The Splendid Table

Sunday 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.

In 1994, acclaimed food writer and cooking teacher Lynne Rossetto Kasper was receiving accolades for her debut book, The Splendid Table, which at that time was the only book to have won both the James Beard and Julia Child Cookbook of the Year awards. Among the many people enchanted by the book was producer and foodie Sally Swift, who thought the time could be right for a radio program on food.

Appropriately, Lynne and Sally met over lunch to discuss the radio idea. They weren't interested in creating a show based on "talking about recipes"; instead, they wanted to explore everything they loved 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. And so it was The Splendid Table — "the radio program for people who love to eat" — was born.

The Splendid Table began as a live, Saturday-morning call-in show on Minnesota Public Radio. As the program's popularity continued to stretch across the nation, The Splendid Table eventually became the pre-recorded program that now airs on more than 400 public radio stations in the United States, plus SIRIUS satellite radio and World Radio Switzerland.

The Splendid Table has been at the forefront of food issues and policies since its inception. Long before eating local became a catchphrase and farmers' markets became ubiquitous, The Splendid Table was talking about the changes needed in the food system and what was happening on the grassroots level. In fact, when The Splendid Table first went on the air, Lynne had to make sure to define such terms as "organic" and "sustainable" for listeners. Today those terms have become part of the everyday lexicon, and people's hunger for wholesome food and the rituals surrounding it has only increased.

Audiences have continued to grow, and broadcasting peers have taken note as well: The Splendid Table has won two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show, and five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2014) from Women in Communication. Lynne is also included in the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America.

Food has a way of creating bonds among people, and that is certainly the case for the people behind The Splendid Table. The program's production team of Lynne, Sally, Jen Russell and Jennifer Luebke have been together since the program's earliest days. Longtime contributors to the program include Jane and Michael Stern, who find the special, unique and idiosyncratic diners and eateries in cities and towns across America; witty wine expert Joshua Wesson; and the unabashedly opinionated cheesemonger Steve Jenkins. (All contributors.)

Special guests are also essential to The Splendid Table's ongoing culinary conversation. The late Julia Child was a steadfast advocate of The Splendid Table and appeared on the program numerous times. Among the parade of outstanding guests are food activist Michael Pollan, author of such books as The Omnivore's Dilemma and Food Rules; film director and writer Nora Ephron; famed Spanish chef José Andrés; the late director Ismail Merchant; food writer Anthony Bourdain; chef Mario Batali; Franz Ferdinand lead singer Alex Kapranos, who is also a food critic; and classical violinist extraordinaire Joshua Bell, who enjoyed an in-home cooking lesson from Lynne.

Always making food come alive in multiple ways, The Splendid Table has recorded programs in Portland, Ore.; in Hawaii; in Spain; and in Mexico City. To commemorate the program's tenth anniversary, a series of shows were produced on site in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, Lynne's spiritual homeland and the inspiration for her first book.

Lynne's second book, The Italian Country Table, was published in 1999. In 2008, Lynne and Sally collaborated on their first book, How to Eat Supper; both were award nominees. In 2011, they will release a follow-up volume, How to Eat Weekends.

From its first mealtime brainstorm to the award-winning weekly program it is today, The Splendid Table continues its celebration of food and the roles it plays in our lives.

Ways to Connect

A cookbook devoted entirely to onions may seem too specialized, but Kate Winslow, author of Onions, Etcetera doesn't think so. She talks to The Splendid Table contributor Joe Yonan about the versatility of the allium family.

Maricel Presilla is one of the world’s most respected experts on chile peppers. Her new book, Peppers of the Americas, is an encyclopedia, cookbook and collection of pepper-obsessed photography all in one book. A native of Cuba, Presilla now lives in New Jersey. Host Francis Lam visited home and kitchen for a lesson in dried pepper pastes – incredibly aromatic flavor boosters used to season just about anything from braises and roasts, to pots of rice.

Hatch chile peppers are ubiquitous in New Mexico. This unique variety of green chile is an important ingredient in the spicy stews for which the region is known. However, Hatch chiles aren’t always easy to find. As always, America’s Test Kitchen found a delicious work-around. ATK’s Tucker Shaw talks with managing producer Sally Swift about a satisfying Colorado Green Chili recipe that uses two more readily available peppers as a stand-in for Hatch chiles.

There are foods for which some people are willing to pay a premium price – lobster, aged steak, and truffles come to mind. But you might not expect butter to be on that list. Writer Alex Halberstadt wrote an article for SAVEUR called “Is the World’s Best Butter Worth 50 Dollars a Pound?” where he found the answer to his own question is – yes. He talked with host Francis Lam about Diane St. Clair, the artisan butter maker behind a fascinating and highly sought-after creamy creation.

