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Cookery by the Book is a podcast for cookbook lovers. Join host, Suzy Chase, as she chats with cookbook authors to discover interesting stories behind your favorite cookbooks. In every episode Suzy makes a recipe out of the cookbook for discussion. Happy listening & cooking!

Suzy Chase

    • Dec 8, 2021 LATEST EPISODE
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    • 22m AVG DURATION
    • 251 EPISODES

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    Crave | Ed Smith

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 27, 2021

    Crave: Recipes Arranged by Flavour, to Suit Your Mood and AppetiteBy Ed Smith Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City, sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.Ed Smith: Hello, I'm Ed Smith. I am a cook and a food writer, and this is my third cookbook. It's called Crave: Recipes Arranged by Flavour to Suit Your Mood and Appetite.Suzy Chase: You dedicated this cookbook to anyone who is currently thinking about their next meal, but can't decide in which direction to turn. Most of us ponder what we're going to eat next by what's in our fridge or pantry, but you've realized the ingredients are the building blocks, not the answer. I'd love for you to share your philosophy around our next meal.Ed Smith: Crave is organized by six flavor profiles, which we can go into in a minute, but I think I did that because I do spend all of my time thinking about what I'm going to eat next. I think when you do that, if you are a hungry person, your mind can get flooded with ideas, with inspiration from over the internet, things you read, things you see on TV. It's just really easy, I think, to get in a muddle and also what I call menu paralysis, that you just don't know what to cook next. You end up cooking the same five or six things over and over and over again.Ed Smith: I just realized that whilst I do often base my food on the ingredients that I see in front of me that are in peak in the season at that time, or walk into a butcher's or a green grocers, where I live in London, there's loads of really inspiring places, actually, the times that I'm most successful in what I decide to cook, actually it's because I've cooked something that suited the flavor that I was craving at the time. Does that make sense?Suzy Chase: Totally, totally.Ed Smith: It may make more sense if I tell what the six different flavors are.Suzy Chase: Yes, would you do that?Ed Smith: All right. I felt that they were fresh and fragrant, tart and sour, chili and heat, spiced and curried, rich and savory, and cheesy and creamy.Suzy Chase: Somewhere I think I read or I heard you say that you crave the fresh and fragrant profile most. Talk to me about that one.Ed Smith: About the craving in particular or my craving for it? I think-Suzy Chase: Well, describe the profile first and then what's appealing, because I think I'm a rich and savory and a cheesy and creamy gal.Ed Smith: Fresh and fragrant is green verdant things, so leaves, things that crunch, that are cooling. It's fresh cheeses, ricotta and feta, it's vegetables that are crunchy. It's things that often don't take much cooking to get to the plate, salads and assemblies and platters and stuff that made you feel good when you eat it. It's often not really taking the ingredients much beyond their raw state, because I think that's the freshness, isn't it? Herbs used in abundance, not just as a little garnishes, herbs like a salad leaf, citrus, all that sort of stuff. I want those things when I want to feel good, I want to feel light, I want to feel happy. I might already be feeling happy or I might be in a grump, but I just know that a fresh and fragrant meal is going to pull me out of it.Ed Smith: In the cookbook, some things are literal salads, there's just a ham hock, tarragon, radish and asparagus salad, but also slow-cooked courgettes but with fresh cheese and run through loads of white beans with loads of oil and some fresh herbs. Just nice things, and I think that I do crave that a lot because it covers so much of what I've said, it's whether it is already hot and I'm feeling happy, or whether I'm feeling in a grump and I want to feel lighter and happier.Suzy Chase: Yeah. You talked about in the book how it's important to eat food that feels appropriate to what's going on outside.Ed Smith: Yeah. I think maybe the genesis for this book, or at least one of the things that started me thinking about, is that I'd written a seasonal cookbook and there are lots of seasonal cookbooks and they're all great and I do think that we often can eat really well if we concentrate on the food that's at its peak at the certain time of the year and be inspired by that, but I also think that seasonal cooking means cooking according to the season and what you feel like cooking, which goes to that point about fresh and fragrant and things being assemblies and salads. If it's really hot, you don't want to spend all your time in the kitchen, slaving over a hot stove. You want to just cut a few things up and sit around the table.Ed Smith: That's sort of started and then I realized that, and certainly in the UK, the seasons are really mixed actually. We're so used to talking about four seasons, but right now I'm sitting here is the end of June, and normally that's when Wimbledon's about to start, it might be some years that it's a bit wet, but it is warm and strawberries are coming through and all these lovely things and you're really starting to think that summer's here. But having had a mini heat wave for a week, we're suddenly in literally autumn, autumnal weather, and the things I've been craving today and the things that I want to eat right now are not summery things. They're bean stews and various meats and vegetable gratins and stuff, and that is not what you'd see in the summer section of a seasonal cookbook. That got me thinking that weather is perhaps more important than season, in terms of what you crave, everything flows from there.Suzy Chase: At the end of two of the flavor profiles, you have a page called A Quick Fix, which is so brilliant. Can you talk a little bit about that?Ed Smith: I think, off of my head, are rich and savory and cheesy and creamy. I think that I had the little Quick Fix section at the end, because I guess maybe that started with the cheesy and creamy section as I was writing that, because ultimately for me the best way to get fixed if you're craving cheese is to have a piece of really good cheese and you can't write a recipe for that. I think I started with that and then just simply grilled cheese. How better can you get a fix for things like that? They're just little ideas that everyone knows about already, but sometimes if you're reading a cookbook, there are lots of things you already know, but sometimes you want to have your memory jogged.Ed Smith: That was kind of the same with the savory section. Some things that hit the spot very quickly with the savory might be anchovies on toast with lots of butter or a really good cup of miso soup made with an instant dashi and a blob of miso. It's sometimes useful in a cookbook, I think, to state the obvious, because not everything has to be new. Fortunately, people buy cookbooks to read them as well as put on their coffee table, and it's good to have your memory jogged and to feel like you're on the right track as well.Suzy Chase: There are recipes in this cookbook that I've never seen before, like scrag and root and miso broth, and pork belly butter beans and deli olives, and your linguine with lemon and sriracha. Talk a little bit about your process for developing a recipe.Ed Smith: I don't think there's many things that are in cookbooks or that anyone cooks that someone hasn't cooked before, so I wouldn't say that I've done something for the first time. In my cookbook and the way that I write recipes for magazines and my cookbooks and everything else that goes in between is that I am a good curator of recipes and ideas and traditions and cuisines and flavors, so that for cookbooks, I make, I hope, a useful resource that isn't pretending to only give you stuff you've never had before been. Bun cha, a Vietnamese salad with pork patties, my thing is that it's definitely my recipe for that patty, but I'm not laying claimed to bun cha, that's Vietnam. But there are some things in there, which I think are my ideas, and I guess that pork belly is a slow braised pork belly with just some white beans, really not difficult, loads of people have done it before, and then the twist is for marinaded olives. I think if you just chop that up, you make yourself a quick and easy sauce over the top. That's all that is, it's just a simple dish.Ed Smith: The sriracha spaghetti with lemon is really pretty similar to, I'm going to say this wrong, aglio e olio, an Italian pasta dish with just olive oil, garlic that's very, very gently cooked down into it and some chili flakes, but I just added quite a large squirt of sriracha, which is Southeast Asian chili sauce. People love sriracha, people love noodle dishes, as in spaghetti, good squeeze of lemon. Then I added a pangrattato on the top, which is normally a breadcrumb thing that's fried with garlic and other stuff. But again, if you add chili flakes and sriracha to that, then suddenly you've got a tangy, chili, hot thing that's just going to suit your chili and heat craving.Suzy Chase: You're a bit of a recipe maestro.Ed Smith: You think?Suzy Chase: I would never think of putting sriracha in linguini.Ed Smith: Thank you. I think there's a rich history of cultures making very, very simple but delicious dishes with either a spaghetti or an Italian style pasta or noodles from China, Japan and elsewhere. Nigella, she does a Marmite pasta, I think, and that's kind of like a twist on Chinese sesame noodle situation. It's kind of the savory coating gloss, a very, very simple thing and adding a bit of Marmite. I think in my mind, I had the sriracha as a similar condiment, that it makes a very quick, easy thing.Suzy Chase: Speaking of Nigella, you talk about the word crave, which is usually associated with sweet and fatty decadence. I had her on the podcast a few episodes ago and she was talking about her distaste for the term guilty pleasure. In her latest cookbook, she has a whole chapter called pleasures because she says the term guilty pleasures warps your sense of what you're seeking in food. Then there's comfort eating, which is a whole other episode. But you mentioned that the research suggests that many crave healthy rather than guilty food when they need comfort.Ed Smith: One of the subject areas that's got a huge amount of stuff written about it is comfort food. That is something that I think has two connotations that I write about often, is the idea that people seek comfort in a tub of ice cream, that's that classic movie thing, isn't it? You break up with your partner and you just sink into the sofa with a tub of ice cream. Also, comfort food tends to be written about in the UK and US press as roast chicken or chicken soup, things that are wholesome and savory. In fact, both of those things, the seeking solace in ice cream or seeking solace in savory things, it's just a tiny fraction of what people really want as comfort.Ed Smith: Quite often, more often than you'd think people that are either feeling like they are hungry or they're unhappy or they're ill or they are in a bad mood, many, many people realize that the thing that is going to get them out of that slump is not a guilty pleasure. Something that's fresh, something that makes you feel good and makes you feel happy and that makes you bounce out of that slump. Comfort food is different things to different people, quite frequently, this different thing, it takes you back to your happy place. Often, for many, not everyone, that's your childhood and obviously people's heritages. We have reduced comfort food in media to a tiny fraction of what it really is.Suzy Chase: Yeah, it's so funny because I grew up in Kansas with little or no pasta, and so I never crave pasta and people think I'm crazy.Ed Smith: Do you have a different kind of carb that you attach your cravings to? When you really want something, is it potatoes, is it rice, is it-Suzy Chase: Yeah, I think it would be potato.Ed Smith: Yeah. Corn?Suzy Chase: Corn, potato and steak.Ed Smith: Right. I mean, that's good. Is that something you go back to when you do want something for comfort?Suzy Chase: Yes.Ed Smith: Home food, home cooked food, food from the childhood.Suzy Chase: What do you go back to in your childhood?Ed Smith: Probably is a roast dinner, which is such a British thing to say, isn't it? Mum cooked everything from scratch. We had a really good upbringing in terms of learning how to cook and to cook nice things. By no means were her meals, or even the best meals, roast dinners, but I think something about a roast chicken with all the veg on a cold wet Sunday, that does sort of bring things back.Suzy Chase: For lunch, I made your recipe for chopped kale, dill and chick pea salad with smoked trout, on page 32. Can you describe this dish?Ed Smith: That's in the fresh and fragrant section. The fragrance comes from lots and lots and lots of dill, a little bit of citrus. The freshness comes from both the taste and also the cold, chilled texture of cucumber in that dish is dressed with yogurt and dill, lots of chopped salad that's been chopped and salted, and a bit of citrus so that it breaks down the kale. There are chickpeas in there that are just cooked and there are chickpeas in there that have been baked, so they're crispy. There's loads of textures going on. Then it's finished with some flaked smoked trout. That all comes together with the freshness of the kale, the cucumbers, the yogurt dressing, dill, smoked fish, just to make it interesting,Suzy Chase: It was a lovely summer lunch, and yes, I love trout so much.Ed Smith: It's lovely, isn't it? I think it's really good. I think that is a good lunch dish and one that isn't wildly difficult to put together, hopefully the ingredients are pretty accessible. If you did have a craving for fresh and fragrant at 9:00 in the morning and either you had most of those ingredients in the fridge or store cupboard or you could pop out to the shop and get it, then you could hopefully satisfy that craving pretty quickly.Suzy Chase: Now to my segment called Last Night's Dinner, where I ask you what you had last night for dinner.Ed Smith: Do you know what? I feel both happy and a little bit cringingly embarrassed to say that I genuinely had the sriracha and lemon spaghetti last night. I had just driven for about five hours back from a different part of the country, dropped my wife off in the middle of London who went to a work event and then drove my son a little bit further, unpacked the car, did all these things. Suddenly, it was 9:30 at night and obviously we hadn't got any food at home except, as always, bagged spaghetti, some garlic, some old bread, some sriracha. It hit the spot absolutely because I was tired and I was ready for some pasta, but more importantly, I think probably having been driving for five hours in the rain, pretty ready to have a little bit more excitement in my day, it was just what I needed.Suzy Chase: I'm excited because I'm making it tomorrow night.Ed Smith: Are you? Oh great.Suzy Chase: I have clams that I need to make and I think they're alive in my fridge so I need to make them tonight, but tomorrow I'm making that linguine and I can't wait.Ed Smith: I really hope you like it. My dad actually called me the weekend to say that he'd made it, he rarely cooks. He said he thought I'd put too much the chili sauce in, but I reminded him that the tablespoon was a genuine measurement, not just the biggest spoon you can find in the kitchen for that. Also, I suspect that he might well have a different tolerance to heat than me. Hopefully you like it, depending on all those factors.Suzy Chase: Where can we find you on the web and social media?Ed Smith: Rocket & Squash, @rocketandsquash, as in I was going to say the salad leaf, but you call it arugula I think, don't you?Suzy Chase: Yes.Ed Smith: The rocket as in a space rocket, and squash, which is also the name of my blog,, that's me. I write all over the place for lots of magazines and newspapers, but I suppose most active these days on Instagram and a little bit on my blog.Suzy Chase: Well, this has been an enlightening conversation. Thanks so much, Ed, for coming on Cookery by the Book Podcast.Ed Smith: My pleasure, thanks so much for having me.Outro: Follow Cookery by the Book on Instagram, and thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    monk | Yoshihiro Imai

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 21, 2021

    monk: Light and Shadow on the Philosopher's PathBy Yoshihiro Imai Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery By the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City, sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.Emmy Reis: My name is Emmy Reis. I am one of the translators along with Naomi Reis who translated Chef Yoshihiro Imai's monk: Light and Shadow on The Philosopher's Path.Suzy Chase: Emmy, you live in Brooklyn, but you're originally from Kyoto. How do you know Chef Imai, and how were you involved with this book?Emmy Reis: Sure. It's actually a funny story. Chef Imai and I met at a very random bar in the pub district in Kyoto. We were each meeting work clients and then they happened to be going to this very random hole-in-the-wall bar. We just happened to sit next to each other at this bar. We were both feeling very awkward, and then we got talking and he talked about his first book, Circle, which he was carrying in his bag. Right off the bat, I don't know, we connected. So yeah, we've been good friends. He's had this vision of this book for a really long time, and so yeah, I was really happy to be involved in the translation of it.Suzy Chase: Monk is the story of your 14-seat, seasonally inspired restaurant. I want to kick things off talking about the word path.Emmy Reis: I think the motif of a path is a really big theme for monk, and of course the book in many ways. It's also in the subtitle, Light and Shadow on the Philosopher's Path. The Philosopher's Path is the actual name of the small path where monk is located. It's such a perfect name because it's named after the various philosophers and writers that are said to have walked on this path to ruminate about life, et cetera. The vibe of the path hasn't changed much today. It's still a quiet, tranquil pass along a small canal. It's very calming and meditative to walk this path.Emmy Reis: I think this image of philosopher walking on a path day after day connects to this idea in Chef Imai's work, where each day is this meditation, repetition and accumulation of a communion with nature and the ingredients that it provides. It sums up to the larger picture, which is a journey and an exploration, as you said, and one that is ongoing.Emmy Reis: His daily ritual of traveling up north, out of Kyoto city to the countryside of Ohara, where he gathers his vegetables, herbs, and flowers of the day. It's definitely a practical ritual in the sense that he gets his ingredients, but it's definitely much more than that. It's about feeling the energy and the breath of the natural environment, and then bringing that back with the ingredients and keeping that intact in the dishes that he makes so that it can be shared and felt by the guests as well.Emmy Reis: His approach is very much about being receptive to nature, and so going to the farms and fields where he can feel that is an essential part of his practice. That's basically what guides his path.Suzy Chase: Chef Imai seems to epitomize the definition of creativity, although he's uncomfortable using the word, how come?Emmy Reis: I think, well, he's expressed that he's always surprised and deeply moved by the beauty and wonder of nature, which is created by nature itself and the elements within that. We can't create anything without that ourselves, or even exist. I think that in the course of his life, he felt and understood this idea in very visceral ways, both in specific moments and over time. You can get a sense of that through the essays and stories he tells in the book.Emmy Reis: After that, once he have that realization, he says he almost felt ashamed to use that word, not because the word creative or using the word creative is inherently bad in any way, but because of the way it's been used in certain contexts in a maybe entitled or capitalistic ways. I think it just doesn't feel right to him within his relationship with nature, as a chef and as a person, to put it that way. He prefers just being with nature with deep respect, and that's monk in a nutshell. This also means the dishes reflect seasonality and sense of space, sense of place, and the environment and the changes that come with each day and moment. That's the most important thing, and the menu and dishes evolve each day because of that.Suzy Chase: For those of us who don't have a garden, we're here in New York City, or we can't forage, we go to the grocery store. Does he think there's a way for us to tap into the awe and respect that bubbles up for him every morning on his commute to the farmer's market?Emmy Reis: Yeah, definitely, there's still a way to tap into that. He suggests going to the grocery store or farmer's market without deciding what you're making beforehand. Just go there with a neutral mind and open your eyes and your heart to what they have and see what ingredients speak to you or seem most vital. Think about what's in season right now. Even in a grocery store in the city, there should be a larger stock of seasonal things that are perhaps less expensive and are pure, fresh and vital. Once you have one or two, or maybe many ingredients if you're lucky like that, from there, you can think about what you're going to make. That's kind of the same thing as what he does in the farmer's market and out in the fields every morning.Suzy Chase: Chef Imai's primary aim is for his guests to enjoy a delicious and pleasurable time at monk. What is his deeper takeaway for his guests?Emmy Reis: It's a really huge pleasure for him to see the guests have a delicious and fun time, but he also hopes to resonate with someone's heart on a really deep level, in a way that remains imprinted in their memory, not just in the mind, but of course, in a way that's connected to the senses and the body. What he's always thinking about and talking about with his staff is to imagine what type of feeling the guests would be taking home after dinner. If you have a clear sense of that, you can have a strong sense of what to do and how. Restaurants have many elements, like interior design, flowers, music, lighting, conversations that happen, and the food's just one of those elements. He's always thinking about what the guests might feel and the whole experience of the restaurant and how that might reverberate for them as they return back to their daily lives.Suzy Chase: I'd love to hear about his search for the perfect spot for monk that's situated on the Philosopher's Path.Emmy Reis: Yeah. it took him a long time to find the right place, I think he said almost eight months. He had a really clear vision of a location close to nature and ideally next to a river or stream, running water. He told some real estate companies, but they didn't get his image really, or they just didn't have anything like that. But he also didn't want to settle, so he just kept trying. Finally, one company that got his vision got back to him four months after he brought this up and they told him about this place. It was right at the foot of the mountains, kind of away from the city, next to flowing water, so it was perfect. There was a really special energy. It feels very protected and secluded and closer to nature. But the building itself was super old, so he was a little unsure when he walked in, but something about the vibe just clicked so he went with it.Suzy Chase: His work at Monk is a direct reflection of how he lives everyday life. I would love to hear about that.Emmy Reis: Yeah. I think that when someone does this kind of work, daily life and work become almost seamless. First of all, you're working very closely with your senses, your intuition, your philosophy, and you can't turn that off. The two have to meet in sync. Then secondly, the work of a restaurant is around the clock. It starts very early in the morning and goes into late night, so definitely the condition of the body and soul is very important. He always says if that's out of balance, you can't move someone's heart. He's very dedicated to keeping himself healthy and happy and making sure he can spend time with his family doing some light yoga on his breaks and stuff like that. That's part of his work as well. By the way, his wife, Ena, is a really amazing yoga instructor. They use the second floor above the restaurant as her studio.Emmy Reis: The dishes come to life because of his routine of going to the farmer's market and the farm, so it's very important what he sees and feels there. He says it sometimes almost feels like the dishes are a diary that he's writing.Suzy Chase: I'm so interested to hear about the connection between music style and taste.Emmy Reis: Yeah. He would say there's definitely a connection between music style and taste in the ways they're structured and also in the ways they might make you feel. Like maybe the rich and textured sounds of the symphony might compare to the atmosphere and labor-intensive techniques of classic old cuisine in a French restaurant, and then maybe the way pop music is embellished with different kinds of sounds or synthesized in certain ways can be compared to contemporary gastronomy.Emmy Reis: Chef Imai himself enjoys a wide variety, both in music and in cooking. I know he listens to a lot of hip hop, Japanese hip hop, and jazz when he's driving, but the type of music he really resonates with on a deeper level is pretty simple, like solo piano performances or minimalistic combinations of vocals and acoustic guitar. I think this really shows in his approach to cooking as well.Suzy Chase: While attending university, Chef Imai would travel around alone on his breaks, like backpacking across Asia and Europe. One particular winter in Canada, he had a home stay experience where the mother of the family made pizza at home. Can you talk a little bit about that?Emmy Reis: He talks about this memory as something that has been deeply imprinted in his mind and how, looking back, it's one of the pivotal moments for sure that connects in this line with where he is now, because pizza was a chance meaning for him and this was definitely one of those things that pulled him in that direction.Suzy Chase: Almost all the cooking at monk is done in a wood-fired oven, imported from Italy. That's the heartbeat of the restaurant. First, I'd love for you to describe how the open flame takes to vegetables.Emmy Reis: The infrared heat of the oven can gently cook the vegetables in a way that really encapsulates their essence and goodness. He really believes this is the best way to eat vegetables, and especially seasonal vegetables, and capture that umami. The assorted grilled vegetable dish is always part of the omakase course, and it's a major highlight of the meal. It seems really simple, and it is simple, but because of that simplicity, it also involves a lot of craft and skill because the vegetables have to be cut, grilled and salted very precisely so that they really shine. It's also about, I think, the experience of seeing the flames cook the ingredients right before your eyes and the way that connects with something very primal within us.Suzy Chase: Then I'm so curious about the tasting menu that starts and ends with pizza.Emmy Reis: The first course is a simple combination of a seasonal vegetable potage soup and grilled pizza crust, which Chef Imai calls suyaki, su meaning as is or natural, and yaki meaning grilled. It's just grilled really quick in the oven and topped with olive oil and Parmigiano-Reggiano. The idea is to deliver the bare essence of the restaurant, and it's inspired by traditional Cha-kaiseki cuisine, or also known as tea ceremony kaiseki, where the course starts with a simple soup and just small bite of cooked rice.Emmy Reis: Then the meal moves on to series of small appetizer-sized dishes, using daily vegetables combined with dairy or seafood. These have a lot of freedom and really shift with the ingredients of the day. They're often accentuated with fresh herbs or fermented foods. The fifth dish after that is one of the highlights, which we talked about, the assorted roasted vegetables, followed by a meat dish. Then the second highlight of course is a pizza that comes after the meat dish.Emmy Reis: In Japanese cuisine, there's a concept we call shūryō which means end or close, and it refers to a warm and filling very wholesome meal, most often carb-based, so it will probably be something like noodles or rice. So ending with pizza connects to this idea of shūryō. It made sense to Chef Imai to close the meal on this happy and wholesome way. Lastly, of course, is the dessert, which usually features herbs or grilled seasonal fruit, so the night can end on a really bright, light, uplifting and refreshing note.Suzy Chase: Why pizza?Emmy Reis: Yeah, this is a really great question and something that also comes up in the book, because of course everyone is so curious and asking him that all the time. In fact, there is a essay in the book with that exact title, Why Pizza? There are many reasons, which the book reveals more about as it unfolds, but this is something Chef Imai himself has thought about a lot, as would anyone who has dedicated so much of their life to a specific craft. I think there's always a philosophical, maybe even existential, question of why am I doing this specific thing?Emmy Reis: In the essay, Chef Imai talks about how maybe it could have been architecture or music or something else instead of pizza, but this idea of path comes up again. On the specific path he happened to be on, pizza was what showed up for him in a very profound way in his early twenties. This experience of eating it at that moment was a very visceral thing that spoke to the core of his being. In that moment, he just knew that he wanted to replicate that for others and that was kind of it. Pizza also just happens to be this wonderful template in which he can both play homage to traditional Japanese cuisine and local ingredients and the changing seasons, while also opening a space that is flexible, playful and experimental and not bound to conventions or certain expectations.Suzy Chase: There are three pizzas in the book that I would love for you to describe. The first is the fresh nori pizza.Emmy Reis: Yeah, the fresh nori pizza is a very simple combination of fresh nori, mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The nori here is not the sheet nori that you think about when you hear nori. It's a raw variety of seaweed called aosa lettuce. It's got a paste-like consistency, and it comes out in the very beginning of the spring. This is a dish to celebrate the arrival of spring. It has a really nice minerally, salty flavor, so it's best to keep it simple in this way.Suzy Chase: The next one is the eggplant pizza.Emmy Reis: Ayu and Kamo-nasu eggplant pizza.Suzy Chase: Yes.Emmy Reis: Yep. This one is a half-and-half pizza with a traditional Kyoto variety eggplant called Kamo-nasu, it's very meaty and juicy, and ayu, which is a summer freshwater river fish known for a very pleasant, bitter flavor. These are ingredients that signal the beginning of summer. The ayu is prepared as a confit and the liver is made into a sauce to add a deep accent to the flavor. The eggplant is roasted in the wood-fired oven and pureed.Suzy Chase: God, that sounds great.Emmy Reis: It is.Suzy Chase: Then the next is the kōtake mushroom pizza.Emmy Reis: This is a pizza that is very close conceptually to sushi. It's the minimal combination of a carbohydrate and an ingredient, and this really allows the seasonal mushrooms to shine. The mushrooms are foraged by his forager friend, Mr. Sasaki, who lives up north in Iwate. They're quite special and this is a really nice way to enjoy them.Suzy Chase: Monk is housed in an old 100-year-old residence with traditional blue roof tiles. Would you please describe the interior? I am dying to go here, by the way.Emmy Reis: Yeah. It's a combination of Japanese and Scandinavian modern, simple but refined, and yet also very warm, inviting, and comfortable. It's minimal in a way that isn't uptight and it just soothes and relaxes your eyes and heart. The beams and pillars are the original wood and the dome-shaped window with cast iron frames looks out onto the tree-lined Philosopher's Path.Emmy Reis: The pizza oven and counter is the first thing you see when you come into the dining space. The floor is one level throughout and the kitchen counter, where all the food prep happens, is right there. That, and the warm lighting, make it feel very intimate. The vegetables and flowers picked fresh in the morning and the farms adorn the kitchen counter and stove top spaces, and that brings you a sense of the vital energy from nature that morning.Suzy Chase: Chef Imai seems to approach everything in his life with an artist's eye, even down to how the firewood is stacked. Could you please tell me the story of the cover and the physical design of this cookbook?Emmy Reis: The photographer, Yuka Yanazume, who did all the photography is a high school friend of Chef Imai. They've worked on an independent book project together before this. Her photos are just stunning, so Chef Imai knew from the beginning he wanted to with her. She really did a fantastic job of capturing the vibrance of the dishes and the nature. The designer, Julia Hasting, also did such an amazing job. The design of the book really speaks to the aesthetics of the restaurant. It's dynamic and tranquil all at the same time, in a way that evokes not just Monk, but also the vibe of Japan, and specifically Kyoto, but in a really refreshing and just genuine and natural way.Emmy Reis: It was really important that the book didn't cater to some kind of pre-existing or packaged idea of Japan or Kyoto and maybe conventional imagery or narrative within that. This book really needed to be its own thing, free to express what Monk embodies, and Julia really allowed that to come through, which is so amazing.Emmy Reis: Another important thing is the theme of light and shadow, which is in the subtitle of this book. It's definitely expressed in the design, layout and photos throughout the book, which is organized by the four seasons, beginning with spring. In terms of the theme of light and shadow in this book, there's an ongoing play between smaller moments of tension and contrast between light and shadow, like in the individual photos, and then there's a larger cycle that happens over the course of a year and the seasons, starting with this rising bright energy of spring that's full of light and vibrant colors and then ending with a certain darkness or quietness, deeper tones of color, which gives the book closure, but also a sense of renewal and rebirth beyond that.Emmy Reis: The cover was rendered from a photo taken by Yuka, in which the leaves from the trees on the Philosopher's Path were casting these beautiful moving shadows on the Monk exterior wall. It gives a really tactile sense of that warmth and carries that theme of light and shadow. It was a really beautiful and perfect cover for this book. It also has this feeling that those shadows could move or change at any moment, and that's also something that pulls you in deeper. So yeah.Suzy Chase: Where can we find Monk on the web and social media?Emmy Reis: You can find his website at, and also on Instagram, his handle is yoshihiroimai. There's also a recording of the online release event, I think you can find it on his Instagram. It's one of the newest posts. That's a really great way to get a sense of the book as well.Suzy Chase: This cookbook is truly a work of art. Thank you so much, Emmy, for coming on Cookery by the Book Podcast for Chef Imai. This is certainly something I've never done before and I loved talking to you.Emmy Reis: Thank you so much, Suzy. This was a total pleasure and I'm so excited to be talking with you.Outro: Follow Cookery by the Book on Instagram, and thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    Colombiana | Mariana Velásquez

