The Pleasures of Cooking While Drunk with Hannah Hart

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Candice Borden

Hannah Hart, creator of the Web series My Drunk Kitchen

Hannah Hart is funny when she's drunk. She's funny when she's sober too, but when she's drunk her eyes get all droopy and she asks questions like, "Do you ever notice that when someone makes something from scratch, that suddenly means they're better than you?" Hart poses this question while clutching a glass of rosé on the most recent episode of her Web-video cooking series, My Drunk Kitchen. The rest of the episode features Hart drinking the wine; mixing milk, sugar and vanilla in a Ziploc bag; drinking more wine; wondering how to turn the bag into ice cream; dropping the bag on the floor; drinking more wine and then eating store-bought ice cream from the carton. "I made this from the freezer," she explains at the end.

Hart, 24, has been posting My Drunk Kitchen videos for less than three months. So far, there are eight episodes. The concept is pretty simple. "In the beginning of the video, I'm sober," explains Hart. "And in the end, I'm drunk. Maybe if I'm lucky, I've cooked something too."

So far, the most popular episode is "Brunch," in which Hart drinks mimosas and tries to make pancakes. "At brunch people whine about problems that aren't actually problems, so let's do a little bit of that," she says in the video, which has been viewed more than 700,000 times on YouTube. "I think Whole Foods has really gone downhill." At one point, she pours trail mix into the batter. A Google search reveals that recipes for trail-mix pancakes do exist, but for Hart, they seem to be an impromptu addition inspired by the two champagne bottles' worth of mimosas.

My Drunk Kitchen is the best cooking show I've seen since that one Paula's Home Cooking episode in which Paula Dean makes a doughnut-and-bacon hamburger. I had many questions for Hart. Unfortunately, TIME made me ask them sober.

Why did you start drunk cooking?
I was cat sitting for my sister. I found a bottle of wine, so I wrote something online like, "I'm going to drink this bottle of wine and then eat something." My former roommate — I'd just moved from San Francisco to New York City — replied and said, "Man, I miss the times when you'd drunk cook for me!" So I made her a video. That became the first episode. My friend told me the video was funny and that I should make it public. So I did.

The grilled-cheese-sandwich one?
Yep, except halfway through the video, I realized I didn't have any cheese. So I just buttered some sourdough bread and heated it in a pan. Here's a word of advice: if you want to make grilled cheese, make sure that you actually have cheese.

Do you really get drunk in all your videos, or do you sometimes fake it?
I really do get that drunk. It takes about an hour to shoot each video, so I'm actually the drunkest after it's over. For the ice cream one, I was with my sister and her husband, and I really just let myself go. I finished the video, and I remember walking over to the couch and lying down. I woke up hours later with a plate of chicken nuggets on my chest and my sister leaning over me going, "Eat these." The sun had already set and everything.

Do you drink a lot?
I hardly drink outside the videos. Honestly? It's expensive. If I'm at a bar, I'll probably order a PBR and nurse it the entire night. That's right, I'm that person.

What My Drunk Kitchen food tasted the worst?
The ice cream was pretty terrible. Or the meatballs — they were just balls of uncooked meat.

Nobody really make meatballs when they're drunk, though.
But they could. They're so easy. As long as you actually remember to cook them.

Do you plan the menu ahead of time?
I know what I'm going to make, and then I do my best to make it with whatever's in the kitchen. I try to do as little advance planning as possible. Supposedly that's to make the videos funnier, but really I'm just lazy.

What do you do when you're not drunk cooking?
I work as a translator and proofreader for documents that have been translated from Japanese into English. I speak Japanese. It's just piles and piles of paperwork. I tell people it's like white collar mining.

You've only been posting videos for a short time, but you already have hundreds of thousands of fans. Is that weird?
People stop me on the street. They'll be like, "Hey, you're that drunk girl!," which probably isn't the best thing to be known for. It's happened to me twice. Someone even wrote me an e-mail and was like, "I saw you sleeping on the train coming back from Washington, D.C. I didn't want to bother you, but I'm a big fan." I get about 50 e-mails a day from people. Most of them are very endearing fan letters from people who really, truly want to be my friend. I try to reply to every one.

Do you want to be a professional comedian?
I write comedy, and I'd like to perform. Right now I don't know which one I'd rather do. The most accurate answer is probably, "I want to be on Glee."

Hart has created a website, Harto & Co., on which she has posted her My Drunk Kitchen videos. She plans to expand her repertoire to include non- cooking and drinking skits but says that even if she becomes a wildly famous comedian, she will continue to drunkenly cook at least once a month. "I'll just be doing it in my giant Hollywood mansion with servants," she says. She promises to never forget the cheese again.