This week we're off to a region of Italy only 20 minutes outside Venice—yet known and visited by few. The wonderful cuisine here could be called a fusion of "Northern Italian Soul" meets the Arabian Knights. The greatest varieties of wines in all of Italy come from the area, and the scenery is pretty good too. It's Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and our guide is none other than culinary explorer Fred Plotkin, author of the new book La Terra Fortunata. Fred shares a few undiscovered wine bargains from the region and a recipe for Polenta With Five Flavors, a dish containing most of the classic foods of central Friuli.
This week it's talk of life, food, and Christmas dinner with television food star Nigella Lawson. Her show Nigella Bites (which also happens to be the title of her latest book,) is all about the sheer lustiness of food. Get ready to be a guest at your own party with holiday eats from Nigella. It's the perfect menu for entertaining, because everything is made in advance!
If a dinner party place setting with more than a knife and fork causes angst, this week's show brings relief. Judith Martin, the high priestess of etiquette known as Miss Manners, has tips for maneuvering smoothly through the minefield of dining and entertaining at this most social of seasons. Her new book, Star Spangled Manners, defends American etiquette and takes a look at what sets it apart.
Our guest this week is Kermit Lynch, a wine pioneer who's been bucking trends since he began importing wine from France in the 1970s. He's devoted his career to seeking out the small and unique in a world of big and uniform. His book, Adventures on the Wine Route, chronicles his life in wine.
Her father wanted her to be a diplomat. She had other ideas. We'll hear the story of how two passions came together to define the life of legendary cook and actress Madhur Jaffrey. You've seen her in Merchant-Ivory films as well as her own productions, and her books introduced Americans to authentic Indian food. Her latest work, Madhur Jaffrey's Step-By-Step Cooking, takes readers from India to Thailand, Indonesia to Malaysia, and has her recipe for Lamb Cooked in Dark Almond Sauce.
This year it's Thanksgiving big time with Judy Rodgers, one of America's most gifted chefs and author of The Zuni Café Cookbook. Judy's Thanksgiving Menu is modern but homey, and includes a turkey roasting technique designed to free up precious oven space and an interesting stuffing idea.
The kitchen of tomorrow is on scientists' drawing boards today at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, and we love what they're cooking up. Are you ready for a kitchen table that cleans itself and a coffeemaker in your car? We are! How about dial-a-smell that sends the tantalizing scent of tonight's dinner wafting over the telephone line to family and friends? It's the new kitchen science, and we've got the scoop.
Award-winning journalist Russ Parsons, food editor of the Los Angeles Times, joins us to explain what goes into making a leading newspaper food section and shares three simple tips to make life in the kitchen easier. His new book, How to Read a French Fry, explores the science behind basic cooking techniques and includes recipes, such as his Seafood Rice Salad, that illustrate cooking principles.
We're eating out in America with Ruth Reichl, editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine. Ruth will talk about what's driving chefs these days, how our eating habits are changing, and where in the entire country she would eat if given only two choices and they couldn't be famous restaurants. Gourmet's October 2002 issue is all about restaurants—from big-city, upscale, and grand to local, down-home, and cozy.
This week Gina Gallo, a third-generation member and first female winemaker in the famed Gallo family, joins us with tales of Ernest and Julio and growing up in the family business.
Hints of fall are in the air, we want to get back into the kitchen and cook, and Sally Schneider, author of A New Way to Cook, is going with us. Sally's healthy, lusty food is what we want to eat right now, and her sensational Fall Menu for A Splendid Table is the best inspiration we know.
"We journey to Vietnam this week with our guide Mai Pham, author of Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table. We'll hear about street life, street food, and home cooking as she tells of a country at peace for the first time in a century and of a cuisine that's perhaps the freshest and brightest in all of Southeast Asia. We can't wait to try Mai's recipe for Lemongrass Beef on Cool Noodles.
We're talking with scholar, explorer, and beer anthropologist Alan Eames, author of The Secret Life of Beer. Alan has tracked down beers in Amazon jungles and Egyptian temples, and survived being held at gunpoint by guerrillas in his quest to discover beer's origins. He believes it's at the heart of nearly every culture and he claims beer is, and always was, about women! Jane and Michael Stern have found cheeseburger heaven in upstate Connecticut. Minimalist cook Mark Bittman has had a life-changing experience with chickpeas. He stops by to tell all and give us his recipe for Chickpea Soup with Sausage.
This week we're taking a look at farmers' markets with award-winning author Deborah Madison, whose latest book is Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets. Deborah traveled America to determine if local markets can save the vanishing family farm and whether farmers can even make a living selling their harvest at these markets. She leaves us with a menu and recipes for a Late Summer Vegetarian Feast, just the thing right now to take advantage of summer's bounty.
It's a real variety show this week with controversies over apes with Dr. Frans de Waal, one of the world's leading primatologists and author of The Ape and the Sushi Master. Dr. de Waal theorizes that apes are more like us than we think, and it's demonstrated in how they deal with food.
This week we're coming to you from the Food and Wine Magazine Classic at Aspen, Colorado—the annual extravaganza where food and wine lovers mingle with the culinary world's superstars and sample everything from outrageous champagnes to duck-liver lollipops.
