How two Bay Area food writers channeled pandemic stress into their new cookbook, “Steamed”

In “Steamed: A Catharsis Cookbook for Getting Dinner and Your Feelings on the Table” (Running Press; $20) authors Rachel Levin and Tara Duggan look at all the ways the act of cooking can be therapeutic. Everyone needs to eat, but there are other reasons to turn to the kitchen: You can release some aggression pounding meat for the Pummeled Pork Tonkatsu; have a good cry while slicing onions for the Feeling Sad Onion Soup; or sneak in some downtime with a hands-off recipe like Peace Out Pot o’ Pintos as the beans simmer on the stove.

Levin, a Chronicle contributor, deploys the same wit and humor that’s on display in her previous cookbook, “Eat Something: A Wise Sons Cookbook for Jews Who Like Food and Food Lovers Who Like Jews” (Chronicle Books). Chronicle reporter Duggan, the former assistant editor of the Food + Wine section who now covers climate, brings the recipe chops demonstrated in her other cookbooks, which include “Root to Stalk Cooking: The Art of Using the Whole Vegetable” (Ten Speed Press).

Organized into three sections — Anger Management, It’s All Right to Cry, and Chilling the F Out — the book intersperses psychological research about why these techniques are cathartic with recipes for main courses, sides and desserts. Tweets, quotes from pop culture, and playful illustrations in place of styled food photography enhance the irreverent tone.

We caught up with the authors to learn a little bit more about what went in to making this extremely of-the-moment book. (This Q&A was edited for clarity and length.)