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

Not everyone loves pumpkin pie for dessert at Thanksgiving. So our friends at America's Test Kitchen came to the rescue with an amazing recipe for Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Pie. Managing Producer Sally Swift talked with Tucker Shaw, editor-in-chief for Cook's Country, about the ingredients used to make this seasonal treat: apples, steusel topping, and -- most importantly -- melted vanilla ice cream. Yes, you heard that right - melted ice cream!

Mark Bittman's Minimalist Thanksgiving

Nov 9, 2017

The author of How to Cook Everything streamlines the holiday feast.

Last Thanksgiving, I vowed to minimize everything: time, number of ingredients and, most of all, work. Heretical as it may seem, I thought it might be fun for the cook to have enough energy to actually enjoy the meal for a change. My idea was to buy all the food in one trip and prepare the entire feast in the time it took to roast my 15-pound turkey - roughly three hours. And, with one minor exception, I was successful.

Andy Ricker: The Key 3

Nov 9, 2017

Andy Ricker is an expert in Thai cuisine. He owns restaurants in Portland, Ore., and New York under the Pok Pok umbrella. In this installment of The Key 3, he shares with Lynne Rossetto Kasper his recipe for steamed fish, as well as his techniques for perfect jasmine rice and boiled eggs.

Here are Andy's keys, as told to Lynne Rossetto Kasper:

Chef Sean Sherman - who also goes by the name The Sioux Chef - has made a name for himself in the Upper Midwest by sourcing and cooking with ingredients originally used by Native American groups across the region. The result is an eye-opening and healthy take on modern cuisine. However, his interests are not limited to the native peoples of the Midwest.

How many times have you heard a mushroom described as “meaty?” It's true that mushrooms, such as portobellos, are juicy, have a bit of chew, and reveal a world of umami. But Liz O'Keefe wants us to think beyond the meatiness of mushrooms, and to consider their many other flavors and aroma attributes. She says they can be naturally fruity like apricots, taste similar to coconut, or give off the scent of cinnamon when seared.

Dorie Greenspan's lifelong love affair with butter

Nov 3, 2017

Dorie Greenspan loves butter and how it tastes in the food that we cook and bake with it. She shares her expertise on the topic in the new Short Stack Editions Vol. 30: Butter. She talked with contributor Shauna Sever about how different varieties of butter can be used to achieve specific flavors and textures.

America's Test Kitchen: In defense of pumpkin pie spice

Nov 3, 2017

Fall is the season for pumpkin pie spice versions of just about everything - coffee, cereal, candy. In home kitchens, store-bought spice blends are used in desserts, pies, and pastries.

After years of suffering from a bad reputation, Brussels sprouts have managed to become the new rock star of the veggie world. It seems you can't open a menu at a restaurant without finding them featured as a side or a full main dish. And most of the time, they are delicious. Managing Producer Sally Swift wanted to learn how to make crisp-tender restaurant-style Brussels sprouts at home. So, she turned to Dan Souza, the friendly on-screen test cook and science expert from America's Test Kitchen. He shared his secrets to making perfect Brussels sprouts in just 10 minutes.

The Key 3: Gail Simmons

Oct 20, 2017

For more than 10 years, Gail Simmons has decided the fate of hopeful chefs from all over the country as a judge on the show, Top Chef. She's also the author of the new cookbook, Bringing It Home. We asked Simmons to be part of our Key 3 series, in which we ask chefs, food writers, and celebrities to tell us about their three most go-to dishes. She told us about two of her favorites, chicken wings and butterscotch pudding.

Excerpt from Oysters: A Love Story

Oct 20, 2017

Excerpt from Tejal Rao's article, "Oysters: A Love Story," originally printed in the Eat column of The New York Times Magazine. Read the full article here.

