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WikiLeaks reveals John Podesta’s secret for making creamy risotto

Zachary Crockett/Vox

On October 7, WikiLeaks released a long-anticipated dump of emails from the inbox of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta. Four days later, the organization added an additional 2,000 emails to the hack.

As Vox’s Andrew Prokop writes, there seems to be nothing “outright scandalous” in the emails. Most of the communication covers “a litany of policy and strategy discussions between Clinton staffers on how to handle issues of the day and the press.” The biggest revelations so far have been her praise of open borders and single-payer health care.

But buried deep in the email trove is another critically valuable nugget of information: John Podesta’s secret to making superb risotto.

On September 18, 2015, at 6:28 pm, Podesta received a pressing inquiry from Peter Huffman, a onetime employee of the Clinton Health Access Initiative:

At 2:50 am the following morning, Podesta offered his nuanced response:

“The slower add process and stirring causes the rice to give up it’s [sic] starch,” he wrote, “which gives it it’s [sic] creamy consistency.”

It should be noted that Podesta’s “slower add process” risotto technique does not come without its share of controversy. Food science writer J. Kenji López-Alt has debunked this in the past: By cooking rice in a wider, shallower skillet, he claims, you can “get perfect results by adding the rice and almost all of the liquid at once.”

Regardless, this wasn’t the last of Podesta’s risotto talk: A few months later, on December 10, a colleague emailed Podesta to put him in touch with some contacts. Podesta responded that he’d not only successfully met up with said contacts but had treated them to risotto round two.

As Politico wrote in 2009, Podesta is “his family’s chief cook” and “can put on a five-course meal for six in the space of three hours without assistance.” His cooking techniques — including, presumably, his risotto expertise — were acquired from his mother.

“I don’t use recipes … I don’t tend to cook like a chemist,” he told a reporter. “Cooking is what I do to relax. It’s much easier to see the fruits of your labor. It’s fun.”

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