinse in cold water. Cut the noodles with kitchen shears a few times and then add to the big bowl.

Mix everything together and season with remaining marinade according to taste. If you’re my mom you put on gloves and mix it by hand.

You can then plate the japchae and garnish with thin strips of fried egg and toasted sesame seeds.


Leftover japchae should be kept refrigerated. Reheat in a pan or eat cold straight from the fridge if you’re lazy like me. To make japchae vegetarian just omit the beef.

As you cook and eat japchae, I hope that you enjoy it with loved ones as Korean food is great to eat in a shared setting much like how Maya and her grandmother enjoyed the food they cooked together in A Spoonful of Time!

Posted by Flora Ahn

Flora Ahn Talks Lunar New Year, Food Memories, and Inspiration for A SPOONFUL OF TIME

The beginnings of A Spoonful of Time were hatched over the heat of a grill and amid aromas of beef, garlic, and onions. There was the idea for a story but it needed more details of Seoul from the past. So I turned my regular meals with my parents into research trips. Sometimes we would meet for lunch at a restaurant to eat steaming bowls of gomtang (beef bone soup) or bubbling jjigae (stew) in scalding hot stone pots. But most of the time we’d have barbecue at my parents’ house.

Posted by Flora Ahn

Quirk Books To Help With Your New Year’s Resolutions

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Resolutions are a complicated subject. Some people swear by them, some people swear off them, and most people swear they are going to keep to theirs, and then forget about it by the time the snow melts! Whichever camp you fall into, making New Year’s Resolutions can be a fun way to focus on something positive to bring into your life in the new year, even if it’s just for January. From a decision to take better care of your health and your home, to getting more sleep or shopping less, we have a Quirk book for every resolution—unless your resolution is to buy fewer books!


I Resolve to Get Fit: Work It Out by Sarah Kurchak (on sale April 18, 2023)

Resolutions to work out more, get fit, or hit the gym are some of the most common, but it can be hard to head out in the cold of winter to exercise. That’s why Work It Out is ideal, as it will help you get healthy without even having to get out of bed! Author Sarah Kurchak is an autistic personal trainer, who understands that 45 minutes at a gym isn’t accessible (or reasonable) for everyone, and so Work It Out focuses on ways to incorporate movement and develop new habits in a unique way. Realistic, accessible, and practical, this is the ideal book to make sure that anyone can improve their physical and mental health through movement—without hustling at the gym for hours.

Explore the Book



I Resolve to Buy Less (And Still Look Great): New to You by Melody Fortier

Fast fashion is increasingly recognized as a problematic way to stay stylish, so if your resolution is to buy less, New to You is an ideal guide to making what you already have (or what someone else has had before you) work. Subtitled How to Buy, Fix, and Keep Secondhand Clothing, New To You covers every step from buying vintage and second hand (and making sure you get the good stuff) to fixing, maintaining, and storing items so that they will last. Fast fashion isn’t the only way to a stylish wardrobe, and this book will help create one that is truly unique, and will last a lifetime.

Explore the Book



I Resolve to Be More Organized: This Modern House by Jennifer McKnight Trontz

Keeping on top of things around the house doesn’t come naturally to most, and that is why everyone needs a copy of This Modern House. Drawing from vintage housekeeping and modern, practical advice, this book includes everything adults need to know about budgeting, food shopping (and avoiding food waste), cleaning, entertaining, and more. Decorating tips, how to sew on buttons, and even how to host a dinner party (and plan it well) come together to help anyone who wants to be one of the people who Have Their Life Together. Vintage aprons not required.

Explore the Book



I Resolve to Get More Sleep: Good Night by Julia Blohberger and Roos Neeter (on sale March 21, 2023)

Everyone knows that a good night’s sleep is almost magic—it helps with physical and mental health, focus, fitness, and so much more—but it’s not always easy to break the cycle and start getting a good night’s sleep. That’s where Good Night: Your Holistic Guide to the Best Sleep of Your Life comes in. Written by yoga teachers and Ayurveda health and lifestyle advisors, Good Night looks at all the parts of our lives that affect the quality of sleep we get, and provide advice and tips on how to get the best sleep you can, starting from wherever you are, even if that’s only a few hours a night.

Explore the Book



I Resolve to Drink Less Alcohol: Stuff Every Tea Lover Should Know and Stuff Every Coffee Lover Should Know by Candace Rose Rardon

By the end of the festive season, with feasts and parties, is it any surprise that a lot of people resolve to cut back on the booze or even cut it out completely? Dry January is increasingly popular, but it can be a struggle to figure out what to replace it with, which is why Stuff Every Tea Drinker Should Know and Stuff Every Coffee Drinker Should Know are great ways to get into a healthier way to sip. These books will take any reader from novice to aficionado on coffee and tea, a perfect journey to take if alcohol is off the menu this year.

Explore Stuff Every Tea Lover Should Know  Explore Stuff Every Coffee Lover Should Know


What books are you reading to support your resolutions? Tweet @quirkbooks and let us know!

Posted by Rose Moore

Stuff Every Grandfather Should Know

This pocket-sized guide has all the stuff you need to become the coolest granddad, grandpa, or Pop Pop on the block!

Becoming a grandfather is one of the most exciting events in a man's life–but there's a lot to learn! This little book is jam-packed with all the wisdom, know-how, and trivia that you'll need to become the best grandfather you can be, including:

  *  How to Pick Your Grandfather Nickname
  *  How to Share Your Wisdom
  *  How to Tell A Tall Tale
  *  When to Step Up and When to Step Back
  *  Planning for Your Future (And Theirs)

The handsome package and timeless information make this a perfect gift for seasoned grandpas and grandpas-to-be alike.

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Stuff Every Grandmother Should Know

This pocket-sized guide has all the stuff you need to become the coolest grandma, mom-mom, or mimi on the block!

Becoming a grandmother is one of life's biggest joys—but that doesn't mean it's simple! This handy gift book lays out all the wisdom, savvy, and know-how you'll need to care for, cherish, and spoil your grandchildren from babyhood through the toddler years and beyond, including:

 • How to Pick Your Grandmother Nickname
 • Baby Equipment Essentials
 • How to Play Safe at Your Place
 • How to be Someone They Can Talk To
 • Tips for Sharing Your Memories
 • And more!

The lovely package and timeless information make this a perfect gift for seasoned grandmas and grandmas-to-be alike.

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