The Splendid Table

  • Hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper

More than just talking about recipes, Splendid Table explores everything about food: the culture, the science, the history, the back stories and the deeper meanings that come together every time people sit down to enjoy a meal.

The Splendid Table host, Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Credit APM

http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/

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Award-winning restaurant critic Patric Kuh explores the soaring popularity of so-called "artisanal" food and drinks in his new book, Finding the Flavors We Lost. He talks with Russ Parsons about why those flavors went away, what artisanal actually means, and why small doesn't always mean better.

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Molly Birnbaum, executive editor of Cook's Science for America's Test Kitchen, turns her attention to mushrooms. She tells Sally Swift how these fungi bridge the gap between plant and animal, why fresh doesn't equal better flavor, and what happens to a mushroom after you cook it for 40 minutes.

[More from Birnbaum]

Sally Swift: What's on your mind today?

Molly Birnbaum

An unexpectedly sweet use for fig leaves

Sep 28, 2016
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Jose Santiago/Thinkstock

In Dandelion & Quince, author Michelle McKenzie explores the uses of some non-standard herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Here, she tells The Splendid Table's Noelle Carter about her tomatillo-inspired green fish stew and the unexpectedly sweet use she's found for fig leaves.

The business and beauty of Sylvia Weinstock's artisan cakes

Sep 28, 2016
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Caryle Murphy

Sylvia Weinstock's artisan wedding and birthday cakes have traveled from her New York City boutique to locales as far-flung as Bahrain and Johannesburg. She tells The Splendid Table contributor Melanie Dunea about what inspires her creations, what keeps her going, and how she learned to make one of her signature flourishes.

[You can also explore The Splendid Table's cake collection here.]

Natto: 'It's like a vegan stinky cheese.'

Sep 28, 2016
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Natto is fermented soybeans, and it's been popular in Japan for over a thousand years. Ann Yonetani tells The Splendid Table's Von Diaz how it gets its "special sauce," and why it might be exactly the thing for a vegan looking for a pungent cheese alternative.

Von Diaz: I recently tried your natto, and I have to say it's a little hard to describe. How would you describe it?

Turmeric basics with Julie Sahni

Sep 28, 2016
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Turmeric is the latest poster child for the healthy living movement, thanks to its reputed anti-inflammatory properties. It's also a staple spice in Indian food, which is why The Splendid Table's David Leite asked legendary author and cooking teacher Julie Sahni to tell us a little more about it.

David Leite: Poor, misunderstood turmeric. Not a lot of people know what to do with it, so why don't we start from the beginning. What exactly is turmeric?

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Delmonico Restaurant, New York City, 1898 (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Food historian Paul Freedman's book, Ten Restaurants That Changed America, tells the history of American restaurants (and America itself, for that matter) through those ten establishments. He tells Lynne Rossetto Kasper why Howard Johnson's is on the list, why McDonald's isn't, and how New York City's famed Delmonico's started it all.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper: Which ten restaurants did you choose?

Osayi Endolyn meets Hoppin' John

Aug 30, 2016
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Andrew Thomas Lee

Osayi Endolyn tells guest host Francis Lam about her introduction to Hoppin' John, and how that connected her to both her personal history and to the influence of African cuisine on the food of the American South.

Francis Lam: I want to start at the beginning of your story. There's this moment where you're working at a fine-dining, modern Southern restaurant, and you come upon a traditional Southern dish that you'd never heard of before, but it reminded you of some of the Nigerian food that you grew up with. Tell us about that moment.

Tasting the Impossible Burger

Aug 30, 2016
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The Impossible Burger (Photo: Impossible Foods)

A Stanford biochemist has created the Impossible Burger, a plant-based burger that has the aroma and texture of a cow-based patty. Bon Appétit's Kurt Soller sampled it, and he tells Francis Lam what he learned and how it tastes.

Chef Jacques Pépin talks with guest host Francis Lam about why roast chicken is so iconic for French chefs, the importance of technique, and what he cooks at home.

Francis Lam: I noticed in your new book, the very first recipe is for a simple roast chicken: no brining, no spicing, just a hot pan and a hot oven. So, let me ask you, why is a simple roast chicken such an iconic dish for French chefs?

