So we're both huge consumers of food media. We've mentioned books and god knows we've talked about TV, but we're also happy to get our food media fix on the radio. Thank god for NPR and its Splendid Table series hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper, the Jewish-Italian aunt everyone wishes they had. Lynne is a warm, funny, expansive personality to really delights in talking about food. Along with her bales of laughter, she brings a really deep level of food knowledge. Moreover she's got a wonderfully inquisitive nature that brings out great bits of information from her guests. We discovered the Splendid Table on our trips to the farm. In the DC area it airs from 2:00-3:00 pm every Saturday. That means we usually can catch half of the broadcast and we then download the show via the internet to hear the rest of the broadcast. It's been a welcome addition to my morning commute.
The segments for Splendid Table include:
Road Food with Jan and Michael Stern. This earthy couple roams the country eating out of diners, drive-in and dives but is a zillion times less irritating than that guy on the Food Network. They really let you know what's good at a particular place and what the particular mood and crowd is. They are great compliments to Lynne's earthy love of life. I will say that Michael has the queeniest voice this side of Harvey Fierstein.
Stump the Cook with the nerdy editor of Cook's Illustrated. A very funny segment where people call in, give five completely uncomplimentary ingredients and Lynne has to come up with a recipe using ingredients like: pomegranates, coffee, sour cream, corn, and butterscotch. Chris Kimball is the judge of how good the recipe is. While I love both Chris and Lynne in this, the challenge isn't particularly useful because I would just eat everything separately.
Finally, there's my favorite section which is the call-in part. People call in to Splendid Table looking for cooking tips, food trivia and even advice on how to patent a recipe. For the most part the callers are delightful. Case in point - an 8-year-old who wants to make baked French toast. Lynne tells the girl to layer the bread in a baking pan and says it's ok if the slices of bread overlap. The girl responds, "there are worse things in the world."
Along with the regular sections she has segments about ingredients, farming, travel, and food history. On top of that she has delightful guest like Nigella Lawson and Nora Ephron. The only thing I don't like is the wine segments which bore me to tears (sorry sis!).
But if anyone likes talking, eating or hearing about food, the Splendid Table is a great way to go.