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 14, 2021

    ColombianaBy Mariana Velásquez Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.Mariana Velásquez: Hello, my name is Mariana Velásquez and my most recent cookbook is called Colombiana. A rediscovery of recipes and rituals from the soul of Colombia.Suzy Chase: You're a James Beard award-winning recipe developer, a food stylist and native of Bogotá. This is your first cookbook devoted solely to Colombian food. Could you please read the author's note on page 295?Mariana Velásquez: This manuscript was submitted to Harper Collins on April 7th, 2020 during the first COVID 19 lockdown from our home in South Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York. More than ever, cooking has become a source of comfort and care, learning to cope with uncertainty certainly gave me the courage to write from a more personal place. Seclusion even inspired my husband Diego to cook by following recipes for the very first time. A newly found appreciation for the essential beauty and gifts of everyday, illuminates these pages. The vision of going on a 10 day road trip, from Bogatá to Cartagena, to photograph, the places food and people transformed, into shooting the book entirely in Brooklyn, due to a pandemic. Creative challenges can bring unexpected results. It is my wish, that these recipes give you as much comfort and joy as they gave us. Hopefully in brighter times.Suzy Chase: Creative challenges can bring unexpected results. You wrote this exactly a year ago.Mariana Velásquez: It's crazy to I mean, think about it, you know, to think how as a first time, as an adult to not know, you know, to not know know was going to happen next, nobody knew, you know, and so it was very raw and real and scary at the time.Suzy Chase: That was the worst part that you couldn't call anyone and say, Hey, what's going on? No one knew.Mariana Velásquez: Yeah, no one knew. I kept hoping somebody would know (laughs) ;and I kept hoping a wise friend would have some insights.Suzy Chase: Yeah, I kept asking my husband every night. He's really smart. And I kept saying, Bob, okay, what's going on? And he'd say, I don't know. I'm like, no! You have to know, this is awful.Mariana Velásquez: Oh my god, yeah.Suzy Chase: So what is one unexpected thing that came out of this cookbook?Mariana Velásquez: You know, the vision was to go to Colombia and photograph, and tell these stories of women who are essentially the carriers of our culinary traditions. And on these road trips that we had planned, I had already found incredible makers and cooks and chefs and we couldn't visit them. And so I thought, how about we find women here in New York who are Colombian, who tell this story of our country, through their food and celebrate them. And that was really unexpected, because I had such a different vision and a completely different plan. And that was a great gift because, it's the Colombiana's who are here and their story and, and what they share. So that was very special to me.Suzy Chase: I couldn't do this interview without asking about Aura Salcedo...Mariana Velásquez: Yes. Oh my gosh.Mariana Velásquez: She, Aura, has been with me, accompanying me, testing recipes, cooking up a storm with me every time, teaching me all of her tricks and Sazón and the way that she cooks is so it's so authentic. It's so real. There's no fuss. You know, she cuts up a plantain in the fastest way. She knows when are you guys in the perfect place to multitask. Like no one else. Yeah. That was incredible. And is, you know, I continue to work with her often.Suzy Chase: It's your first cooking job in America and you cook eggs and potatoes at the same time, in one pot, when the chef yells, who did this? Take me back to that moment.Mariana Velásquez: So can you imagine, I'm 17 years old in this very, very high-end kitchen and there's a million pots boiling over, there were port reductions and broths and soups, everything was being made. And it was kind of, I don't know, maybe 45 minutes before service began. And the chef ordered me to make the accompaniments for the caviar, which were these beautiful new potatoes and some hard-boiled eggs, that then you would separate the white from the yolk and pass them through a very fine strainer. So they would become powder. And my grandmother always cooked the potatoes and the eggs in the same pot, (laughs) because she was a very practical woman. She was a great cook and there was no need to dirty up two pots. So I did that, thinking I was being very efficient. And to my surprise, after chef Craig asked me, you know, ask who did this. And I was like, I did. He said, never stop doing it this way. He loved that. It was kind of, I don't know. It made sense to me.Suzy Chase: Imagine if he would have been angry, that would have changed your whole path of cooking.Mariana Velásquez: Completely, completely because it was, you know, it's, it's that thing that you feel it was instinct... Instinctual. That was the word I was looking for. So he celebrated that and I, you know, I'm forever grateful.Suzy Chase: What restaurant was this?Mariana Velásquez: This was Sierra Mar in Big Sur in California, in this beautiful hotel called the Post Ranch Inn. And Suzy, it was a magical place. You know, it was a new menu every day. This is 1999. When the expression "Farm to Table" was not even that, you know, it wasn't even called that, this restaurant had incredible ingredients, locally grown. We had our own garden, this lady would make our bread. Kids would come to the back of the kitchen with backpacks filled with Chanterelles and Morels, that they had foraged. It was really an exquisite first experience in the kitchen.Suzy Chase: So, you learned method and the minutiae that goes into making a recipe trustworthy at Eating Well and Saveur magazines. How is the recipe development in a restaurant, different from recipe development for a food magazine?Mariana Velásquez: Well, for food magazine, it has to be tried and tried and adjusted. And it has to be really exact, you know, it's so disappointing when a magazine publishes something that doesn't work, right? I mean, especially if it's something that you bake and the cake doesn't rise, or it implodes, it's different because you are giving the person instructions without you being there. You know, at a restaurant, things can change. Things can be replaced by ingredients that are in season or each moment that you go to a restaurant. You may have that food, but it's influenced by so many other elements. You know, it doesn't always have to be exactly the same, but when you're doing it for a magazine, it has to be precise. So there's so much more that goes into it specifically because of that. And the way that you explained the recipes and give directions.Suzy Chase: I'm curious about how you use your country as a muse for your cuisine?Mariana Velásquez: So, Colombia is all about color is all about bounty, et cetera, fruits and traditions and music. And for me, cooking is not just cooking, you know, it's everything that goes around it. It's the ritual of the table it's the music you listen to when you invite people over, it's the dress you wear. It's how you decorate your home, and Colombia, because we're a country that's so biodiverse. We have all the climates, we have, we have so much abundance in culture that I take all of that and translate it into my cooking. So, I like to say that more is more but not in excess, but just generosity and flavor.Suzy Chase: From Argentina to the Philippines, to Ecuador, to Colombia, the empanada is the same. You say making empanadas is a simple process. Can you walk me through it?Mariana Velásquez: I think it's all about getting organized. You know, you make your filling and it could be chicken. It could be beef, it could be just cheese. It could be jam. So you have your filling and you make your dough. And the only thing that is a little bit more labor intensive is putting the empanadas together. And that's when I suggest having people over to help you do so, you know, and having an empanada party, kind of like having a dumpling party, one person rolls out the dough. The other person cuts it, everybody helps fill and assemble and you can bake them or deep fry them. And you can have some as you're there and then freeze the rest.Suzy Chase: Okay, that sounds easy. I can do it. If you had to pick a Colombian feast to make and eat forever, what would it be?Mariana Velásquez: I would say the food from the Caribbean Coast because of our Syrian and Lebanese immigrants and the communities that have settled there, and have really taken those flavors and combined them with the local cuisine, with the indigenous food, with the Afro Colombian food. And to me, it's my favorite because imagine it's braised meat and the sweet and savory sauce, sweet plantains in coconut milk, very crisp cucumbers with herbs. I just love it.Suzy Chase: Arepas are corn meal patties that resemble an English muffin that are now widely popular, both in Colombian cuisine and American. Can you talk a little bit about the dough and the fillings?Mariana Velásquez: Yes. So in Colombia arepas are usually only stuffed with cheese, but when we do, we use it as a vessel for butter, for salt, and they accompany other savory foods, uh, arepas are usually in for breakfast. And in the book, I actually give a couple of recipes, one for sweet corn arepas, arepas chocolate, uh, which are my favorite because the corn is very, very sweet. They're yellow and they're delicious. And then I give a recipe using pre cooked masa, which is very quick. And you just add water and form the dough. You can do a little salt, a little oil or a little butter. And then the third option is when you buy the corn, that's been dried and then you cook it and then grind it and form the arepas yourself as well. So different stages, different versions, but arepas are such a common, they're kind of like a unifying factor in Colombia. I was explaining in the book that Colombian cuisine is very, very regional, but arepas is one of those foods that you see across the country. And I really love this poem by a Columbian scholar. And he says, arepas means family, means mom, means Homeland and means history. It means strength. It means perseverance. And that's an excerpt of something he wrote. And I imagine that that's what arepas means in our country. It's all of that.Suzy Chase: Are you familiar with the arepa lady who used to have a cart under the seven train in Jackson Heights?Mariana Velásquez: Yes, Yes, yes. I've read her stories on the papers for years and talk about a Colombiana, a very persevering Colombiana.Suzy Chase: Yes. I wonder what she's doing now. I hope she's doing okay.Mariana Velásquez: I hope so.Suzy Chase: So Colombia is a country with rich biodiversity, as well as cultural diversity. Bogota, where you're from in particular is an epicenter of the diverse food traditions from all over Colombia. What are some of your favorite street foods?Mariana Velásquez: I absolutely love Merengon, which is a meringue like pavlova-ish dessert that you find on, on the roads on the streets and basically the square meringue with cream and strawberries. And it's so simple and so delicious. So, you know, when I go for my hunting for fabric or for flowers in this one neighborhood in Bogota called San Andresito, like little San Andres, they have these roast pork sandwiches that are heavenly, you know, the pork is roasted very slowly and it's a little bit sweet and then they slice it really thin and serve it in these sweet rolls sandwich with kind of like a cucumber relish, but it's delicious. And it always makes me think or fabric hunting in Bogota.Suzy Chase: Over the weekend I made your recipe for smoky lentils with chorizo on page 95.Mariana Velásquez: Yay!Suzy Chase: Lentejas ahumadas con chorizo?Mariana Velásquez: Perfecto!Suzy Chase: What? Really?Mariana Velásquez: Yes!Suzy Chase: So on that recipe, you write lentils tend to be either loved or hated and your husband hates them, which made me laugh.Mariana Velásquez: Yeah, Diego hates them. I have to wait for him to travel, to make lentejas. You know, because it's kind of hard to make, just lentils for yourself. Right. I mean, you kind of have to make a large pot.Suzy Chase: It's a lot..Mariana Velásquez: I also don't want to eat lentils all week so I have to wait for him to be away.Suzy Chase: I'm dying to know why he doesn't like lentils.Mariana Velásquez: He associates them with kind of boring food.Suzy Chase: Mmmm, yeah! So in this recipe I thought the smokiness of the lentils and the saltiness of the chorizo worked so well together.Mariana Velásquez: Oh, thank you. And you know, this was a recipe I really enjoyed putting together because it's that satisfying tastes of the smoke that makes them different and, and really yummy. And they, you know, they're the kind of food where you can invite many people. You can have plenty, it's generous. So I love it.Suzy Chase: Now to my segment called "Last Night's Dinner," where I ask you what you had last night for dinner?Mariana Velásquez: Oh, great. So last night we had friends over and I made roasted cod with asparagus and zucchini and some herbs, not very Colombian at all, but then to start, I made a cold soup. I made, I gazpacho with papaya and tomato, which is in the book. And it was a hit, you know, last night was so warm in New York city that it was a great appetizer.Suzy Chase: You collaborated on more than 20 cookbooks, probably most notably with Michelle Obama. But I noticed that you worked on Red, White, and Que by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig, and I used to be Karen Adler's cookbook publicist at her cookbook publishing house called Pig Out Publications in Kansas City and I credit her with my love of cookbooks, and I actually had them on my podcast to chat about that cookbook.Mariana Velásquez: That's amazing. And, you know, as a stylist, when I have worked with different authors to prepare their food, to style their food, for their book project, I mean, I know how intimate and personal it is, and it must be hard to have someone else make your food for images that will remain forever. It's always kind of like getting, getting to see how they put the recipes together, reading their head notes and plating that food to really honor what they envisioned.Suzy Chase: It's a lovely cookbook and Karen Adler, she's a real trailblazer.Mariana Velásquez: Oh, wow.Suzy Chase: Before we wrap up, I'd love to hear a little bit about your aprons and your podcasts.Mariana Velásquez: So our aprons, you know, I designed them because I wanted to wear something in the kitchen that was utilitarian and appropriate, but also something that made me feel put together and well dressed on set. You know, when you're in photo sets, you're with creatives, you're with the agencies, you're with clients. And so even though you're cooking and, and it's all very real cooking, I wanted something to make me feel organized. And so I designed these aprons many years ago and people always ask, is that an apron? Is that a dress? It's so pretty. It's just like a layer. And you know, it's across back apron that has a longer tail. My husband said, Marie, we should make these aprons. We should sell them. They're beautiful. And everybody always asks. So we started the company about seven years ago, it's called Lumanarium. And it's all about luxury for the kitchen. You know, something special that you wear when you're cooking, when you're working on your florals, when you're gardening. And it's a project that I, that is really dear to my heart. I really enjoy doing them.Suzy Chase: They're really pretty and super feminine.Mariana Velásquez: Yeah.Suzy Chase: And so tell me about your podcast?Mariana Velásquez: So our podcast is called Buenlimon Radio and we do it with heritage radio network. It's their first podcast in Spanish. And our idea was to really tell the stories of the backbone of the kitchens in the U.S you know, the cooks, the dishwashers, you know, the arepa lady, people who really do really hard work and don't really have a voice. Yeah. So when we recorded our podcast in the studio, we would have musical guests over and it was really, really fun, but this is a project that Diego and I have been doing for the last five years now. And we're taking a little break now through the book tour and everything this summer, and maybe we'll start over in the fall.Suzy Chase: Where can we find you on the web and social media?Mariana Velásquez: So, my Instagram is MarianaVelazquezV and lumanarium_ is my apron on Instagram. And through there, you'll find the links to my website, and our aprons lumanarium.comSuzy Chase: This cookbook teaches us creative challenges can bring unexpected results. Thank you so much Mariana for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast.Mariana Velásquez: Suzy, thank you so much. It was an honor.Outro: Follow Cookery by the Book on Instagram. And thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    Australia: The Cookbook | Ross Dobson

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 2, 2021

    Australia: The CookbookBy Ross Dobson Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City, sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authorsRoss Dobson: I'm Ross Dobson and my latest book is out in Australia: The Cookbook.Suzy Chase: In order to understand Australian cuisine I think we need to understand and know about Australian first peoples who have been there for at least 50,000 years, the longest continuous civilization during this time, Aboriginal Australians were creating and inventing dishes that boggle the mind. I'm curious to hear about a few of those dishes. And might I add you noted that many Australians are unaware of these dishes?Ross Dobson: This fascinated me when I started to research the book and look into it more. I think many Australians are not really aware of the contribution that the first peoples made prior to colonization, and they're finding more and more evidence to indicate that the First Peoples weren't just hunters and gatherers, they farmed fish, they grew seeds to make a flatbread of sorts and they certainly were eating a lot of the abundancy food that we have here, unique species, like our own lobster, Moreton Bay bugs and the Barramundi fish and there was a great recipe, which isn't in the book. A friend of mine who's an Aboriginal elder was talking about his tribe made what was like kind of a blood pudding of sorts using all parts of the kangaroo very similar to the blood puddings we see in parts of Europe and his tribe, that was their special dish. There's so many things like this fascinated me and we simply didn't learn about them, but working on the book really opened my eyes. And then we were lucky enough to have Jody Orcher who wrote a short essay in the book extolling the virtues of indigenous ingredients. So it's been a wonderful learning process.Suzy Chase: Yeah. I definitely want to hear about Jody Orcher, but first, can you describe the three main periods of Australian food?Ross Dobson: Writing the recipes for the book in a way was the easy part. I felt like the introduction was a real challenge to try and encapsulate what Australian food was about. And I was playing around with clumsy metaphors and wasn't really sure and I had one of those light bulb moments where I've sat up in bed one night and thought, well, let's history dictate what Australian food is all about and it's a timeline. The first people have been here for tens of thousands of years. So I divided the food of Australia in two, three epochs or periods and the first period is the tens of thousands of years. The first people who've been here, the colonists from Britain came over who mostly are the English military class or Irish convicts. They brought with them their food from 1788 onwards. And I must say a lot of that food for 150 years or so was quite repetitive and blend. That's not to say there aren't diamonds in the rough, there's amazing delicious recipes in there. But then the third period of Australian food comes in the 1950s when Australia opens its doors to immigrants, particularly from Southern Europe, Greece, and Italy, and they bring in coffee, coffee machines, Parmesan, basil, a whole range of ingredients. And the most important one was probably garlic because the Australians like the English loathed garlic, and they rarely cooked with it. And then moving forward a bit more into the 70s. We have a huge influx of mostly political asylum seekers coming to Australia in the early 70s. Mostly Vietnamese bringing their incredible fresh take on food. But I must note, during all this time, the Chinese had been here from the gold rush in the 1800s hundreds, and they were setting up camps, selling food in the gold rush camps and then cooking in the early 1900s. It's estimated that one third of all cooks in Australia were Chinese because this was the only job they could do legally. So we have this amazing rich culture of food that, although there are three periods, we now see a lot more of this overlapping appreciating First People's food. And of course we love the flavors of the Mediterranean Italy, Greece, and also Asian food. Australians are crazy for Asian ingredients.Suzy Chase: The First Peoples, the immigrants to Australia were so instrumental in setting up the food that you have today. Can you describe the hybrid Chinese/Australian cuisine that popped up in the mid 19th century?Ross Dobson: Again, fascinating stuff because the Chinese had been here working very hard, kind of in the background on mining camps, in the gold rush period. And then interesting period, one that we're not particularly proud of it. In 1901 the Australian government implemented the White Australia Policy where it meant only white people could come and live here and then all the Chinese people that have been living here were completely ignored and weren't allowed on property or have jobs. So one of the only jobs that could do was cook and they set up restaurants in, you could almost say literally every Australian town in Australia, from the cities to the Outback towns and here they put aside their own personal tastes like a lot of the Italians and Greeks in the beginning when starting businesses here, they put us on their own personal tastes, that is what they cooked at home and they cooked what they, what made money and what sold to the locals. So we have a lot of land dishes, which is very unusual and unique because most of the Chinese food cooked in Australia was Cantonese and lamb wasn't really big on the menus in that region of China. So we have a dish called Mongolian lamb. I know there's a Mongolian beef in other countries, but Mongolian Lamb has very little to do with Mongolia and a lot more to do with what Australians like to eat. And we have prawn toasts, beautiful prawn cutlets, salt and pepper squid. So the Aussie Chinese ingredient recipes start to use Chinese methods and techniques with the local produce and then in the 50s and 60s, we have a lot of these stable of Chinese are the ingredients like a take on a pork spare rib and we use a different cut of spare rib in Australia, which is very different to America and other places. And then moving into the 80's, when Australians become a little bit more adventurous with their food, we have a salt and pepper squid that is almost on every pub menu in Australia. Now with fish and chips and the hamburger moving further into the eighties, we have even more exciting to like pipis in XO sauce, there's a recipe for that in the book as well. And I felt like I couldn't write a cookbook without indulging that more because there are recipes like ham and chicken roll. Like I've never seen that anywhere else. It's absolutely delicious. It's chicken breasts, fill it with a slice of ham. You roll it up. Then you roll that in spring, roll wrapper and flash fry it and slice it. It's really delicious. So we have this fascinating unique take on Chinese food in Australia. It's really good.Suzy Chase: What are pippis?Ross Dobson: Okay. Pippis, clams. Um, yes, uh, surf clams, tiny little surf clams that, uh, still mostly caught by a traditional method called raking. They're mostly in south Australia on the wild coastline there. I don't know if you're familiar with the technique where you walk in the sand, there's little bubbles and they literally would get a rake and then break with the bubbles, come up and use their fate. And they're not particularly cheap, but the clam in the XO sauce is so delicious and XO is a Chinese sauce and it's called XO because it comes after the Brandy XO brand, which meant something extra special and it came from Hong Kong and the heady days of the eighties, where everything was looked at with opulence and it had lots of seafood in it. And you just need a teaspoon of this in your stir fry.Suzy Chase: You wrote in the book that the industrial revolution was one factor in preventing Australia from developing its own regional cuisines. I found that so interesting.Ross Dobson: So did I, because when I started researching on the book and even prior to that we'd have these discussions, why doesn't Australia have its own regional food? Of course, First People had regional cuisines based on the produce available to them, but certainly for 150 years. And even up until now, most people really started to, uh, come from overseas that weren't convicts. The convict stopped in about 1850. So we had free settlers coming here from that 1850 onwards. And they were educated that were literate they could read and write. And Australian publishing also really took off at this time because Australia is such a big country, people isolated, and they were getting the newspapers. And these were national state newspapers that shared the same news. And lo and behold, they shared the same recipes, which are found fascinating when I started researching serviceably for a cake published in the early 1900s. If it was good enough, it might've been published in a newspaper in say Hobart. And because the print was syndicated, if it was a good recipe, it would be today's equivalent of going viral. So the recipe would go over to Perth or Darwin or Brisbane, and these recipes would be shared. So I think there are two factors in, um, the thing about the industrial revolution. It was communication. And I think we have to think also where we have these countries that have a strong history in regional cuisine. I'm thinking Europe, you might have a village in Italy where someone might put ricotta in their pasta and down the road, it would be heresy to do so because these villages were very isolated often. And I often had their own dialects as well, but in Australia, because we were really populated after the industrial revolution, there was this national communication, if you will. And also production food production comes into play as well as refrigerated food canning of food is very important so ingredients could be shared across the country. So it didn't just limit it to one region. And I hope that explains it a bit further for you, Suzy.Suzy Chase: How did you determine if a recipe was worthy of inclusion in this cookbook?Speaker 2: Well, you know, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to work on the project. And the first thing I thought was I just have to put my ego aside. I mean, I've had several food businesses where I've certainly cooked a whole bunch of different, I think things that are really interested in tasty, but that didn't belong in the book because they didn't have a place in our history or our culture or our social structure. So I think that there were really important aspects that a recipe had to belong to all of us. It wasn't just something that a friend told me that they cooked, or I thought that was tasty. And I think this was really important to see it as a collective project. And one of the ways of doing this was, um, doing a lot of research, fascinating Australian government initiative, it's called Trove, it's a national library where they are systematically scanning and putting up documents of literally every printed newspaper that in Australia. So I could Google, for example, banana bread and all banana cake and I might find this recipe first published in 1928, for example and then as I looked further, I thought, well, this really is part of us. This is what we eat. And so really it was about the research and its worthiness was based on, do we have a connection with it? And I really wanted people when they look at the book and I felt like I've got this reaction so far where people go, oh my God, I forgot that existed. I'm so glad it's in the book. So that makes me very happy.Suzy Chase: Like their grandmother used to make it and they forgot about it. What do they mean when they said they forgot it existed?Ross Dobson: Well it's like you know, when I first started looking at the book and you know, I was researching and talking to a whole bunch of people that obvious Australian recipes where pavlova Lamington make pie, but then as I delved a bit further, people might ring me a few days later, France and go, my auntie Joan made a cake, it was called ginger fluff. And I said, I've never heard of that. So I then go to the research and look at the history. And lo and behold, there is a whole bunch of recipes for something called ginger fluff. Another really good example is a cake called peach blossom cake. This was really popular from about 1900 to 1950 or 60. And it wasn't until maybe eight years ago. And I'm sure, you know, you're familiar with the cooking competitions and celebrity chef, et cetera, that now are on television. It wasn't until they had a guest chef from an amazing institution called the CWA, which is a Country Women's Association. And they've been making scones and cakes for a hundred years or so. And a woman went on to the show and made a peach blossom cake and it went viral. People were like, where's this been? And they loved it. It's a very easy cake. It's beautiful to look at. There are other recipes like cream buns and finger buns and match sticks. And a finger bun is like a really soft yeasted bun. It's oval shape, not very big. And it's got some currants and some sultanas in there, and it's generally has a really soft pink icing with a sprinkling of desiccated coconut. And when I put that in the book and people were saying, oh my God, we ate that in the seventies and eighties, but then it's had a huge resurgence. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the term hipsters. We do have them here to Suzy, which fascinates me. They've got bakeries popping up all over the city and the hipsters have now discovered the finger bun and they're making it their own. And I actually just the other week was in one of the local newspapers talking about my classic recipe and they had a few young dudes cooking finger buns and re-inventing them, which is fabulous. So we're really holding on to our food history and it's incredible that people have just taken so warmly to these recipes that have reignited an interest in baking as well. It's really lovely.Suzy Chase: Speaking of history, the essay on indigenous food written by Jody Orcher at the beginning of the book sheds light on the fascinating and ancient culinary techniques that went largely ignored for years and years. Can you talk a little bit about Jody and her tips for demonstrating respect for the cultural integrity of Australian Aboriginal people?Ross Dobson: I first started working on the book. We thought it was imperative to engage an Aboriginal Australian, to write and contribute to the book Jody Orcher is fascinating and genuine and generous, and she sheds light and a knowledge on, on the ingredients is so worthy. Uh, and I must say my scope of knowledge of the First Peoples food. I would say like many of my generation was really went on ignored or, you know, I think it went to go a bit deeper into the whole psyche of when Australia was colonized the British assume that, you know, it had never been colonized before and it was theirs. So I was very much part of that generation and my grandparents, my parents and grandparents weren't enlightened. And I think it's time to open our eyes. And certainly Jody helps us do that with a beautiful essay and a glossary of some of the fascinating ingredients, uh, that showcase the wonderful cuisine of indigenous indigenous people.Suzy Chase: Bushfoods were often considered to be inferior by colonists. Is that changing? Are they making a comeback and restaurants are the hipsters onto it?Ross Dobson: I would say on the most part of getting much more adventurous about Aboriginal indigenous ingredients and many of these now can be bought online because a lot of, a lot of the ingredients like the lemon myrtle and the peppers can be bought because they dry very well. And a few people from overseas have asked me if they can get the ingredients. And I certainly know there's a lot of websites where you can get them and have them shipped to you. But the other thing too, um, with the book was, you know, I think when we think of Australian Aboriginal food, um, in terms of protein, we automatically go straight to the kangaroo, which is very high in protein and you can buy that in the supermarket, but the other meats still very much a niche. It's very difficult to get them. But in looking at this, I realized that we often overlook the native seafood that we eat. Muscles, I mentioned Balmain bugs before Moreton Bay bugs and pippis of course, clams and puppis. And we have our lobsters here, which aren't really lobsters or they're called a spiny lobster. They don't have the claw on the front. They just got a spine spiny thing. And we have yabbies, I think he's a really delicious, they're a freshwater crayfish. All these ingredients are available at the fish market and even the supermarket. And, um, there's a bit of a stereotype that Aussies eat emu koala and kangaroo. And you know, that simply isn't the case. And I hope this book something to throw off the shackles of those stereotypes.Suzy Chase: I hope so too, because I was on an interview on the BBC last week and he said, what's your next cookbook coming up? And I said, I'm interviewing Ross Dobson, who has Australia the cookbook. And he's like, are you going to talk about kangaroo? And I said, oh my God, Maybe, maybe not.Ross Dobson: Well you can talk about it because it makes sense. Like there's a recipe in the book for a Thai kangaroo salad which makes sense because you know, the whole thing about usually use a lean cut of beef in the salad and kangaroo makes perfect sense. So I think it's fun to talk about these things, but as you've looked at the book Suzy and other people, I've really heard, they've gone, oh my God, there's such a wide range of interesting ingredients from all over the place that have come together to make our food truly unique.Suzy Chase: I'm curious to hear about the section at the end of the cookbook on guest chefs.Ross Dobson: At the end of the book, we have these wonderful, um, additions from some incredibly talented, enthusiastic chefs that have contributed recipes that you would say people at the other end of the cooking spectrum with a high degree of knowledge and skill would attempt at home. But what it, what they're there to do is to showcase, I think the talent of chefs in Australia and also their talent in using local and indigenous ingredients and really showcasing Australian food on the world stage, you know, Mark Olive has got this great recipe for it's simple, it's a real fusion. Mark is indigenous Australian and he's using chicken thigh with Spanish Sherry and a native pepper. So that's a really good example of kind of, if you will, high-end Aussie cuisine.Suzy Chase: The other day I made Damper, which is apparently super trendy these days, it's on page 242. Can you describe this?Ross Dobson: That probably came from the influence of the Irish convicts, where soda bread had always been, you know, I loved simple throw together bread. And then in Australia we have a lot of itinerant workers, jackaroos going from farm to farm finding work and they'd have a backpack or a swag bag and carried few things as they could, and they'd have to make food and they would have Billy tea which was a can over a fire. They'd sweeten it with golden syrup, which is also called cockies joy causes swagmen also known as cockies. So it was their sweetener, and this was also used on damper, which was pretty much just two or three ingredients self rising flour, baking powder and some water, or maybe some milk, so it was very, very simple and it too would be cooked in a Dutch oven and just put on the fire with a lid on it. It's lovely, fresh. It's a bread that's meant to be eaten fresh. You know, it's not a yeasted, so it doesn't toast that well the next day, but it's delicious, fresh, and I make it in the cafe and serve it with soups. It's really yummy.Suzy Chase: I read in the book that Aboriginal Australians make a similar style from seeds. Have you ever tried that?Ross Dobson: No, I haven't. And this all came about about three years ago, Bruce Pascoe wrote a book called Dark Emu starting to explore the notion that, and the evidence is there to support it that aboriginals were making a flatbread. I haven't tried it. I would love to. So, um, maybe that could be my project. Try and find a shop that supplies the seeds or the flour and make a flatbread with it. And I'll let you know how it goes if I do, but I'm very keen to do that.Suzy Chase: Tomorrow I'm making a classic Lamington, which I had never heard of. Um, it's on page 310. Can you describe this and talk a little bit about how it got its name?Speaker 2: There is a story that there was a Lord Lamington from England, like a lot of early colonists and he was in Brisbane and the story goes, he had some chefs that had made a cake they dropped the cake by accident into a bowl of chocolate icing and they didn't want to waste it. So they then took the bits of cake out and rolled them in coconut. Not sure if this is true, but it's such a unique cake it could probably only be invented by accident. So there's so many different recipes for a Lamington. I found that, and it's a good tip for you Suzy, If you make the sponge a day before this can just cover it and let it sit overnight, it's much better to have a Lamington that is not fresh. And you dip it into chocolate icing and rolling in coconut. Uh, so good. And I've been making them here at my cafe mini versions. So they're only about an inch square and I'll tell you what, they're delicious as well, but they're a bit fiddly to make. So if you starting it for the first time, I'd probably do the bigger ones.Suzy Chase: So Australians have a way with words like brekkie breakfast, you celebrate chrissy, you shorten more words than any other English speakers. What are your go-to words?Ross Dobson: Well, um, I liked occasionally I'd have a beer and we drink it out of a glass here called a schooner. So I call it a schooey. It sounds absolutely ridiculous doesn't it?Suzy Chase: But they know what you're talking about?Ross Dobson: People would, I would say I have two schooeys of New is brand of beer to be exact, it sounds like another language, but we're funny even you know, the unique Australian coffee flat white people would call it a flatty. It's a very old language. Australians are known for shortening more words, but then if it's too short, that will make, make it longer. It doesn't make any sense. Please. Don't ask me to explain it.Suzy Chase: We're going to move on to my segment called Last Night's Dinner where I ask you what had last night for dinner.Ross Dobson: I very discovered the American version of this book America: The Cookbook and I've been making some great chilies, like as in you call them chili, you know, chili con carne and things like that. But last night I made beef stroganoff and that's what I had for dinner. It's not Australian. I'm sorry to disappoint.Suzy Chase: No I love that though but it's cold where you are, right?Ross Dobson: Yes, it is. And I would never eat that stuff. It's just too hot here. And it's getting down to like three or four degrees at night, which isn't cold by your standards. But I mean, making in America: The Cookbook there's two versions of stroganoff there's the American stroganoff, which uses ground beef. Personally. I thought this sounded a bit odd, the flavors and textures, but I then went for the other one in the book, which uses a Chuck steak or blade steak. And you slow cook that. And so that we thought had noodles, oh my God, it it's very good. And let's face it. Anything with sour cream. I mean,Suzy Chase: You'll have to make that a fad in Australia and you can call it strogey it's my recipe for strogey.Ross Dobson: It'll confuse it even more if we call it stroggy. Isn't that terrible it turns into something very unappetizing.Suzy Chase: Where can we find you on the web and social media?Ross Dobson: Instagram- @RossDobsonFood and I also have a great little cafe Cafe Royce, R O Y C E. And you see so many lovely food pics and mood picks of the cafe. And if you go to my Ross Dobson food Insta when I was working on the book three years ago and testing, I took so many food pictures. I'm very pleased that I did because it was a good memory thing and the food does look really good, so I'm very pleased with that. So do check it out.Suzy Chase: It is Aboriginal lore to only take what you need and leave some for others words. We should all be living by. Thank you, Ross for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast.Ross Dobson: It's been a pleasure, thank you.Outro: Follow @CookerybytheBook on Instagram. And thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    CBTB Unplugged Live | Megan Day