The next time you open your refrigerator door, consider that, centuries ago, cold was a mystery—something seemingly without a source, often associated with danger and death, and altogether too fearsome to explore. Tom Shachtman, author of Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold, examines the subject that baffled ancient mankind before it brought conveniences like refrigeration and air conditioning that we take for granted today.
Just a generation ago American wines were dismissed by Europeans as pedestrian and of little consequence. Thirty years later things changed, and the best French wines began falling behind American varietals in international competitions. Our guest Paul Lukacs, author of American Vintage, traces the rise of American wine and tells the story of the famous blind tasting that started the revolution. From teetotalers to bootleggers, Paul introduces an array of interesting characters who contributed to America becoming a formidable leader in the wine industry.
Polar explorer Ann Bancroft, who recently skied 1,700 miles across Antarctica with her partner Liv Arnesen, joins us this week with tales from her third expedition. She also tells of a lavishly outfitted Arctic expedition from 150 years ago and the food that doomed the members to starvation and insanity.
"This week British writer Elizabeth Luard, author of Sacred Food: Cooking for Spiritual Nourishment, takes a look at the traditional foods different cultures serve at significant life events. We'll focus on food for a wedding celebration as Elizabeth explains why the French favor cream puffs hit with a hammer over cake cut with a knife, why the British avoid greens at a nuptial feast, and why higher is better when it comes to the cake. Her recipe for Soupe de Mariage is pot-au-feu for a wedding party or any time.
This week it's an unusual take on botany and the issue of control—plants vs. humans—with our guest, journalist and gardener Michael Pollan. In his new book, The Botany of Desire, Michael claims that plants manipulate us by taking advantage of our basic desires. (Starts at 20:41.)
This week it's a look at Thai food traditions with Su-Mei Yu, chef/owner of Saffron Restaurant in San Diego and author of Cracking the Coconut: Classic Thai Home Cooking. Su Mei tells of the rather curious way she researched her heritage, and leaves us with etiquette tips for dining in Thai restaurants and a recipe for sticky rice.
This week it's a private tour of Seattle's Pike Place Market, the gold standard among farmers markets. Our guide is none other than award-winning chef and restaurateur Tom Douglas, who was just named Best Chef in the Northwest by the James Beard Foundation. Tom reveals some of his favorite market vendors and shares his recipe for Sake-Steamed Sockeye Salmon with Sake Butter. His new book, Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen, is a celebration of the city's rich and diverse culinary heritage and wealth of fresh local ingredients.
Donna Hay, Australia's diva of divine dining, is credited with rescuing a generation of young people from the clutches of take-out and fast-food. Her latest book, Off the Shelf: Cooking From the Pantry, offers tips and recipes for fresh, quick, stylish, and flavorful meals using what you have on hand. Her recipe for Chili Fish with Sweet Lemon Salad is a fine example.
When Americans first mixed spirits and poured them over ice, they took a path with alcohol that set them apart from the rest of the world. William Grimes, restaurant critic for The New York Times and author of Straight Up Or On the Rocks, joins us with the story of how the cocktail came to be and why it has a place alongside other Americana like animated cartoons, comic strips, and jazz. He shares recipes for a Vesper (the James Bond martini) and a Champagne Cocktail.
This week it's out with Chardonnay and Cabernet and in with lager and ale, as we look at pairing food with beer. From grilled chicken with ale to chocolate cake with stout, bold-tasting premium beers are what to drink now. Stephen Beaumont, author of Premium Beer Drinker's Guide, joins us with tips for matching these unusual beers with what you're having for dinner tonight.
Journalist Eric Schlosser, author of the New York Times best-seller Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, says the fast-food industry should be exposed to the same scrutiny given tobacco and drug companies. We'll take a look at what's become the All-American Meal — a take-out burger, fries and soda — and find out what's really in those "goodies" that will have us shelling out over $110 billion this year.
If you've ever wondered who comes up with the messages printed on those little heart-shaped candies that appear every year at this time, tune in for the story behind a Valentine's Day classic from the New England Confectionary Company.
It's a look at the unusual, the unexpected, and the extraordinary aspects of food and food culture this week with Alan Ridenour, author of Offbeat Food: Adventures in an Omnivorous World. From how Betty Crocker has changed through the years to the dangers of Pez dispensers and a history of pie throwing, we promise an entertaining look at popular culture that we hope sparks a dinner table conversation or two.
Asian-food authority Nina Simonds joins us this week with remedies and relief for those of us suffering the miseries of a cold or flu. Nina, author of A Spoonful of Ginger and star of the public television special by the same name, tells us how the Chinese use food as medicine. Her recipe for Ginger-Scallion Root Tea is the elixir you'll want when sniffles and chills set in.
This week we're off to the Spice Coast of southern India where the air is fragrant with cinnamon and pepper, the people are gracious, and the food is grand. It's the family home of our guest, Maya Kaimal, author of Savoring the Spice Coast of India, and hospitality is a way of life. Maya's recipe for Steamed Mussels in Coconut Milk is an example of the exotic fare you'll encounter here.