America's Test Kitchen equipment review: portion scoops

Aug 4, 2017

Our friends at America’s Test Kitchen are constantly on the search for the latest and greatest in kitchen gadgets. However, sometimes the most impressive culinary tools are something we may already own, but haven’t yet realized all the ways we can use it. Case in point: portion scoops. Or as most of us think of them: ice cream scoops. Lisa McManus is in charge of equipment testing at America’s Test Kitchen. Managing producer Sally Swift talked with her about this nifty time-saving tool that brings uniform beauty to your kitchen and table.

The Tenth Muse: Judith Jones celebrates a life in food

Aug 2, 2017

The power behind a great book isn't solely with its author; great books have great editors. In the early 1960s, Judith Jones wasn't even working in the world of food writing when she happened across a book proposal from Julia Child. Child's book had been refused by other publishers, but Jones saw something very special in it. That book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, went on to become essential reading for cooks all over the world.

Behind the cookbook: the art of editing with Judith Jones

Aug 2, 2017

Judith Jones is the cookbook editor's editor. Jones was instrumental in discovering and publishing Julia Child's first book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, more than 50 years ago. In the process, she changed the American cookbook forever. The cookbook authors with whom Jones worked have become a who's who of the food world. In April 2006, Judith Jones talked with Lynne Rossetto Kasper about the collaborative process of crafting beautiful, engaging cookbooks. [Ed.

The roots of Zoe's Ghana Kitchen

Aug 1, 2017

In an extended interview with host Francis Lam, chef Zoe Adjonyoh recalls her childhood fascination with the food from her father's home country - Ghana. She and Francis also discuss her personal travels to the West African nation in search of more experience with the methods and unique ingredients used in Ghanaian cuisine, and how it all comes together in her debut cookbook Zoe's Ghana Kitchen.

On paper, steak frites seem so simple. As its French name implies, it is just steak and fries. But, to get the two components cooked right and served hot – at the exact same moment – is a feat in itself. Thankfully, our friends at America’s Test Kitchen have fine-tuned the timeline for making the dish in your home kitchen. Tucker Shaw is executive editor of Cook’s Country magazine. Managing producer Sally Swift discussed the process with him, and got his recipe for Easy Steak Frites.

MPR News® presents The Splendid Table® — Live, October 12, 2017 at 7:00 PM The Fitzgerald Theater, St. Paul, MN   Please join us for an evening of conversation, stories and musical interludes hosted by Francis Lam honoring the indisputable queen of food radio, Lynne Rosetto Kasper. The year 2018 marks a bittersweet milestone for The Splendid Table and its cofounder and longtime host Lynne Rosetto Kasper.

We all know farm to table cooking. But once a year, a mysterious man named Baron Ambrosia hosts a unique dinner party that you could describe as "fur to table." Dishes on the ecclectic menu are made with small game caught in the forests of upstate New York, then served at this wild event in the Bronx. Field reporter Daniella Cheslow brings us this taste of the wild with the audio story above and the photo gallery below.

Dana Cree is a dessert devotee and author of the seriously smart cookbook about making homemade ice cream; it's called Hello, My Name is Ice Cream. Contributor Joe Yonan spoke with her about the different kinds of ice cream and the essentials for making your own summertime treats like Donut Ice Cream and Popcorn Ice Cream at your home.

Zoe Adjonyoh grew up in London with a Ghanaian father who never really taught her how to cook. As an adult, she decided to connect to that heritage, and taught herself to cook. Now she runs a restaurant based on all she’s learned and recently released her debut cookbook, Zoe's Ghana Kitchen. Host Francis Lam asked her for a primer on Ghanaian cuisine.

A charcoal grill can cook almost anything you can think of – meat, vegetables, seafood, even dessert. John "Doc" Willoughby knows all about it. He has written dozens of books and articles on the topic of grilling. Willoughby also recently retired as the editorial director of America’s Test Kitchen’s magazines. We were lucky enough to catch him before he left. He spoke with host Francis Lam about charcoal grilling techniques including one unique method for quick and extremely hot grilling, as well as a new setup to emulate the slow-and-low performance of a smoker.

Wines for Grilling

Jun 30, 2017

We often think of grabbing a beer when pulling those hamburgers and brats off the grill. However, wine can be a refreshing and beautiful pair to grilled foods. See the video above for quick tips on wine pairings.  Ray Isle, Executive Wine Editor at Food & Wine Magazine, has additional suggestions below, even some for potato chips!

