Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Excerpt from Chefs, Drugs and Rock & Roll by Andrew Friedman

Jan 2, 2019

Writer Andrew Friedman was our guest on the Splendid Table Selects episode "Chefs, Drugs, and Rock & Roll." He shared this excerpt from his book by the same title.


We're going back in time, to the 1970’s and the beginning of the American restaurant revolution.  It was a time when young, talented chefs started opening restaurants that didn’t feel bound to tradition. It was when cooking first became cool, and writer Andrew Friedman says the energy at that time was palpable.

Courtesy of Cheetie Kumar

Cheetie Kumar grew up in Chandigarh, India with America on the mind. Her family talked often about moving overseas to pursue a fresh start in the United States. Her parents lived through Indian Partition in 1947, a bloody conflict during which Kumar’s mother lost both of her parents. For their family, moving to the U.S. was both about finding new opportunities and gaining distance from trauma. 

Almost anyone we talk to in the food world, if they know Mike Solomonov, they love Mike Solomonov; he's that kind of energetic guy who could be the mayor of any town he lives in. Solomonov is the chef at Zahav and other restaurants in Philadelphia, he’s got a new book called Israeli Soul, and he was also one of our favorite guests on The Splendid Table this year from our live "The Philly Special" episode.

The candy maker Jelly Belly has been pushing the limits of what jelly beans can taste like for years, usually with delicious results. Most of their flavors are sweet, fun and enjoyable. But the company has also perfected some of the most disgusting flavors on earth, and turned them into a game called Bean Boozled. The idea is each fantastic flavor of jelly bean has a dopplegänger jelly bean that is truly gag-worthy. Pop one into your mouth and you don't know if you're going to taste toasted marshmallow or stink bug, birthday cake or dirty dishwater, strawberry banana smoothie or dead fish.

As part of our episode "Hanging Out with Michael Solomonov," we invited the renowned chef of Zahav and co-author of Zahav and Israeli Soul cookbooks to take listener calls wi

Take No Prisoners

Dec 27, 2018

This episode originally was broadcast July 28, 2018. In December 1944, Adolf Hitler surprised the Allies with a secret counterattack through the Ardennes forest, known today as the Battle of the Bulge. In the carnage that followed, there was one incident that top military commanders hoped would be concealed. It’s the story of an American war crime nearly forgotten to history.

State of Things Managing Editor Anita Rao
Elie Gardner

It was a big year in North Carolina news. The man known to many as “America’s Pastor,” evangelist Billy Graham, passed away at the age of 99. Hurricane Florence tore through the state causing billions of dollars in damages, and protesters toppled the confederate Silent Sam statue on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Martini glasses
Ashok Boghani / Flickr

About one-third of Americans don't drink alcohol. About another third drinks fewer than one alcoholic drink per week.

photo of Dulce Sloan
Gabriel Michael

As a kid, Dulce Sloan wanted to be a serious thespian. She spent much of her childhood in plays and taking advantage of the opportunities for actors in Atlanta.

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast that looks at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our new music discovery station, WUNC Music.

Sound Opinions closes out 2018 with the year in song. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot present a mixtape of tracks that tell the story of the the past year. And we remember some of the many musicians who passed away in 2018.

The City (Revealed)

Dec 20, 2018

This episode tells the story of a mysterious illegal dump in a Chicago neighborhood that grew to be six stories high and spanned an area equal to 13 football fields. It was part of a federal investigation that brought down a dozen corrupt politicians, but it left neighborhood residents angry and feeling used.

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast that looks at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our new music discovery station, WUNC Music.

Courtesy John Pavlovitz

John Pavlovitz is a North Carolina pastor who has experienced more than a handful of personal crises: he lost his job and his father within a short time span, and during the aftermath of the 2016 election, the now-progressive pastor lost his sense of optimism.

North Carolina Zoo, Chimpanzee, Heart Disease
NC Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo has lost one of its oldest mammals.  Ruthie, a chimpanzee, was euthanized last week after suffering from heart disease. Ruthie was brought to the zoo in 1980 for its grand opening. She was one of the first chimps to make up the new "Kitera Forest" habitat. Staffers think she was about seven years old when she arrived at the zoo.

Love, Serve and Protect

Dec 19, 2018
Photo by Jason Falchook

Rob Simpson takes us behind the scenes of life as a Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer.
Sheila Calloway
searches for fairness and empathy in the justice system.
Beth Nielsen Chapman finds magic in the writing of a song.