    Play Episode Listen Later May 29, 2021

    Cookery by the Book Unplugged Live with Megan Day

    Legendary Dinners | Anne Petersen

    Play Episode Listen Later May 22, 2021

    Legendary Dinners: From Grace Kelly to Jackson PollockBy Anne Petersen Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City, sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authorsAnne Petersen: I'm Anne Petersen and I'm the author of the book, Legendary Dinners from Grace Kelly to Jackson Pollock.Suzy Chase: You are the woman behind Salon a spectacular German lifestyle and design magazine that I definitely want to talk with you about a little later, but for now it's about Legendary Dinners. For me, a great dinner party is a break from the ordinary and a chance to connect with what really matters connection and inspiration. Do you think dinners are going to be different post pandemic? Like will they be more grand or maybe smaller and more intimate?Anne Petersen: I think post-pandemic parties will definitely be more intensive and I'm sure that we will all remember how easy it is to have people over, to meet, to share a table and have a good evening. And as you said, connection and inspiration, I think we are all interested in other humans. We are social beings and I think there's no substitute to real social context.Suzy Chase: What makes a great dinner party?Anne Petersen: What makes a great dinner party? I think everything is important. Like food location, decorations, fashion, the music and I think the party is always a big exaggeration, it's an exception, it's a special moment and it is something that follows very specific rules. Like it is allowed to be overdressed. It is allowed to be drunken. It is allowed to address the stranger. It is allowed to make a speech. It is allowed to take your shoes off and dance on the table because it's a party. And we celebrate who we are. HumansSuzy Chase: I'd love to hear about the research process for these 20 menus and how they made the cut.Anne Petersen: The book brings together a number of stories that we have all printed already in Salon. And we tried to choose iconic events, parties that became historic like the wedding of Grace Kelly or Prince Rainier of Monaco, which is still an inspiration for brides all over the world today, or Truman Capote's spectacular black and white ball also copied thousands of times or the most luxurious state dinner ever, the feast that Richard Nixon gave to the astronauts after the moon landing, Apollo 11. So I think what we did in the book is we really collected from Coco Chanel to Claude Monet or Karen Blixen to Thomas Mann, even Goethe's 66th birthday or Napoleon's wedding. So a big, a wide variety of different dinners and events. We tell the stories and we cooked all the recipes again. And of course it's easier if you have the old menu card or the invitation, but some of the recipes we did adjust interpretations because for example, of Coco Chanel at the Côte d'Azur, we had no recipe, but you get hints in different books about her. And we did not cook everything historically correct, but we found a modern version for today. Most of the time.Suzy Chase: I like that you combined both archival images with contemporary photography of the food, because so often with books like this you have to look at old grainy photos of the dishes that they served.Anne Petersen: Yes. I think that's the fun of the book. And, and, and this is why it's, it stands also for the whole magazine Salon and all its contributors for the whole team, because it is chefs on the, on the one hand side, put it the recipes, stylist, the very excellent authors, the photographers. I think the book has so many different levels, the recipes, the stories, the food, the table tops, the porcelain and the flowers and I think you read about an event and you dive really into it with all the details and also all the gossip of the time, which is also very nice. I think like with Truman Capote's black and white ball and all the hysteria in New York who was invited and who was not. Yeah, I think it's a coffee table book and eye candy, but also an historical book and definitely a very good cookbook with reliable, good recipes.Suzy Chase: With modern dinner parties we could just text people or ask them to join us, but there's something special about receiving a dinner party invitation. In the book you give examples of wildly creative invitations. Do you have a favorite invitation?Anne Petersen: Yes. I really liked the Bauhaus invitations because they were a university for graphic design and art in the twenties. And in general I love paper invitations and I think that the dinner party is really an occasion where you can still send paper invitations. I think it's more uncommon to write long letters or even postcards from holidays, but I think dinner invitation is something different. And if it's a really beautiful one, I think it's nice because people can hang them up and pin them on their board. And then they know maybe in two weeks time, three weeks time, they will attend this party. I think that's, that's very nice.Suzy Chase: You just brought up the Bauhaus parties. They were so creative and wild and it looked like a ton of fun. And do you have a photo of their sandwiches and it very much fits with the geometric art style. Every recipe in the book is something on whole wheat bread. Can you talk a little bit about that?Anne Petersen: Yeah. I think this whole wheat bread, that is a typical German thing, maybe also from Denmark, but that you just put a lot of different things like carrots and walnuts, pesto, marinades with beans on bread in this case. Yeah, well, they, they cut it in very geometric forms and this is also just the fun they make. They also bake this gingerbread figures. There was an artist she was called Gunta Stölzl and she founded that those gingerbread figures, the Bauhaus was famous for it. You can still find these real figures in the Bauhaus archive in Berlin and I think it's a nice inspiration to create all kinds of crazy elephants and whatever you can imagine, not only for Christmas and decorate them also wildly.Speaker 3: Marie-Hélène de Rothschild believed those who are in small spirit who are mean narrow-minded or timid should leave entertaining with others. And I agree. I'd love for you to chat a bit about her invitations and her elaborate parties.Anne Petersen: Yeah. I think she was really legendary and especially her surrealist ball in 1972. So every detail was planned exactly. For example, also for this costume party at her castle was decorated in Alice, in Wonderland. So 150 guests were invited, press was not allowed and everybody had to come in costumes. The special thing about it that you wore evening dresses, but your head had to be costume. So it was just the heads. So Audrey Hepburn put a birdcage on her head. And the only one who came without a mask was Salvador Dali because he said his face was disgusting enough.Suzy Chase: I mean, when I think about her, I think they had more money than they knew what to do with.Anne Petersen: I think so too. Yeah. If I think about this costume ball, I sometimes think about the FIT costume ball in New York but also, uh, let's say about these I think very ridiculous costumes that for example, Heidi Klum is wearing for Halloween. You know what I mean? Now you can buy everything at Plastic Fantastic. You know, and that was another time, like she had a real head of a gilded deer head with diamond tears. They really had to make an effort like Audrey Hepburn with the bird cage on her head. It's different. And of course I think she was able to throw a lot of money out of the window. Definitely the big windows of her big castle but I think, yeah, I think it was a lot of fun. Like the guests arrived at the party. There were, on both sides of the stairs and on their way to the ballroom the whole service people and the stuff that were dressed as cats and they were lying there and sleeping and just moving around. It had a lot of humor. What's interesting about Madame de Rothschild is also, she had stage fright before each of her parties. And also, at this time at the surrealist ball, she just started to relax a little bit when most of the guests were gone or as she put it, the guests were reduced like a good sauce.Suzy Chase: So Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh who just passed away at the age of 99 was a Greek, Danish, German, Prince who married Princess Elizabeth. Now Queen November 20th, 1947. I was interested to see that the menu was in French and on the menu was Filet de Sole Mountbatten. I thought it was curious that they added Phillip's last name onto the name of the dish. Do you know why they did that?Anne Petersen: That was to welcome him in, into the family because that was a sign of recognition and acceptance for Phillip. I mean, he was a very handsome guy, a lot of aristocratic titles, but no money, five years older than her. And I don't think that everybody was so thrilled about this marriage in the beginning, especially in the Royal family. This wedding is also interesting because it was two years after the war. They were not sure if it was appropriate to have this big wedding. And that's also why the menu was quite simple, just three dishes, fish, poultry, and then ice cream. And it was in French. But why? Well, because French is the preferred language of gourmets and that even at Buckingham Palace.Suzy Chase: Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner live the Bohemian life in my neighborhood in Greenwich village, it was the hub of the city's artist colony. And that's one of the reasons why we live in this neighborhood today. It's retained much of its already residents and artistic feel. So they left Manhattan for a big place in the Hamptons where they could host dinner parties for the movers and shakers of the New York City art scene. His art was so complicated and abstract, but I found it interesting that they entertained with simple dishes like borscht and roast chicken stuffed with herbs. Can you talk a little bit about that?Anne Petersen: Yeah. I think both loved good, simple food, but there were no good cooks and they apartment in Manhattan even had no kitchen. And when they moved to the countryside in 1945, they bought the house and build the kitchen and started to host dinner also to not lose the contact to the Manhattan bohemian society. And Krasner learned to cook took charge of the baking. And I think together they were great hosts and yeah, borscht, it seems to be something that they have cooked very often because Krasner she's a child of Russian Jewish immigrants.Suzy Chase: Coco Chanel, whom I would assume would host elaborate high style dinner parties was very toned down, dress was informal as were the meals. Lunch was served buffet style with food service and antique silver dishes from England on a long table at the end of the dining room, like salad nicoise with tuna steaks and fried chicken with asparagus artichokes and fava beans and crispy fans of grapefruit with pine nuts, the juxtaposition of fancy fashion and informal meals intrigues me.Anne Petersen: I think the interesting thing about Coco Chanel is actually at which state of her life she was when we did this menu because she just turned 40 years and she met the Duke of Westminster. And the Duke of Westminster was at that time, the richest man of Great Britain and she met him on his big sailing ship. And so in this period of her life, she bought the piece of land at the Côte d'Azur and had the La Pausa built on it. And this became a swanky relaxed retreat for herself and all her friends. And for her love the Duke of Westminster, there was not a strict menu guests themselves from a large poofy eating as much as they wanted or as little, I think, I guess Coco Chanel probably did not eat a lot. And that was also something the buffet style for her was also a possibility to be not forced to eat so much because you cannot see how much she would eat.Suzy Chase: That's interesting. Huh?Anne Petersen: That's for example, one of the menus that we had no exact menu card for that. And we wanted to do a dinner with Coco Chanel and contacted the Chanel archive in Paris. And we also thought about maybe do something was the Ritz in Paris. What we didn't do, because that is the period where she was really collaborating with the Nazis. And it was also the time when in Paris, a lot of people, they were really starving. And I think in the Ritz, they were still partying with champagne and had everything. So that is all, it's not the nice part of Coco Chanel. So this is a little earlier.Suzy Chase: You're the editor in chief of Salon, a beautiful lifestyle magazine. And I collect vintage interior design coffee table books, and must have over 50 in my small collection here in my small New York city apartment. I was talking to India Hicks on this podcast about her brother, Ashley, who you mentioned on your Instagram, I think yesterday or the day before. Yeah, they're related to Prince Philip. So he got me through the pandemic, locked down with his wonderful Instagram Lives of him flipping through interior design books, discussing the background and history of interiors. What are some interior design styles or interior designers that influence you?Anne Petersen: I also love Beata Heuman. I don't know if you know her. She just released the book Every Room Should Sing. And in the last issue we did a big story with François Halard who is a very famous European, interior photographer. And I think another favorite book that I recently bought is The Life of Others by Simon Watson. It's also an interior photographer that I really like.Suzy Chase: What is your favorite style of interior design?Anne Petersen: Very eclectic. So it's a mix of old and new and very colorful, um, yeah. To use a lot of color to use even wallpaper. And I think it's important to have some old furniture because it gives the room a soul and makes it warmer. It gives more atmosphere. Yeah. I think that that's my style.Suzy Chase: Now to my segment called Last Night's Dinner where I ask you what you had last night for dinner.Anne Petersen: Yeah. I had asparagus with butter sauce and caramelized breadcrumbs and chopped eggs. And that altogether was potatoes and ham, which is typical German.Suzy Chase: Where can we find you on the web and social media on Instagram?Anne Petersen: You will find Salon @Salon_Magazin. And you'll find myself at @Anne_Petersen.Suzy Chase: I'm thrilled to celebrate the return of the dinner party with this book. Thank you so much. And for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast!Anne Petersen: Thank you Suzy. For having me. It was great fun.Outro: Follow Cookery by the Book on Instagram. And thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    CBTB Unplugged Live | Trent Pheifer

    Play Episode Listen Later May 17, 2021

    Cookery by the Book Unplugged Live with Trent Pheifer

    To Asia, With Love | Hetty McKinnon

    Play Episode Listen Later May 10, 2021

    To Asia, With Love: Everyday Recipes and Stories from the HeartBy Hetty McKinnon Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City, sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.Hetty McKinnon: Hi everyone. I'm Hetty McKinnon and my latest cookbook is called To Asia, With Love.Suzy Chase : There's something that sets your cookbooks apart from the rest. You have this lovely way of connecting beautiful, doable recipes with the photography and a feeling of comfort. And homeyness to me, your, one of the cool Brooklyn moms along with Jessie Sheehan, for those of us who adore your cookbooks, I think we feel like we know you, your family and your beautiful kitchen through the photography in your cookbooks and with, To Asia, With Love you imagined a book that not only conveyed nostalgia, but also captured a strong sense of home. So you took all the photos in the cookbook?Hetty McKinnon: I did, I did, and all the photos were taken on film, which has probably a departure from every cookbook on the cookbook shelf right now. But as soon as I had the idea for the book, the photography, it was a no brainer. You know, I knew I wanted to shoot it on film. I knew I wanted to give it that really irrefutable sense of home and warmth. And to be quite honest, rawness, I'm not a professional photographer, I'm not selling myself as a professional photographer, but I think I have particularly with all my books, but particularly with this book, I have such a connection with the recipes and the photos and the book is part of the storytelling. And I think over the years, I've become more. I've wanted, I've had more at stake in terms of how the photos look. I felt that as the books have progressed, so with this one, I just thought to myself, I want to shoot it myself. And I want to shoot it on a film, because you know, a lot of professional photographers say to me, when they shoot a book like this, they're trying to make their digital photos look like film. So a part of me was like, I'm just going to shoot in on film and they're largely unedited. And I think it just lends just a beautiful raw, honest portrayal of every dish. And it's just something so special, you know, film really invites you into the frame. It's not perfect. And that's probably why it's not used very much in food photography is that you don't get the details that you get in a digital photography. Um, you can't sharpen up edges in that same way. So there's a lot of layers in, in one photo, the secondary reason. I don't know if it is the secondary reason, but it's one of the main reasons why I wanted to use film was because, um, it was like this kind of indirect nod to my Father who doesn't really figure a lot in this story because it's really a book about my Mum and my relationship with my mum, but my Dad was an amateur photographer and he always had cameras lying around the house and he developed all his photos in a makeshift dark room in our laundry. And I remember admiring his photos so much as a kid. Like, I didn't know anything about photography, you know, as a young child, you know, when I was under 10, but I would look at his photos and just think he was a master. And I always took that away with me. You know the way he captured images. Yeah. I mean, I guess that's the other part of why I felt like I needed to do this, that part of the book for myself in this particular book.Suzy Chase : I love that so much. And I love when the photo kind of matches up with the recipe, you know what I mean? Like you have super homey and comforting recipes and then you look at the photo and it depicts kind of what the feeling is surrounding this recipe.Hetty McKinnon: Yeah. I mean, I think that it's also because it's not styled, you know, there was no stylist on this book and it was just me. I would cook the meal and take a photo. And I think as I explained, I think it's the very first page of the book that, you know, everything in the photos is, is my dining table is my flatware, my plates, my children in there, my children aren't in this book very much actually. But if they are, or their hands are in it, it's them in the actual act of eating, not in a posed, active eating, if you know what I mean. And, and that's, that's the difference, you know? So everything you see is real, you know, you, I don't know if that happens that much in, in cook books anymore, where there is no styling, no prop, no people sitting around acting as hand models. They're just, it's just my family really. So yeah,Suzy Chase : It's very inviting for home cooks. I think. I'm very intimidated by like the perfection of the cookbook. And then I wonder if they put more into how it looked then the recipe.Hetty McKinnon: Absolutely. Yes. It's a different process. You know, I think when there's a styling involved, your making the dish, according to how you think it's gonna look the best on camera on film or on digital photography. But I think the difference with my dishes is that they were made according to the recipe. And that is how they actually will look if you cook it at home because, you know, I don't see myself as any different to anyone else that is picking up my book to cook dinner for their families every night. You know, I am a home cook, I don't have any professional training. So the things that I'm cooking, other things that I am able to achieve at home in my own home kitchen for my family. So I think that that's, you know, you talked about kind of, you don't find it intimidating and that was a really important part of not only this book, but every book and every recipe I write is that, that element that anyone can do it. It's not, it's not about technique. It's not about hours slaving over a dish. Um, it's just about good, wholesome food that you can put on the table to nourish your family every night.Suzy Chase : So To Asia. With Love is your homecoming a return to the flavors of your childhood. Throughout the house there was always evidence of your next meal or food for the future. Can you talk a little bit about that?Hetty McKinnon: Yea, so I grew up in a very traditional Chinese household in Sydney, Australia. My parents had immigrated in the late my Dad in the late fifties, my Mum in the early sixties and they married in Australia and they were essentially a very Chinese family and so I'm the third child and I grew up kind of caught between these two cultures. My Mum having just arrived in Australia, straight from China and you know she'd got married straight away and had children straight away. Her life was very much centered within the home. And almost every memory of my Mum when, from when I was younger is of her cooking is of her in the kitchen. She started every day with a big Asian breakfast, the savory meal, whether that was fried rice or noodles or, jook, conjee or macaroni soup. There was always something brewing from the very start of every day. And it didn't really stop. You know, everything that she did was somehow focused upon the meal. She was cooking or the next meal, you know, like she would have and greens sitting in the colander, she would have meat defrosting in the sink. She would have some sort of broth going on on his stove top. There was just always food and endless parade of food in our house. As a kid, as a Chinese kid who grew up, grew up in a Western world, I'm like thinking, why doesn't she work wise? And she out, like, why isn't she at school helping, helping out at school? Like all the other Moms, there was definitely judgments I had about things that I thought were her choices, but a lot of these things weren't her choices, you know, like she didn't have the opportunities and so being this young mother and wife, living in the suburbs of Sydney in a country where she had not grown up, she didn't speak the language cooking was really probably her survival in many ways. And the way she kept her traditions alive, the way she stayed connected to her homeland almost desperately, you know, sometimes I think of it now and I think it was almost desperate the way she cooked, um, because she was really trying to hang on to something. And that's something that, that's a story that you'll hear a lot from immigrants. You know, when you're in a foreign place, food is the way you stay connected to the life that you left behind. You know, the story of immigrants is, is a complex one and being somewhat of an immigrant myself. Now, my story is very different in every way to my parents immigrant story. But, you know, immigrants are very, um, indebted to the host country, the country that they moved to. And I think my mum, my parents definitely had that indebtedness, but there's always that sadness to the life they left behind. And I think food was really my mom's way of really staying connected.Suzy Chase : What does she think about this cookbook?Hetty McKinnon: It's kind of hard to say to be completely honest, because she doesn't say that much about my professional work. My Mom's been with me kind of my whole journey and food. She used to cook for me with me actually, when I had my salad business in Sydney, she influenced actually a lot of my recipes in both flavor and ingredients, but she was in my home at the time as my youngest son's babysitter, you know, she would come over and kind of pretend she was looking after him, but really just always find herself in the kitchen in terms of like what she really thinks of this book. She hasn't really said, you know, she makes comments about pictures and recipes and the things I included, but she really hasn't said that much about this book. And that might seem odd to a lot of people, but it's not odd to me. I mean, it's a very Asian Mom trait not to issue direct praise to their children. The, a lot of the pride is internalized. And I'm hoping that's that it's there, but honestly, she's really, she's said very little about this book, even though she knows that it's a pretty much a hundred percent inspired by her. It's actually what I expected.Suzy Chase : You have a dumpling for every season in To Asia, With Love summer is coming up. What's your favorite dumpling ?Hetty McKinnon: For summer I'm excited about tomatoes. And in the book, as you mentioned, there is, I was very, I'm very, very excited about this as it dumplings by the seasons. And it's basically several dumplings for every season working with, you know, things that you might pick up from the farmer's market or what you'd get from your local grocery grocery place. There's a tomato and egg dumpling in the book, which is basically a riff on these very classic Chinese dish called tomato and eggs. There are several versions of it in the book, but tomato and eggs is basically a home-style tomato stew that is mixed with scrambled eggs and it's kind of on this kind of sweet side, sweet and salty side, and I kind of made it into a dumpling filling. And so it's one of the really exciting things for me in this book. And I think from early reactions, it's one of the things that readers have really loved is the fact that it's showing that dumplings can be made with lots of things and not just say a straight pork filling with some vegetables or just, or not even with Asian ingredients. I was really excited to show that because that's how I eat dumplings at home. Like I don't just make Asian style feelings. I don't just use Shiitake mushrooms and tofu and water chestnuts and Napa cabbage. I use lots of things that I just eat normally, and I can fashion those into a dumpling filling. So it's one of the sections of the book I'm really excited about because it just shows people the possibilities.Suzy Chase : So here's another thing that I've never heard of noodles on a sheet pan. I mean, that just opens up a whole new world for me.Hetty McKinnon: You know, one of the characteristics that I love most about my Mom's Chow Mein is the textures. There is crispy bits cause she pan fries at the bottom and then she kind of leaves the middle bits off. And then she has a sauce that goes over the top. But I love a sheet pan dinner, you know, which working Mum doesn't love a sheet pan. You let someone else do the work for you in this case, the oven. So I think I just kind of threw everything onto a pan and gave it a go and I was really impressed by what came out. I was like, wow, like on a high temperature. And I, I love a high temperature bake. You're getting these crispy bits that feel like you've had to work for it, but you haven't done anything. It's been such a popular recipe because who doesn't want that complexity in, in texture and flavor without really doing much at all. And the other wonderful thing about that particular dish is that you can use virtually any vegetable. Like I think in my recipe I use like broccoli, peppers and carrots, asparagus, baby corn from a can I, I love baby corn from a can, but you could really just use any vegetable. You have languishing in your vegetable drawer. It's a great fridge clean out dish.Suzy Chase : You know what you taught me, how to do? You taught me how to cook with lettuce.Hetty McKinnon: It's so good. I mean, I think that recipe was in Family, right? The rice lettuce in Chinese culture, we don't eat a lot of raw food, which is ironic since I make salads, but growing up, you know, like there's this belief that raw foods make your body cold. And so, you know, it's not seen as like that healthy for your body, cause it makes it harder to digest and so we didn't really eat any raw foods going up. So lettuce was always cooked. So when I saw people eating it raw, I was like, what you eat lettuce raw?. And you put in a sandwich? Like that's pretty interesting. Lettuce just like any other leaf leafy vegetable. Right. And particularly, and I'm talking particularly of iceberg lettuce, which is much maligned for some reason, but you know, when it's cooked, it's so good. Right?Suzy Chase : I love iceberg lettuce. To me, it's still the best lettuce The other night, I made your Perfect Jammy Soy Eggs. So I guess the key to soy eggs is the five spice powder, which I have never used in my soy eggs.Hetty McKinnon: I mean, it might seem odd to have the Perfect Jammy Egg recipe in this book, but I grew up with a lot of eggs. You know, my eggs are like a big part of a Chinese diet or my, my particular Chinese diet my mom had a really strong belief in eggs as brain food, you know, before every exam, she made me an egg sandwich, but I've always cooked eggs, really haphazardly. Like I don't pay attention. I don't look at what I'm doing. Like when I boil an egg, I just throw it in the water. Like I tend to do that sometimes. So,I basically worked it out what I needed to do. And it was so exciting. It was life changing, you know, to know how to boil an egg to the way you want it. And I was so excited. I put it in the book and I think it's been so popular. So many people have reached out and said, Oh my God, I can't believe I finally know how to make a jammy egg. And this is like such a joy because I was like, wow see, I'm not alone in my little kitchen disasters and journey. It does pay to share even what you think is such a basic skill. And none of us don't have those basic skills. So I'm really excited that everyone is making perfect jammy eggs now. And in the book also got, you know, three ways to marinate them to add a bit of flavor and color. And there's also some beet eggs in there. I mean, so beautiful, like the beautiful, huge pink and that beet egg, the longer you leave it, the further in the pink moves towards the yolk. So I've left it so long that the yolk has almost turned pink. It's really cool actually, to try. And then the third egg is amazing a tea marbled egg. So you're basically making a tea broth and your kind of cracking the eggs so it's going to create a marbled effect on the egg whites, and you're kind of cooking it in there and soaking it in there. And it just gives off this beautiful kind of smoky earthy flavor.Suzy Chase : The US Senate passed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act on Thursday, aimed at addressing the recent spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans across the US amid the ongoing pandemic. There has been a dramatic surge of violence and hate crimes targeting Asians. And I wanted to check in with you and ask how you're doing and what I can do to be an ally.Hetty McKinnon: Thank you for asking Suzy. It's been a really, it's, it's been a really complex thing to unpack. You know, it's one thing to be called names, which most of us have experienced our entire entire lives. It's one thing to think about the, the bigotry and hatred and biases that you're against you, just because of the way you look, but to actually, um, to think that people are dying because of the way we look, it's been a lot. And so, and, and, you know, I might add black people have experienced this their entire lives and continue to, and I've had to ask myself, you know, a lot of questions I've had to really confront the injustices that I'm not, I'm no longer willing to accept. I, and a lot of people who look like me and a lot of POC's, we we've turned a blind eye to a lot of the latent racism and the casual racism over the years, growing up, ever since I was a kid, you know, like being called names, being called derogatory names, made spun off people who have asked me about what my name means like Hatty like it's not because it's unusual telling me that's not really my name it's gotta be short for something, all of these things, all like they're all released in the fact that I look the way I look and it's been confronting to have to think about, you know, 40 plus years of being treated this way. And now I've had to confront what I'm no longer willing to accept, and that's not okay for myself, but it's predominantly for my children. My children are biracial. So it's been an interesting conversation with them because, you know, they have a different experience to me and they are very close to their Asian heritage, probably closer to Asian heritage, but then, you know, they live in a Western world and they're white adjacent. And that's another thing that I have to kind of, you know, unpack and try to understand, but in terms of, you know, how people can help, how people can be allies, I think people have to really stop and ask questions, you know? So I really think that there's so much going on and so many layers to this story, but not only from this tragic horrendous incident, um, in Atlanta, but just the every day stuff that we have to deal with. And you know, in food, when you just look at one industry, the one that we're in food, you know, you, you see this respect towards cultural recipes and I don't believe that that people can't cook food from other cultures. I think that you are welcome. We are all welcome to food from other cultures, as long as there is respect, as long as there is, um, you are doing everything you can to respect where the food has come from and the people that's come from and the stories behind the food. And I just don't see that happening. And I'm going to be really honest here. I just see a real pillaging of our cultures, food in the food media, not just in press, but in the books that are being published by publishers is heartbreaking. If there are sliding scales of dishes, you know, but there are some dishes that, you know, that only kids who grew up in a really specific type of Chinese household because they are so specific, they're specific to a region. And when you see people taking that recipe and just, just taking of stripping it of its value and its history, and its heritage, it's really heartbreaking. And like, these are not violent crimes against Asian people, but it's stealing from our culture. You know? And I just, I think that people can be allies by asking more questions by questioning themselves. I ask myself questions all the time about it, authentic to who I am. Am I honoring where this comes from? All of these questions that I ask myself, when I'm writing a recipe or writing a book or writing an article, everybody needs to ask those questions. I've been privileged enough to have grown up with a mother who gave me this rich culture and that I'm trying to pass that onto my own children. And I don't even feel like it's, it's mine. I'm just interpreting it. And I just feel like there's just not enough of that in the food media right now. So I don't really think I answered your question, Suzy.Suzy Chase : I just wanted you to know that I honor you and I honor your work. And the reason I reached out to you to have this cookbook on was because I wanted to elevate your story.Hetty McKinnon: Yeah. And I think that generally the conversations I've been having, there's been really thoughtful conversations about these topics. And, you know, like some topics are harder to talk about than others. Obviously I try to force myself to share something and it's not always the most coherent answer you're going to get because it's laced in so much emotion and it's laced in so much of, you know, a lifetime of feeling like you don't really belong. And so, you know, I don't think you could ask me this question on two different days and you'd probably get two very different answers, but, um, it's really hard to unpack these, these issues that you carry around with you, but people have been really interested in it. And there's a researcher responsibility in releasing a book called to Asia with love during this time of stop Asian hate during this time of hate crimes. This book is written as a love letter to not any specific place, but to a culture which has raised me and sustained me. And that I owe so much to, you know, it's, it is hard to talk about sometimes, but there's a, there's a comma in, you know, To Asia, With Love and it's because it was written as a love letter to, to this culture, to not to one place where people have said to me, Oh, you know, Asia is not a monolith. And it's like, to me, it's not, it's not even a place. It's it's culture, it's in my blood. It's um, you know, it's my DNA.Suzy Chase : So now I'll ask a happier question.Hetty McKinnon: That wasn't not a happy question.Suzy Chase : Yeah it was heavy. Now to my segment called Last Night's dinner,It's not that heavy, where I ask you what you had last night for dinner.Hetty McKinnon: It was a very late night. My boys were playing baseball so we came home and I made pizzas at nine o'clock.Suzy Chase : Oh my gosh. That's so late. What kind of pizzas?Hetty McKinnon: So I have this favorite pizza. I use dough from my local Italian deli so I didn't make the dough. But my favorite pizza is potato pizza. Like a pizza with thinly sliced potatoes is something I had when I was six or seven years old. But my sister is about seven years older than me so she went and she was like, she was about, she was a teenager. She must've been about 13. And she went to a party to, at her friend's house who was Italian and she took me along with her. It was very weird. And the Grandmother of course, was the only person that spoke to me. And so I sat in the kitchen with my sister's friend's Grandmother and she fed me potato pizza with Rosemary on top. And I have to tell you, Suzy is really one of my most vivid food memories from childhood. And every time I eat a potato pizza, I am sitting in that kitchen with my sister friend's Grandmother eating that potato pizza.Suzy Chase : So where can we find you on the web and social media?Hetty McKinnon: I am still my original website for when I had the business and on social media I'm @HettyMcKinnon. That's it.Suzy Chase: Well, thank you Hetty so much for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast. I am so thankful. I know you.Hetty McKinnon: Thank you, Suzy. I feel the same way. It's been a great conversation.Outro: Follow Cookery by the Book on Instagram. And thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    Cook, Eat, Repeat | Nigella Lawson

