Because food connects us all, Yahoo Life is serving up a heaping plateful of table talk with people who are passionate about what's on their menu in Deglazed, a series about food.
Before taking Peloton members on the ride of their lives, Emma Lovewell eats light, opting for a banana or "a little bit of smoothie" to prevent getting a stomach ache during class. When the sweat session ends, the 34-year-old instructor turns to protein-rich foods like fish or protein shakes.
But for Lovewell, the meals she gets most excited about are those tied to celebrations.
"My mom is from Taiwan and so Asian food and Chinese food were a big thing in our household," she says. "Lunar New Year was a big holiday that we would celebrate and we'd always have hot pot."
"You'd have this big pot with a burner under it in the middle of the table with chicken broth and a bunch of herbs and all this raw food that you would cook in the pot," she explains. "I feel like hot pot is one of the things that just makes me feel really nostalgic for home and my mom."
Lovewell's mom also cooks a mean dumpling. "There'd always be amazing dumplings and you'd eat them for good luck," she explains. "They represent bags of money or something — I don't know — there's something funny there. And noodles represent longevity and fish is good luck."
The lucky vibes at Lovewell's childhood dinner table even led to the naming of her first kitten.
"I always laugh because it's like, 'This means luck and this means luck too,'" she says. "I mean how convenient? So much so that when I was like 8 years old we got a kitten and I got to name the cat so I named him 'Lucky' because I thought that was so smart."
Still, luck had nothing to do with another of Lovewell's favorite childhood meals. Growing up on Martha's Vineyard, Mass., she recalls visiting a seafood restaurant called The Wharf, where kids who made the honor roll were treated to a free dinner.
"I remember going there with my family and I'd get the seafood platter and order the most expensive thing on the menu to try to get the lobster and the clams," she says.
Today, Lovewell, who spoke with Yahoo Life as part of her work promoting 9 Elements laundry and cleaning products, enjoys cooking for herself and her boyfriend in her newly-renovated kitchen. As someone who "drinks apple cider vinegar in a shot every morning," Lovewell says she uses 9 Elements, which gets its cleaning strength from vinegar, to keep her kitchen spotless.
"We have this beautiful new butcher block and I'm obsessed with taking care of it," she says. "We have quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances, so the fact that we can use the product on all different surfaces is really great."
Lovewell says she loves entertaining and channels her mom's Taiwanese cooking in her own dinner party menus. "I serve things that are easy for large groups like pastas," she explains. "And, I have this recipe from my mom that's a peanut butter sesame noodle dish that everyone loves. It's a really good one."
Also on Lovewell's go-to dinner party menu? Salad. "I love an easy chickpea salad with a bunch of different veggies where you can put the cheese on the side for people who are dairy-free."
And, when it comes to throwing a stress-free dinner party, Lovewell says it's all in the planning.
"I always try to think of bigger things that I can prep beforehand because when people arrive, I don't want to be shuffling around," she says. "I want to be really present to hang out with everybody."
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