The Splendid Table

Sun 2 P.M.

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.

http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/

Edna Lewis was called the Grande Dame of Southern Cooking so many times, the words are literally etched into her gravestone. No one disputes that honor, but it did make us think: Miss Lewis grew up with such a particular version of Southern cuisine in central Virginia; we wanted to know more about that region. Francis Lam called on the culinary historian Jessica B. Harris to tell us more about it.

Toni Tipton-Martin is an acclaimed food writer and the author of The Jemima Code, a book that presents the history of African-American cooking told through 200 years of black cookbooks. It paints a picture of a cuisine that’s more diverse, technical, and sophisticated than the stereotypes of black food.

Generations of home cooks have been inspired by the recipes and writing of Edna Lewis. Among them is Elle Simone, food stylist and test cook for America's Test Kitchen. Managing Producer Sally Swift sat down with Simone to hear about the Miss Edna-inspired America's Test Kitchen recipe for Chicken and Pastry, a hearty soup with a thick broth that contains bits of dumpling-like pastry. Try the recipe at home for comfort food at its best!

Photo: Chef Scott Peacock (left) | Peacock working alongside Miss Edna Lewis (right)

 

Famed Southern chef Scott Peacock first cooked with the legendary Edna Lewis as her assistant at a Southern food dinner in Atlanta. He was in his 20s; she was 74. Over the next 15 years - up until her passing in 2006 - they continued cooking together and became dear friends. Francis Lam talked with Peacock about what it was like to be in the kitchen with Edna Lewis, and how her sense of observation, wonder and patience still guide his work today.

Nina Williams-Mbengue remembers aunt Edna Lewis

Oct 4, 2018

Photo: Nina Williams-Mbengue (left) and Edna Lewis (right)

There are many lenses through which to look at the life of Edna Lewis. You can talk about her career as a chef, an author, a farmer, or an activist. But, first and foremost, she was a woman with loving friends and family. We wanted to know more about what Miss Edna was like on a personal level. Francis Lam was able to talk with Lewis's niece Nina Williams-Mbengue, who runs the Child Welfare Project at the National Conference of State Legislatures, about her Aunt Edna.

Photo: Sara B. Franklin (left), Edna Lewis (right)

Pasta Party! A collection of pasta recipes and video

Oct 3, 2018

October is National Pasta Month, and we wanted to celebrate by throwing a pasta party featuring some of our favorite pasta recipes and videos from The Splendid Table website. Check out the recipes and clips below. If you are looking for more ideas, visit our complete Pasta Recipe Collection. We love to hear about your favorite pasta styles and recipes, and we particularly enjoy seeing your pasta dishes.

Enter to win Edna Lewis book by Sara B. Franklin

Oct 1, 2018

October 2018 Giveaway

Every month, The Splendid Table helps listeners equip their kitchens, stock their pantries, and fill their bookshelves. This month, one (1) winner will receive one (1) copy of Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original by Sara B. Franklin. The book has a retail value of $28.00. Enter before October 31, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. Central Daylight Time, by submitting the form below.

Cecile Richards is one of the most powerful, accomplished, activist leaders of her generation. She helped her mother, Ann, get elected governor of Texas, she was a labor organizer for migrant women, and she was the president of Planned Parenthood for over a decade. She’s also a serious cook and baker with an intense passion for pies and Southern food. Richards talked with Francis Lam about the ways in which food bridges the divide we often feel in politics, and passed down to Francis three essential skills in cooking.

Francis Lam inherited a chunk of puer tea from his grandfather nearly 25 years ago and has never tasted it, partly because he wasn't sure how to properly serve the tea in order to pay the full respect to boty the tea leaves and his grandfather. Recently, he took the tea to tea expert Tim Hsu. Tim showed Francis how to prepare the tea so that you can appreciate the many layers of aroma and flavors. Tim was also able to tell Francis more about of story of where the heirloom tea likely came from as they both tasted it for the first time in a peaceful and somewhat emotional setting.

Taking care of the kitchen that takes cares of you

Sep 19, 2018

The kitchen is an important room in our homes: a place of joy, solace and comfort. Yes, it can be chaotic from time to time, but more often than not, what we find there is peace in the form of the food we cook, the ingredients we cook it with, and the equipment we use. Managing Producer Sally Swift talked with Tucker Shaw, of America’s Test Kitchen, to find out some of his thoughts on taking care of the things that take care of you in the kitchen.

As a writer, you never really know where a story’s going to take you. Ruth Reichl writes a column for Town & Country magazine that’s about special delicious things. Recently, she set out to write about prosciutto and ended up in a place that moved her beyond what she’d imagined.

As we near the final days of summer we’re savoring the flavors of the season from our gardens and farmers market including berries, vegetables, fruit, and herbs. But, the tastes of summer don’t have to end here. Just ask Marisa McClellan, the food preservationist extraordinaire who runs the blog Food in Jars and has written three books on preserving. She is all about taking these last days of summer produce and keeping them forever. She talked with our contributor Shauna Sever about some simple ways to do that.

A Quick Introduction to Canning

Sep 11, 2018

A Quick Introduction to Canning
How to pick a recipe, prep your jars and safely process your product
by Marisa McClellan (from her blog Food in Jars)

Jacques Pépin’s La Technique was a game changer for home cooks

Sep 7, 2018

When Jacques Pépin’s seminal book La Technique came out in the 1970s, there was nothing like it. The book takes home cooks through the essential techniques and recipes of French cooking one step at a time, showing them not only what to do but how and why they are done. And it had pictures! - an innovative concept for its time. Manager Producer Sally Swift is a student of the book, as is Bridget Lancaster from America’s Test Kitchen.

