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

Real Iced Tea

Jul 2, 2015

According to our friend and regular contributor, tea merchant Bill Waddington of The Teasource, there are three ways to make real iced tea, and sun tea is not one of them. While that jar of tea steeping in the sun may look “summery,” you may not feel very “summery” if bad bacteria brews. Best to try one of these three methods instead, and use that jar to store some fresh lemonade.

At the heart of brewing sake is koji, a mold

Jun 19, 2015
John Esslinger

Don't call sake a rice wine. According to Gordon Heady, a sake brewer based in Japan and Portland, Oregon, "It's even more complicated than wine." He explains what sake is, how it's brewed and what to look for in stores.

[Pictured above: Heady's colleague, Watanabe-san, steams rice for use in amazake.]

'Sake is sake'

Noelle Carter
: I've heard sake referred to as a rice wine, but it's not really. What is it?

Can you define New York City through its food?

Jun 19, 2015
roboppy / Flickr

In New York in a Dozen Dishes, author and food critic Robert Sietsema profiles 12 dishes. "It's supposed to be a portrait of New York in food," he says. "If you can imagine the entire skyline sculpted out of pizza and black-and-white cookies." Egg foo young and cheb are two of the dishes he wrote about.

Vatos Urban Tacos dishes up Mexican-Korean cuisine in Seoul

Jun 19, 2015
supafly / Flickr

Vatos Urban Tacos, a restaurant with four locations in Seoul, serves up Mexican-Korean dishes like kimchi carnitas fries. But don't call it fusion food. For Korean-Americans like co-founder Sid Kim, who grew up just north of the Mexican border, combining two seemingly dissimilar cuisines is nothing unusual. The restaurant's founders hope to eventually bring their brand of Mexican-Korean cuisine back to the U.S.

The We Over Me Farm

Paul Quinn College was in the middle of a food desert. Its football team kept losing -- badly. So in 2010, the Dallas college decided to transform its football field into The We Over Me Farm. It left both goal posts standing (overhead view).

Tom Puchner / Flickr

[This interview was conducted in 2010.]

Each year we remove 170 billion pounds of fish and shellfish from the ocean, according to Paul Greenberg, author of Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food. He says we need to back away from industrial fishing, which has put some species of fish in danger.

Xiaozhuli / Flickr

"People in the U.S. do not think about Mexican food as having much of a vegetable component," says chef Rick Bayless, author of More Mexican Everyday. "Yet when you walk into a Mexican market, you learn otherwise because they have all those vegetables and they are using them in so many different ways."

Lynda W1 / Flickr

Plants may not have feelings, says Heidi Appel, senior research scientist in the Division of Plant Sciences at the University of Missouri, but they can detect light, odors and vibrations. "They can distinguish the vibrations of a caterpillar feeding from wind and other noises in their environment and get defenses ready to go," she says.

Make your own curry paste at home

Jun 5, 2015
donstock / iStock / Thinkstock

Nongkran Daks, author of Nong's Thai Kitchen, has been making Thai curries since she was 7 years old.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper: When did you first start making curries?

Nongkran Daks

Reverse engineering longevity by studying what 100-year-olds eat

Jun 5, 2015
Gianlucca Colla /

National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner went around the world in search of communities where people live the longest. "The goal of the project was to, in a sense, reverse engineer longevity," he says. "To find out what they were doing and learn the lessons that we can apply to our lives." He is the author of The Blue Zones Solution.

Learning about longevity from Blue Zones

The Rocketeer / Flickr

In the U.S. right now, bananas cost around 60 cents a pound, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But that doesn't reflect the fruit's full cost, says Nicole Vitello, president of the importer and wholesaler Equal Exchange Bananas. "The dark history of bananas," she says, "is we've exported a lot of the costs of this fruit to have a cheap, happy fruit here for the American consumer."

kleinnick / Flickr

We use our outdoor grill several nights a week and do well with things like marinated lamb, yakitori chicken, Puget Sound seafood and vegetables. But when our grandchildren ask for hamburgers, we fail miserably. We make the patties about 1/2-inch thick from the leanest hamburger or ground round. But when we put them on the grill, they crumble and fall apart. How do we get the patties to stay together?

Milling locally grown grain at Carolina Ground

May 21, 2015
Carolina Ground

In the mill room, a cavernous, chilly space in a multi-use facility in West Asheville, North Carolina, that used to be an electrical equipment plant, Kim Thompson takes out a marker and kneels down by a sack of freshly milled flour. She writes the type of flour, the date and often, something extra.

One day, it might be "panivorous" -- the word of the day she found on an app on her phone -- and its definition: "subsisting on bread; bread-eating." Another day, it might be a quote about bread, like the Danish proverb "art and knowledge bring bread and honor."