Other People's Food and the Greensboro Four

Aug 29, 2016
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Joseph McNeil and Dan Pashman (Photo credit: Anne Saini)

The Sporkful's Dan Pashman has started Other People's Food, a podcast that uses the universality of food to find common ground amid racial and cultural differences. On a recent episode, he spoke with the Greensboro Four's Joseph McNeil, who successfully broke the color barrier at a North Carolina Woolworth's in 1960. Dan shares this conversation with Splendid Table contributor Melissa Clark.

Taking the long cut with Anya Fernald

Aug 18, 2016
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Brown W. Cannon III © 2016

Home Cooked: Essential Recipes for a New Way to Cook author Anya Fernald tells Russ Parsons how she got her unconventional start, her enthusiasm for "long cuts," and what you can do to take the stress out of hosting a dinner party.

Russ Parsons: You came to your approach to food in kind of an unusual way, instead of working at restaurants or going to cooking school, the way so many people do now. How did you learn how to cook?

The art of the spoon

Aug 18, 2016
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Jen Russell

Artist Kiko Denzer teaches Lynne Rossetto Kasper about the craft of spoon-carving.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper: From the bread ovens to spoons, how did this all evolve?

Kiko Denzer: The short answer is they're both sculpture, and they both feed the sculpture passion, and they both feed people, and I think that, really, is the connection.

The fragile science of ice cream

Aug 18, 2016
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Copyright 2016 America's Test Kitchen

Making ice cream and frozen yogurt requires skill, so much so that Penn State offers a course on the subject. Molly Birnbaum, executive editor of Cook's Science for America's Test Kitchen, attended, and shares what she learned with Sally Swift.

[More from Birnbaum]

Sally Swift: It is the time of year for homemade ice cream and I bet you have some ideas for us.

Molly Birnbaum

A zucchini primer

Aug 18, 2016
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What should you be looking for when you're buying zucchini, and what should you do with it once you have it? Taste of Home managing editor Mark Hagen tells Noelle Carter what to do and why you should think beyond another loaf of zucchini bread.

Noelle Carter: Zucchini is one of those summer staples. I can find zucchini in the market, and it ranges from little tiny squash to massive, melon-like vegetables. What should I look for when buying, and how should I store it? How long will it keep?

Mark Hagen

Questions about Korean food? Let Robin Ha draw you a picture.

Aug 17, 2016
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Illustrations by Robin Ha

You're not likely to find a more visually creative cookbook than Robin Ha's Cook Korean!: A Comic Book with Recipes, in which she illustrates the recipes for her favorite Korean dishes. She tells Lynne Rossetto Kasper about the role comics play in her culture, the seven key ingredients in Korean food, and the "magic" of gochujang.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper: So, how did you come to doing comics?

Robin Ha (Photo: Dave Kelly)

Zhug and how to make it

Aug 17, 2016
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J. Kenzi Lopez-Alt for Serious Eats

Some are calling zhug the new Sriracha, but what is it? Serious Eats' J. Kenzi Lopez-Alt answers that question for Lynne Rossetto Kasper, and advises you to get out your mortar and pestle.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper: Tell me about this sauce.

J. Kenzi Lopez-Alt (Photo: Vicky Wasik for Serious Eats)

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The Splendid Table

The Wisconsin supper club is something so unique to its region of the U.S. that someone really needed to make a movie about it. Holly De Ruyter has done just that with her documentary, "Old Fashioned." She tells Shauna Sever about the history of this Badger State institution, the importance of the bar, and what you'll find on a relish tray.

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All photos courtesy Ann Bancroft

Polar explorer and adventurer Ann Bancroft's latest project is "Access Water," a world-spanning journey that looks to document the world's fresh water shortage. She recently returned from a trip down India's Ganges River, and shared her experiences with Lynne Rossetto Kasper.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper: The project is “Access Water.” Explain what this is about.