    Play Episode Listen Later May 4, 2021

    Cook, Eat, Repeat: Ingredients, Recipes and StoriesBy Nigella Lawson Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City sitting at her dining room table talking to cookbook authors.Nigella Lawson: Hi, I'm Nigella Lawson and my latest cookbook is Cook, Eat, Repeat just published by Ecco.Suzy Chase: What I found so interesting was Cook, Eat, Repeat is the pre-pandemic title, but you wrote the cookbook during the lockdown with the recipes pretty much fully developed. I'd love to hear about that process.Nigella Lawson: Well yes fully developed, but I did change some because left to my own devices, which I very much was I carry on testing and retesting and so in a sense, you could carry on developing a recipe for as long as you have it in front of you. I had the book sort of mapped out, I'd written a teeny bit of it, and I had all the recipes ready, but I found the different time in which I was writing it inevitably had an impact on the recipes and my writing and so I pitched one chapter altogether, which would have had, you know, larger, quantities, you know, sort of bigger recipes and that seemed obviously unlikely to happen. It didn't seem right to be doing that now. And so instead I replaced the chapter about entertaining, which was going to be called How To Invite Friends For Dinner Without Hating Them or Yourself. She visit me in appropriate for a number of reasons. And I instead use the quote from a Lord Byron poem, "much depends on dinner." Also the title of a Margaret Visser book about what we eat and where it comes from. So I wanted to write more about the family meals. So that changed quite a bit. I mean the tenor of the recipes, probably not so much because my cooking, whether I have people round or, you know, just the usual crowd, although I wasn't cooking for anyone during lockdown just myself, it is very much the same sort of food, family food, but I added more recipes for one and I think probably more mindful of substitution and how to vary each recipe. So although conceived pre-pandemic, it has that overlay of really sensing that so many people were intensely bound up with what they were going to cook, what they were going to eat and I'm like that anyway. I mean, from the moment I wake up in the morning I'm thinking about what I'm going to eat that day under the circumstances we were all living, you know, other people came around to my way of thinkingSuzy Chase: So in the cookbook you talk about repetition, which we were cooking, eating and repeating all year long, but you talk about repetition, not in kind of a drudgery sort of way, but in a freeing way that repeated actions will teach us ease in the kitchen.Nigella Lawson: Yes. I think what I feel very much is that for people who don't cook an awful lot, you know, obviously not your listeners, but, for people who don't cook a lot, there's a sort of fear of making something new as if it's some totally novel situation they're going to find themselves in. But the reality is even when you cook something new, you are relying on steps that you use all the time when you cook, whether it's chopping or stirring. And the more often you do those little tasks, I mean, nearly all savory recipes, start with chopping an onion and frying it and the more you do that, the more your body and your whole self sort of gets into the swing of it. And because this step is sort of so often returned to, I think in frees you, thinking, even if it goes beyond the recipe, it frees you to start thinking, Oh, I could add this. That would make it a bit different. Or this would act in much the same way because the framework is there. You can be either more playful or more adventurous, or just frankly, using what you've got in your kitchen at any time. And I think that whether you're cooking or whether you're living generally having a framework is soothing and gives you a sense of security, but obviously none of us want to get bored either in the kitchen or in life. And therefore you still have the ability and I encourage it to be a bit spontaneous between these fixed points. And I think cooking relies on that. Repetition is not diametrically opposed to innovation. I think there's a dynamic relationship between the two.Suzy Chase: How is the cookbook organized in terms of chapters and recipesNigella Lawson: Organized is a very kind word given that each book I've done in a way I like the chapters to reflect the personality of the book. And I knew I very much wanted to write about ingredients that I adore and that I cook in many different ways. And for example, you know, A is for Anchovy and the Rhubarb chapter, it's fairly idiosyncratic, but I think that in a way a book has to be expression of one's enthusiasm. And this one very much is I also wanted to talk about certain types of foods. So there's a chapter called A Loving Defense of Brown Food, which are stews and braises in between that other ideas I wanted to investigate. I didn't think they had to match one another for extent or variety so I knew I wanted to write about pleasure in eating and there's a chapter that's called Pleasures, which was going to be called Death To The Guilty Pleasure, but I decided to accentuate the positive rather than dwell on the negative and when I start writing, I always write at great length. Initially there were getting to be more ingredients chapters, but I felt I'd rather just write at length about what I love. And so, in a sense, each chapter is its own microcosm even though of course there are links and I refer in between them, but I didn't feel the need for a big organizational principle. I felt that in a sense that my enthusiasm for food stuff or the ferocity with which I hold an opinion, that was enough to link the chapters.Suzy Chase: In the Pleasures chapter you wrote, "yes, a bar of chocolate is a true joy, but so is a plate of garlicky, spinach or lemony salad." I'd never really thought much about the term guilty pleasures, but now I kind of despise it.Nigella Lawson: Yes, I do. My jaw tenses at the very notion, I mean, often people use it without thinking, without meaning to imply all the baggage that goes with it, because I think it warps your sense of what you're seeking in food and in different moods, you want to eat a different thing and I don't like it if someone says to me, if I'm making a bowl of vegetables, "oh, you're being very healthy," because I don't think that's a very helpful way of thinking about food. And, you know, whatever's deemed healthy in one stage is then suddenly sort of wicked at some other and the reality is you would have a variety of different foodstuffs ideally and I think then your body and your appetite finds the balance.Suzy Chase: In your A is for Anchovies chapter. You will have a recipe for Spaghetti with Chard, Chilies and Anchovies that I made over the weekend. Can you describe this recipe?Nigella Lawson: I certainly can. Over the holidays in 2019, I believe. I was the staying with friends in the country side and Cornwall, which is a beautiful rugged coastline Southwest of England and went to a restaurant where I ate pretty much this dish and I thought I've got to make this, and I didn't ask for the recipe because it was really evident what was going on on it. And in terms of repetition, as we were just talking about it falls back on something, I do an awful lot, and there are about three or four, I think examples in the book, which is when I cook pasta, I put vegetables with it, as well as the other, perhaps more intense flavorings. And this really is the garlic, well anchovies first in olive oil over very low heat and you have to stir the anchovy filet for quite a while, until they seem to dissolve into the oil and it's salty but it's more than that. It's like providing as I say, depth and richness, umami, we've learned to call it and with that garlic, teeny bit of chili flakes, and that provides such a rich, not necessarily very large in quantity, but a really rich dressing the pasta, with the rainbow chard. You could use any green vegetables really, but of course, when you cook chard, you have to cook the leaves and the stems or the ribs separately. So there's a lot of contrast going on and I think that when you eat taste is one part the equation, but of course, to deliver that you need a very important second part, which is texture and that also makes it very filling. And, you know, the blandness sweet semolina blandness in a way but bland perhaps is not a good word for it, but I can't think of another one right now of the pasta and that sort of mineral quality of the green leafy vegetables, really both of them in their different ways and their opposing ways really can take the hard hit of the garlic and anchovies.Suzy Chase: An exciting part of following along with one of your recipes is I can hear your voice in my head. So for example, in the spaghetti recipe you wrote "when the pasta water has come to a boil salted, it will rise up excitedly." And I can vividly hear you saying that.Nigella Lawson: In a way I feel that once you abandon this aim of getting a recipe to fit on one page and one page alone, you have the freedom and the space to put your voice in it. So it isn't just the barest instructions. And I think that some degree a recipe is also a commentary rather than a description of steps needed.Suzy Chase: In the book you wrote, in writing recipes, you had to learn another language and I'm interested in hearing about that.Nigella Lawson: Well, I was a journalist for a long time actually, before I started writing recipes and not a food journalist and was interested me and I studied languages at college as well, but I felt food obviously has enormous reach and it's an emotional language, you know, it's overlay with meaning, but flavor, taste, texture, the feel of food. This is the realm of the senses and language is abstract in a way. And I wanted to find a way of using language to convey the fullness of the experience of making food for, it's not enough to give a description of what steps are required. I feel that I want to convey what it feels like to be cooking that particular recipe and to be able to describe the dish in a way that makes it live vividly before the reader has taken this step to cook it. And for that, you often have to use metaphor or language that is evocative rather than merely boldly descriptive. And that interests me, but it gives me pleasure. I savor the words as much as I savor the food.Suzy Chase: And I think that's why your cookbooks can either live on our counter or on our bedside table.Nigella Lawson: And I think that I've always felt that the cookbooks I love are ones that have a dual purpose. I think the recipes absolutely have to be impossibly reliable, but I also think it has to be a good read. It has to provide nourishment at both those levels.Suzy Chase: In the, What is a Recipe chapter there's a beautiful photo of your Grandmother's recipes. So you put them in, I think I heard this, you put them in a special place and forgot about them?Nigella Lawson: Well, yeah, I mean, I had them ages ago and then my Aunts had them and then I got them back. And I guess when I last moved houses, I just put them somewhere and then that was it. But it was sometime in the early stages of lockdown over here I dare to say, I might decided I'd have a decluttering project, which is sort of, I live in with so much clutter, mostly in the kitchen, and I found her books again. And I started going through them and that was the end of my de-cluttering and cleaning up project. Very pleasurably so.Suzy Chase: During the lockdown here in New York City, I felt compelled to rearrange my kitchen. Did you rearrange anything in your kitchen?Nigella Lawson: I started trying to find... You go through things that said things like use before 2004, to see if you know what cleaning up to be done. But actually I was very busy with writing and occasionally I would attempt to something like that. Just love writing. I also do anything to put it off. You know, it was really writing and retesting recipes again, and again, wanting to add new ones, because I always think that what makes it a book alive.Suzy Chase: So in Cook, Eat, Repeat you wrote, "I relish eating alone and cooking for myself." Some recipes in the cookbook are for one like your glorious Fried Chicken Sandwich on page 67 in the recipe, it says, serves one ecstatically,Nigella Lawson: But it really does, for me, it does at any rate. And then I came up with this cookie recipe because I think I also wanted some cookies and I didn't want to make... you know normally you have to make so many, even with one egg. It makes often, you know, at least a dozen, sometimes two dozen. So I work pretty hard on how to make a cookie that tastes like a proper cookie, but without egg, because it seems wasteful to reach an egg and then take two teaspoons out. So I was very happy with that. And there's a recipe that been very popular in the book, which I called Chicken in a Pot with Lemon and Orzo and it's one of those family, one dish warming meals that I wanted to eat again. So I wanted to work out a way of saying, how would you adapt that just for one person? And there were quite a few recipes I've done that for, because you know, sometimes it is as simple as just dividing things, but often you have to look into adapting more freely. So I want to do that. And I did love cooking for myself. I mean, I always had cooked for myself, but I've never cooked for myself exclusively for such a long period of timeSuzy Chase: Last weekend, I made the Chicken in a Pot. It is so darn good. The leaks turn out so creamy in the orzo and there's something so homey about that dish.Nigella Lawson: Yeah, there really is and yet it's much bolder and seasoning than a lot of those old fashioned dishes are, and sometimes it's mistakenly assumed that in a way to be comforting must be sort of quietly spiced and this isn't, I mean, it doesn't really hit you over the head, but the oroza pasta and the leaks taste even sweeter. So it's a real family favorite over here I miss making it and I enjoyed coming up with the version for one, just using chicken thighs.Nigella Lawson: I also made your Fear-Free Fish Stew on page one 84. So good. And the cumin and the turmeric and the cinnamon and the sweet potatoes, tomatoes, I can go on and on. But I'm curious about the name of the recipe. Fear-Free.Nigella Lawson: I don't know what it's like stateside, but I think it is similar from conversations. I've had, people are in inordinately frightened of cooking fish. It tends to be expensive. It's very easy to overcook. And if you're not cooking it a lot, I think it can be tricky. So I wanted a recipe that wasn't tricky, didn't involve split-level timing. And because when you put the fish into the skew at the very end, you cook it just for a short time in the pan, when it's on the stove and then you turn it off and you leave it to cook much more gently with the heat turned off and it's pretty impossible to over cook that way. And it makes the fish so tender. I suppose I also wanted, I mean, in truth there are many ways you could have taken the fear factor out, but I felt very much, apart from my slight weakness for alliteration, I wanted to make a signal up ahead, look, you can do this and it's not frightening and it's not stressful. And so I felt I had to announce that in the title, because I know that a lot of people, they see a fish recipe and they turn the page over rather hurriedly, if it's not just the plain bit of salmon or something so I suppose that those were the reasons and I enjoy playing with titles, you know, like the cookies I was talking to you about moments ago, you know, they're called Mine-all-Mine Sweet and Salty Chocolate Cookies. I enjoy coming up with titles that have a bit of character. I have to contain myself. And sometimes a very plain title is also what's needed.Suzy Chase: The pièce de résistance was my very first Pavlova on page 243.Nigella Lawson: Oh yes the petite Pavlova, the little one with two egg whites.Suzy Chase: Oh my gosh. So for some reason I've been so intimidated by that recipe all these years, and it's so easy.Nigella Lawson: It really is. And also, you know, if it cracks a bit on the outside, that's rather beautiful, but a Pavlova is a wonderful dessert and it's not eaten as much in the States as it is over here. And it's just a wonderful dessert too because you do the base in advance. I mean, I don't know, seeing we'll all be having people over, I guess, but essentially it makes life much easier. If your planning a meal, you don't want to have to cook all of it all in one go, especially for people coming. And so it's easy on a number of levels, but I mean, I, you know, as I said before, I'm a pavoholic, you know, I can't stop making Pavlovas.Suzy Chase: Same here. I've made two this week. So now to my segment called Last Night's Dinner, where I ask you what you had last night for dinner.Nigella Lawson: Okay. I can tell you what I had last night for dinner. And I had Squid Salad, like calamari salad from the squid briefly cooked and then steeped in lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, and ginger and garlic and fresh red chili peppers. And this is a strange thing to do, but I also had, and they're very much flavorings some of the Ruby Noodles, which are in the book, which is cooked spaghetti for half time in water and then you finish the cooking in beetroot juice from a carton. I don't have a juicer or anything. And with added flavors, which were very similar to those in the Squid Salad, I like the mixture of sweetness, heat. And I had a bit of both leftover and I mixed them and I added a teeny bit of avocado and a lot of freshly chopped mint.Suzy Chase: Where can we find you on the web and social media?Nigella Lawson: Well, I have a website called and a huge percentage of my recipes can be found there. Although they present in metric if you press a little button on each recipe it will convert instances to US measures and on Twitter, I'm Nigella_Lawson, and on Instagram, I'm NigellaLawson one word.Suzy Chase: This has been such a pleasure. Thank you, Nigella for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast.Nigella Lawson: Well, it's been such a pleasure for me and do you know how wonderful it is for me to hear about the recipes you've cooked? It warms the cockles of my heart.Outro: Follow Cookery by the Book on Instagram. And thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    CBTB Unplugged Live | Jessie Sheehan

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 27, 2021

    Cookery by the Book Unplugged Live with Jessie Sheehan

    Eat Cool | Vanessa Seder

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 19, 2021

    Eat Cool: Good Food for Hot DaysBy Vanessa Seder Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City, sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.Vanessa Seder: This is Vanessa Seder, and I'm here to chat about my new cookbook, Eat Cool: Good Food for Hot Days.Suzy Chase: You are a chef, food stylist, recipe developer, teacher, author, and founding member of Relish & Co. a Portland based culinary design collaborative and I'm excited to chat about Eat Cool. Your second cookbook, 100 plus recipes, tips, ideas, and support to help you eat and cook your way through hot weather. So Eat Cool is another one of these cookbooks that will pull us out of the pandemic rut. It's a fun versatile guidebook. What's the objective behind Eat Cool.Vanessa Seder: It just came from this organic place where I just started cooking in a new kind of a way and I found that I was getting good results. My body wasn't feeling tired or overly heated from the way we were eating. We were eating really delicious food. We didn't feel depleted. So it kind of encompasses a number of things, it's to cook in ways that reduce oven, stove top use, or making food items that require no cooking whatsoever. It's also cutting things in ways that kind of cut down on the cooking time. Eating foods that are naturally cooling, fruits, vegetables, grains, plant-based proteins and proteins that are lower in fat and less meat focused. And I'm not saying omitting all these things, but the food items that are heavier, alcohol-based, fattier to eat those more sparingly when it's really, really hot.Suzy Chase: What are some of the different cuisines that you include in this cookbook?Vanessa Seder: I'm really inspired by cuisines from around the world. In my first cookbook Secret Sauces, it also kind of has an international angle. So in this book, there are recipes that are inspired by, I would say Japanese Thai, Korean, Mediterranean, Indian, Mexican, middle Eastern, and maybe farm local source centric recipes. I grew up in Los Angeles. That's where I’m originally from, my grandmother was actually born there so I'm a true Los Angeleno and if you look at the history there, there's a lot of Mexican, South American, Central American and a lot of Asian culture. So I grew up eating a lot of that kind of food. Plus going up North, I have an aunt lives up North a bit. And so, you know, going into olive oil tastings and eating artichokes and all that kind of stuff, that was part of, of my childhood. So that kind of inspires a lot of my cooking style.Suzy Chase: So this is something that you don't often get in cookbooks. You have a list of five criteria for this cookbook. What are they?Vanessa Seder: Is it delicious and enjoyable to eat? Well, obviously that's very important. You know, I don't want anybody to go to the supermarket or the farmer's market and spend all this time and effort cooking food and having it not taste and look delicious. Number two, will it keep you relatively cool? So that's really important here when you're eating cool. I had all these recipes tested by friends and neighbors, and I asked them how they felt after cooking the different things or not cooking the different things. Cause there's a lot of recipes in this book for you don't even cook. And then I was in the kitchen on stop during the summer and I was developing into the fall winter, but it really did start. I did a majority when it was very, very hot, just seeing how I felt after eating these dishes that I was developing. So that was really important. The third one is, does it avoid the need for lots of labor and cooking? You know, you want to kind of cut down as much as possible, the cooking and chopping and cleaning when you're just so worn out at the end of the day. I tried to keep things simple so that it's not too time consuming. The fourth is can the home chef make it successfully? So yes, of course I also work as a teacher every month. I teach cooking at the Stonewall Kitchen headquarters here in Maine and I absolutely love teaching because I think that cooking is a life skill that everyone should have. And so the teacher, part of me comes out when writing a book too, and I want to make sure that everything is really clear and really well explained in the recipes so that people cooking the food, know exactly what to do when making the recipes. And then number five are its ingredients easy to find or can viable substitutions be provided. And for that definitely in a lot of the recipes I include in the head notes suggestions for where to put purchase hard to find items. There's always the internet these days as we've probably all use a lot of within the last year because of the pandemic. And if there's anything that's a little bit exotic, I offer suggestions for where to find those itemsSuzy Chase: Does eating something hot, actually cool, a person down.Vanessa Seder: I did a bunch of research on this. I am not a scientist, but I really explored this concept of why do people eat this way in hot climate. And what it is, is there a special protein structures called receptors in our mouth. And the one that kind of detects hot spicy food and drinks is called the TRPV1 receptor. And so when we eat or drink something that's hot or spicy, it triggers the TRPV1 receptor. And that cues, the nervous system to transmit a signal to the hypothalamus, which is kind of like our brains thermostat. So when you eat the spicy food or drink something hot, it triggers it. And what happens next is our body starts sweating and that's what cools down our body. So that's eating hot to cool, in a sense. So on the flip side of that, when you eat really cold rich foods, such as ice cream, or like an alcoholic slushie, which I actually have some of those in the book, but I say in the headnote to eat them sparingly, if it's really, really hot, it cools the body down a lot quicker, but it's more temporary because it has to work harder to digest it, which heats up your body.Suzy Chase: Now moving from hot to cold, let's talk about your soup chapter. What is the key to good gazpacho? Because I feel like you either get out-of-this-world gazpacho or you get like, so- so good gazpacho.Vanessa Seder: I, 100% agree with you there. Well, I was kind of on the fence actually, if I should include a good gazpacho recipe, just because there are so many out there in the world, but I think what it comes down to is that because everything is raw and in a gazpacho the end result really depends on the quality and ripeness of the individual ingredients of the soup. So if you're using tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, chilies, herbs that are peak ripeness during the summer and are from a farmer's market or a garden, obviously it's going to taste so much better than off season tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, right? And then you have the olive oil. So I think that really matters here. I'm lucky enough. I mentioned it before, but I have an aunt who lives in Atascadero California. That's near lots of vineyards and olive groves and she sends us bottles of really good olive oil, Pasolivo and Kitehawk farm, are some of my favorite that come out of that area. And so when I am making a gazpacho, I saved my really good olive oil for my gazpacho because it comes through. And then I would say the last part would be to bread or not to add bread. And I like adding bread in my gazpacho because I find that it absorbs some of the acid from the tomatoes and the vinegar, and also adding bread to gazpacho is a great to use an extra bread or bread becoming stale.Suzy Chase: How did it feel getting written up by Florence Fabricant in the New York Times, she is notoriously hard to impress, take it from me. She has never wanted to write anything about this podcast. Oh wow. She has written, I pitched her and she, she wrote try again. And then I pitched her more. Try again. She wrote that like four times to me, I just kept saying, I'm the only cookbook podcast Florence.Vanessa Seder: Wow, honestly it was a thrill and a highlight I have to say and I got an email out of the blue and when I saw who it was from, I got a little teary because I've been doing this for so long and to get Eat Cool, noticed by someone I respect and admire meant so much to me. And she said that she liked the book and thought it was a very timely subject and had some questions about some of the recipes in the book and it made me a little nervous, but I held my breath and I just did my best to answer them straightforwardly and accurately as best I could. It was just a really great honor that the book caught her notice, the notice of the great Flo Fab. What a great name, huh?Suzy Chase: Oh my gosh. I mean, you have to frame that.Vanessa Seder: Oh, I don't know if I'll frame it, but I'll definitely keep it.Suzy Chase: Definitely. Yeah.Vanessa Seder: It's definitely kept in a safe placeSuzy Chase: In the cookbook. You said the cold seafood spread is akin to the charcuterie, meze or cheese platter. Can you tell us about that?Vanessa Seder: I find that when it's really, really hot out, I love a good tinned seafood. There's a whole variety, you know, you can buy really inexpensive tins of seafood and they're fine for the most part. Or you can move up the ladder and purchase really expensive tins that come from Spain, all sorts of things like razor clams, kippers, herring, oysters, sardines. They're really all pretty good, I think. And so it's kind of a play on the charcuterie cheese board where you assemble a beautiful board, but with your tin seafood, but then you balance it with peppery greens, different sauces, crackers, chips, crudité all sorts of things like that. It just makes for a really easy meal when it's hot, as blazes outside.Suzy Chase: So normally when I start doing research for a cookbook, I look at every single one of the cookbook authors, Instagram posts, it kind of gives me a feel of their personality. And immediately when I looked at Instagram, I thought we need to be friends. She's my new friend. Yay. You have such a knack with photography. Your little family is darling. And I got so sad when I saw your beloved cat Birdie passed away, but then you rescued two kittens. So one particular Instagram post that caught my eye was the beautiful cookbook collection at the Lincolnville Motel in Lincolnville Maine.Vanessa Seder: He stayed there in 2019 feels like a world ago and we were up that way cause I was teaching a class at The Saltwater Farm Cooking School run by Annemarie Ahearn and it's this cute modern yet classic Maine inn and shout out to Alice who runs it. She's great. It's a little bit North of Camden, Maine. There's a lot of great restaurants up there, like Long Grain. So yeah, if you're ever in the area, you should make a trip, go up there, kind of a fun place to stay.Suzy Chase: For desserts on a hot day I have such a hard time thinking outside the fruit box. What sorts of ideas do you have for cooling desserts?Vanessa Seder: For the non fruit variety, I would suggest either the Chocolate Panna Cotta with salty Praline Peanut Crumble, Summer Corn Ice Cream, White Almond Sorbet, Ginger Cardamom Saffron Ice Cream, The Tropical Crispy Bars or the Malted Chocolate Icebox Cake. When I was creating this book, I purposely stayed away from shortcakes, tarts, pies, layer cakes, things like that because they take longer in the oven to bake and also when you're making something like a pate brisee which is a butter class of laminated dough, biscuit dough, the butter needs to remain very cold and that's really difficult to achieve when it's hot as blazes.Suzy Chase: Tell me about the Summer Corn Ice Cream. I've never heard of corn ice cream.Vanessa Seder: I think it's good, but you have to like corn, of course.Suzy Chase: I'm from Kansas. I love corn.Vanessa Seder: Well I didn't grow up with the best corn. When I started dating my husband, we met in college, he's from Massachusets. We went to go to his dad's house for kind of a grill outside and he served corn I just kind of blown away by the sweetness and quality of the corn we had, as simple as it was, and so that was my real introduction to New England corn and I have a huge respect for it and I wait all year to eat corn. I don't want to just have any corn and want that corn. So what I do every summer is I absolutely love making ice cream and so I used that corn and I soaked the cobs in the cream and the milk to get as much flavor out of the corn cob. And then I add the fresh corn to it and then I create a custard base and then run it through the machine. And it has a really intense corn flavor and it's just really delicious. I love it.Suzy Chase: That sweet corn is like heaven on earth.Vanessa Seder: I think so too. I mean, that's the thing. I don't think everyone loves corn. I don't know why, but we all love corn here that sweet summer corn. And if you like things like, like a corn custard or a cream corn, then you'll love the ice cream.Suzy Chase: Okay. Here's a super random question. I would love to hear about your dining room table.Vanessa Seder: Well we love antiques when we were first in Maine we went in search of a table and we ended up finding the table that it was in Buxton, Maine, and it was in a barn and it was just sitting there. It barely cost us anything and it had been in the same family for over 50 years and the why they were getting rid of it, but we just absolutely love it. And it's where we gather. And it served our family really well and we just love it and we try to take as best care of it as we can. I love old things. I like new things too, but I think it's also better for the environment. You know, you're just repurposing and you're loving something again and you're bringing new life into it. So I'm all for that. I.Suzy Chase: I know you're endlessly curious about food. So what is some sort of culinary thing you learned this past?Vanessa Seder: Okay, well this is gonna probably sound boring and a bit cliche at this point.Suzy Chase: Sourdough?Vanessa Seder: Wow. How did you guess? I mean, there's not much to get, I mean, we just really upped our sourdough starter making game and it got to this point where we were making bagels and bread and it became part of our weekly cooking rotation. But between working and remote school this year, our daughter's been in remote school all year. It just was hard to keep it going. And also it was just getting to this point where we were just eating way too much bread. So I would say that ultimately this year was about figuring out ways to avoid shopping as much as possible and getting really creative with leftovers in our fridge.Suzy Chase: You have a section called Fun with Rotisserie chicken. There's six options to make rotisserie chicken more interesting. When it's a hot hot day to pick up a rotisserie chicken is such a lifesaver. So I made your Quicker Shawarma recipe over the weekend. Can you tell us about this recipe?Vanessa Seder: Well, what did you think? First of all.Suzy Chase: I loved it And it was so easy and fun for my family and easy for me to make because it's a rotisserie chicken. It's great for moms everywhere, but that sauce was so darned good.Vanessa Seder: Which sauce did you use?Suzy Chase: It was the chili sauce. The toasted garlic and chili sauce. And I didn't have chili's so I used jalapenos.Vanessa Seder: Perfect. I love that. You're improvising. So my point with this page, which is kind of a sidebar was that if you're so hot and so tired and so burned out, go get a rotisserie chicken. There's nothing bad about it. And you don't have to just think of it as chicken leg. You can transform it into so many dishes shawarma is cooked on a vertical spit for hours. And so this is a huge shortcut. And why heat up your kitchen? When you can just go to the store and get her history chicken, season it up, put it in a slightly warmed pita, add a sauce of your choice. I offer a couple suggestions, top it with some lettuce and tomato, yogurt, but you can improvise too, you could add some avocado. It's a loose interpretation, obviously, you could add hummus anything you'd like, but I'm glad you enjoyed it.Suzy Chase: It's a full dinner. You don't have to make a side or anything. You just shove everything into the warm pita. And by the way, what's better than a warm pita?Vanessa Seder: I don't think anything. Nothing, right? Yeah. It's great. A warm pita is just delicious.Suzy Chase: Over the weekend. I sort of combined pages 111 and 113 to make grilled shrimp with herb butter, tomatoes and micro greens on sourdough toast. I really, really love the toast idea.Vanessa Seder: Why have two pieces of bread when you can just have one and still feel like you're getting a full meal. And I'm glad you combine the recipes actually. I mean, I tell students this, when I'm teaching that you can look at a lot of recipes as just kind of a loose blueprint or a jumping off point to improvise, but I'm really glad that you're having fun with the book and you're improvising from it. If you don't have all the ingredients that I hope people are doing that.Suzy Chase: Now for my segment called Last Night's Dinner, where I ask you what you had last night for dinner.Vanessa Seder: So I started off with some really good olive oil, and then I toasted leftover pasta. I think we had rigatoni so I toasted that up in the pan until it got kind of like crisp chewy tender and it had some more texture to it. And then I added some nice asparagus and fresh garlic to that and just kind of tossed it through and just heated it so that the asparagus was kind of crisp, tender, a little bit of salt and pepper. And then I added eggs to it and I kind of scrambled it all together and then a little bit of spicy chili and a shaving of parm. And then we had it with Cortaterre. It's an Oregon Pinot Noir. It's just fabulous. We really are into good Oregon Pinot Noir.Suzy Chase: I want to give a shout out to your editor, Jono Jarrett.Vanessa Seder: I think you should. He's incredible. I can't say enough good things about him. I love Jono.Suzy Chase: You know, we are from the same hometown.Vanessa Seder: Stop. It really?Suzy Chase: Yes. We're from Prairie, Kansas. We're Instagram friends. And I'm like, wait, how did I, how did I not know you? My mom has to know your mom!Vanessa Seder: What a small world. It is a small world. He was just so great and involved in so much of this book and he would ship props over, you know, cause I did all the propping styling with Stacy and Jennifer, the three of us did the book together and everybody contributed so much to this book. It's really a huge process to write a cookbook. Yeah. He was just such a wonderful editor to have.Suzy Chase: So where can we find you on the web and social media?Vanessa Seder: or and then I'm @VSeder on Instagram.Suzy Chase: Eat Cool is going to be my go-to at the beach house this summer. Thanks Vanessa for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast.Vanessa Seder: Thanks for having me. It's been a pleasure.Outro: Follow Cookery by the Book on Instagram. And thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    The Arabesque Table | Reem Kassis

