The Great Ones is a celebration of humans we admire — and an exploration of why they cook, not just how. Cat Cohen is a comedian and the co-host of the Seek Treatment podcast. She invited us over to her home in New York City to make breakfast tacos and talk about "soup culture."
I grew up in Houston, and cooking in my house was very simple. I would pour hot sauce on everything because I like flavorful, intense food. Growing up, we were always eating lots of Tex-Mex — queso once a week, at least.
It’s so funny that, for this shoot, I cut up garlic for tacos because I'm a total hypochondriac. I'm a psycho; I will eat raw garlic and raw ginger all the time to stay healthy. I’ll chomp on it until I'm screaming, crying, burning, and then put it away. It's magic. I am magic.
In the family, I'm the one who likes to cook. I love every step of it. I love looking at a recipe and writing it down on paper. I love going to the big suburban grocery store. I take my time. It's like Xanax. I love listening to music while you cook, when there's a breeze coming through the window, and as you're finishing up, having a glass of wine. It's just the best. I think what I love about cooking is that it turns my brain off.
I think what I love about cooking is that it turns my brain off.
Here, I’ve made breakfast tacos and Soup For a Lover Who Wronged Me. When I lived in Crown Heights, and I had more space in my apartment, I would make soup all the time in the winter. I told this guy, “I love making soup.” So when I moved to a new place he was like, “I got you some bowls so we could have soup together.” And then I made soup, and then he wronged me.
I hate summer. I hate hot weather. That's why I love soups and stews. When I saw The Dutchess, I was like, “Oh, I need this pot for my soup culture,” which is just me liking soup.
I hate hot weather. That's why I love soups and stews.
I grew up doing theater, and I always loved acting, performing, and writing. Then there was one summer where I was an apprentice at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and these guys from Upright Citizens Brigade came and taught us improv classes. I was like, Holy shit, what is this?
I knew I wanted to be acting and writing, and fell into the UCB scene. And because everyone there does everything, I was like, I want to try stand-up, too. I tried that, fell in love, and then started making songs.
This afternoon, I have to self-tape three auditions. Long term, I'm developing a scripted project for myself to star in, and that is in the works right now, so I'm beginning the writing process.
Honestly, I've mentioned that how I want to die is that I'm at a dinner party at a long table that seats, like, 12. So at this point in my life I have a big apartment that can accommodate that. I famously say that I'm not moving out of this apartment until I can afford the whole building.
Here’s how it’ll go: Everyone's drinking their own bottle of wine, and nobody thinks that's weird. Everyone's like, Cool, that's awesome. That's actually good for you. In this alternate reality, it's actually good to do that. Then someone at the dinner party turns to me and says, “Oh, I love that painting on the wall.” I'm like, “Oh thanks, a friend painted that,” and then we finish the dinner party. Then I'm in bed with my lover, and he's like, “What's wrong?” And I'm like, “I just feel a kind of longing that resembles sadness, only as the mist resembles rain.” And then I die, and he does the dishes, and that's my fantasy. Prisoner-of-rain fantasy. What better way could you go?
I love breakfast tacos. I make my eggs in Small Fry; I just scramble them in the pan. In The Dutchess, I cook down onions, peppers, and garlic. I like the vegetables to get really soft. Then I add avocado and salsa, I like the cheap salsa. I microwave some tortillas with cheese, and then put everything on top.
Sometimes when I'm feeling really over the top, I'll just put peanut butter and jelly on soft tortillas.
Sometimes when I'm feeling really over the top, I'll just put peanut butter and jelly on soft tortillas. Or just cheese. And then also a little fake sour cream, a.k.a. Greek yogurt. I don't really like yogurt, but I'm like, it's good with this and it's good for my vagina. Does Great Jones like that?