From soy sauce to Sriracha, the evolution of sauces

May 21, 2015
The Brooks Catsup Bottle Water Tower, near Collinsville, Illinois. (scpgt / Flickr)

What do the fermented meat condiments of fifth-century China and the foam, scents and smoke used in molecular gastronomy today have in common? They are all sauces. Maryann Tebben, head of the Center for Food Studies at Bard College at Simon's Rock and author of Sauces, explains.

Defining a sauce

Is the ability to cook what made us human?

May 21, 2015
ctaloi / Flickr

[This interview was conducted in 2009.]

Lambic beer: Your comprehensive guide

May 20, 2015
Allagash Brewing / Flickr

Depicted in the 16th-century paintings of Pieter Breughel the Elder and criticized by the 19th-century poet Charles Baudelaire, lambic beer is perhaps the oldest of the modern beer styles. Its funky, sour and wild taste is a result of spontaneous fermentation, a brewing method where the beer is exposed to naturally occurring yeast and bacteria in the open air.

Allagash Brewing / Flickr

If you have tried a Belgian lambic beer, then you have tasted the results of spontaneous fermentation. Lambic beer is exposed to naturally occurring yeast and bacteria in the open air, and matured in oak barrels for months or years (as opposed to other brewing methods, which use highly controlled single-yeast fermentations).

Try radish greens in sandwiches or salads

May 15, 2015
I Stock

Dear Lynne,
Are radish tops safe, or are they dangerous like rhubarb leaves? If they won't kill me, what can I do with them?
-Martin from Des Moines
Dear Martin,

10 commandments for perfect grilling

May 14, 2015
Ingram Publishing

1. Be organized

Have everything you need for grilling -- the food, marinade, basting sauce, seasonings, and equipment -- on hand and at grillside before you start grilling.

2. Gauge your fuel

Honey From the Rock Cafe

May 8, 2015

How to take your picnic to the next level

May 8, 2015
sugar0607 / iStock / Thinkstock

The picnics Jen Stevenson attends are more elaborate than just a blanket and a basket of food. Stevenson's picnics involve pre-bottled cocktails, dishes assembled al fresco and dessert displays on wheels. She is co-author of The Picnic and a member of The Portland Picnic Society.

belchonock / iStock / Thinkstock

Instead of conventional refined white sugar, Shauna Sever, author of Real Sweet, bakes with everything from muscovado sugar to maple syrup. "I think of [muscovado] as dark brown sugar on steroids," she says. "This has the crave-worthy molasses full flavor that we really want when we're using dark brown sugar."

Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution / Flickr

Jackson Pollock was famous for creating abstract paint-splattered canvases, but he had a domestic side as well. "He was a man who loved puttering in his garden, gifting vegetables to his friends, baking loaves of bread and apple pie," says Robyn Lea, author of Dinner with Jackson Pollock (

How to cook artichokes

May 6, 2015
I Stock

Question: My mother gave me some fresh artichokes -- I have no idea how to cook them!

Recipe: Artichokes Stuffed with Ham and Pine Nuts

Inside the factory farm, where 97% of U.S. pigs are raised

May 6, 2015
pelcinary / Flickr

While doing research for his book Pig Tales, author Barry Estabrook visited a farmer in Iowa who raised 150,000 pigs a year. What he saw at this factory farm -- the way 97 percent of pigs in the U.S. are raised -- is a far cry from Old MacDonald's.

"[The pigs] never see the light of day," he says. "They never set foot on anything but a bare, hard floor. They breathe that poisoned air 24/7."

Growing pea shoots, step by step

Apr 24, 2015

One of the easiest plants to grow inside are pea shoots, which are really just the first stage of growth of the pea plant. You won't get the sweet peas as a result, but you'll have plenty of that summer taste, even in the middle of winter, because the edible stems and leaves are packed with flavor, tasting far more intense than any supermarket peas.

Also, pea shoots have plenty of nutritional clout as well: vitamin A, C, and folic acid, mainly. It has seven times more vitamin C than blueberries, and boasts beta-carotenoids and antioxidants.

Crystal Liepa

No matter what time of year it is, Elizabeth Millard always has fresh vegetables. The author of Indoor Kitchen Gardening grows everything from carrots to kale inside. She explains how to grow microgreens, sprouts and shoots on your kitchen counter. [Find Millard's step-by-step guide to growing pea shoots here.]


Edsel L / Flickr

In 2013, Tara Whitsitt converted a school bus into the fermentation lab and workspace Fermentation on Wheels. Since then, she has traveled more than 12,000 miles across the country, teaching fermentation workshops from that bus.

David Leite: You call it Fermentation on Wheels, and I call it your Fermentation Nation tour. Can you explain what that is?