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 13, 2021

    The Arabesque Table: Contemporary Recipes from the Arab WorldBy Reem Kassis Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.Reem Kassis: My name is Reem Kassis and I'm the author of The Palestinian Table and more recently The Arabesque Table.Suzy Chase: I'm so happy you're back. So the last time you were on the cookbook podcast was 2017 with The Palestinian Table where you use the power of food and storytelling to share the Palestinian narrative with the world. Today, I'm thrilled to chat with you about your second cookbook, The Arabesque Table, all about the evolving cross-cultural food of the Arab world. Let's start off with you talking a little bit about doing three years of recipe research for this cookbook.Reem Kassis: You're right. It was very long, you know, the process of from getting the idea to researching it, to ultimately the end product but it was also fascinating because what I started out with was very different from the book that I ended up with. Um, you know, initially I think my desire was to capture this modern Arab table that was inspired by how we ate at home and all the cross-cultural interaction that I was seeing. But then it became clear to me as I started working on this, that you cannot understand this modern table with any kind of integrity, if you don't know the past on which it's based. And that kind of got me into the rabbit hole of the research you're talking about, which involves a lot of digging through archival materials through medieval Arabic cookbooks. It also involved a lot of academic texts and research articles, but at the end, I had this picture in my mind that is so much richer and more fascinating than I ever imagined our history to be. I don't know where to start and where to end telling you about it because it is so vast, but it's extremely interesting and only a portion of it made it into the book, Suzy, because as you know, it's a 250 page cookbook, so if I were to run with it and make it the thousand page tomes that I was aiming for, nobody would buy it. It would be too heavy and probably too boring so you ended up with the very interesting bits in the book that you have.Suzy Chase: I want to start with the cover. So when I think of the word arabesque, my mind immediately goes to the ballet move the other definition of arabesque is, and I looked it up in ornamental design. So you had a long journey coming up with the title for this cookbook and the cover. Can you take us back to your childhood garden when you were drinking lemonade, talking about the title with your mom?Reem Kassis: It's actually funny that you mentioned the arabesque ballet move because it was also in the back of my mind when I was picking the title, even though I picked it more for the ornamental design and you're referring to something I talked about in the introduction, which is I had submitted my first and then that draft went through edits and I submitted the second and final one. And we were doing the photo shoot at my parents' home in Jerusalem. And still we did not have a title for the book. So naturally I'm stressed out. I'm talking to my mother, to my father, to my brother, you know, what is the title of this book going to be? And it really only hit me towards the very end after we spoke so much about what the book is, what the main topic of the book is, what I'm trying to convey. And one of the tables in our backyard, it has this ornamental design on it and Arabic pattern. And just seeing how those designs fit together, they're woven, they're infinitely woven in a way, you know, you can't tell where one starts and one ends, you can see each one individually, but taken together as a whole. They formed this beautiful image in front of you. And I thought that's what our cuisine is at the end of the day. It's intertwined. It's, cross-cultural, it's stretches infinitely through time from the start of civilization to the present day. And national cuisines are like those individual patterns that you can point to, but you also cannot see where they begin and where they end because cuisine is regional. And it has been evolving since the start of civilization. So Arabic to me was the word that conveyed that the most. Um, but also the Arabic ballet moved to me was about having one foot firmly rooted in the past with your hand reaching for the future. So in order to reach for that future in front of you and understand the evolution and the excitement that can come from your dishes, evolving and changing, you also need to still be firmly rooted in the ground. That is the base of everything that you're doing.Suzy Chase: And it also kind of goes back to what you just said. You started out with an idea for this book, but it ended up something completely different.Reem Kassis: Which is probably the case with many cookbooks and books in general. I mean, when I started out, I was looking at how we were eating at home. I have two young kids and our dinner table on a regular basis was just as likely to have a Palestinian dish on it as it was to have an Indian or Japanese or Korean one. And my pantry similarly had all different kinds of ingredients from across the globe. And it reminded me of my grandmother's and my mother's pantry, which were very uniform. It was just the Arab ingredients that we were used to cooking with. And I thought, Oh, this is great. This is fun. I want to capture this. I want to show how food evolves and how it can be exciting and how it can interact with other cultures. But as I started working on it, inevitably have to change because any dish that I wanted to talk about or explain, I realized there was so much more backstory to it than just, this is a mishmash of A and B you know, yes, it's mixing those two things together, but where did those two things come from to begin with? And what ended up happening was most of that exploration often took me back to ingredients and crops, and that's why the book ended up being also split by ingredient or ingredient group, because those are the things that tell that story of evolution in the neatest way.Suzy Chase: So you celebrate the contemporary Arabic kitchen, but what are a couple differences between your grandmother's pantry and Galilee and your modern pantry?Reem Kassis: Well, for starters, hers was probably mostly made by hand. You know, every ingredient she had was probably one that she had grown in her garden and herself preserved or dried or fermented or what not. Mine unfortunately is mostly store-bought at this point, there are still a few things like za'atar, that, which my parents send me from back home and pomegranate molasses, which are handmade by family members, but mine is a lot more convenient, but also it's a lot more global. So I have all different kinds of soy sauce and vinegar and, you know, different kinds of tins fishes from Europe. And it's just, it's a mishmash of things. And I have Indian pulses, you know, different lentils that are used for making Indian dishes and different kinds of pastas from Italy. And it's just, so it's almost like looking at this microcosm of the whole world in a very small space.Suzy Chase: I'm curious to hear about the pomegranate molasses.Reem Kassis: So pomegranate molasses really it's just pomegranate juice that has been reduced to a syrupy consistency and the balance of sweet versus sour depends actually on the variety of pomegranates you use, unfortunately, what ends up happening with what you buy in stores is that, you know, it's thickened with starch, it's sweetened with sugar and you're really don't have that much pomegranate in there. My father does our own pomegranate molasses at home because we have a few trees in our backyard and he, every August we'll pick them and he will spend weeks and weeks peeling them and then juicing them. And, you know, the kitchen becomes a factory. And my mother basically does not even want to go in there. It's a nightmare for her. But at the end of the season, once you have all these bottles and they're labeled and you're giving everyone the bounty of the season, you suddenly remember why you do this every year and why it's, it's fun. And it's useful. I mean, it's a wonderful sour flavor that adds a little kick to different things. You know, we use it in certain traditional applications, but you could use it in place of lemon and place a vinegar in any dish that you do, whether it's a salad dressing or a sauce for fish, it's I find the balance of sweet and sour to be a lot more, they have a lot more dimensions than just vinegar or just lemon juice.Suzy Chase: So with the recent spring cookbook releases, I've been hearing so many stories of authors making do during the pandemic and creating a cookbook in the middle of the lockdown. I'd love to hear your story of how this cookbook came to life during the pandemic.Reem Kassis: You know, Suzy books are a very long process from start to finish. So when it first started out, everything was great and fine. And you know, you're meeting with your publisher in person and you're speaking to people in person. And I wrote majority of the book before the pandemic hit, but the photo shoot was supposed to start in March and we were supposed to fly out on Friday. And I think it was on a Wednesday or a Thursday that they enforced lockdown. So literally 24 hours before flying back to Jerusalem, we have to cancel our flights and stay in Philadelphia. And we had no idea like, would the photo shoot ever happen in time for a spring release? Would I ever be able to go back this year? Luckily enough, we were able to go back in may and we did do the photo shoot there. But the flip side of that coin is we got stuck there for three months and couldn't come back. So, you know, it was an exciting journey, but it'll definitely be a memorable one down the line. When I think about all the craziness that happened to bring this book to life.Suzy Chase: Did you and your mom take the photos or did you just make the food that was in the photos?Reem Kassis: No, no. We just cook the food. So there's a photographer and it's actually the same photographer who did the first book. And part of the reason I wanted to do the photo shoot back home is he's such a phenomenal photographer that I really wanted him to photograph this one. And you almost cannot tell it's the same one because of how different the two books are. And it just goes to show how, you know, when you set a certain brief for how you want it to look, you really can bring it to life. And my mother and I, we cooked all the dishes. We didn't have a prop stylist. We didn't have a food stylist. We didn't have really anything. It was a very skeleton crew photographer, me and my mother. I love it.Suzy Chase: How simple the photos are. You really focus just on the food?Reem Kassis: Yeah, there's no prompts. I mean, there's no rusty spoons and thank goodness as you remember the first time around, I was like, is this normal? There's nothing on this picture other than the food. And then I realized it's actually good. You see the food, you know,Suzy Chase: Really good. As you tell the story of a cuisine that emerges from what are now 22 countries between the Atlantic ocean and the Arabian sea. You put the focus on key ingredients. You mentioned a little bit of that, but can you talk a little bit more about why you focused on key ingredients in the country?Reem Kassis: So, one thing when I'm writing that I'm always conscious of is I want to make this as easy and as accessible as possible to the person reading it. And chances are, if you pick up a book, you're not looking to cook based on an ingredient, or you're looking to cook based on an occasion, right? Is it breakfast? Is it dinner? Is it lunch? Is it a large gathering? Do I want meat? Do I want chicken? So I hesitated to break it up by ingredient. But then I thought back to the greater mission of the book, which was to tell a story and a history traced throughout time and ingredients were the best way to do that. Because at the beginning of every chapter, there's an introduction which discusses the ingredient, but also tells you how it came to the position that it's in, in our cuisine, whether it's even native to our region or not, and how it's used in cooking. So by looking at these ingredients, you start to form a more complete picture in your mind of what that history looks like from the middle ages cause that's how far back really I go in the book from the middle ages up to the present day.Suzy Chase: You had a bit of an epiphany during the pandemic you wrote suddenly. "I understood why my father loved these two dishes so much. It wasn't the dishes themselves. It was the memories they kept alive for him." I spend an inordinate amount of time pondering the meaning of home. Can you talk about those two dishes and home and what home means to you?Reem Kassis: It's funny home is such an elusive concept that I think you really start to appreciate and understand when you're moved from it. So for me, I never thought of what home meant until I found myself living abroad and eventually realizing this is where my life was going to be. I am not going to be able to go back home. And I mentioned in the book by the time that it is published, I will have spent more years living abroad than I did in Jerusalem. And when I think of my father, you know, I wrote about the two dishes that you're referencing. They were dishes that when I tasted them, I said, okay, they're fine, but they're not something to be wowed by. And yet to him, they were the best thing in the world. And it was only when I couldn't go home and I couldn't visit my parents. I couldn't eat the food that I had been promised and had been craving for awhile that I realized it really is this entire sensory experience from the flavors, the smells, the sounds, the sights, just the physical touch of being close to the people that you care about. All of that together forms this thing that is home. And part of the reason we love certain dishes is not because they are objectively very good, but because those dishes are the ones that we enjoy during periods of our lives that were extremely meaningful. And for me, you know, my childhood up until the age of 17, when I left home, those are the years that I look back on. And I think that's home. Those were the years, my formative years, the years that I spent in a place that has become so crucial to my identity. And so when I look back now, there are, they're not the same two dishes, but there are definitely dishes that for me, speak of home dishes that I don't even make in my kitchen, because no matter how well I can execute them, the experience around them and the flavor as a result will not be the same as when I eat it.Suzy Chase: Wow. So you don't even attempt because it's not even going to get close to itReem Kassis: Because there are times when I really miss those, you know, to give you a concrete example, the primary dish I'm referencing is stuffed chicken. It's so simple. It's just a whole chicken that you stuffed with a mixture of rice and beef that has already been cooked with pine nuts and spices. And it it's an easy dish to make. But to me, it's the dish that reminds me of Fridays and my childhood. It's the Fridays you went to my grandmother. It's the dish that my mother makes whenever I would go home to visit from university. She still does every time that I go back and I've tried to make it here, I just don't enjoy it as much. I even joked in front of my husband. One time he goes, do you want me to make it for you? Will it tastes better if I do? And I was like, no, it just tastes better when my mom makes it. It's not that I don't know how make it, it's just different when I'm eating it with her, with old family, uh, it could be small touches here and there. You know, maybe her oven is different from mine or the rice she uses there is different from the one I use here. But yeah, I try to avoid making that dish. She also served, you know, coincidentally avoids making it when I'm not there either.Suzy Chase: So to understand this modern way of eating one had to understand the culinary history of the Arab world. You wrote in the book. Food is a regional and ethnic artifact. Often more closely tied to language and religion than it is to an arbitrary political boundary. Could you talk a little bit about national cuisine?Reem Kassis: Of course. So national cuisine is the implication behind it is a cuisine of a specific nation. So Palestinian, Italian, Indian, et cetera, but the idea of a nation state is a relatively recent construct that came about at the end of the 18th, early 19th century and national cuisine itself is often traced back to the end of the French revolution. When the cuisine of the Versailles palace was nationalized and everyone had access to it, peasants and rich people alike. So if you look at food prior to that, but also even to this day, you notice it's regional and let's just take what I know the most about Palestinian cuisine. And if you look at the Northern part of the country, it is very different. What they eat there from what they eat in the center and the South of the country, and what informs those differences is the geography and the landscape, the proximity to other countries, uh, religion, socioeconomic status that for example affects whether traditionally you ate whole wheat or white flour bread, whether you ate rice or whether you ate vulgar grains, religion, you know, that affects whether you ate pork or beef or lamb, whether you drank alcohol or not. And as a result, did you eat messy platters with your alcohol, or did you eat big dishes that did not sit well with, you know, sipping alcohol as you ate them? So national cuisine is very important in the sense that it helps people form a collective identity around their culinary history, but it's also important to recognize the trajectory that food has been on from the past to the present day and how it has adapted and also adopted ideas and ingredients from other places and other cultures. And the point that I try to get across often with this book, and when I'm speaking to people is that those two things are not mutually exclusive. You know, your food can be important to you as a nation, but you can also recognize that that food has evolved and in all likelihood will continue to evolve down the line and that you don't need to be one or the other. You can be both as long as you recognize the origins of the things that you're eating and also recognize the importance that they hold for you as a member of a specific nationality.Suzy Chase: So would you say a good example of this would be the bagel, the bagel,Reem Kassis: More complicated history than that but we can get into it if you want, but I would say a good example of that be a dish like Maqlubeh for Palestinians. You know, Maqlubeh means inverted. It's a dish of rice and eggplants often layered with tomatoes at the bottom as well, or served with tomato based stew. Tomatoes did not make their way to the Arab world until the 19th century. Rice was not a staple until the 20th century. It was reserved for the ultra wealthy and everyone else just ate the ensuing wheat products, you know, bulgur and freekeh and the like. And yet, if you ask Palestinians today, what is your national dish? A huge portion will reference Maqlubeh as the national dish of Palestine. So you see that the ingredients that make it up are not native or not. You know, they weren't staples in that country. They were not common in that country 200 years ago. And yet today they have become together as a dish, something very symbolic of Palestinian cuisine. So that kind of points to how things can come from the outside. They can evolve and then that ensuing product becomes very relevant to national identity, but the bagel, if you want to touch on it, it's very relevant to Jewish identity. You know, when people think of Jewish foods, one of the first things I'll say is, Oh, a bagel and lox bagels. As I found out while doing the research for this book, actually the very first mention of a boiled and baked ring of dough is in a 13th century Arabic cookbook. And I, you know, I wrote this article that traced the history and how, you know, the Arabs when they took over Bari in the eighth century and from there, a lady from Bari went into Poland, married into the Royal family. They started making this bagel like pastry called obwarzanek or I'm butchering the pronunciation. And then Jews and 16th century Poland started making it. You see how through time it has traveled from one place to the next, you might be able to see how it's changed. Uh, and yes, you can trace it back to Arab origins. Does that detract from its position as a very important or iconic food for Jewish people? No, it doesn't. So also points to that thing you were saying where it is important to you as your nationality, but it has evolved through time.Suzy Chase: I'm so fascinated by that 13th century Arabic cookbook that you found. So where did you find that to do the research? And can you say the name of it? I have it written down, but I will butcher it.Reem Kassis: No, don't worry. So actually, luckily that particular one that I'm referencing has an English translation. The English translation is Sense and Flavors. It was translated only a couple of years ago. The literal translation of the Arabic name is the book with which to reach your loved one's heart via their stomachSuzy Chase: Does K I T A B mean book?Reem Kassis: It means books. So Kitab al Wusla ila al Habib, which means the book for reaching your loved one. And then it continues. I didn't put the full name in the, in the Arabic table because it would be like a full sentence. If I was going to name the entire thing from start to finish every time I love it.Suzy Chase: So where did you find this cookbook?Reem Kassis: You know, one book leads you to another book and another book. And a lot of these books, I first came across while reading academic articles. You know, you spend half your time reading the article itself and the other half sifting through the bibliography and the footnotes. And there you see what sources those academics have used. And then from there, you know, a lot of them might've done the research primary research right there on the ground. They're looking through ancient texts and libraries like Yale, for example, had the Babylon tablets, which are the oldest recipe in the world, or the oldest recipes in the world. They're the carvings on clay tablets, that date back to the Mesopotamian era. But the book that I use even more than this one was attempt century one called Kitab, and that's considered the first Arabic cookbook on record. And that one also has an English translation. Actually, people are interested. It's called angels of the caliphs kitchen. That was very well known. So it wasn't a surprise to come across. It it's from any Arabs, they reference it on the regular. They know about it.Suzy Chase: Do you have any recipes out of that cookbook in The Arabesque Table?Reem Kassis: I do. There's a couple actually. So there's one called Narjissiyeh. I don't know, off the top of my head, what page number it's on, but it's in the eggs and dairy chapter. Narjissiyeh means of narcissists, which nurses? This is the scientific name for the daffodil flower and the daffodil as we can all see outside right now is a white and yellow flower with a green stem. So the thought is it was all the dishes that are made with sunny side up eggs in that book are referred to as such. And that thought is like the narcissist, like the daffodil flower, you know, eggs are yellow and white. So that's why all that class of dishes have that name.Suzy Chase: Culinary appropriation is front and center for a lot of Palestinians. I'd love to give you some space to elaborate on that and the word authentic. What does that word really mean in terms of a cuisine?Reem Kassis: So let's start with the easier one, the word authentic. I find that word slightly problematic. I mean, it's good in the sense that it might convey something. When I say authentic Palestinian, I'm referring to dishes that to Palestinians have been enjoyed and cooked for a couple of centuries, at least. But if by authentic, you mean dishes that are free are void of outside influence. Then those dishes do not exist. And just to give you examples, tomatoes, they did not come to Italy until the 18th century. So all those quote, unquote, authentic Italian dishes like Spaghetti bolognese and you know, Pizza al Pomodoro and all these dishes that are tomato based did not exist in Italy 200 years ago, chilies did not come to Thailand or India also until after the Columbian exchange. And yet, can you fathom any kind of Curry that doesn't have chilies in it? No. When we talk about chocolates and or Belgium, the cocoa bean also did not come to Europe until after the Colombian exchange. So if by authentic people mean something that has not been influenced by outside culture or has not evolved through time, then no such thing exists. It's a, it's a fiction. If by authentic, what you mean is a dish that is meaningful to your people, to your nationality, a dish that has been enjoyed for at least a couple of centuries or several generations fine, but it's important to be clear about what you mean by authentic, because if you want to go by the dictionary definition, then it's, you know, it's hard to find really, really authentic foods as her culinary appropriation for Palestinians. I've written quite a bit about this, which, you know, it's difficult to summarize it in one or two sentences, but I think the important takeaway from the entire topic is, especially as someone who's writing about how food evolves and food is adaptive and adoptive and how fusions the history of cuisine in general is there's a big difference between culinary diffusion, which is how food changes through time, how it learns from other cultures, adapts and adopts, and between appropriation, which is taking something from another culture and willfully denying or ignoring that culture is contribution to what you're cooking. And I think that's the issue for Palestinians. And obviously when you say it's relevant to Palestinians, you're referring to the issue of Israel, appropriating Palestinian dishes and marketing them abroad as Israeli. And the primary issue there is that it's a willful denial of the Palestinian contribution, which is seen by most Palestinians as an attempt to rewrite the past and make it a past in which we do not exist.Suzy Chase: The other evening, I made your Spiced Kebabs with Preserved Lemon Dill Yogurt, and Orzo Rice for dinner. Can you describe these recipes?Reem Kassis: So Orzo Rice is really simple? It's basically plain white rice, but it has orzo in it. And the thought process behind it was we normally make it with a very short vermicelli type of noodle, which I don't easily find here in Western supermarkets. You can find it in middle Eastern grocers. You can buy angel hair pasta and chop it up very thin, but that's too time consuming. So I started using orzo in its place and it's delicious. And it serves the same function, which is, you know, a bulks up the rice, but the, it gives it a nutty flavor because you're toasting it first. But the primary reason that supposedly people cooked rice that way was it prevented the brains from sticking together. And they would say, you know, Arabs would joke that the more vermicelli noodles you had in your rice, the worse of a cook you were because you couldn't get your rice not to clump together without using it. I mean, I'm not a terrible cook, but I definitely use a lot of the noodles and the orzo in my rice just because I like the nutty flavor, but it's simple. That's all it is. It's just, you know, rice with some slightly toasted orzo or vermicelli noodles.Suzy Chase: So describe the Spiced Kebabs with Preserved Lemon Dill Yogurt.Reem Kassis: So this is that's a very simple dish. It's ground meat. You can use lamb or beef for a combination, and the spices are pretty simple. I think, you know, primarily it's black pepper and cumin. And then I think there's onion in the mixture as well, just to add flavor, possibly garlic. You know, I don't have the book in front of me, but it's a minced meat mixture that's flavored with different aromatics and then shaped into kebabs and fried. You could also, it's the same one that we use for our kafta dishes. So it can be baked in the oven. It can be turned into me, balls, whatever you want. And then the yogurt you're talking about is mixed just with preserved lemon and dill, some salt, you know, yogurt is great and it's very common in the Arab world to eat rice with cold yogurt. So most of our rice dishes are served with cold yogurt on the side, but I felt that the addition of preserved lemon and dill just kind of amped up the flavor. And it's a dish that I often make on weeknights when I don't know what to make, because who doesn't like, you know, for all intents and purposes, I meatball because just in the shape of a kebab basically, and the rice is, you know, an easy starch to make and the yogurt just makes it very fresh. So even if you don't have a salad on the side, it still feels like a very fresh light meal.Suzy Chase: So the preserved lemon comes up in another 13th century Syrian cookbook. Did I read that?Reem Kassis: Yeah, it's the same book we were talking about before the one with the bagel recipes. And I think it was common back then to preserve any and everything because there was no refrigeration, there's no freezing. So if you and everything was seasonal. So if you had something in season, you had to find a way to preserve it. Herbs were often dried, yogurt was fermented and dried, lemons were preserved themselves. That was how fermentation started in general, in all cultures across the world. It was a way to make things last from one season to the next, uh, preserved lemons tend to be an ingredient that features heavily in North African cuisine, less so in Levantine cuisine. Obviously now it has made its way into our kitchens as well. And it's made its way into kitchens here because it really is a very, I dunno, I like to call it a flavor booster, right? It's like lemon, which adds freshness. It's kind of like salt, which enhances flavor, but it is, it has multiple layers of flavor to it, I think because you have the acidity from the lemon, but you also have a bit of bitterness from having preserved it for so long. And I think together those two things give you this like umami combination of flavors that works wonderfully with many dishes. I often put it in my pasta sauces as well. I'll put a spoon in soups if I want to bring out a citrusy note. It's great. You know, if you're doing tuna salads, it's a wonderful combinationSuzy Chase: In that 13th century cookbook. It said something like this recipe is so well-known, it need not be described.Reem Kassis: True. And it says that about quite a few things as well. Oh really? Yeah. Because the way these books were written back then most of them were written with a certain audience in mind. Namely, the Royal courts are very wealthy people, I guess, with two goals in mind, on the one hand, it was written for its humoral properties or like its medicinal benefits. So if you look at the 10th century cookbook and to a lesser extent, the 13th century one, it will tell you, you know, this ingredient is good for this medical issue or for this body organ or for this bodily function. So it wasn't written the way books are today for mass consumption. It was written more to tell you which foods are good for what, but it was also a way with which to pass on recipes to the cooks in these Royal courts or Royal palaces. So again, if it's a recipe that's super common. I assume the thought process was why bother mentioning it, any cook who comes here will know how to do it. Let's just get into the bits and pieces that might need explanation.Suzy Chase: Now to my segment called Last Night's dinner, where I asked you what you had last night for dinner.Reem Kassis: It's funny, actually, you asked me about what we had last night for dinner. My memory is not great, but with that said, I do have a running list or what I plan to cook every night that goes back to 2014. So if you could pick out any day of the year and be like, what did you eat that day? I could tell you what, yeah, it's crazy. So the way it started was in London, I was ordering groceries online and I needed to figure out what to order for the weeks. I would plan out what I was going to cook every day. And this especially became relevant when I was recipe testing. I started writing, you know, Monday, this Tuesday, this Wednesday, that, and I just got into the habit of doing it. And now we're 2021. And so I guess I have seven years worth of what we ate every day.Suzy Chase: You could be on some game show or something. You could make a lot of money off this skill.Reem Kassis: Think so, actually we are what today, Tuesday. So Monday, Monday we had mahshy, which is stuffed zucchini and eggplants and grape leaves. And it's not exactly a weeknight dish, but we often have it on Mondays because I'm home Sunday. You know, everyone's home Sunday. It's an easy date to spend a couple hours prepping a dish that requires as much preparation. So oftentimes I will stuff and roll in all of that the night before. And then Monday I just have to cook it.Suzy Chase: Where can we find you on the web and social media?Reem Kassis: On the web? It's my website, just my first name, last So On social media. I'm mostly active on Instagram and again, Reem.Kassis or Reem underscore Kassis, but you'll find it, you'll see the pictures of my books.Suzy Chase: No cuisine is a straight line stretching infinitely back in time. Rather it's just like an arabesque pattern flowing and intertwined. Thanks so much Reem, for coming on Cookery by the Book Podcast.Reem Kassis: Thank you, Suzy. It's been a pleasure.Outro: Subscribe over on and thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    À Table | Rebekah Peppler

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 6, 2021

    À Table: Recipes For Cooking + Eating The French WayBy Rebekah Peppler Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.Rebekah Peppler: I'm Rebekah Peppler and my book is called À Table: Recipes For Cooking + Eating The French Way.Suzy Chase: In 2015 you started splitting your time between Paris and Brooklyn, which became Paris and LA and then Paris full time. How did that evolve?Rebekah Peppler: So basically I was living correct in New York in 2015, and I had started to kind of get this just like gut feeling that I needed a change. Um, and that change wasn't going to happen in New York. And I, at the time was working quite regularly as a food stylist primarily, um, but had wanted to get back into writing as kind of my primary profession. And so I decided that I would split time between New York and another city and I really wasn't sure where it was going to be. It was actually between LA and Paris kind of just popped up out of the blue. I had spent a little time there just on a holiday. I swapped my apartment in Brooklyn with a teacher in Paris and just lived there for, for six weeks, trying to get an idea of if I wanted to even make that move and I would say like two weeks in, I was absolutely not, not for me. Um, I didn't have any French at the time and it, it didn't feel like the right city. And then about three weeks in my kind of mindset changed completely. And I was like, you know what, actually, this is, this is exactly what I want to be doing. And so I started splitting my time between Paris and New York. And then, um, and then it became Paris and LA, uh, for a brief moment in time. And then it became Paris kind of totally however you are reaching me while I'm in LA. And so I don't think I've really shed that Paris LA commute quite yet, but all of my stuff lives in Paris, which is, which is a very exciting thing for me to, uh, to feel a kind of concrete home in one place.Suzy Chase: The subtitle of this cookbook is Recipes For Cooking + Eating The French way. So the phrase recipes for cooking, I know how I interpreted it as, like achievable, delicious recipes for the home cook, but what were you thinking?Rebekah Peppler: Oh, I actually never even thought about that. Um, how it could be interpreted in a different way for me. Uh, the subtitle kind of was born out of the fact that when I first pitched this book, um, and I know that you've spoken to quite a few authors. So, you know, that kind of proposal starts prior to writing the book and is sold. Um, it was more centered around gathering in my head and kind of like gathering around the table, eating together, cooking together. And it also evolved into me wanting to be able to say, you know, just cooking and eating the French way because, you know, I lived alone in Paris at the time and I was sometimes just cooking for one and sometimes I was cooking for two and sometimes I was cooking for eight. And so I didn't want to kind of pigeonhole it into a cooking only for a big group of people and then, um, fortuitously, when the book came out, we were still in the middle of the pandemic. And so it actually, um, translated even better than I could have ever imagined when I was kind of shifting in the beginning stages book.Suzy Chase: What does eating the French way look?Rebekah Peppler: Like for me personally, kind of eating the French way is just kind of enjoying your food and enjoying the moment that you're in and opening a bottle of wine or pouring an Apéritif, whether that be alcoholic or non alcoholic to usher in your night and really like kind of living in the moment and enjoying the things that you have and if you're around people, the people that are around you and the conversation that is flowing. And that to me is eating the French way.Suzy Chase: These 25 new French recipes that are in the cookbook were developed along the way back when you used to host impromptu weekly gatherings. À Table is the mirror image of the weekly dinner parties that you described in the beginning of the cookbook. As I leaf through the book, I feel like I'm right there and your grand Paris apartment with a suze sour in my hand, I see myself in a floral suit with Gucci pumps, kicking my head back, laughing with some interesting arty people and sharing life stories over delicious food. Please tell me if that's how it really is, right?Rebekah Peppler: Yes, you've, you've described it so perfectly and beautifully. Um, and I, and I do hope that that will become reality once again, um, as you mentioned, yes, the recipes were developed along the way. And also the images in the book feature, all the people that gather around my table and France anyway. And so they're all friends who have been at my dinners, the recipes were developed and tested in my kitchen and in friends kitchens around the world, if we're talking about kind of the Sunday nights, which is how this book started, um, was just kind of, I had people over for Sunday suppers, I would start the start time a little early, like around 6:00 PM, which is not your classic French way of doing things, but it's, um, it's my way of doing things. Uh, and so everybody kind of comes in the door at different moments. Everybody has a different kind of idea of what a start time at 6:00 PM really means, but by 7:00 PM, everyone's there and they have a drink in their hand. I have a beautiful balcony area. And so we're usually out there in good weather drinking and snacking and chatting, and then kind of getting rid of the stress of the day, um, in order to be able to then go inside. If the weather is again still nice, the doors remain open, and sit down and share a meal together. And yeah, the light, as you can see in the pages of the book, Joann Pai, our photographer shot it so beautifully, the lightest stunning in France and it really does create this kind of magical feeling when you're sitting around a table together.Suzy Chase: You can find me on the balcony. That's all I have to say.Rebekah Peppler: Exactly.Suzy Chase: À Table is the cookbook that is getting me excited to have dinner parties again. What are some of your tips for gathering in the modern way, minus the pressed linens, floral arrangements and babysitters.Rebekah Peppler: When you think of kind of the way that entertainment guides were set out in earlier day is it was very much like to do lists, do this at this time, this, at this time, this two days before, press your linens, fresh flowers on the table, et cetera. For me, I think that the way that we gather and the way that we will gather again, very, very soon, hopefully is intimate. If there are parents in the group of which there are in my life, um, sometimes the kids come with sometimes they don't, but there's not this need to kind of exclude the flower arrangements. There might be some beautiful flowers I see at the farmer's market that day that I grab and kind of throw in a vase or that someone brings to me and I grab again and throw in a vase, but it's not going to be meticulously set out the linens 100% in my life are never pressed because I don't have the inclination to spend the time doing that. And that allows space to gather more often and with less pressure and more of a, like, you know, come over at 6:00 PM, I'll have a drink like oh yeah, will you grab a couple bottles of sparkling water to bring up that kind of thing. It feels, it just feels more familiar. And also the way that we, that we do this now with the people that we love,Suzy Chase: Can you describe your Nicoise Salad for a crowd on page one 55? It looks amazing.Rebekah Peppler: Thank you. I love this recipe and this image. We wanted it to have a little bit of a garden party feel for lack of better descriptor and my incredible food styling assistant. Lena had this brilliant idea. She was like, what if we just stand in the doors, leading out to the balcony with these branches that you randomly have in your house and pass this light through this beautiful kind of mid day sun that was coming into the apartment. So this was actually shot in my apartment in Paris. And the light kind of gives you an idea that you're outside kind of in dappled light. The recipe itself is I think I say in the head note, it's kind of a choose your own adventure. And it absolutely is that I give a recipe for the vinaigrette and then the salad is kind of a list of ingredients that can kind of come and go as you have and what season you're in. And, um, what you prefer. I would say for me, the non-negotiables are like the handful of salted capers. And of course the nicoise olives, I think that punch of, of salty briny earthiness anchors the salad really nicely. And then when I'm serving it, what I kind of also mean by choose your adventure is only the ingredients that are kind of laid out on this platter itself. But the way that people, uh, at the table are making it, it's kind of, uh, you choose, if you like potatoes more than the other person, there's more potatoes on your plate. If you don't want eggs, you don't have to have them. Um, and I kind of let it be a kind of grab and go, as you will affair instead of opening the can of tuna for the photo, I want it to kind of just like throw it on the plate like I would when I'm throwing a dinner party and like open it last minute and everybody just kind of reaches in with a fork and grabs what they want. And I think that's the hope that I have for many of these recipes that are more shareable is that there's not this intent placed on having everything look perfect or be quote unquote, beautiful. I find beautiful is often found in the imperfect, um, and in the messy and in the like green being that rolls off and is covered in vinegarette and gets the tablecloth all dirty because that's what you want to have a washer for. That's I hope what the embodiment of at least this Nicoise For A Crowd is it's make a big platter and let everybody grab stuff. And it's a fun, interactive experience for everyone. And of course, if you're serving nicoise and you also drink wine and I highly recommend a very cold, wonderful Rosé, because that's what you would be drinking in France. If you were in nice having any nicoise salad.Suzy Chase: In France, there's an added and basically mandatory apéritif hour. So can you talk a little bit about that?Rebekah Peppler: Absolutely. So that was the subject of my first book, Apéritif and I delve very deeply into it in that book, but it is also a huge part of À Table because it is a huge part of the French table and cooking and eating and drinking the French way. And so the hour of Apéritif or Aperol hour or just Aperol is this time of day, that is very special. It kind of demarcate the end of the workday and the start at the evening and allows you to kind of transition from you are having a stressful day from kind of the busy-ness and the craziness and the intensity of the day, turn that kind of part of your brain off and switch into the evening. So it's usually a drink it's often alcoholic, although the culture of Apéritif extends to everybody. So as many of my French friends have told me, they would go to Aperol hours as children and they would have a special drink and that was non-alcoholic, but still very special to them. And so whatever is special to you can be an Aperol drink and I always kind of make that very clear. So you have a drink and then you always have something to snack on next to it. It can be a big snack or a little snack. It can be, often is a basket of potato chips or a little like crunchy salty things, olives that kind of variety in order to kind of whet your appetite and open up your palate for the rest of the night.Suzy Chase: How do you make shrimp cocktail French"Rebekah Peppler: Shrimp Cocktail, but Make It French. That's one of my favorite recipe titles. I had fun with with a lot of them, but that one was a good one. So to make it French, I just added this instead of the kind of classic cocktail sauce is this French remoulade that you're dipping shrimp in.Suzy Chase: One time when Dorie Greenspan was on this podcast, I asked her what I would get when I arrived at her house in Paris. And she said she would serve me Gougères. And on page 80, you have a recipe for XL Gougères. Can you tell me about these beauts? They're gorgeous.Rebekah Peppler: It's so funny when you said Dorie and what she would serve you. I was like, Oh, well it's Gougères it's Dorie's signature and I've been very fortunate to partake in many Gougères in her house in Paris and hers are incredible. My particular XL Gougères recipe in À Table is actually inspired by the bakery down the street from me has the most insane, massive Gougères that you, they kind of, they come out of the oven. I've timed this now sometime between like 10 and 11:30 in the morning. And so I, before I had a washer in my apartment, which I would walk down many, many, many flights of stairs to do my laundry at this laundromat. And it was right across the street from my favorite bakery. And so I would drop my stuff in the laundry. I would time it. So I would get there around the time that the Gougères would come out of the oven and then I would walk over and get myself this massive Gougères. And that would be my breakfast. And I've been wanting to make them at home ever since. And so at the bakery, they have a couple options. You can get them with like chorizo in them. You can get them the kind of standard traditional way, or you can get them with blue cheese. And so I decided to add crumbled blue cheese into, into my rendition an ode to my favorite bakery in Paris.Suzy Chase: This line you wrote is very deep, somewhere on your Instagram, but it goes.There's also a feeling of it being hard to truly ever be fully known because it's intensely hard to be your full, true self through constant interpretation and translation on both sides. I want to hear more about that.Rebekah Peppler: That that's in reference to my first relationship in France with this wonderful French woman. I felt very open to be my full self when I moved to France, because I didn't know anyone. And I was meeting people for the first time. And I think that's such an opportunity to kind of show yourself as, as you are in that moment, without all these kinds of things that people have placed on from knowing you for, for years or, or for your entire life. And so when I moved to Paris, I really like showed my true self and made my friends there with the person that I was. But at the same time, that like deeper nugget of like who you very much are realized in communication. And if you can't effectively communicate, or if there's misunderstandings or if you're, you know, in French, if you mispronounce a word, it can kind of mean something completely different. So this one, c'est pas mal which means, uh, literally it's not bad but me ex would, I would cook for her. And I was like, Oh, do you like it? And c'est pas mal. And I'm like, oh, that's not bad. That's like, I think that's like, I think that might be a diss on my cookie. And I'm like, I think I'm pretty good at this. Like, this is kind of part of my job. And I kind of let it go a few times. It just kept happening. And finally, I can't remember if it was her or if it was another friend who's a French speaker who kind of translated the translation for me. So when you say, c'est pas mal it's actually like, oh, this is great. Like, this is good. Like I like this. And when you say, c'est bon which means it's good and this all depends on inflection as well, but it can often mean it's okay. Like, it's, it's good. It's, it's like solid enough, but c'est pas mal is like, oh, this is, this is actually great. Like it's really good. And it was actually for expressing excitement. And so that was just one of the kind of lighthearted miscommunication moments that I had early on in my first kind of French/American relationship there.Suzy Chase: You wrote keep your bacon, egg, and cheese, your bloody mary, your Pedialyte, when I'm hung over, I make a wedge salad. I'm dying to hear about your wedge salad.Rebekah Peppler: Yeah, it's true. That head note comes from a very, honest place. That's what I, that's what I make when I'm hung over. And it does not matter where I am in the world. I crave like that kind of blue cheese dressing situation and like fresh lettuce with like bacon, which you're still, you know, you're getting in your bacon, egg, and cheese. I see the allure. And so for the version in À Table, I do a sucrine wedge and sucrine are just these beautiful, like small lettuces that are quite sweet and kind of look a little bit like a very small romaine with a very hardy crunch. And so they were kind of the perfect wedge that is also French. And then I top it with lardons. You can use bacon, shallots, radishes, and then the dressing has blue cheese, of course in it. But I also use a little bit of creme fresh to kind of heighten the Frenchness of it all.Suzy Chase: Your Instagram is amazing and I adore your photos from Paris, your food shots, your apartment drinks, the poems you post. I really like appetite from Paulann Petersen and your journey with COVID. I have to say you were so open about it. How was it opening up on social media and how are you feeling today?Rebekah Peppler: Thank you for all the compliments, but, especially bringing up the COVID experience. So I got sick with COVID very early on in the pandemic, March, 2020, you know, at the time we were told the symptoms were coughing and fever and that it would take two weeks and you'd be done unless you had to go to the hospital. And so after two weeks I was still very sick and it just kind of kept going. And then, I decided dark sharing a little bit about it. My main reason was because I wasn't seeing anyone else like me sharing this experience. And I knew that other people must be going through what I was going through. I thought that it would be important to kind of share it as the process goes along. I definitely was, you know, very careful and kept things private and kept things pretty professional. If you can put it that way, I was very much like a list-maker of like what my symptoms are and what I'm going through. And then talked a little bit about kind of the emotional unrest that was happening alongside that. But yeah, it just felt very important to share. And then as my kind of COVID progressed into long COVID, I felt like there were a lot of people reaching out to me, both friends and people I had not met previously who either were going through similar things or had questions or were just recently sick or on the other hand, no one in their life had gotten sick with COVID and I was their one touch point that felt really special for me to kind of hear when people would say, like, I'm more careful because of the story that you've been telling. And I hope that that, that translated into something that kept them at least a couple other people safe and not having to go through the same experience that I did and so many others did. I'm not fully better. I still have lingering symptoms you know, there's still so much that I used to be able to do that. I can't, but I have progressed so much in my recovery when I looked back at how sick I was, um, it's astonishing to me how articulate I was able to be, but also, and the stub tails into the question that you asked and kind of ties it back into À Table a little bit I had sent my manuscript for the book two weeks prior to kind of getting sick. And then I still had to go through all the phases that a cookbook goes through, design edits, you know, cover proofs and all these things. And so months into kind of being sick, I kind of gathered all my energy up and rested for days in advance and we finished some of the shots that we needed to finish. When I look back on both the posting that I did on Instagram and this book itself, it's a real testament to sheer force of will to get it done and love for the project itself and now when I see those images that we shot, when I was still very sick, it fills me with quite a bit of joy and gratitude for being able to kind of have those tucked into the book.Suzy Chase: A lot of people were thankful because when I was reading that I saw a very, very thoughtful PSA that you were writing along with these evocative photos. I want to say they were gorgeous photos, but you were really sick at the time, but there was just something beautiful about the photos and very thoughtful about what you're writing. Like you were letting people know this is what I'm going through, and I'm going to help you out too.Rebekah Peppler: To touch on your comment on how beautiful the photos were first thank you so much. But also I think that that just speaks to the fact that there is beauty in life. And I think that's something that I came back to many times, and I won't say that it was always this clear cut or easy for me to kind of admit, but life is beautiful and I feel very grateful for getting to continue with itSuzy Chase: In À Table I was reading, reading, reading, and got to page 200 where you wrote, there's a lot of chicken in this book and I'm fine with it. And I was just thinking, this is amazing there's so much chicken in this book. So last night for dinner, I made your recipe for Chicken Confit. Why Chicken Confit and not Duck Confit. And can you describe this recipe and why all the chicken?Rebekah Peppler: Absolutely. Yes, there is a lot of chicken in this book and I am very much fine with it. As you know, Duck Confit is a classic French dish that however duck is harder to find and it's more expensive. And to be honest for me, as much as I love Duck Confit I don't want to eat it all the time. Let's not like that's a, that's a very rich meal. And so after writing the Chicken Confit, I realized that it's, it's still rich. I mean, it's got, you know, five to six cups of olive oil that the chicken is cooking in and you should be using that olive oil for drizzling on other things and all that fun stuff. After you've used it for the Chicken Confit, it's still kind of reads light. It reads spring-like, there's leeks in it, there's a pod of garlic, which is amazing, and you can like smash that on bread, and like eat it as a, like a little toast the next day without any chicken at all. So that's kind of why I wrote the recipe as chicken rather than duck. I tested this recipe many times, but one time here in Los Angeles, actually with two of my friends, Alexis and Jamie, and I remember all of us just kind of like descending on the oil dredging our bread and it also, I think we had a baguette at that time and it's just, it's so flavorful and delicious and the chicken is I don't want to speak poorly of the chicken because it's very good, but the oil is for me where it's at.Suzy Chase: Now for my segment called Last Night's Dinner, where I ask you what you had last night for dinnerRebekah Peppler: Last night, we actually, um, picked up takeout as we kind of talked about a little bit. I'm still kind of dealing with the long COVID and I had a Thai Spice Soup from Night + Market Song, this really lovely spicy soup for dinner and kind of helped like nourish my body and make sure that I wasn't getting too run down. It was great. We got it with coconut rice and then I kind of go in and out of bouts of, of drinking and when I'm not feeling as well and that's what kind of, one of the triggers, my particular COVID experience. And so I've been drinking a lot of Ghia, which is this like wonderful non-alcoholic aperitif with just a little sparkling water and Meyer lemon and my partner had a glass of wine and I only looked at it like slightly longingly. And then I returned to my, to my drink.Suzy Chase: Where can we find you on the web and social media?Rebekah Peppler: Very easy if you know how to spell my name but I'm @RebekahPeppler on Instagram. It's R E B E K A H P E P P L E R. And I am also Chase: This cookbook gives me so much hope and joy for people gathering together again. And I'm so glad you're feeling better. And thanks so much, Rebekah for coming on Cookery by the Book Podcast.Rebekah Peppler: Thank you so much for having me and for your, for your wonderful thoughtful questions. It's been a true pleasure.Outro: Subscribe over on And thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    Cookery by the Book x Fireside

