For TikTok chef @NanaJoe19, her recipes are an act of cultural appreciation

Even the most inexperienced home cook may find themselves falling down the rabbit hole when it comes to food on TikTok. The video-sharing platform can turn anything into a super-hot online moment — butter slabs, canned fish, ground sandwiches — and for California home cook Alejandra Tapia (@nanajoe19), it's fueled her lifelong love of cooking It became a full enjoyment. - A career as a content creator.

Tapia was born in Mexico. The eldest of four sisters, she started preparing meals for her younger siblings as early as age 9, but what was once considered a chore eventually turned into a passion. "My mom always told me not to waste food on 'experiments,' because her recipes were so traditional, and I'd say, 'We're not doing that. We're adapting it. That's what we're going to do.' My family Always call my recipes experiments, but they always work," she said. As for these "experiments," they've earned Tapia's page nearly 250 million likes, a spot on TikTok's 2022 Latino Trailblazers list, and the chance to cook a vegan meal for Lizzo. It's safe to say her experiment has worked. Her 6.4 million followers would probably agree.

Tapia is dedicated to adding a Mexican twist to popular foods and showing followers how to make traditional Mexican dishes. "Whenever I combine culture with food, I like to introduce people to my love of culture. I show them a part of my culture and then a part of another culture and make something for people to enjoy .It’s a way to show love to my followers and supporters,” she said.

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Below, Tapia recounts a typical day in her life, stressing that "every minute is accounted for," from walking her teenage children to school to the seemingly endless dishes in the kitchen at the end of the day . Shoot.

24 hours with @NanaJoe19

3am: My husband gets up and goes to work and I stay in bed for a few more hours, especially if it's not the day and I pack lunch for him and his co-workers because if it is, they'll bring lunch. They have lunch around 8 o'clock in the morning

6am: On busy days, I set my alarm for 6am but know I'll wake up at 7am. I check my phone in bed. I check my email. I check my text messages. I check my social media and reply to comments here and there.

7:15am: I wake up and make coffee - I refuse to drink instant coffee, it makes me nervous - so I make a pot. Then I start getting ready for what I’m going to do that day. Most days, I cook more than just one meal. I always try to do three things at once.

8 a.m.: I get my teenage Josiah to school by 8:30 a.m. and he runs on my time because he never gets there early.

9am: I get home and start preparing little Joseph’s snack box that I made for him at the gym. My pre-workout – I know I’m not supposed to drink coffee before a workout, but it keeps me going.

10am: I go to the gym and stay there for an hour. This is what I consider my time because I put on my headphones and forget that everyone else is waiting for me to do something else.

11:30 AM: I start doing everything in the kitchen - I'm a tornado there. I start prepping, cooking, and filming my content because I like to post my first video of the day by 1:30 pm, and I try really hard to get everything I have to do in the time after I get home. I had two hours to finish everything I had to do before posting by 1:30.

11:45 AM: I'm cooking. The most common things my family eats are onions, garlic, tomatoes and peppers. With these four ingredients, you can make a lot of toppings, whether it's salsa, chilaquiles, huevos [egg] rancheros, chicken rancheros or camarones [shrimp] rancheros. My best advice? Invest in a good nonstick pan.

1:30 PM: My first video of the day has been shot, edited, and posted to my TikTok page, and I can breathe again. I started cleaning out a bunch of dishes that I had and the living room, and I had my son Josiah destroy it because he definitely does the most in the living room while I'm filming in the kitchen. I tidied everything up and prepared dinner. Sometimes, if I have leftover food from whatever I'm making, then that's what everyone eats.

4 p.m.: I'm always late to pick up Josiah from high school because every minute of my life is taken into account. If I haven't cleaned up yet, he does the rest for me when we get home. If it's done early enough, we'll head to the grocery store, but if not, we'll save that part for later and continue cooking.

5pm: My husband gets off work around 4pm, so dinner is served early at my house, but we all eat at different times. Around this time, I would play with Joseph and we would go to the park and feed bread and lettuce to the ducks. We do some routine with him to burn him out and then go home.

6pm: I'm going to the grocery store to buy everything else I have to make for the next few meals if I haven't already because it won't fit in my refrigerator. I wish I had two or three refrigerators at home so I could shop for at least a full week, but I can't, so I shop two days at a time. I spend Sunday making my weekly plan for the recipes I’m going to make for the next week.

7:30 PM: I get home from the grocery store, put all the groceries away, and make sure all the dishes are washed—the tower of dishes never ends; I wash dishes about three times a day. I have to have a clean canvas to start everything I have to do the next day.

8pm: I start picking up groceries based on what I have to do tomorrow and getting ready in advance. I can chop vegetables, I can make salsa, I can make chicken, I can make beans ahead of time so in the morning, I can reheat everything according to my recipes.

11pm: After three hours of prepping and cleaning again for the next day, I'm done in the kitchen. I would go to the living room to take a break and relax by playing on my phone.

11:30 PM: I jump in the shower and start my nightly routine.

12am: I finally lay in bed, knowing I won't actually go to bed until 1 or 2am. My brain never sleeps when it comes to creating content. It’s a very mentally draining job, but I love it. I like this.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.