Acid trip: searching the world for unique vinegars

Oct 20, 2017

Acidity is a key component to skillful cooking. Chefs are always talking about how a splash of acidic vinegar is what elevates a dish. Michael Harlan Turkell has spent his entire career around chefs, first as a cook himself, and then as a photographer and writer. During the time it took write and research his new book, Acid Trip, he’s become an expert on vinegars.

Sous vide basics with America’s Test Kitchen

Oct 20, 2017

Sous vide is a wonderfully easy cooking technique. Essentially, you create a warm water bath in which to slow-poach food that has been sealed in a plastic bag. Thanks to modern technology, most sous vide equipment is now lighter in weight, more precise, and – most importantly – affordable. So, it’s no surprise that the process is catching on with home cooks. For more insight into this low-maintenance cooking method, Francis Lam talked with Molly Birnbaum, executive director of science at America’s Test Kitchen.

When pastry chef, food writer, and Serious Eats senior editor Stella Parks set out to write her new cookbook, BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts, the goal was to shine a spotlight on classic desserts that connect Americans through shared experience. Among the desserts that rose quickly to the top of that list - red velvet cake.

Wicked good Boston cream pie with America's Test Kitchen

Oct 5, 2017

Our friends at America's Test Kitchen call the Boston area home. Assuming they would know a thing or two about it, we wanted to get their thoughts on - and a recipe for - a classic American dessert, the Boston cream pie. Managing Producer Sally Swift also had a few questions for America's Test Kitchen host Bridget Lancaster, who stood firm in defending the honor of Boston's namesake dessert. Try their recipe for Wicked Good Boston Cream Pie.

The importance of Patience Gray

Oct 5, 2017

Patience Gray’s cookbook, Honey From a Weed, is a big, beautiful book. Written over the span of 20 years, it’s poetic and full of both feasting and hunger. It’s the definition of a cult classic, but few people outside of that cult have even heard about the fascinating woman who wrote it, who would have turned 100 this year. Adam Federman’s new biography of Gray, Fasting and Feasting, tells her complicated life story.

Halva 101: modern twists on a traditional treat

Oct 4, 2017

Have you heard of havla? It's sometimes called sesame candy; you find bars of it in Middle Eastern or South Asian stores. But fans of halva say it's best enjoyed fresh, sliced off a wheel at a deli. Lisa Mendelson is the co-founder of Seed + Mill in New York City. Her shop specializes in a wide range of traditional and eclectic halva, as well as other sesame-based desserts. She spoke with our contributor, The New York Times food writer Melissa Clark, about halva and how she uses it to create unique treats.

Pancit canton with Chef King Phojanakong

Oct 3, 2017

Francis Lam recently visited Chef King Phojanakong in the home kitchen of King's mother, Emma, for our Filipino Food episode.The three of them were featured in the episode making the traditional Filipino sour stew, Seafood Sinigang. Afterwards, Francis and King continued their kitchen conversation with a lesson on making another popular comfort food of the Philippines, pancit canton.

Just in time to close out the late summer grilling season, America's Test Kitchen presents a recipe destined to become a new favorite for backyard grill enthusiasts. We're talking about Grilled Lamb Stuffed Pitas, lamb sandwiches seasoned with herbs and warm spices, pressed between pita rounds, and grilled.

America's Test Kitchen on Filipino chicken adobo

Sep 22, 2017

Bryan Roof, a cook with from America's Test Kitchen, has a personal connection to the classic Filipino dish, chicken abodo. And he's cracked the code to making the dish perfectly at home. Roof shares the process and his recipe for Filipino Chicken Adobo by America's Test Kitchen with Francis Lam.

In the kitchen with King & Emma Phojanakong

Sep 22, 2017

For our Filipino Food episode, Francis Lam joined Filipino-American chef King Phojanakong in the home kitchen of King's mother, Emma, for a lesson on how to make their versions of two staple dishes from the Philippines: Seafood Sinigang and Pancit Canton with Chicken & Sausage. Listen to their interview and cooking segment using the audio player above.

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.

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