Living with an eating issue, a teenager takes consolation in her favourite Korean food.

A version of this story first appeared in the Student Podcast Challenge Newsletter. Find out more about the contest here.

Grace Go's award-winning podcast begins with her favourite comfort food, budae jjigae. She describes it as "ham, sausage, spam, a packet of instant noodles all cooked in a spicy broth topped with American cheese and chopped scallions."

Budae jjigae, which translates to "army stew" in English, originated in South Korea in the 1950s, during a period of privation following the Korean War. 

"It contains traditional Korean staples such as gochujang and kimchi but with a twist of American foods," Grace said.

Grace's entry, which delves into her delicate relationship with budae jjigae and her own body, has won the Best Mental Health Podcast Prize in this year's Student Podcast Challenge. Her podcast is titled Discomfort Food.

"This was the first piece that I've made where I put myself in the spotlight," says Grace, a rising senior at Mercer Island High School near Seattle.

 That vulnerability, sprinkled throughout her podcast, piqued our judges' interest.

Grace welcomes listeners into her Korean American family's kitchen and her own journey with mental health, accompanied by the sound of her mother's budae jjigae sizzling in a metal pot, all recorded on her phone.

"Many of us who grew up in an immigrant household know that our parents especially value food," Grace says on her podcast.

"But paradoxically, another aspect of our culture contradicts this idea, and prevents many Asian Americans from having a healthy relationship with food."

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