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 4, 2021

    Water, Wood & Wild Things | Hannah Kirshner

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 20, 2021

    Water, Wood & Wild Things: Learning Craft and Cultivation in a Japanese Mountain TownBy Hannah Kirshner Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City, sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.Hannah Kirshner: I'm Hannah Kirshner and my first book is out now it's called Water, Wood & Wild Things: Learning Craft and Cultivation in a Japanese Mountain Town.Suzy Chase: Water, Wood & Wild Things is the engrossing brilliant book we need right about now. Part travelogue, part meditation on the meaning of work, and full of your beautiful drawings and local recipes. But first I want to tell you that I have been a huge fan of yours for years, since you were with Food52 back in 2016 and you would do these Facebook lives and I just adored your kitchen in Brooklyn. It was so organized.Hannah Kirshner: That's amazing, you know, broadcasting those I really had no idea who was watching in a way it just felt like I was alone in my kitchen. And yeah, it's amazing to hear that you were watching and enjoying them.Suzy Chase: I loved it. And you know, what's so funny for the longest time I didn't know your name was Hannah. I was like oh Sweets & Bitters is on.Hannah Kirshner: Right, so that was the name of the magazines that I self-published. It just kind of stuck. Actually I chose the name when I was still, I hadn't even started the magazines, but I was a baker and I was a bartender and I was doing some cocktail events and baking cupcakes and all sorts of things. Then I was like, well, this will just sort of work for whatever I do I think.Suzy Chase: It was perfect. And I still just want to call you Sweets & Bitters.Hannah Kirshner: Well, I think I'm stuck with it. So that's good.Suzy Chase: So in 2017 you did some videos for Food52 in Japan and my favorite of all time was when you went to Kathy's Kitchen and Kathy does all this American baking and her cookbook collection was fantastic. She showed you a cookbook from when she was 10 that was all about Pennsylvania Dutch Baking. I will always remember that episode. I loved her shop.Hannah Kirshner: She's amazing. So Kathy is her American name, but her real name is Kei Yamaguchi and so she has this baking space in Kyoto. Now, I can't remember if at that time it was her old space or her new space, but she sells baked goods and she runs baking classes. Most people in Japan don't have an oven in their home kitchen. So she's able to teach people and give them an opportunity to cook all these baked goods that require an oven and she has this amazing cookbook. I think she's published two of them now called Friendship Cooking, where she travels around Japan and cooks with different friends and learns their recipes.Suzy Chase: Let's start off with your first foray into Japan. When you spent a month with bike, when you were 22, how did that come about?Hannah Kirshner: At the end of college and the years that followed, I had started bike racing and I was working in a bike shop. I had actually applied for a Fulbright to go to Japan and write a graphic novel about bicycle culture, not surprisingly the Fulbright committee didn't quite get it. And so I figured, well, I can't afford to go for a whole year without funding, but I could save up enough money to go for a month. When I was writing the proposal, I had seen a flyer for a bike messenger race in Kyoto, and I contacted...there was an email on it I didn't know who I was writing to, but I wrote to them, it turned out to be this man named Takuya and Takuya invited me to come and stay in this bike messenger house with his friends, as long as I wanted to. And so that's what I did and as soon as I was there, I was just sort of immersed in that subculture going to bike messenger events. I got to go on a bike ride with a woman that's a national champion in Japan, and I got to meet my favorite artist, it was incredible and I stayed in touch and stayed friends with those folks and Takuya who had been my host about almost a decade later, introduced me to Yusuke Shimoki who runs a bar here in Yamanaka Onsen. And that is the town that my book is about.Suzy Chase: Yes. That leads me to my next question. How did sake and a dinner party in New York lead you to where you are today?Hannah Kirshner: So Takuya had been telling me about this magical mountain town called Yamanaka that I had to visit. But at that point I was a food stylist in New York. I had met the man that would become my husband. You know, I had a full life so it was hard to imagine just going to Japan at that point, but he told me, well, the owner of the cocktail bar in that town Yusuke Shimoki he's about 30, your same age, he really wants to come to New York. Can you host him? Meanwhile, what Shimoki had heard was my friends in New York really want to meet you. Can you go visit them? So I'm not sure if Takuya was an intentionally setting us up to be friends or what, but the did come to New York and I happened to be having a dinner party while he was there. And he basically had brought his entire bar to Brooklyn and so he unpacked multiple bottles of Sake, a whole set of different kinds of glassware and Yamanaka Shikki the lacquerware wooden cups that this town is famous for and then he put on this apron, it was one of those great Japanese apron, like half a waist apron that has like navy blue with the bars insignia and the white and orange and navy waist tie and I was like, where can I get an apron like that? And he said, you have to work in my bar. And I said, okay. And he said, well, you have to come for two months. Okay. And so it became a plan and I came to Yamanaka and apprenticed in his bar. I was here for about three months at that time. So, you know, working in the Sake bar immediately kind of made me part of this community. And it was not only a place to learn about that game. So I met all these amazing people like artists and craftsmen and farmers and hunters, and realized I wanted to learn about what they were doing too, and how it all wove together into the culture and community of Yamanaka. And that's where the book idea came from.Suzy Chase: So tell us a few of the jobs slash skills you learned that are in the book.Hannah Kirshner: When I was apprenticing in the bar, Shimoki-san, very proudly introduced me to Takehito Nakajima, a wood turner and he invited me to his studio to try out wood turning, which at first I was actually not so sure, like seemed kind of scary to, you know, take a sharp tool and put it on a moving hunk of wood, of course I said, yes and it turned out that I loved wood turning and over the months and years that followed, he continued to teach me, I made various cups and bowls with him and that experience. And then also becoming friends with Mika Horie the paper maker and photographer. Those sort of came about organically through meeting them through friendships. Once I knew I wanted to write the book, I really set out to find people that represented sort of the essential material called the town. What were the things made harvested, farmed in Yamanaka that defined that place. So that included boar hunting, growing rice, growing vegetables, gathering wild edible. I took tea ceremony lessons, and then eventually I worked in the sake brewery.Suzy Chase: So this all became your life. What was the pivotal moment for you when you said, I, I want to live here. Had you figured out at that point that you wanted to live there or were you just doing all of these jobs and learning these crafts under the mentors, thinking that you're going to come back to New York City.Hannah Kirshner: It's hard to pinpoint an exact moment coming to Yamanaka really felt in a way like coming home for me and connecting to a part of myself that I had sort of pushed aside and adulthood. I grew up on a small farm in the Pacific Northwest, outside of Seattle in a town called North Bend, which anybody who's a fan of Twin Peaks will know as the place where Twin Peaks was filmed and my mother grew a lot of our own food. We had chickens, we had sheep for wool and also occasionally for me, and in a lot of ways that landscape really resembles Yamanaka too. You have this intersection of all these amazing micro-climates ocean lands and forest so the variety and freshness of ingredients for food is just incredible.Suzy Chase: Japanese cycling friends were surprised to hear that you had grown up with cherry blossom picnics too.Hannah Kirshner: Yea that's right. We used to have cherry blossom picnics at the University of Washington. There are hundred year old cherry trees there that came from Japan. And so my mom used to take us every year for a cherry blossom picnic. You know, Seattle has, and the Pacific Northwest, in general has a really long history of the Japanese community there actually many different Asian communities, but the Japanese community in particular came right around the time that Japan was opening its borders for international trade and travel at the end of the 1800's, it was sort of the end of the gold rush beginning of the logging industry and railroads and so all these workers were needed and a lot of Japanese young men would come over hoping to make their fortune and then go home. But many of them stayed and then brought wives and established a Japantown in Seattle so like even in my little small town, an hour outside of Seattle, we could get Yakisoba and Udon in the supermarket. And those were things that we ate quite often.Suzy Chase: Fewer than 8,000 people live in Yamanaka and its surrounding villages and that number is shrinking and yet young artists, designers, and entrepreneurs move there to make a life in the countryside. Can you talk a little bit about that?Hannah Kirshner: So like a lot of rural towns in Japan, it can often feel like almost everybody in Yamanaka is elderly. There are not that many young people. There are not that many children, but Yamanaka has a 1300 year history of tourism because of its onsen, its hot springs and alongside that grew various craft industries like the wood turning because you could sell your wooden wares to travelers who wanted souvenirs. So students actually come from all over Japan to study at the wood turning school here in Yamanaka and even though the town is very isolated geographically, the onsen, the hot spring was sort of a retreat for physical and spiritual healing monks would come, merchant sea men would come in from the port to rest between trips so you always sort of had this exchange of culture here, even though it is a rural mountain town and I think the combination of those craft communities and just the character of the town really seems to draw a lot of young people who are interested in perhaps learning older ways or living a slower life or learning farming, both connecting to traditional culture, but also creating new things like even Shimoki's sake bar. That's quite unusual for someone in a small town to start their own business like that. Normally you'd either take over the family business or move to a city for a good salary man job, or to work in a big business where you could have like a good, steady income.Suzy Chase: Did he ever tell you his story, why he decided to open the sake bar in the town? And because it seems like..Hannah Kirshner: You know, he's actually from the next town over Yamashiro and this is something really interesting. He said that he feels like Yamanaka is more open-minded that people are more willing to accept new things or that you can sort of try something without being sure if it will succeed.Suzy Chase: It's funny it's just one town over.Hannah Kirshner: Yea, but it really does. I mean, it's one town over, but it feels quite different. I mean, maybe part of that is the history Yamanaka was known as a destination for healing and rest and Yamashiro was more of a red light district. And even now like Yamashiro has more big hotels, Pachinko parlors, karaoke, like more entertainment has a different vibeSuzy Chase: Times Square versus the West Village.Hannah Kirshner: Yea right. They're like very nearby, but totally different.Suzy Chase: There are recipes in each chapter, some foods rarely seen outside Yamanaka. Can you give us one example of a rare dish?Hannah Kirshner: The one that's in the book is called Suko and it made from the stems of taro, but this particular one pickle is made from zuiki, the red taro stems and I've never seen this pickle outside of this region though. The stems are sort of like spongy, almost that you peel them and then it's like a sweet vinegar, pickle, and they're bright red. They can be a side dish or they can be a drinking snack. They go really well with the local sake obviously that's not something that most readers are going to be able to reproduce exactly if they're not in Japan but I still think that there's a value to having a recipe that explains how something is made that documents a local food that tells a story in some way. Like sometimes I think it's frustrating when recipes aren't translated to English because they wouldn't be practical for us. I still want to know about it and so much of this book, both in the narrative in the recipes is about curiosity about how things are made and why they're made the way they are.Suzy Chase: I think that's what I love so much about you is you have so many various different curiosities and it's just fascinating. It's almost like what's Hannah into now.Hannah Kirshner: It's kind of a problem cause I get into all these different things and then I just like, can't manage to keep up with them allSuzy Chase: I love from the outside looking in, it's like, oh, Hannah's doing that and I can learn from her.Hannah Kirshner: Well, writing is just about the best profession for that reason because it's my job to be curious about things and learn about them.Suzy Chase: In this book you limited your geographic scope to places you could reach by bike from your apartment, except for Chapter 9 Samurai at the Duck Pond. Can you talk a little bit about that?Hannah Kirshner: So about 20, 30 minutes west on the coast, there's this duck pond where about 25 men carry on this sport. That was once a form of samurai skills training. So the story is that the samurai was returning from fishing at the coast and as he walked up over the sand dune, a flock of ducks flew over and he took his net and he threw it up into the air and he caught one of the dock. And from that, he created the sport where, as it exists, now you have this Y shaped net, the pole that you hold is wood. And then it's got bamboo arms and a net like a fishing net stretched in between them. So they go up on the slopes on the hillsides, around the pond and as the ducks are leaving in the evening, they wait and they have the, the net like in front of them. The way I describe it in the book is like a tennis racket ready for a serve and then when the ducks fly over, bring it up vertically and toss it into the air. And the net comes up from below the dock, below their line of sight. And the duck flies into the net and it falls to the ground and is stunned. And then while it's stunned, they strangle it, just tie a little string around its neck. So it is a very, very inefficient way to hunt and really is more about a sort of skills training. And I found for these hunters, it's also just very much a way of being in nature and observing and being connected to that world.Suzy Chase: What was interesting to read as these duck hunters are natural experts in the wind and the youngest hunter was 39. So these guys are old.Hannah Kirshner: So Kawamoto-san, the man who brought me along, who I followed along for a season of hunting, the season goes from mid-November to mid-February. And he told me... he's in his mid-fifties, I believe and so he's considered one of the younger guys too. He told me it takes 10 years to get good at it. Plus you have to pay licensing fees. You have to have your nets. You have to be part of the club. You have to volunteer to take care of the pond. Like a lot of what they do is stewarding the landscape too. So it's a big commitment. It's a lot of money, a lot of time. And also the timing for hunting is like in the early evening, usually around five, like just before it gets dark. So it's not really that easy to just take up the hobby. And I think that they're struggling to find young people who want to join and continue it.Suzy Chase: And there are two restaurants in the area that serve net caught duck, which I think is amazing.Hannah Kirshner: As you can imagine, they don't catch very many of these ducks. And they're said to be especially delicious because the duck doesn't know what's about to die. So there are no stress hormones released. There's no damage from, you know, shooting it with a gun or killing it in some brutal way. So the meat is really prized and only two restaurants in this area serve the meat. One is Bantei and the other is Yamagishi. So the signature dish at these places is a kamo nabe or a duck, nabe means pot literally, but it also means the dish that's cooked in that pot. So usually like a hot pot, like a broth with various things, simmered in it. And there's actually a very particular kind of nabe in this area called Jibuni. It's a soy sauce based broth with various vegetables, sort of cooked consecutively in the broth and the meat is actually dipped in starch before it's simmered. So it makes this little sort of coating that helps keep the broth flavor on the meat as it simmers in the broth. And then the absolute best part is that when you're done simmering everything, you've got this concentrated stock with a flavor of the vegetables and the flavor of the duck meat. And you put either soba noodles or rice into that. That is absolutely my favorite part of the whole dish. It's a little elaborate. And the restaurants that make it are very protective of their proprietary recipes, but Kazu Yamagishi the chef at Yamagishi taught me how to make a really easy recipe for these duck and scallion skewers that are in the book. And he's that young Hunter that you mentioned the 39 year old, well, 39 at the time of writing. So I guess in his early forties now.Suzy Chase: You have an author's note in the back of the book that talks about how you had to go back to New York after the research for this book was done. And you didn't know at the time that the pandemic would make it a year before you could return a year later, how is Yamanaka doing? And the crafts people, the artisans and the shop owners, the restaurant owners, et cetera, et cetera.Hannah Kirshner: Yeah. Coming back here from New York after spending the spring and summer of 2020 in New York, it was the biggest culture shock. This time was how normal it felt here, although that sort of conceals the fact that people are really struggling economically without tourism, that a lot of the businesses rely on. Now, they're having to rely on government subsidies to get them through the sake brewery. He expected to have a big year because of the Olympics. And then not only were the Olympics canceled, but restaurants closed during the state of emergency people. Aren't going out to eat as much. So, yeah, they're definitely struggling in that sense, but people are very stoic about it, but Yamanaka still has had no known cases of COVID-19. So it took me a while to get used to like, I'm still very careful here, but there are certain things where I feel like, okay, rationally the risk of having dinner at a friend's house with like two people, probably more like the sort of normal risks that we choose to take. And it's tricky, but, and I don't really know why Yamanaka has done so wellSuzy Chase: At the very end of this book, you tell the story of Hato-chan a pigeon that kept you company. Can you talk a little bit about this pigeon?Hannah Kirshner: Oh my gosh. I'm so glad that you asked this. So Hato-chan the name literally means like pigeon dear or pigeon sweetie. I sort of thought like, you know, in Breakfast At Tiffany's she has the cat and she calls it cat because they don't belong to each other. So this is sort of how I felt with the pigeon. I found her injured on the sidewalk here in Yamanaka, and like, we have doves here, but not pigeons and she looked fancy. So she looks kind of like a New York pigeon, but like fancier something's weird here. And she was hanging around on the sidewalk. Like she was sort of like looking for help. So it's like, this is an animal that sees people as helpers somehow. And so I picked her up and I brought her back to my apartment thinking like, well, maybe she'll recover in a few days and want to fly away but I learned that she was actually a racing pigeon that had probably been discarded because she didn't have the band that she would have if someone was actually keeping her for racing and she just became this lovely companion. Clearly she was a domesticated bird and it wouldn't have been safe to release her. So she just hung out with me in my apartment and gradually got to trust being where she would come and eat my hand. And she would just kind of do her own thing during the day. I'd let her out of her cage and she would just walk around and she would like, come and check on me. Like, what are you doing? Okay. Now I'm going to go back to my thing. Uh, she was my buddy through those final solitary months of really getting the book done before my deadline. So when I was coming back to New York at the end of 2019, I needed to find some home for Hato-chan. I did look into bringing her back with me and that would have required her going through quarantine. And it would've cost like a thousand dollars. At least did not seem like a reasonable thing to do. So when I left Japan, I took her in a box on the Shinkansen, the bullet train. But this man outside of Tokyo who keeps pigeons, he was this Emirati Pakistani man who told me as we were going to take her to his house, that he believes that pigeons are close to the spirits. So if you want to talk to the spirits, you can talk to pigeons, any feeds the pigeons at the station. And he tells me that they come to him in his dreams when he hasn't fed them in a while and tell them that they're hungry. He was just so sweet. And so my Hato-chan went to live with this man outside of Tokyo. And she now has her own family there. She found a mate and she had babies and she has her own little family outside Tokyo now.Suzy Chase: Oh my gosh, you have to write a whole book about her.Hannah Kirshner: I actually wrote a graphic novel just to like entertain one of my friends. So, but I haven't, haven't finished that.Suzy Chase: Now to my segment called Last Night's Dinner where I asked you what you had last night for dinner.Hannah Kirshner: I know that you asked this question and I was worried that I was going to be self-conscious about it and like plan my dinner so that I could tell you about it. And then I completely forgot until after dinner. Last night I had Yuba, which is like, when you make tofu, the sort of skin or skim that rises to the top, there's like a a firm version. That's kind of like a noodle. And then there's a soft version that's sort of like creamy and goopy. So Moriguchi-san, who is one of the craftsman in the book, he carves these wooden trays called Wagatabon, he brought me some Yuba from Kyoto. They had that and just rice and a very simple miso soup and a umeboshi pickled plum. Technically it's not a plum. It's close botanically, closer to an apricot, but that's okay.Suzy Chase: Oh my gosh. I have to tell you your easiest, fastest, best fried rice is my favorite. It's garlic, ginger scallion fried eggs. And that's it. And you say to use day old rice, because that's the best who to thought that because you think it would be dry, but it's not.Hannah Kirshner: You have to use the day old rice cause otherwise it sticks to the pan and you get so mad. It, the worst thing, if you make fried rice with rice, that's too fresh. And then you've just got that, that goop burning on your pan.Suzy Chase: That recipe is so good. Thank you. Everyone needs to look that up after they get your book. So where can we find you on the web and social media?Hannah Kirshner: I'm at SweetsnBitters sweets, the letter N, bitters on Instagram and Twitter.Suzy Chase: The way live and create is incredibly inspiring to me. It's reassuring to know that there are still places you can't find on the internet. Thank you so much, Hannah, for coming on cookery by the book podcast.Hannah Kirshner: Thank you so much for having me on.Hannah Kirshner: I just want to add something to acknowledge the horrific violence that happened earlier this week in the context of the rise in hate crimes against Asian-Americans. I talked about the influence that Japanese and other Asian communities have had on the Pacific Northwest in talking about my book and that influence in the food and architecture and gardens and culture exists in spite of the terrible injustices against those Asian communities. I've written about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War Two and before that there was the Chinese exclusion act and of course, all that time, there was violence against Asian Americans and Asian immigrants, vandalism, destruction of their businesses. And I think that history is so clearly still with us. I think we can look to Min Jin Lee or Cathy Park Hong written so eloquently about this Roxane Gay also. So if we're interested in Japanese food, in Asian food and cultures, I think it's so important for us to know and understand that history and to keep listening and learning.