Jacques Pépin is a legendary chef well-known for his television shows, cookbooks, and iconic celebrity status. However, he'll tell that when he began is life of cooking at the young age of 13 in the kitchens of France, chefs were on the bottom rung of the social ladder. He learned countless lessons by fire - literally - and over the years he ended up working in some of the most unique kitchens in the world. Through cookbooks and television program, Jacques opened new doors for home cooks as he taught many of us new ways of looking at recipes and cooking techniques.

The Splendid Table's Jacques Pépin Collection

Sep 7, 2018

Above: Francis Lam and Managing Producer Sally Swift with Jacques Pépin at his home-studio kitchen.

Jacques Pépin has long been a friend of The Splendid Table. As part of our recent episode in which Francis Lam visited the legendary chef in his own home, we gathered a collection of episodes, stories and recipes that Jacques has been a part of or shared with us over the years.

Episodes:

Imagine spending a day with a living legend at his home and being lucky enough to join him in the kitchen for a one-on-one cooking lesson. That's what happened when Francis Lam visited Jacques Pépin for an in-depth conversation about his years and experiences working in kitchens around the world. After their conversation, the two went to Pépin's kitchen to make a wonderful dish of gravlax.

As we near the end of summertime, we have two things on our mind: watermelon and tomatoes. Thankfully, Vivian Howard is right there with us. Vivian is a terrific chef, author of a best-selling cookbook Deep Run Roots, and the star of the PBS show A Chef’s Life. But most importantly, she’s a Southern cook with a lot of ideas for cooking with these summer beauties.

It may not seem obvious at first, but the pollination prowess of bees affects much of what, how and why we eat. And it goes far beyond honey served from a jar. Thor Hanson is a biologist and author of the book Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees. Francis Lam talked with Hanson about the importance of bees and honey to not only our food supply, but their greater connection to the evolution of both plants and humans.

Amazing glaze: America's Test Kitchen on cooking with honey

Aug 24, 2018

Most of us have some kind of honey in our kitchens, but it’s not always something people reach for while cooking. Usually it’s either gathering dust in the back of a cupboard or simply being stirred into tea or yogurt. Managing Producer Sally Swift asked America’s Test Kitchen host Bridget Lancaster about the different flavors honey can provide, and for some of her favorite ideas for cooking with honey. Trying using your favorite honey in the recipe for Roasted Whole Side of Salmon.

Beekeeping is all the buzz in New York City, where it’s estimated that there are 500 beekeepers in the city. And there are almost as many adventurous beekeeping stories: people who keep bees in their living rooms of their apartments, people having to their wrangle their bees so they don’t bother Secret Service snipers setting up on hotel rooftops, and maybe most famously, the mystery of the red honey of Brooklyn.

Honey Bee Health: Problems and Solutions

Aug 23, 2018

About 12 years ago, beekeepers started noticing that their hives were getting a little bit weird. Bees were dying or going missing, and it started to happen at shocking rates. Soon, there was a panic, and scientists couldn't exactly understand why bee populations were seeing such a drastic decline. They called it the “mystery colony collapse disorder” and started to imagine a world and a food system without bees. Over a decade later, thankfully, we still have bees, but are we out of the woods?

When we started thinking about big cooking projects for our Project Cooking episode, one of the first people that came to mind was Rodney Scott, the pitmaster and owner of Rodney Scott's Barbecue in Charleston, South Carolina. Scott's specialty is whole hog barbecue.

It’s funny to think that many of the things we take for granted are relatively new concepts, like having your own oven in your own kitchen. In some societies, even today, whole villages might share a single oven that someone fires up, and everyone brings their bread to bake or their stews to braise. The idea of community ovens has also taken hold in towns across America. Artist and school librarian Jennifer Burton wanted to see what having a communal oven might do for her town of Johnson, Vermont. So, last year she helped build one in a public square.

Above: Chef Justin Smillie with Francis Lam and a dish of freshly
made summer tomato panade at Upland restaurant in New York City.

America's Test Kitchen makes it easy to cook paella on the grill

Aug 10, 2018

Above: Lan Lam takes notes during one of her recipe tests for paella on the grill.

Enter to win Slow Fires by Justin Smillie

Aug 1, 2018

August 2018 Giveaway

Falafel is classic Middle Eastern fare, often served as a type of sandwich in pita or on its own with a salad and dipping sauces. While it’s not difficult to a good falafel at restaurants, many experiments with making them at home have had mixed results for home cooks. But we’re about to fix that. Elle Simone is a test cook and food stylist at America’s Test Kitchen. Not only does she love falafel, she also has the recipe for perfection, which borrows some help from an Asian baking technique.

Let’s be honest, not all of us are breakfast people. On one end of the spectrum you have dull, bland cereals or oatmeal. On the other end you have sweet pastries, fruit or juices. No, thanks! Maybe our breakfast needs some influence from lunch and dinner. Alison Roman is a cook, writer and the author of Dining In, a book in which she promotes the idea of making more savory breakfasts. She talks with contributor Shauna Sever about the steps to this more satisfying breakfast experience.

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