Sabrina Ghayour's simple shortcuts

Aug 4, 2016
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Haarala Hamilton

Sabrina Ghayour cooks up simple, Middle Eastern-influenced dishes with a modern twist in her second cookbook, Sirocco. She tells Russ Parsons about the shortcuts she's found to traditional Persian methods (despite some skeptical aunts) and the spices she relies on in her kitchen.

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Noah Fecks

Tyler Kord, chef-owner of No. 7 Restaurant and No. 7 Sub, and author of the wonderfully titled A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches, argues that vegetables are the equal of roast beef for sandwiches, makes the case for less-than-perfect ingredients, and asks you (yes, you) to reconsider that to-go bag.

Celery goes to war

Aug 2, 2016
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You may not know it, but celery is an herb. "Queen of Herbs" Jekka McVikar knows this, hence her title. She shares its history, and its potential for helping a common ailment, with Lynne Rossetto Kasper.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper: I'd like to talk to you about celery leaves. No one thinks of celery leaves as an herb.

Jekka McVicar: No. The Latin is Apium graveolens. Now, are you sitting comfortably?

LRK: I am very comfortable.

Jekka McVicar

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Listening to the Vines (painting by John Wurdeman)

John Wurdeman studied music and art before becoming a winemaker in the country of Georgia. His winery, Pheasant's Tears, has revived an 8,000-year-old Georgian winemaking tradition. He tells Melissa Clark what brought him there, the myriad varieties of Georgian wines, and the integral part they play in that country's meals.

Melissa Clark: How did this all start for you? 

Lost in translation

Jul 22, 2016
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Bonnie Benwick translates chef recipes for the home cook in the Washington Post's Plate Lab column. She tells Melissa Clark about some of the challenges you'll face when attempting a restaurant meal in your own kitchen.

A brief history of tahini

Jul 21, 2016
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Adeena Sussman gives Sally Swift the backstory on tahini, the suddenly ubiquitous, sesame seed-based condiment.

Sally Swift:  So, tahini. It is everywhere suddenly. So, let’s back up a little bit. Tell us exactly what tahini is.

Adeena Sussman:  Tahini is ideally nothing more than pure ground sesame seeds.

SS:  That’s it?

Nordic cuisine: Leave the herring, take the taco quiche

Jul 21, 2016
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Marcus Nilsson

With almost 800 pages of recipes and striking photography, Magnus Nilsson's The Nordic Cookbook is the definitive work on the food cultures of his native land. He spoke with Melissa Clark about the impact winter has on the Nordic countries, the common source of everyone's family herring recipe, and the enduring popularity of taco quiche.

Steve Sando's heirloom beans

Jul 15, 2016
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What rare wines are to some, heirloom beans are to Rancho Gordo's Steve Sando. Lynne Rossetto Kasper talks to him about how he got his start, his favorite kinds of beans, and his "foolproof" method for preparing them.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper: So how did you get into beans?

What you need to know about aperitivo

Jul 14, 2016
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Aperitivo is northern Italy's version of happy hour, only instead of half-priced beers and a sketchy taco bar, light drinks and small plates carry the day. Marisa Huff writes about these cocktails and appetizers in the aptly-titled Aperitivo: The Cocktail Culture of Italy, and speaks with Splendid Table contributor Shauna Sever about them.

Shauna Sever: For the uninitiated, can you paint us a picture of this lovely Italian tradition of aperitivo?

The fundamental challenge of eggs

Jul 14, 2016
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Copyright 2016 America's Test Kitchen

Eggs are tricky. Molly Birnbaum, executive editor of Cook's Science for America's Test Kitchen, agrees, and says it all comes down to the white and the yolk. She tells Sally Swift how to best soft-boil an egg and shares a recipe for Runny Yolk Sauce.

[More from Birnbaum]

The memorable rosemary

Jul 13, 2016
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"Queen of Herbs" Jekka McVikar tells Lynne Rossetto Kasper about the memory and meal-enhancing properties of rosemary.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper: I have an herb that I've always really been attracted to, and I'd love to hear your take on it: rosemary.

Jekka McVicar: Rosemary is one of my absolute must-have herbs: Rosmarinus officinalis. It's just been proven to be as good as ginkgo at restoring your memory.

LRK: Really?

Jekka McVicar

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