Boop, boop! If you’re a connoisseur of food, booze, or life advice you’ve likely stumbled across Hannah Hart. In a twist of fate only capable in the age of the Internet, a wine-inspired video for a friend rapidly turned into the popular YouTube series My Drunk Kitchen and launched Hart into the hearts and eyes of the public. Using her powers for good, Hart soon created a second channel devoted to life talks and a volunteer movement called Have a Hart.
As inspiring as it is funny, Hart’s cookbook My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating, Drinking, and Going With Your Gut is only the latest in a series of feel-good projects she’s taken on. We had the pleasure of chatting (sober, tragically) with Hart about her new book, the authors she’d love to host on My Drunk Kitchen, and her least favorite food.
Hannah Hart: Hemingway, so that we could really get to the nitty-gritty about life and maybe change how much he drank. J.K. Rowling because she meant a lot to me growing up. And Jeannette Wallsbecause, I mean, let’s be real, it’d be amazing.
Bookish: What would you drink and make?
HH: Oh geez, I have no idea. Hemingway: We’d probably just drink scotch and stew in our own discontent. And then with Jeannette… I actually have no idea what I would cook because I’m not that good of a cook. I’d have glasses of wine for everybody and eccentric cheese plates to determine what everybody likes to eat.
Bookish: Nothing special for J.K. Rowling?
HH: Well, I did try Butterbeer. I was in Orlando recently and I tried the Butterbeer and it wasincredibly sweet. No Butterbeer there. Maybe just a nice glass of wine. I’m pretty boring.
Bookish: No, that sounds perfect. Keeping it classy with good ol’ J.K.
Bookish: Your YouTube channel and book are overflowing with support for your fanbase, life advice, and positive energy. Who in your own life inspires you to be that way?
HH: To be honest, it’s the community. They’re the ones who inspire me. They’re as much my family as my family is in a weird way because they make my life possible. They show me all this support and patience and understanding and love. So, the people that inspire me are the community that I, I guess, lead.
They’re way better than I am, to be totally honest. We did a volunteer day and they’ve been self-organizing a lot because I’ve been busy. That’s what really motivates me.
Bookish: It seems like the Have a Hart volunteer days have been really taking off.
HH: How cool is that, right?! Super cool. When we get off the phone, I’m going to search ‘Have a Hart day’ so that I can go on a reblogging spree.
Bookish: People often seek comfort in food and booze, so it only seems natural to mix your recipes with life advice. Was this something that developed naturally on the show, or did you have an epiphany?
HH: Basically the entire inception for the show stems from the fact that I don’t like cooking enough or drinking enough to make a show entirely about that. But what I do like is professing self-reflection, so that was an inherent element of the show from the get-go.
Bookish: In one recipe, Naan of Your Business, you talk about how strange it is to be in the public eye. You went from drunk video for your friend to YouTube partner in two months! As it was gathering momentum, did you have any sense of how much your life was going to change? And did it scare you?
HH: This is more than I ever thought would happen. I think that if I understood how much my life was going to change I might not have done it, so in that sense I’m really grateful that I had no idea what it was going to become. So it didn’t scare me, but I was also woefully underprepared.
Bookish: Have you learned lessons along the way about how to manage it all?
HH: Be more organized, slow down when you need to, and try and stay positive despite discovering the deeper and deeper webs of how the entertainment industry works.
And I think that having good friends that are good friends is crucial. I have friends that I grew up with that don’t work in this space at all and we still finds ways to relate to each other. But also, having good friends within the community itself. Tyler Oakley, he’s amazing; John Green is a mentor. I think that has been deeply, deeply helpful in keeping in check, keeping things in perspective.
Bookish: In both being drunk and giving advice, you end up being very open and honest with complete strangers. Did that ever make you pause when your videos became more and more popular?
HH: Fortunately, I think that the people who are attracted to my channel and find my channel aren’t necessarily complete strangers. They found their way through the webs of the internet to me. That’s better than being popular just to the masses where you don’t really know who’s seeing you.
Every time I’ve met somebody who’s a fan of the channel, I’ve always been like, “You’re cool and great.” You know, they have good taste!
Bookish: You settle a few classic food debates in your book, such as ketchup never being a topping for mac and cheese. But otherwise your palate is wide and ranging. Is there any food you don’t like or would never want to cook with?
HH: I’m really not a big fan of sweets. And ketchup, you kinda hit the nail on the head, I hate ketchup. I also hate mayonnaise.
Bookish: Even ketchup on burgers?
HH: Well… maybe sparingly. But with my fries I’m way more of a mustard person. I’ll always, always, always choose mustard over any other form of anything. Mayonnaise can stay far, far away from me as far as I’m concerned.
HH: Hard to say. The quotes themselves come from my personal book of quotes, so they’re all already my favorite quotes… Let me see, I have a copy of the book right here. Let’s see what happens when we flip to a random page and see what quote that is—that’ll probably be a favorite of mine!
“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.” Truman Capote. I really like that quote.
Bookish: You’ve started the Have a Hart volunteer movement, you’re an author, a successful YouTuber… What’s something that you’d like to do in the future but haven’t gotten to yet?
HH: An episode of My Drunk Kitchen in Japanese. Just get myself drunk and tell myself I can only speak in Japanese, or the Japanese that I can remember, and go from there. I haven’t done it yet and I really, really want to do it. That’s like way up the priority list.
Bookish: I have read that alcohol can help with foreign language skills.
HH: Since it makes you less inhibited, you don’t overthink. You don’t get caught up in thinking about your sentences. You just let them come out. And, I mean, let’s be real: Our brains are so much smarter than us.
Bookish: You specialize in drinking, cooking, and puns (Tear… Ah Miss You and Sad Thai being two of my favorite recipe titles in the book). How do you come up with your puns?
HH: Just right off the top of my head to be totally honest. They say it’s a part of the brain, like a condition.
Bookish: And how to you respond to the naysayers who call puns the lowest form of wit?
HH: I say nothing to them because they’re not worth my thyme.
One day, Hannah Hart decided to make a cooking show and get drunk while doing it. My Drunk Kitchen was received with much critical acclaim from aspiring alcoholics everywhere, earning (to date) over 66 million views on her YouTube channel. Hannah has been featured in Time magazine, on CBS News, BoingBoing, LA Weekly, Marie Claire, and many more. She’s the winner of the 2013 Steamy Award for Best Female Performance in a Comedy, was featured in Wil Wheaton’s board game show, Rainn Wilson’s Soulpancake spinoff, and the 2012 YouTube documentary Please Subscribe. In April 2013 she kicked off the Indiegogo funded Hello Harto: The Tour Show, which included a meet-up in each stop where Hannah and her donors volunteered at the local food bank. My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating, Drinking, and Going With Your Gut is her first book.