    Why We Cook | Lindsay Gardner

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 10, 2021

    Why We Cook: Women on Food, Identity, and ConnectionBy Lindsay Gardner Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, cookery by the book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York city, sitting at her dining room table talking to cookbook authors and this is my first book, Why We Cook: Women on Food Identity and Connection.Suzy Chase: Why We Cook celebrates those who are dedicated to not only practicing their craft, but also changing the world of food for the better. You spotlight 112 inspiring women who are shaping the contemporary food world as professional chefs, farmers, journalists, authors, and more with essays, interviews, quotes, and recipes. Talk a little bit about the process of choosing each woman and how the book is organized.Lindsay Gardner: The book is an illustrated collection, and as you said, includes recipes, essays, profiles, as well as Q and A's with not only women in the professional culinary realm but also home cooks. It was a goal of mine from the beginning to make the book as inclusive and far reaching as possible in terms of selecting people to participate in it and also reaching out to people to see if they would even be interested in participating in it. I'm not in the culinary world. I am a home cook and an artist and I think saying that I feel like or I felt like an outsider would be maybe a little too strong for how I think about it but, you know, I'm not part of the culinary industry. So when I reached out to a lot of the chefs and food writers that are included in Why We Cook, to be honest, I had no idea if I would hear back from them. So every time I heard back from anyone at all, it was a thrill. And then on top of that, when people started saying, yes, it was like a double thrill.Suzy Chase: So you not only curated this gorgeous book, you illustrated it to such charming and thoughtful images. I would love to hear about that.Lindsay Gardner: Thank you. This has been the most creatively fulfilling project I've ever worked on let me start there. It has been such a joy to get, to make art in this context. It felt really collaborative and because I was involved in not only the writing process and the curating and working with all the contributors so closely, I felt so invested in everything that they were contributing to the book. So working with people over time to figure out what the topic was that they were going to write about. For example I got to know those stories so well, and by the time I actually came to the illustrations, I felt super invested in them and it felt super fulfilling to me because I, I just felt like I was really honoring their stories through illustration. So the book was actually really fun because with so much different kinds of content, it was kind of a puzzle to put it together.Suzy Chase: One of the great things about writing it and illustrating it was that as I was finalizing the manuscript in late 2019 and all of the various pieces from the contributors, I was also sketching all of the illustrations for each piece. And so when it came time to lay out the book, the designer that I worked with at Workman, her name is Sarah Smith. She was amazing and endlessly patient, she took all of my sketches and she took all of the manuscript. And with those pieces laid out the entire book, which as a first time author, I didn't know how that part was going to go. And it was kind of like overwhelming to think about how that would work, but she really laid it out. So that by the time it came time to make all the final paintings, which happened mostly in 2020, I knew exactly where the illustrations were going to go. I knew if they were going to span both pages of a spread or, you know, bleed off the left lower corner, we had worked together to sort of like map all that out already. It just felt so enmeshed with the actual words on the page and as an illustrator, that is so satisfying. Um, it was just such a joy from start to finish.Suzy Chase: I want to chat about Anita Lo and Carla Hall and I think your illustrations really captured their personalities. Like Anita, she's very artistic with her approach to food. And then Carla is like always upbeat and fun. And I think you really captured that in those specific illustrations.Lindsay Gardner: Thank you. You know, selecting imagery to work from for the portraits specifically was a really interesting process. I was in touch with all of the photographers that took the source imagery for those illustrations. But the personality that comes through in imagery is so clear sometimes. And I actually had the chance to interview Carla Hall for the book. And she was, I mean, her personality just emanates right through her voice. And so I felt like this image when I saw it, I, I felt like, well, I've never met her in person, but I've spoken with her and this is exactly how I picture her. Totally. And she is so joyful, so friendly and same with Anita. My interactions with her were all on email, but all of our, like there was personality in those emails. And when I found the image of her that I painted from, I was like, that is what it felt like, quiet and thoughtful. So I mean that relationship, I think that we can develop through imagery is really powerful too.Suzy Chase: To celebrate Women's History Month. I'm thrilled to chat with you about this wonderful book. So you cited a study in 2018 that said from 2003 to 2016 respondents who identified as women spend an average 50 minutes a day cooking. Whereas those who identified as men spent an average drum roll please of 20 minutes per day. Likewise women make up a large portion of the culinary world. Women often face racism, sexism, and harassment, which have been increasingly documented in the me too movement, which leads me to ask you, when did you have the first calling in your heart to put a book like this out into the world?Lindsay Gardner: It really hit me in 2018, early 2018. And of course I had been reading some of the me too stories that had come out at that time or the year before, um, and were still coming out and in the Bay area, that was also something I was reading about, but it also was stemming from a deeply personal place for me, which was really just thinking about my own role and balancing all of the different pieces of my life with my family and my profession and my partner. And I kind of just was thinking to myself, like, how does this all fit together? And why does it matter to me so much? It's something I care. So cooking is something I care so deeply about. And why do I spend so much time here? And why do I think about it so much? What is this all about? And I was also really thinking at that time about the overlaps between the creative processes in my life. So in what I was doing in my studio as an illustrator and painting and what I was doing in the kitchen when I was cooking and how those two things were related, because I felt that I felt deeply that they were. So I just started exploring that. And then as soon as, as soon as I started exploring that more deeply, I came across this research and I thought it was so interesting because of course in my day-to-day life with my, um, women friends in my life, I know these statistics to be true, regardless of the, of the good intentions of their partners. In many cases, the women that I know are the ones that are spending the most time doing the bulk of domestic labor, even if they love to cook, um, even if they don't love to cook. So that's kind of where it started for me. And that just really, when I found these statistics, it just really made me want to dig in. And I wanted to know more because I thought if this is happening in the domestic level, in people's personal lives, there's so much that ties that to women in the culinary industry. And how are those two things related? So it really all started there.Suzy Chase: Speaking of domestic, as a home cook, I was so very interested, your survey of over 350 home cooks on pages 10 and 11, it was comforting and dismaying at the same time to see that 90% of the women surveyed do the majority of cooking in the home. I now know for a fact that I am not alone. Another interesting stat was that 69% of the women invent their own dishes, use recipes and use cookbooks, all three, while 31% of the women were self-taught cooks. Do you see our roles in food preparation within the family evolving?Lindsay Gardner: I love that question. It's something that my husband and I talk about all the time in our own family. And I think that is something that has definitely been impacted by the pandemic and in various ways for various people because of different situations and levels of privilege. Really, we're very fortunate in our family that my husband and I are both available at mealtimes to help with cooking because of what our jobs are and that's not true for everyone, especially right now. I think that it'll be really interesting, you know, I'm not sure if your question was specifically related to the pandemic moment, but I, I also don't know that we can ever really go back after this. Like, I think that our habits as home cooks have shifted this year in a way that I at least hope sticks to a certain amount. I think that obviously I can't speak for everyone here, but I know that my relationship to shopping for ingredients has changed my understanding of the food system as a whole has changed. And the people who are putting their lives at risk to give us the food that is available to us. I feel like I have such a different perspective on shopping, eating, cooking, using the ingredients in my pantry. I don't know if I ever will be the same kind of home cook after this. And I think that has really impacted our relationship, not only to the food that we cook for ourselves, but how food functions in community and the food systems that are at work in our nation. So it's kind of like a web of levels and I think it is ever changing, but I think especially after this year.Suzy Chase: I'd love to chat about a few women you profiled. The first is Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm. She says everything from sunshine to plate needs to be infused with fairness and dignity and reverence. I would love to hear about her.Lindsay Gardner: Yes, Leah Penniman is a black Creole, educator farmer and food justice activist. She's also an author, and she founded Soul Fire Farm in upstate New York in 2011. Soul Fire is a black indigenous and people of color centered farm, and all of their work is dedicated to ending racism in the food system. So they run a number of different kinds of programs. They're all focused on food sovereignty and education and bringing groups of people who have been separated from the land over time, back in contact with the land and learning about historical farming traditions and all kinds of different youth programs. I mean, it's really, their work is so comprehensive and Leah co-founded it. So she has been doing this work for yearsSuzy Chase: On page 27, you have a recipe from Abra Berens for Buttermilk and Butter Lettuce Salad. So I had her on my podcast and the beguiling way she talks about peas and kohlrabi is compelling,Lindsay Gardner: Is so amazing. I think she has changed the way that I look at vegetables. Her book Ruffage is so comprehensive and I think gave me a different insight into using all the different parts of vegetables. With enthusiasm. Not because I feel guilty or something, I love the way that she writes. I love the way that she talks about food. It was really fun to work with her on this. And so she is actually the chef at a farm in Southwest Michigan. So she does these well before times she does these great farm dinners. And I know she's looking forward to getting them started up when it's safe to do so again.Suzy Chase: You tackle creative ruts, which I think we're all in right now. Can you share a couple of ways to overcome creative ruts?Lindsay Gardner: Definitely. I loved this question. It's something, if I had more time, I would've liked to take this conversation even deeper with more of the contributors in the book. I thought just as an artist, it was really interesting to hear how professional chefs deal with their own creative rats. And it was so refreshing to hear from them that a lot of the things that they do to overcome their creative ruts are the same things that I do to overcome mineSuzy Chase: Wine. Lots of wine and crying. hahaLindsay Gardner: Yea. Eating out when that's possible, of course, travel, going to museums. I think, you know, one thing that is sort of a thread between everything everyone has said, and something that I can identify with is when I'm in a creative rut, I expand my own horizon and everything that the five chefs included in the book on this question said is really about that. It's getting outside of your own bubble travel, going to a forest, walking museums, eating at someone else's restaurant, or even traveling through a cookbook, which is another thing a couple of people brought up, which I, I also found really refreshing because honestly, before working on this book, I hadn't really ever thought about how chefs also love cookbooks, which sounds so strange, but it just hadn't occurred to me in that way. And so I loved hearing Tanya Holland say that she loves to look at the work of other people and look through cookbooks when she's in a rut.Suzy Chase: One profile that I just adored was of Celia Sack. So she sees cookbooks as an especially important form of storytelling. And I do too. That's why I have this podcast. Can you tell us a little bit about Celia and her depth of cookbook knowledge, which I think is really deep.Lindsay Gardner: It is amazing. I've referred to her a couple of times as a walking library, Celia is such an unassuming person and she knows so so much. She was one of the first people I interviewed for why we cook. And she was so warm and welcoming and just like casually toward me around her personal library. That includes books that span literally centuries. I was just star struck by getting to meet and talk with her. And she just couldn't have been more friendly or relaxed about the whole thing. Of course. So she actually started her career as a rare book specialist and has a whole history in and knowledge base in modern literature. She opened her store Omnivore in San Francisco in 2008. And the experience of walking into Omnivore books is a little bit like walking into a jewel box or the way that I imagine that would feel it is a small shop, one room and every nook and cranny is covered in books about food. And it's super cozy and inviting. And Celia has over the years of having the store. Um, not only has she developed this vast knowledge of historical cookbooks and contemporary cookbooks and everything in between, but she's also developed so many relationships with everyday home cooks like me and some of the world's most famous chefs. And she has these relationships that I think she really is a part of in terms of building people's collections. And to me, she's like the hub of a great wheel between people and food and knowledge and history. It was totally inspiring getting to know her. And I definitely recommend trying to visit omnivore in person if you ever have the chance.Suzy Chase: So when I think about women in food, Dorie, Greenspan is one of the first women that comes to mind. You highlighted her in your kitchen portrait. So first describe the kitchen portraits that you included in this cookbook.Lindsay Gardner: There are 10 kitchen portraits in the book, and I included them because I really wanted to highlight some of the more well-known figures in the book, in their actual kitchen spaces. In my imagination, I thought I would really love to see these people in their kitchens because to me, the kitchen is such an intimate homey space. It's where all the magic happens. And it's where I imagine all of these particular women feel the most connection to what they're doing. So it was really important to me to be able to show them in that environment through illustration. So yeah, there are 10 of those throughout the book. Um, and that's what that little mini series is.Suzy Chase: So Dorie talks about two of her kitchens, the one in New York and the one in Paris. I will read her quote about her New York kitchen and can't help, but wonder how this resonates with so many other home cooks. She wrote "I've lived and worked in our New York apartment for decades. I learned to cook and bake in that kitchen. And I became a writer there too. This is where I would bake with our son and where the two of us would sit on the counters and talk over things that were important then, and still seem important. Now it's as though the kitchen and I are partners, we've been together so long that we know each other's moves." I mean...Lindsay Gardner: It really, it really couldn't say it all more succinctly when Dorie responded to this was in a series of emails going back and forth. And when she wrote that, I think my jaw was like, actually literally on my desk, it just was so touching. And for someone who has achieved so much in her career to bring her relationship to her own kitchen, back to that sentiment, which is really about all of the things that happen in a kitchen, including cooking, but also about all the other things and to sort of personify the kitchen that way. I just, I, yeah, it really, it really hit me. I spent times like Dorie describes in my kitchen growing up with my mom that feel that way to me, I think about my own kids now, and the time that we spend together in our kitchen and all of the things that happen there that are related and unrelated to cooking.Suzy Chase: I have this lamp will in my apartment. I have everything that I grew up with in Kansas, but that's a whole other podcast but it's crazy but I have this little red lamp that was on our kitchen table. And for example, when I would go out really late, my mom would keep that lamp on and I turn that lamp off and I'd, you know, tiptoe through the kitchen. So kitchens have so many memories.Lindsay Gardner: Absolutely. And I'm actually, I'm glad you brought that up because it reminds me of another page in the book about home cooks, identifying their most treasured kitchen objects. I loved this question. I loved asking this question. I loved hearing back from people, what they picked out of their memory banks and it was really, it was honestly one of the hardest sections of the book to edit and narrow it down because I could have chosen hundreds of things that people mentioned. But I think there is this relationship to that quote that you just picked out from Dorie, which is that objects in our memories and in our daily life become imbued with so much meaning over time that like that one ball jar really is that special because it was there when you were, you know, crying at your kitchen table as a teenager. And it was there when you made granola for the first time for your son. I mean, there are ways in which I feel like these objects become sort of like the silent observers in our lives. And I loved getting to illustrate them because I feel like illustration is so personal and lens this air of storytelling. And so it was really like bringing these sort of stories together through objects and illustrations. Um, on this part of, or for this part of the book was really, really exciting.Suzy Chase: Pamela said, "I have my grandma's egg beater, which I love. I also have a fondness for old kitchen gadgets. I love the design and high quality they all seem to have." I love this.Lindsay Gardner: And another one on that page that I adore is Kate from Maine who talked about bookmarking recipes with, um, postcards from loved ones. So that every time she opens a cookbook or flips to a recipe, she finds, you know, a postcard from years ago or a good friend. And she actually matches the person that wrote the postcard with a recipe that feels the most fitting,Suzy Chase: Oh my God, how much time does Kate have on her hands though?Lindsay Gardner: She has a couple of really beautiful quotes in the bookSuzy Chase: In terms of hope for change for women in the future. What did you take away from putting this book together?Lindsay Gardner: I have learned so much in the last three years over the course of making this book and I continue to learn by being in conversation with the women included in it. And honestly, in learning about women everywhere all the time who are doing this work, who aren't in this book, I think that the women included here are at the forefront of the changes that are unfolding in the culinary world, knowing their stories and getting to know them has changed the way that I think about food and cooking in my personal life. It's changed the kind of home cook I am. It's changed how I think about food traditions and it's changed the way that I think about ingredients and my impact on the environment and how I relate to my community mean it is endless. And I think it really, to me, when I sort of look back at the process of making the whole book, um, it really speaks to how there isn't a part of our lives, that food doesn't touch, it's powerful. And it gives me a lot of hope.Suzy Chase: Now to my segment called last night's dinner, where I ask you what you had last night for dinner.Lindsay Gardner: Well, I'm thrilled that you're asking me this question because I had the joy of being Abra Beren's Buttermilk and Butter, lettuce salad last night for dinner, for an event that we were doing together, but it was great because I actually had the chance to finally make that salad and eat it. And it was delicious. And Abra also offered a recipe for a wonderful spatchcock chicken that was baked over sort of a bread and tomato and garlic bread pudding, stuffing kind of situation. And the two things together were just really amazing.Suzy Chase : So where can we find you on the web and social media?Lindsay Gardner: So you can find out more about the book at and you can also find me on Instagram @LindsayGardnerArt, and that is Lindsay with an A.Suzy Chase: Well wonderful Lindsay. Thanks so much for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast!Lindsay Gardner: Suzy, it's been so fun chatting with you today.Outro: Subscribe over on And thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    Simply Julia | Julia Turshen

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 1, 2021

    Simply Julia110 Easy Recipes For Healthy Comfort FoodBy Julia Turshen Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.Julia Turshen: My name is Julia Turshen and I am here to talk about my brand new cookbook, Simply Julia and I am so excited to talk to Suzy about it.Suzy Chase: You kicked off the cookbook with the phrase. "I loved making this book." Now, I think it's because this is your most personal cookbook yet, but what was it about this particular cookbook that you loved?Julia Turshen: I really loved this question. I loved so much about making this book. You mentioned it's my most personal book yet, and that is true and that is definitely part of why I loved it, but to be more specific, the process of making it really personal meant sharing things like a lot of old family photos in this, sharing photos of friends in it so it was sort of bringing up all these really wonderful and the happy memories about the people I've shared food with, so many of the stories in the book, you know, that preceed the recipes are about just people in my life. So it made me feel very deeply connected to so many people. And, you know, I started working on the book before the pandemic, but I finished working on the book during the pandemic so that feeling of connection feels more important than ever so that is part of why I loved making the book. I also just love every recipe in the book, which might sound like obvious, like duh, like who wouldn't like why would you put a recipe you don't love in your cookbook, but I really love these recipes. I loved working on them. I loved eating all the food and another thing I really loved was my wife Grace was, I mean, she's always been very, very supportive of all my work, but she was extra supportive with this book because when I was testing the recipes for it or when it was the time and the process to do so, she had just closed her business of 15 years and had free time and so she volunteered to test every single recipe in the book, which meant I got to sit in my kitchen while my amazing smart, wonderful wife was cooking everything and it was such an incredible process and it made me feel just super, just not only supported by her, but super like close to her and I think the book is much better because of her involvement in that way. I loved the publishing team I worked with. I mean, I could go on and on. I just had a really positive experience and as you know, cause we've talked before I've worked on a lot of books, so I feel like me expressing to you how much I loved working on this book is based on the, I would say very privileged and maybe unusual position I'm in, which is that I have a lot of other experiences to compare it to, and I've loved every book I've worked on, but this was just like this incredibly positive journey and yeah, I am so happy with it. I'm so happy to talk to you about it. And I appreciate you asking that question it's nice to reflect on.Suzy Chase: You submitted the first draft of this at the end of February, 2020 right before we went into lockdown here in New York State, did the pandemic have any influence on changes or pivots you made to this book?Julia Turshen: It did, not really in terms of the recipes. I mean, those were all locked in at that point but it completely changed how this book was photographed and I was planning on photographing the book with like a big team of people, which is how I have worked on pretty much every cookbook I've done and I've usually worked with a photographer who might have an assistant and there's usually someone helping with some props, you know, dropping extra things off, stuff like that. So, you know, it sort of takes a village and I was planning to form this, this village and have all these people in my house and also maybe rent a house nearby so they could stay there and, you know, we would have camp cookbook, photo shoot for like a week and that all became very just not possible and just, you know, at that time just felt like there was no safe way to do it and it also just was not in any way, essential, you know, this is March, 2020. So I, yeah, I was actually ready to put the book on hold. It didn't seem like a priority. And then I remembered that I had known that this food photographer, Melina Hammer lived right near where I live, which is interesting because we live in a pretty random spo, we live a couple of hours outside of New York City and we hadn't met before. I mean, we had connected before, but we had never worked together. And I just thought, you know, before putting this on the shelf for a while, like reach out and see what she's up to and see if she might be game to work on this. So I did and she was totally game and we did a photo shoot unlike any I've ever done before and so it was just me and her and we actually were never in the same room together. I would prepare everything at home, drop it off in containers, like on her doorstep and she would put all the finishing touches on it so she is kind of like a unicorn if you ask me, because she's an amazing photographer, but also an amazing food stylist and an amazing prop stylist. It's very rare to find all three of those things in one person. Sometimes you find two out of three, usually someone just concentrates on one of those, but Melina does all three and does them all really well and that was that we took like a month to do it. I planned out every photo, you know, I gave her like detailed notes for what I wanted each photo to look like. I pulled some like inspiration photos for each one like I love the angle of this, you know, that kind of thing. We were texting all day, you know, you want the spoon there? Should I move it here? Like that kind of thing. But yeah, it was really, I don't know when I think about it now, it really was just such an exercise in this like incredibly direct communication, which I just think is so valuable and to me that has been a big lesson of just living through this pandemic is just the value of clear and direct communication whether it's with friends or family, like all of us, you know, letting each other, know what our boundaries are like, that kind of thing. Like there's a lot that I definitely am ready to leave behind from the last year as I think all of us are, but there are a lot of things that I think have been really important skills we've all developed just as like a world, as like a culture that I think are worth taking with us and to, you know, the after time. So anyway, that's a tangent.Suzy Chase: One of those things that I think we've all been dealing with is, our fridge and cooking every day. So you have a list of five things that you always have in your refrigerator. And can you tell me about Better Than Bouillon? I've never heard of that.Julia Turshen: I would be happy to tell you about it cause I love this stuff. So they sell cubes like bouillon cubes, you know, I think we've all seen them before they're used around the world, but this company also sells by the way, this is not sponsored, I've never spoken to this company. I mean, they are welcome to get in touch if they like the podcast, I just truly love this stuff. So they also sell this like paste to add to some boiling water like you would add a bouillon cube and you know, you get like instant stock. It's not the same as like, you know, simmering chicken, bones and vegetables or just vegetables, you know, whatever kind of stock you're making. It's not the same as doing that. And I just really believe in the sort of marathon of home cooking and not the sprint. I'm a daily home cook. I think just as you said, so many of us are these days and I have been one for years and you know, I love simmering and chicken broth all day. I love eating that, but I also love reaching in my fridge and mixing a spoonful of this stuff just as you would like miso paste, you know, into hot water and having something that's really good and is totally like good enough. And you know, maybe I just totally like asked my potential sponsorship, but I thinkSuzy Chase: That's their new tagline "Better Than Bouillon it's good enough!" hahaJulia Turshen: But I think sometimes good enough is great. You know, I don't think every meal we eat has to be the best meal we ever ate and sometimes something that's just really good and really solid is like just what you need. And I often use that bouillon paste, the Better Than Bouillon. I'll make that. And then I add some frozen greens, whether they're ones I bought from the store or sometimes in the spring or summer, like I'll buy extra from the farms in our area, which sounds very like romantic, right? But we just live by a lot of farms like that's the area we're in. And so I'll blanch a bunch of stuff and freeze it. So I'll mix those into that, you know, super quick broth and add a little like cooked rice or pasta if I have some in the fridge, that's something Grace, my wife, and I eat all the time like, we'll put some cheese on top of that. That is a go-to meal. It takes like no time at all and it's so satisfying and yeah, it's not like homemade stock and fresh greens from the market and all that, but it's really good and it makes us feel really good. And I just feel like those types of meals are really important to talk about.Suzy Chase: In the cookbook you wrote, "Healthy food isn't just what I eat it's about connecting myself more closely with where my food comes from and honoring, compensating, and protecting the people who grow harvest, distribute, clean, stock and sell the food I eat." I just adore how you repositioned the idea of healthy food for those of us who hear the term healthy food and, you know, walk the other way.Julia Turshen: Well I appreciate you bringing this up because this to me is like one of the most important parts of this book. You know, healthy is in the subtitle of the book. 110 Easy Recipes For Healthy Comfort Food and I feel like every page of this book is me just attempting to define what I mean by that term, healthy comfort and I think healthy is a word that has been so overused. It just is kind of like meaningless in certain ways and I think it's also used in ways that are, to me, the opposite of healthy, I think healthy is often used as a synonym for skinny. And I think healthy and skinny are not the same things by any means. I think that's really, really important to clarify. I think healthy is a word that's often used in cookbooks or in other types of food packaging, like anywhere where there's like words on food, trying to sell you something. I think the word healthy is often used in a way to like restrict something. And I just really wanted to interrogate the meaning of this word healthy and really celebrate all of its various definitions. You know, I think healthy is something we can and should all define for ourselves. I think it's a very individual thing. And for me, when I think about what do I consider healthy? Like when do I feel healthy when it comes to what I cook and eat, it's just as you know, the line you, you pulled out there, it's, it's all about feeling connected, but I do feel a lot of gratitude I eat. And to me that's a huge part of feeling healthy. And I also try as best I can to feel pleasure every time I eat, you know, to feel like I'm enjoying what I eat, I'm eating what I exactly what I want to eat. I'm not denying myself anything. I'm not restricting anything. I'm not feeling any guilt about what I'm eating. I think all of these things tend to come up under this kind of term healthy food. And I just really want to push against that. Like I think being healthy is something we're all entitled to and I think feeling healthy means feeling good about ourselves and not feeling bad about ourselves. And, you know, I think it's kind of as simple as that. So yeah, those are some extra thoughts, but thank you for bringing that up.Suzy Chase: You know, honestly I maybe have one healthy, in air quotes, cookbook on this podcast every few years, and I've always struggled to find the words to tell the publicist no thank you and you just kind of put it into words in like a very smart way, why this healthy thing is code for something else.Julia Turshen: Yeah. You know, to me, it's, it's honestly, you know, this might sound really serious, but it is really serious. Like it's dangerous. I think like, I think it's a word that is sort of unregulated, you know, the way like natural is used on different food packaging. Like it doesn't actually mean anything. And you know, I probably shouldn't say that cause I put the word healthy on my book but I guess, you know, I'm now having the opportunity to sit with you and tell you exactly what I mean by it. And I just feel like it often means something that is kind of dangerous. Like I think it's often, you know, disordered eating in disguise, it's restrictive eating and those types of things are just to me, they scare me. And I say that from a very personal place because I had a very disordered relationship to eating and to food for so long. So that comes from like a very personal place. And I think a lot of what I attempted to do in Simply Julia is to, I guess, in some ways sort of reclaim that word and just feel good about being healthy and celebrate that and to hopefully encourage as many people as I can to feel good. You know, it's not a mistake that there's a loaf of bread on the cover of this book that was intentional. Like there's, you know, the cover is a picture of me in my kitchen, it's my home kitchen and I'm surrounded by some food and fresh produce and stuff things you would imagine typically see on the cover of like a healthy book, but there's also a big loaf of bread and that was like very on purpose 'cause I think that's something that gets avoided, you know, in these quote unquote healthy books and you know, so there's a lot of things like that. Like a lot of just little, um, what do you call them? Like sort of Easter eggs or whatever.Suzy Chase: Like subliminal messages.Julia Turshen: Yeah. I think I'm trying to Trojan horse a lot of things in this book.Suzy Chase: Well that brings me to this essay of yours in this book. And I cannot tell you how much it resonated with me. And I'm sure everyone's telling you this. "On The Worthiness Of Our Bodies" and I cannot thank you enough for writing it. So in that essay you wrote "For as long as I've always loved food, I've always been as conflicted about consuming it." Body image for me has been a huge issue in my life. That's why I podcast no one can see me. I'm behind the microphone. And I was prepared to ask you if you had heard Amy Porterfield's new limited series podcast called Talking Body and then last night, ping, the new episode came up and you were in it. And I was like, what? And I told my husband, I go, Bob, she's never going to believe me that I was going to ask about this.Julia Turshen: Well, I totally believe you. I feel like right now, just as we're talking and hearing about that essay resonating with you, that you were listening to that podcast, maybe it sounds like maybe reading the essay around the same time. And then, you know, I popped up on the podcast right before we were going to talk like this type of moment to me, like right now, like in the present moment, I know that this isn't a live podcast so everyone who might listen to this isn't with us right now, but they will be, you know, and this type of moment that I just feel we're experiencing now, or at least I feel is just a reminder to me about how valuable it is to share just ourselves honestly and you know, it was vulnerability in as many places as possible because I think doing that creates connection and you like we were talking about in my personal definition of healthy, like it's feeling connected, that is happening as we speak, you know, like I feel connected to you, even though we're not seeing each other, you know, we are just talking to each other. That came up in my conversation with Amy Porterfield too. And I don't know, I just think it's important. And it's true what you said like a lot of people are asking me about this essay and I am so grateful for that. And I'm happy to talk about every recipe in this book and to talk about, you know, how to get out of a cooking rut and all those like really practical things but I am so happy that most of my conversations about this book are just about this essay. And that makes me feel just very happy that I included it even though to be totally honest, I was a little scared to include it because it is incredibly vulnerable and incredibly personal, but I think that's why it's worth including, because I think it does help us feel connected and feelings that at least for me have left me often feeling pretty lonely. Like I know when I have not felt great about my body, it feels just to me, just, I feel very alone and, you know, in sharing this and, and getting to talk to you about it and getting to talk to friends and family about it and getting to, you know, hopefully potentially talk to readers about it, you know, I feel less alone. And I, I hope, I dunno maybe I can ask you if that's okay. Like how do you feel? I don't want to turn it on you but..Suzy Chase: Well, I wanted to share this with you and it's so super vulnerable and it's like totally off the subject. So when you were at Dean and DeLuca doing a talk, gosh, like four years ago, I remember walking in and thinking, where am I going to sit? Cause I always feel like I'm taking up too much space. So I sat way in the back. Um, and so I just, I thought about that when I was reading that essay of yours, but my thing isn't overeating, I think it's holding onto weight as a suit of armor, which is like a whole, whole other episode. But, um, yeah, it's just crazy. And Amy asked you if you eat everything you want to eat, which I thought was a really interesting question. So what did you say?Julia Turshen: I said I do and I'm grateful. I do. And I can't remember if I said this to her or not, but I will say to you that I haven't always done that. You know, I'm saying that right now, but there were years of me not eating what I wanted and honestly having no idea what I actually wanted. So me answering that question very simply with just like a yes, there's like a big footnote to that. Yes. Right. So, um, yeah. Anyway, yes, I do eat everything I want and I'm so happy to be in a place to do that.Suzy Chase: And it's almost like you unlocked something for her because she said she doesn't eat everything she wants.Julia Turshen: Yea and I just totally identify with that as I identify with you, you know, I remember that that event and that evening, and I very much identify with sitting in the back row of something. I identify with holding on to body weight as armor. You know, I was very bullied as a kid about my weight and it was for me. I mean, I don't, I obviously don't know, you know, your background with this, but I can share that for me. It was like the self fulfilling prophecy type of thing, because in feeling bullied, I wanted to have some armor and for me, the easiest way to maintain that was to maintain, um, I don't know, uh, a larger body and, but that's what was causing the bullying so it was like this round and round circle thing that I just felt very caught in. So I don't know when you share that, like, I that's, that's where my mind goes for my self, but, you know, I think all of our stories are probably different, but connected in some way. And I think all of our stories are really important and worth sharing. And I should also add, I feel like no one has to share anything in general. And like, if you don't want to, and you don't feel supported to, or safe to. I feel like a lot of what I've been saying is just with the, I dunno, I just feel like that's worth tacking onto it. Like, I don't think there should be any pressure to share anything, but I also think if, if sharing feels like something you want to do, I just, I hope to be part of something that helps you feel safer to do that.Suzy Chase: Well thank you, women around the world are gonna thank you because this is something no one talks about.Julia Turshen: Yeah. I mean, it's, it's interesting because I, I don't know I had this like very like meta moment the other day, because I got some early copies of it a couple of weeks ago and I gave one to a friend and she gave it to her teenage daughter and she sent me a message saying that she was really grateful. I had included that essay, you know the one we're sort of talking about in the book and her daughter was sitting, reading the cookbook, kind of like a novel, like she was sitting like in an armchair reading it, like not in the kitchen and she just said, you know, I'm so happy that essay is in there and my teenage daughter' is reading it and I, I really think about the people I write for and for the most part I am picturing at most times my mother-in-law and my father, these are the two people in my life who cook at home all the time who want, you know, simple recipes, who want things that taste really good, but don't want to put in a ton of effort. Like they are my readers that I always have in mind. I don't know. I just don't think about teenagers so much when I'm writing. And it just, I like almost, I mean, I got teary when she messaged me because I was like, I didn't picture a teenage girl reading this and wow I'm so happy she is and then I felt a lot of compassion for my younger self. Like I wish I had read this when I was 14. Right. Like what would that have felt like? So I don't know if you asked me a question and if I'm answering it or what, but I just, I don't know. I just wanted to share that.Suzy Chase: No, I love it. It's going to resonate with so many people.Julia Turshen: Well, thank you. And I'm just, I'm glad it resonated with you. You know, I think that it means a lot to me. And if, you know, if it's with more people great, but you know, one person is a lot in my book, so thank you.Suzy Chase: So this cookbook is super personal as we've talked about, and I love on page 167 you have your grandma Beatrice. Can I just say she was gorgeous? That photo is amazing. Isn't it? There is nothing I love more than that flapper era, chin length bob and her cigarette is like the best. Can you tell me about her and her Bubaleh?Julia Turshen: I pronounce it bub-a-lah , that's how my mom pronounces it, but I am, I'm open to feedback.Suzy Chase: I have no idea. I'm from Kansas.Julia Turshen: Thank you for asking about her. I can tell you what I know about her and I guess the first thing is that I never knew her. She died long before I was born. This is my mother's mother. I'm talking about her name was Beatrice. And she is someone who is incredibly important to me, even though I never knew her and even though we didn't cross paths, you know, in this life. So she was a baker's daughter in the old country. My family, my mom's side of the family is originally from basically like Belarus. I mean, I feel like borders shifted a lot so sort of like Russia, Poland, that area, they ended up settling in Brooklyn where they opened a bread bakery and so my mother is also a baker's daughter and my mom and her sisters, my aunts grew up in the bakery and my grandmother never read or wrote any language. She was totally illiterate and she worked the register at the bakery cause she was like very good with numbers. And I basically have spent my life asking my mom and my aunts, both of whom have also passed away just so much about their mother. I don't know. I just wish I knew her and this picture of her is on a page with a recipe of hers that my mom shared with me for something called Bubaleh, which are these really interesting pancakes made out of Matzah meal, which was crushed Matzah crackers, mixed with eggs and you whip the egg whites to get some like, you know, air into these because otherwise they would just be like baseballs. They're basically like Matzah balls, but you fry them in butter instead of boil them. That's basically what they are and they're delicious. And I had never heard about them. My mom told me about them and then I asked her more questions and I researched some recipes and then my mom was over at her house one day and I was thinking to include this recipe. And I made them having never eaten them before. Having never made them before. And my mom took a bite and was like, this tastes just like my mom's. And that to me is the point of cookbooks and the point of writing recipes. I think, you know, I get to put a picture of my grandmother, who I never met into this book. I get to kind of memorialize her in this way. And that feels really valuable to me. And, you know, to have that memory about the recipe and to that moment with my mom and, you know, it felt like my grandmother was there even though she won't be here and, you know, this is all kind of like heavy, but I think that is the power of not just food, but also writing it down and sharing it. And, you know, and now this recipe that I had never heard about before that I didn't grow up eating, you know, I now get to share it and it can be part of other people's stories and lives. And that to me is like the coolest part about a cookbook, because you get to share your stuff, which is great, but then it becomes other people's stuff. And to me, that's so cool and special.Suzy Chase: The other night, I made your recipe for Kale and Mushroom Pot Pie on page 24. You said in the book that this recipe is hearty and satisfying and you were not kidding. Can you describe this dish?Julia Turshen: I'm so excited to hear you made it. It is so delicious. So it's like a vegetarian pot pie and it contains kale and roasted mushrooms and some carrots and then normally pot pie is like a chicken pot pie normally has like a bechamel sauce, which, is flour and butter you cook in a pan, you add some milk and, you know, that's the basis of many wonderful things, macaroni and cheese and so on, but that requires like another pot and I feel like it can come out kind of like lumpy, which like, I think really puts off especially beginning cooks and stuff. So instead of that, I just add like half a cup of sour cream to all these wonderful flavorful vegetables, and then a whole package of Boursin cheese, which is like a soft goat cheese, I think most people know, but if anyone doesn't it is so good. I love that stuff. Um, so when I was working on this recipe, I'm thinking about, you know, how can I make this creamy, like a pot pie, but also like, if I'm going to make something creamy, like I want that texture and that kind of like luscious feeling to come with as much bang for that buck as possible. So do I want just like a plain bechamel that is creamy, but maybe it doesn't have a ton of flavor? No, I want to add cheese, it has garlic and herbs already in it that you don't have to chop or anything. So it's just like a magical ingredient here. So that's the filling. And then on top, it gets puff pastry, which I just take one sheet and again, thinking about what are things that usually put off readers from making a recipe? I think one is making homemade doughs sometimes, and another is like crimping edges. Like that instruction tends to like intimidate a lot of people. So I did something that was just kind of fun, which is you take that sheet of puff pastry and you just cut it into a bunch of triangles and then you sort of shingle them on top of each other and it looks really beautiful. It's a very striking, it's kind of like fish scales, but it also is just really easy and you don't have to roll anything out and you don't have to crimp any edge or anything. And it kind of leaves a little room for some of that filling to sort of poke through. And that also means a lot of the steam will cook off when it goes in the oven. So it's very practical too so it just basically is this really delicious, very hearty dish full of wonderful vegetables made as easily as possible, but yeah, with just like as much flavor as possible and great texture too, you get that like crunchy puff pastry thing on top. So as I'm describing it, I'm like, I think I need to make this tonight too.Suzy Chase: You do because it's so fast and easy.Julia Turshen: Yeah. And it's also nice too 'cause you can make like the filling ahead, you can make the whole thing ahead and just warm it up later. Like it's a very forgiving things. So I'm so happy you made it.Suzy Chase: To my segment called Last Night's Dinner where I ask you what you had last night for dinner.Julia Turshen: I had basically what I was describing to you earlier. We had chicken soup. I had actually made the chicken stock. Um, I didn't use my beloved Better Than Bouillon.Suzy Chase: Sorry, Better Than Boullion.Julia Turshen: I mean I'm glad to know for when I need it but yeah, over the weekend, it's Tuesday now when we're recording over the weekend I made a big pot of chicken soup with the whole chicken. So last night we had the rest of it or the remainder of it. And there were some greens in it, but then I added to kind of stretch it out a little, add some more vegetables. I chopped up some carrots and we had a random zucchini at our fridge so I chopped that up and then I did something I've been doing a lot lately that is so good and basically right before we eat the soup, I add a little bit of minced, fresh garlic and just stir it in and I just love garlic basically, but that like raw garlic at the end, you know, it's like, it's hitting the like boiling soup so it's not like eating just straight, raw garlic, but it just, it's so delicious to add a little minced, fresh garlic, right at the end and then we have some leftover cooked whole wheat pasta in the fridge that I made the other night. So we mix that in. So we basically had Chicken Vegetable Noodle Soup with some Parmesan on top and then I had a small scoop of Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream and then that was early, we've been eating really early and then I later made some popcorn. So that was my entire evening.Suzy Chase: Perfect! Where can we find you on the web and social media?Julia Turshen: Sure, my website it's just my name, It has all the information about the book, all the wonderful places you can order it, all the stuff about I'm doing like a really fun virtual book tour. We're all going to have conversations like the one we just had, which is, you know, what an amazing way to get to spend my time. So all of that is there. And then I'm on Instagram at just @Turshen just my last name. I'm also on Twitter @Turshen, but I barely go on Twitter. So yeah, I think that's all the places.Suzy Chase: I'm still bitter that you have @Turshen I want @Chase, but I think that's taken.Julia Turshen: Yea I feel like your name probably more harder to land on that than mine, but yeah, I feel like, I didn't think about like my brother or cousins or, you know, other people who share my last name. I should have, you know, maybe use my first name too, but anyway, I got it so...Suzy Chase: Yeah. Sorry people. Oh, well. Thanks so much for your meals that don't try to wow us, but hug us and thanks so much for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast.Julia Turshen: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate just the time and thoughtfulness you give to so many of us cookbook authors, and it's just always a pleasure to talk to you. So thanks for having me on.Outro: Subscribe over on and thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    Red Sands | Caroline Eden

