Photography by Michelle Kilfeather
It isn't every episode that we get to learn more about the main character in a book.
First of all, if you haven't already read Home Baked, Alia Volz's autobiography about her mom, her dad, and the pot brownie business they had in San Francisco in the 1970s, please do.
In Part 1, Alia, who was born and raised amid that booming business four decades ago, dives deeper into her parents' stories, both individually and as a couple. As she does in her book, she sets the stage for her eventual arrival, back when her parents lived and cooked baked goods in a warehouse in the Mission.
And then Alia wraps up Part 1 with the story of her birth.
In Part 2, Alia shares stories of joining her mom on pot-brownie runs in The City in the late-'70s. She pivots from there to just a few years later, when Alia witnessed the devastation of AIDS first-hand. She also speaks of communities coming together around the epidemic to provide support for those who needed it.
We fast-forward to around 2000, when Alia began traveling in Europe for many years. While walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain, she began writing. She started a writing program but left that to spend some time in Cuba and later, different parts of South America.
She left her travels when her mom got ill. Spending time with her and recording would eventually lead to Alia's book, Home Baked, which she briefly discussed in Part 1 and which comes out on paperback next week. Look for it at your favorite local bookstore.
Alia shares the story of her and Kevin Hunsanger's (Season 2, Episode 10—links below) wedding, which is quite the San Francisco tale.
We end the podcast with Alia's thoughts on what's next for her hometown of San Francisco.
We recorded this podcast in Alia's backyard in April 2021.