Village Bakery

Mar 13, 2017

Bonus: Anthony Bourdain Extended Interview

Nov 18, 2016
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The Splendid Table

In addition to our regular episodes, we occasionally offer Splendid Table Sides - extended interviews and other bonus cuts that don’t make it into the broadcast show. For this Side, Anthony Bourdain joins Lynne Rossetto Kasper talk about his new book, Appetites, the stress of cooking for five people versus 500, making Spam musubi for his daughter's school lunch, and his Oval Office-approved opinion on the matter of ketchup on a hot

Bonus: Anthony Bourdain Extended Interview

Nov 16, 2016
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The Splendid Table

Anthony Bourdain (Photo: Dimitrios Kambrouris/Getty)

Lynne Rossetto Kasper Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Nov 15, 2016
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The Splendid Table

The Splendid Table's host Lynne Rossetto Kasper was honored recently at the 2016 Charlie Awards. The awards are an annual event celebrating the exceptional contributions of the Twin Cities area restaurant, food and beverage industry. However, Lynne's deep connection to and advocacy of food and good eating goes far beyond the Twin Cities. She shared this thought on the globally connective power of food during her acceptance speech.

Wild rice - preserving and cooking with an endangered food

Nov 10, 2016
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National Archives / Marcia Lavine

Wild rice is considered as one of the United States' most endangered foods. It grows wild and has been harvested naturally for generations in northern Minnesota. Contributor Jennie Cecil Moore talked with several people in the region to learn more about their efforts to preserve the culture and culinary joy surrounding the grain.

Related Recipes

Thanksgiving preparation and people pleasing with Anthony Bourdain

Nov 10, 2016
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Butch Fisher

Lynne Rossetto Kasper: We've got a family cookbook that you've done with your new book Appetites. But I have to laugh, okay, because the family cookbook has duck fat, wild boars, and there’s about four tubs of different stocks in the fridge. So, tell me about how you cook at home.

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Stacy Van Berkel

Shauna Sever: First, let's just say that your cookbook Deep Run Roots has a presence. It is an impressive 564 pages. It weighs about four pounds. You look like a movie star on the cover. It's incredible and even more intriguing when you realize that this isn't another cookbook about the entire American South. It's actually a laser focus on this area of eastern North Carolina. So, how many square miles are we talking about?

Thanksgiving wine tips from Jancis Robinson

Nov 9, 2016
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kieferpix/Thinkstock

What wine pairs best with your Thanksgiving meal? Wine expert Jancis Robinson tells The Splendid Table contributor Russ Parsons that the key is to not worry that much about it. She also shares her favorite underpriced wines and what she drinks for pleasure.

Russ Parsons:The American Thanksgiving table is full of all of these paradoxical flavors: the sweet-tart cranberries, roasted turkey, vegetables, and stuffing. It can make wine pairing a real chore. This is one of those evergreen questions, but do you have any new insights to add to it?

A Well-Tested Thanksgiving Menu

Nov 4, 2016
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Copyright 2016 America's Test Kitchen (Carl Tremblay)

A Complete Thanksgiving Menu from America's Test Kitchen,

This year, The Splendid Table's new partner, America's Test Kitchen, joins us at the Thanksgiving table. We are delighted to present a full menu created by America's Test Kitchen that takes the guesswork out of planning a memorable holiday. And coming from America's Test Kitchen, you know these recipes have been tested and reworked to perfection. Enjoy!

Beers for the Thanksgiving Table

Nov 3, 2016

Steven Beaumont, author of The Premium Beer Drinker's Guide, suggests beer as an alternative to all the angst over which wines will go with turkey and all the trimmings. Here are three he recommends:

Lambic Gueze from Cantillon Brewery in Brussels: This beer equivalent to champagne is often made with fruit, it's crisp, and is the only beer that's spontaneously fermented. It's wonderful with food.

The Wisconsin Belgian Red from New Glarus Brewing Company in New Glarus, Wisconsin: This cherry beer is fruity, but not sweet.

How to brine a turkey

Nov 3, 2016

Q: I keep hearing about how brining is the best thing to do for a Thanksgiving turkey, but I have no idea where to start. Can I get a brining primer?

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tuchodi / Flickr

1. When deciding what size turkey to buy, figure 1 pound per person up to a 15-pound bird, or 3/4 pound per person for a larger one. [Ed. note: Find Lynne’s guide to decoding turkey labels here.]

2. Defrost a frozen turkey in the refrigerator or in a sink filled with ice water. Never defrost a turkey on the kitchen counter. Harmful bacteria can form quickly. Figure about 30 minutes per pound, and change the water every 30 minutes.

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.

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.

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