Photo: Charcuterie products are usually regarded as delicacies,
with their high prices reflecting the skill and time taken to produce them.

Taking Stock excerpt from The Missing Ingredient

Dec 19, 2018

This essay is excerpted from the wonderful book The Missing Ingredient: The Curious Role of Time in Food and Flavor by Jenny Linford. We recently talked with Jenny about the book and her research about time as it relateds to the cooking and enjoying of food. Read the full interview here.

Sound Opinions: Rush

Dec 18, 2018

Famous for its instrumental virtuosity and heady, sci-fi influenced lyrics, the Canadian prog-rock trio Rush has amassed an obsessive cult following. Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush join hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot to discuss the band's remarkable 40 plus-year career.

Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks to the audience during a stop on her book tour for "Becoming," in Washington on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018.
Jose Luis Magana / AP Photo

The demand to #FreeCyntoiaBrown is growing. Celebrities and activists are joining forces to amplify the request for clemency for the 30-year-old sex trafficking victim. Brown is a Tennessee woman serving a life sentence for killing a man who hired her for sex. Outgoing Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam says he is considering the clemency request and will make a decision before he leaves office in January.

No matter what you celebrate – or where – one thing we all have in common during the holidays is that we gather with family and friends to celebrate the season. And, of course, food is central to those celebrations. It’s in that spirit that we turned to Jack Bishop, the Chief Creative Officer at America’s Test Kitchen and part of the team behind the new travel and food book Tasting Italy: A Culinary Journey, to get his take on the holiday feast.

A picture of Chris Stamey playing guitar.
Gardner Campbell /

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast that looks at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our new music discovery station, WUNC Music.

There was a time in our history when families gathered around the radio to listen to stories and music. WUNC produced a show from a couple years back that tries to rekindle that spirit. It's called 'Occasional Shivers' and was written by Chris Stamey. On this episode of the podcast we focus on the song that inspired the show.

Sins of the Fathers

Dec 14, 2018

In Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, the Catholic church had a problem with Jesuit priests sexually abusing children. The church’s first solution was to send the priests to remote Native villages, but there they continued to abuse. So the church tried something else: hiding them in plain sight.

This is a Christmas special like none other. Holiday music collector and expert Andy Cirzan scours record stores, dustbins, and basements to find the best and rarest tunes for the season. And each year he treats Sound Opinions listeners to a much-anticipated hour of music. This year’s compilation is called Rudolph Pouts...And Pouts Again and is a 'best of' from the last 30 years of Andy's collections. 

Greensboro's Chuck Mountain brings blues rock on the road this spring.
Courtesy Chuck Mountain

Chuck Mountain has not been on the Greensboro music scene long – the band just came to fruition in July – but they have already been on tour and laid down a number of original tracks. The band’s guitarist Beau James says their trip to Nashville, which included camping on the North Carolina state line, expedited the team bonding and lit a creative spark for the band. 

A picture of Greg Hawks.
York Wilson Photography

Greg Hawks says his new record is a culmination of all of his musical influences. That means the songs on I Think It's Time contain nods to classic country, 1970s pop/rock, rhythmic soul and his roots in the American South.

For our episode “How Chefs Holiday at Home,” we asked some of our favorite restaurant chefs what they cook for their family for the holidays. One extremely satisfying dish we heard about and tasted came from Victor Albisu, chef/owner of Taco Bamba and Poca Madre. He showed Francis Lam how to make ajiaca, a Peruvian pepper potato soup. Francis joined Victor in kitchen of Taco Bamboo to learn how to make the dish and talk more about Victor’s holiday feasts past and present.

In America, there is one candy that enjoys two often separate successes. It manages to carry a sense of sophistication, while at the same time being everpresent on drugstore and grocery shelves. We’re talking about Ferrero Rocher. You likely know – and love – the company’s trademark golden-wrapped chocolate hazelnut candy. But how did it reach this superstar status?

There’s nothing like the holiday season to get us thinking about cooking, food and family traditions. We’re always curious to learn what sort of holiday meals our chef friends grew up eating and now make for their loved ones. Matty Matheson is a Canadian chef, known for hosting Viceland’s It’s Suppertime and Dead Set on Life. He is also the author of the New York Times best-selling Matty Matheson: A Cookbook.