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 10, 2021

    Red Sands: Reportage and Recipes Through Central Asia, from Hinterland to HeartlandBy Caroline Eden Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.Caroline Eden: Hi, my name is Caroline Eden. I'm the author of Black Sea and Red Sands, which is my new book, Red Sands: Reportage and Recipes Through Central Asia from Hinterland to Heartland.Suzy Chase: Last we chatted was in August, 2019 and you were on to celebrate my 150th episode with Black Sea. Welcome back and happy, happy new year. It has to be a happy new year!Caroline Eden: Thanks very much for having me back on Suzy and really nice to be here.Suzy Chase: So how does the landscape shape the food in Central Asia?Caroline Eden: That's a good question. Central Asia is a vast sways of the middle of Asia, the Heartland of Asia and I concentrate on four of the five countries of Central Asia in this book. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Put most simply there are two groups traditionally, historically within Central Asia, the nomads and the settled people of towns and cities, which have scattered along The Silk Road, the nomads were very dependent on what they had to hand out on The Steppe that was meat, horse meat, generally, and, sheep, mutton and the milk that their animals produced. So meat and milk, very, very basic diet and the people in the settled places more in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and parts of Turkmenistan, which I don't feature in the book, had access to far greater produce, produce that was coming in from East to West West to East and access to orchards big irrigation systems leading in from the rivers. Very good nut and fruit forests and access to meat and some fish as well in the river so that's really how it's split. It's between the settled people in the towns and villages and the people who are out with livestock out in The Steppe.Suzy Chase: So that's what I was going to ask you, why isn't Turkmenistan in this book.Caroline Eden: I really struggled with whether to include Turkmenistan or not because it's a fascinating country on the Caspian Sea, a lot of great, interesting historical stories, which I could have pulled out from the country however, it's run by a dictator at the moment and reporting there freely is really problematic. So you can go and I could have gone, but outside of the city, the capital city Ashgabat, I would have been given a guide and would have been quite restricted to how I could travel and talk to people and that's not really how I like to travel when I'm researching these books I like to go slowly and speak to people freely and respectfully and sort of take my time and I felt if I went, it would be slightly controlled so I chose not to go at this time.Suzy Chase: So Red Sands consists of two parts, two main parts, spring and autumn. You start in the springtime shores of the Caspian Sea out West and the largest country in the region, oil rich Kazakhstan and you open the book and Aktau West Kazakhstan walking on the promenade of the Caspian Sea. You called it a city of edited geography and simulated environments. I'm curious to hear about that.Caroline Eden: Great. I'm glad you, I'm glad you brought this up because I was really fascinated with Aktau. It's a curious place. So the Ukrainians and the Russians built it basically in the 1950s, there wasn't anything there before. And the way that it's laid out today is there are not addresses as we would know them I mean quite different in New York to say London but we don't have blocks as you know, we have streets and the addresses are different, but that they just have numbers say the addresses read like telephone numbers so you'll have a block and then a flat number and that will be contained within a micro district, which is quite a sort of Soviet design, not that unusual, but in Aktau there's only really a few street names of the major thoroughfares, which run through and it's a really interesting place. I don't think it really gets any tourism and I'm not exaggerating when I say that. I mean, Kazakhstan is the ninth biggest country in the world and you can get off well, you're off the beaten track if you're out with the two main setters Nursultan and Almaty, but Aktau is really far out geographically it's very, very remote and apart from that sort of city and a few oil, this is sort of the oil part of Kazakhstan, oil cities, you're into The Desert Steppe very quickly and absolutely remote fantastically beautiful. So yeah, we start there, which it felt like a natural place to start.Suzy Chase: Talk a little bit about lunch in the Kyzylkum Desert, which means, I guess it means red sand?Caroline Eden: Yeah, that's true. I was traveling through the Kyzylkum Desert a few years back now and we stopped for lunch, I think it was about a six hour drive and this building sort of appeared in the scrubby desert and this isn't sort of like rolling sand dunes it's quite scrubby with bushes and things growing and that sort of landscape and this desert cafe appeared almost out of nowhere and the sort of saffron colored scrub, which is perfect timing. So we went in for lunch. I had a driver with me and they were making a very basic menu there you basically ate what you could smell, so you could smell the bread. They had a tandoor oven, so a beautiful, fresh chewy in the middle crisp underneath bread, shashlik you know, like skewered meat, lovely smell of that sort of smoke corkscrewing up from the grill, some little onion rings and tea. So I sat and I had this lunch and it just struck me how entirely suited it was to its remote surroundings, this lunch. And I'd never sort of eaten anyway, but so simple yet so harmoniously in tune with its really quite extreme environment and that kind of sums up Central Asia when you get out of the cities. The food is pretty simple and authentic in the sense that it's not really changed for a very long time and I just had a bit of a moment really, and I thought this is quite remarkable. I also quartered a watermelon, which I talk about in the book as well, and shared that round with some men that were sat at the raised tea bed you tend to sit on in Central Asia and yeah, I just, I had a moment in this cafe thinking this could be quite an interesting spot for a book to use the desert as the heart, and then sort of travel on way beyond the sand borders of the Kyzylkum Desert. It's not huge and it just sort of spans Kazakhstan a little bit and Uzbekistan quite a lot. So yeah, to use that as a focus and then to travel way beyond, obviously using food, again as a theme of recipes to express the journey.Suzy Chase: In Red Sands, you talk about how you have to stop and you have to digest and I was wondering, there's so much glorious, granular detail in this book did you have a pencil and paper out all the time? How did you record everything?Caroline Eden: Yeah, I mean, I have, obviously I have a notebook and a pen with me I also use a voice recorder sometimes and I take a lot of photographs. I work as a journalist part of the time and so I'm always taking notes. I do think it's actually best to take notes because a photograph can only do the visuals and a voice recording can only do the sounds whereas if you're writing, you can kind of take everything down in one go. So yeah, I mean, some of it comes later from the photographs and some of it comes at the time. It's lovely to sit in the train or sit in the cafe and just absorb what's happening around youSuzy Chase: I love that you wrote in the book "On these long journeys, the tempo of food and meal times becomes a mental rudder."Caroline Eden: Yeah, I think it does. I mean, these were big journeys, six months in 2019 in Central Asia moving around. So sometimes when I go to Central Asia, I've just been in earlier in 2020, I spent a few months just in Bishkek, in the Capital of Kyrgyzstan, but this was two long trips in the spring and autumn of six months moving around and it's exhausting. I'm not that young. I mean, I'm not that young anymore the beds are quite rough and the roads are really rough and sometimes you go a bit hungry and thirsty if you're crossing a mountain range or a desert, and it's dusty, it's quite rough and ready sometimes. In Dushanbe, for example, the capital of Tajikistan, when you go and try to arrange a car and a driver, if the economy is not so good, which is often the case, you get mobbed by drivers wanting your business, pulling you and tussling with you and shouting at you. I'm always very honest about how I report back from central Asia and it is wonderful, but it's also, it can be really hard work. It's never really scary, but it can be quite unnerving sometimes. So for me, food is good to think with, but it's also essential because it's a rest. So it helps you catch the feel of a place, but also, you know, you need to sometimes just sit down at a bar for a few hours and have a couple of beers and digest what's just happened on this journey you've been on for the last two days. I think that's really important, whatever age you are.Suzy Chase: Speaking of digesting, you were in Bishkek in October smack in the middle of the violence and you had a front row seat from your balcony. Can you talk a little bit about Bishkek before the revolution and then after the revolution?Caroline Eden: Yeah. Okay. So this isn't in the book. This year I was in Bishkek for a while with a Russian tutor my Russian is still not anywhere near where it should be and I've got a great Russian teacher in Bishkek and I was there doing some reporting as well and meeting up with some colleagues and stuff. There were elections scheduled. No one really predicted very much was going to happen. My husband's a news journalist, and I know some of the other news journalists in the region and no one was really talking this up to be a thing. And I was there in an apartment by myself on one of the main squares. Yeah it hugely kicked off. I mean, Bishkek has had two previous uprising/revolutions in the last 15 years, this is the third one and the previous two had been extremely violent with a lot of loss of life. And I had a whole night glued to the balcony apart from when the gunfire was really close and I thought the windows might get blown in watching the sky light up with explosions, listening to water cannons,grenades, constant firing. I didn't know what they were firing the police. I was terrified it was live rounds turns out it was not rubber bullets, but sort of pellets, which were very dangerous and a complete night of carnage. So...Suzy Chase: We all followed along on your Instagram with you?Caroline Eden: Yeah it took about 10 days for it to calm down and the elections now actually about to take place so we'll see what happens, but all the main parliamentary buildings were stormed, the president fled, I mean, it was complete chaos. It was really interesting. I did some news reporting for the BBC and stuff, but it was quite scary at times I was terrified people might just try and break into the apartment block to get away from whoever they were running from. I mean, these are good, solid Soviet built apartments you would have a job to do, you know, it was by myself in a city where I sort of vaguely knew two people. It was quite scary. Yeah.Suzy Chase: Oh man. So the landscape is incredible, but what you're really interested in are the man-made buildings. Talk a bit about how you named each essay.Caroline Eden: I mean every book needs a structure. I was saying this to somebody the other day and it's kind of, that sounds a bit cynical, but you've got to shape it somehow. So I was thinking, what do I think of when I think of Central Asia obviously I think of food and I think of the landscape, but actually more any of that, I do think of the man-made buildings because that's where the stories are I mean, obviously if you're a nature writer, you can talk about nature forever and how inspiring and beautiful and interesting it is but for me, I'm more interested in people and the human landscape, human stories. So for the book I wanted to structure it around a building. So Pavlodar for example, is called Konditorei. It was a cake shop I featured this fantastic cake shop and then the essay from that is Skyscraper and that's now Sultan in the North, which has the new capital because it's extremely modern and everybody always talks about the architecture there and the fantastic buildings. And then we go on to Karlag, which was the Kazakh sort of name for, for gulag like it was their particular gulag chain that Stalin set up. So that is a kind of like theme through the book, these little headings so you have a heading like Karlag and I have a subtitle Remembering Stalin's victims and then I actually have a date line a bit like you get in a newspaper. So it would be Karlag Remembering Stalin's victims, and then Akmal North Kazakhstan and the reason I did that was because I'm aware that I'm taking people to places which are quite unfamiliar still and I wanted that dateline there just to immediately place people, because there's only so much detail we could put on the map at the front of the book, the map is more primitive than I would have liked, but it just gets very, very tight, very messy if you start putting all these little place names in, and you can't really work out where one country starts, neither one ends because the essays can kind of stand alone as well you don't have to read the book. I mean, ideally read the book from start to finish, but you could read a single essay and know where you are in the world and what basically the theme is going to be.Suzy Chase: You've been writing about Central Asia for over a decade now, how has the cuisine changed?Caroline Eden: It's changed and it's not changed. So what I loved in Bishkek this time last year in 2020, when I was there for a few months, it was quite how brilliant it is that you can get a bowl of ramen then now and very good sushi. This was not possible five years ago. I dare to say, actually the sushi restaurant has been there six years, but yeah, like sort of five, six, 10 years ago, it would be shashlik and plov and samsa and quite limited menus in the cafes and restaurants and now most of the big cities in Central Asia have good coffee shops so you can get a decent latte and this all sounds very kind of like, you know, winsome and unnecessary, but again, if you've been traveling for a really long time as an outsider, you might fancy some sushi and there's nothing wrong with that. And of course, local people want this food of course, many people travel outside of Central Asia now more and more and many people go to Russia and Turkey and so the more the region opens up and the more young people, you know, travel and come back with ideas and stuff, it's sort of really changing but still in people's homes, especially outside the big cities, it's quite traditional.Suzy Chase: I was surprised to discover your favorite central Asian dish is laghman and not plov.Caroline Eden: It is my favorite dish and I loads of it in Bishkek last year. It's just really delicious. I love noodles and laghman is basically a noodle dish and it's Uyghur the Turkey people living in Jinjiang in China. So it is a Central Asian dish because those people are Central Asian ethnically, and it's a sort of mild stewed meat and vegetables. Normally the noodles are hand pulled, it gives it a sort of thickness and a slightly sort of rustic feel. And it's just really delicious. It's pretty straightforward. Yeah a mild stew of meat and vegetables on top of the noodles often with celery, which I particularly like, and often with red bell peppers, some chives on the top maybe some sesame seeds, quite filling, but basically it's lamb and there's noodles and vegetables. It's really, really nice.Suzy Chase: Can you describe plov?Caroline Eden: I can. I mean I've talked about plov so much over the years and it's wonderful. The different variations that you have of it, unlike laghman it is quite varied. So plov, there are variations of plov. Sometimes you'll have it with quails eggs on the top of this rice dish, which is cooked in layers. Sometimes you might have it with barberries or quince if it's the season, but always plov is cooked with carrots and onions and rice cooked in layers with a lot of oil. And what makes a good plov normally is the cook who makes it, first of all, it's a slow dish. It's very calorific and then perhaps the setting where you're eating it. And more recently I discovered actually very good garlic makes a difference. So in Osh in Kyrgyzstan, which is a city, which is half Kyrgys is half Uzbek. There's a man called Imenjon, who I always stay with and his plob is my favorite plov and the reason I love Imenjon's plov is because he puts then to his plov whole peeled garlic cloves, which are scattered through the rice and then as you eat the plov you mash it through with the back of your fork and then along with the strong cumin seeds, which are very well toasted and very fresh carrots and onion and plump raisins with this rice, you eat this very filling, slightly oily, delicious really Moorish plov. And the other beautiful thing about Imenjon's plov is the type of the rice, which is quite important for plov. If I'm making a plov here at home in the UK, I just use basmati rice there is no point trying to mess about the short grain rice, because it's too sticky and it grains don't separate properly, and it becomes a bit of a mess but if I'm cooking a plov in Central Asia or from eating somebody else's plov, they're probably going to use something like uzgen rice, which is the rice that Imenjon uses and it's short and fat and reddish and very flavorsome. So it's the quality like so many things, the quality of the local ingredients and Imenjon is particularly good because he cooked it for two decades at the base camp of Peak Lenin for the Soviet mountaineers so he's extremely experienced and a wonderful person and a wonderful cook. I.Suzy Chase: In part two in Autumn you move on to The Steppe Desert and mountain cradle until you end up in Tajikistan in the Fergana Valley shared by Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan can you describe the Autumn markets?Caroline Eden: Well, they're an absolute heaven to me. So I think where you're describing is Khujand. Khujand is Northern Tajikistan, and it's the Tajik section of the Fergana Valley and has got a very, very good market and there you can buy things like fabulous lemons, which are like your meyer lemons that you can buy in America, which are new to me because we cannot get them here in the UK and they've got very thin skin and they're very, very juice heavy, and they've got a slight Tangerine sort of color and taste, and they're absolutely delicious. And the markets are just terrific. The melons that they have, there will probably be winter melons in the autumn, which would be early then, but then I sort of hung up on rafters in the market through the winter and they sort of mass extra sucrose they get sweeter and sweeter and they're hanging inside the markets, which is visually amazing and all along the way, as you're driving into Khujand along the outskirts are cabbage patches and apricot trees and fields of wheat and rice, and sort of gushing channels of the Syr Darya River, which comes through Khujand and it's just very, very fertile the Fergana Valley, lots of tributaries of water feeding this region, very, very rich, a lot of cotton fields as well but wonderful Khujand it's very Uzbek as a city when the Soviet Union was crazy, there were lots of strange borders and pockets of different groups of people ended up outside of the sort of traditional ethnic groups. So Khujand while it's in Tajikistan is quite Uzbek, but yeah, really, really interesting. I enjoyed it again very much and not a place that gets any tourism really. People go there a bit because Alexander The Great ended his advance within this region there and there's a very good regional museum, which explains the military leaders life and the time that he was there and the journey there quite pretentiously because that was where he ended so I stand on the bank of the Syr Darya and say, I've now got enough because this is where Alexander The Great had also had enough and so we end in Khujand.Suzy Chase: You know, after reading about the Uzbek melons in your book, I realized I probably have never had a good melon.Caroline Eden: Well you can have them in California because a couple of Uzbek varieties are now growing in California, which is amazing to me because we certainly cannot get them here.Suzy Chase: But you're getting them there, right? Aren't the UzbekI melons coming to Britain?Caroline Eden: I've heard that they are but I haven't seen them with my own eyes yet. There's a rumor circulating, which I'm very keen on that we might be getting them. It would probably become even more difficult now we've left the European Union. Germany, which has a relatively big Russian population and Russians appreciate those melons. I've heard you can get them in markets in Berlin. You can get them in Istanbul, but yeah, I mean really want to eat them in, in Uzbekistan because they are unlike any other type of melon. There's a huge number of over a hundred different varieties but extremely sweet, extremely sweet and the fruit generally is just fabulous it's a reason alone to go really is.Suzy Chase: The recipes in Red sands are like maps in the book. What sort of criteria did you use to choose the recipes?Caroline Eden: That's a good question. So I tend to choose recipes or dishes where they have a story attached to them that will reveal to us something new. So while I couldn't do a book on Central Asia with a food focus without including plav and laghman, I would rather include something else that would tell us something new about the region. So a couple of my recipes in the book are kind of fantastical. So there's a recipe for Anna Akhmatova, the Russian poet, because she spent time in Tashkent and that allows me to then talk about sort of Tashkent being a city of bread and a sort of refuge for people during difficult periods of Russian history and another recipe, for example for zapekanka, sort of a breakfast cake by a woman called Anna who's whose guest house that I stayed at and a Caspian anchor cocktail, that's sort of inspired by sea buckthorn which is a common ingredient so they should tell a story in order to be included and reveal to us something new because while Central Asia is still relatively under explored for its culinary delights, I wouldn't say it wasn't completely fresh territory at all. There are quite a lot of books in Russian on Central Asian food and all the books have been written. So yeah, I think you have to push the boundaries a bit and do something different otherwise you're just repeating.Suzy Chase: So what I love about your writing is you take us along your adventures here and there, and you sprinkle in some old stories or writings that pertain to your experience. Um, like in Pavlodar for example, you wrote the British copper miner John Wardell had to cross the river and the voyage took him seven hours. Like for me as the reader that makes me want to delve deeper into what you're writing about.Caroline Eden: Great. Well that certainly that idea. Um, yeah, John Wardell was an incredible character. He travels to the region, I think, was it in 1916 roundabout? And he went to mine copper for the czar he was an Englishman and yeah, he traveled... makes my journey look very easy. He was very, very interested in what he found there and wrote very beautifully about the seasons and the natural world. I like to bring in one or two travelers from the past to try and show what travel was like then and what it's like now and how some of it's actually stayed the same. So yeah John Wardell, I think he crossed with all of his belongings in the early summer, that river, the Irtysh and why, and I'm the ice floes are just attaching and it just sort of shows you a different scene. Um, I think when he crosses it, he's focused on it being 10 miles wide or something like that, which it was nowhere near that way when we were there. Yeah. So the river changes and yeah, John Wardell is very interesting. He's book is beautiful. I recommend it.Suzy Chase: I’m going to have to read that, you know, from Black Sea, I read Sitwell's Roumanian Journey because you brought it up in Black Sea.Caroline Eden: I remember you said you read that, which is fantastic. It's gotten forgotten. It's a real shame. So many books are published every year and some of these old travel books just sort of fall off the map and nice to bring them back.Suzy Chase: Now to my segment called Last Night's Dinner where I ask you what you had last night for dinner.Caroline Eden: Oh goodness. So that's quite easy for me actually, because I've been cooking a lot, like everybody during lockdown from my cookbooks, my cookbook collection, which is actually very modest from Roopa Gulati's Indian Vegetarian I absolutely love it and I cooked last night, her Rajasthani Onions, which are sort of onions cooked in cream, cause I happened to have some cream leftover in the fridge and they were really, really, really nice and I made that with a kedgeree with some mackerel cause I had a mackerel leftover in the fridge as well. So I had those two things together one was a website recipe and one was Roopa's, delicious creamy onions. Yeah. I'm a big, big fan of her cooking. I made her chapati's as well and I'm going to make her bhel puri later on this week. So yeah, I'm addicted to her book it's her new one.Suzy Chase: So where can we find you on the web and social media?Caroline Eden: I'm on Twitter and Instagram. I'm probably on Twitter a bit more, but the same handle for both @EdenTravels.Suzy Chase: All your books are so special. I cannot thank you enough, Caroline, for coming on Cookery by the Book Podcast.Caroline Eden: Suzy it's been a pleasure thank you for having me back.Outro: Subscribe over on and thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    Cooking In Marfa | Virginia Lebermann and Rocky Barnette

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 4, 2021

    Cooking In Marfa: Welcome We’ve Been Expecting YouBy Virginia Lebermann and Rocky Barnette Intro : Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors. Hi I'm Virginia Lebermann and I'm Chef Rocky Barnette of The Capri and we've come up with a book called Cooking In Marfa: Welcome We've Been Expecting You.Suzy Chase: Dusty ranch land surrounding a tiny rural town near the Mexican border and an internationally renowned art mecca far off the beaten path is Marfa, Texas, 200 miles South of El Paso "with its ethereal high desert landscape, cavernous blue skies and views for 50 miles" as the artist Donald Judd once put it. Hotelier, philanthropists, and Ballroom Marfa co-founder, arts pioneer, Virginia Lebermann along with your partner, chef Rocky Barnette have written this wonderful tribute to your restaurant, The Capri but before I go on, let's talk about how Marfa put a shelter in place, right when COVID began and how has that affected you, and the restaurant and your life?Virginia & Rocky: We shut the restaurant March 17. Yeah. Officially started the talks on the 13th and we have not reopened. When we initially shut due to mandates, we had a big staff meeting or a series of staff meetings really and just came together and talked to everyone about how they wanted to handle it. Yeah, it was kind of a democratic process because we were concerned first of all, about their health and then second about West Texas in general and then third, we wanted them to be a part of the decision making process. And the general consensus was that we would ride this thing out as long as we needed to and just keep everyone safe. So that's how we handled it. So nine months later, they're on their second shelter in place. The nearest hospital is 26 or seven miles away in Alpine, Texas and that hospital has two ICU beds and two ventilators and the Midland hospital and the El Paso hospital have stopped taking transfers so it's been very, very touchy for that small town.Suzy Chase: The Capri was originally intended to be a cultural arts project housed in one of the three Adobe and steel army airfield hangers, which you bought in 2007, along with The Thunderbird motel across the street. Can you tell us a little bit about that?Virginia & Rocky: My dear friend, Fairfax Dorn and I had started Ballroom Marfa. We opened our doors in 2003 and we were bringing in artists from all over the world and commissioning new work and bringing people in to see that work. It became difficult to house people. And so I became a partner in The Thunderbird Capri Project and then ultimately bought everyone out. And we ran the Thunderbird hotel with the intention, really of focusing on housing artists for the Chinati Foundation, for Judd, for the Lannan Foundation for all the foundation projects that were bringing really serious people into town so that's how the motel happened and The Capri was actually a sister motel and we renovated it in such a way that it became more of an event space and we would have our first program there ever with ballroom was we had Sonic Youth come and play for a Chinati weekend. It was wild.Suzy Chase: Back in the day when things were wild. I love to hear your vision to connect the food to the region, to the culture and the design of the restaurant.Rocky Barnette: I think at the beginning, I guess with the food to the region is Virginia's mother has a ranch, seven miles West of town and going out there, there are still spots along the ranch where you can see where fires were built and there was a series of caves where you can still find arrow points and tools for grinding, cooking and cutting and so some of those have been carbon dated to be 10,000 years old. I'm like, okay, people were here 10,000 years ago. The landscape was a little different weather patterns are a little different, but what were they eating prior to dairy queen or, orSuzy Chase: Shoney's?Rocky Barnette: Um, so that started this line of questioning. And then Virginia inspired me greatly about this because she would say, well I used to live in Terlingua and down there and we would make prickly pear wine and we would make some bread out of mesquite bean flour and I'm like, what is all this stuff you're talking about? And so it just kind of opened up my mind to start trying to rediscover or reinvigorate a sort of way to eat in the desert without flying in seafood.Suzy Chase: Most cookbooks that are affiliated with restaurants don't mention the design aspect at all and that's one of the lovely things about this book is you describe it in great detail. How do you create spatial fluidity in a perfectly rectangular box? That's the question of the day?Virginia & Rocky: You section a little bit of it off because it's a large box. When we called Sean Daley, who is a very dear and very old friend to ask him to participate in the project. I had a little narrative that I had woven in my own head to share with him about where we wanted to go with the space and it was about the old mercantile stores on the border and in Southeast Texas, where I up were really the center of social activity for these ranchers and farmers. I think in the book, I say, you could buy a can of Folgers coffee and maybe a broom if things are flush and some twine to tie some things together, but really it was all about sitting on the front porch and talking about your neighbors and talking about the weather and that's sort of the feeling that we wanted there, a historical reference with some modern edges to the texture, to the materials.Suzy Chase: In the book you wrote. "There's a magic that bar stools can make when they're all lined up perfectly and make a sculptural statement."Virginia & Rocky: That is my Virgo coming out. I love to walk in to the restaurant and these beautiful turquoise leather bar stools in a line, make my heart swoon. If they're not lined up she starts twitching and screaming about centipedes. A part of the design too was that Sean Daly pulled a lot of colors from the landscape, like he pulled colors from not the foliage in the spring when it was bright and vibrant but the foliage in the winter when it was a little dull and so that would be some colors of the curtains and then they were brightened up by the barstools themselves. And so it's a really good contrast.Suzy Chase: Where exactly did you two grow up?Virginia & Rocky: I grew up on my family's ranch in Southeast, Texas on the Gulf coast, went to school in Austin, which is certainly the bastion of progressive thought in the state of Texas. So that's where I am proper Texans. I'm seventh generation. And I, well, I was born in Asheville. I was part of a military family. So I also lived in Fort Huachuca Arizona for four years, and then Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and then back to Hendersonville area and then went to culinary school, Asheville. So Virginia, you went to Nepal when you were 19. Did your family think you were crazy or were they all for it?Virginia Lebermann: They thought I had absolutely lost my mind. That was pre cell phones. So I would send a postcard home that would take three or four weeks to get there. They thought I was absolutely mad, but I went through a program with Brown University and it was a life changing experience on every level for me, as you might expect.Suzy Chase: Then in your twenties, you spent time in Africa and then you traveled around Europe and did all the things, but you say your travels in Mexico have always had the most profound reverberations for you. Can you talk a little bit about that?Virginia Lebermann: You know, I think that the antiquity that exists in Mexico is so much more vibrant to me personally than even the antiquities of Greece or Rome and it is on the same landmass that I grew up on. You know, you can sit on the back porch at the ranch and you're looking down into Mexico and that connection to the land, but then the real mystery for me of the Mayans and the Aztecs and what they were eating before the Spaniards came has just always been really exciting to me and I think it has to do with proximity a lot of it, you know.Suzy Chase: And you wrote in the book "out here you can drive for hours and often never see a vehicle, I find that thrilling" you wrote and I imagine it was the same way in Mexico.Virginia Lebermann: Oh yeah. And Nepal and Africa, there's definitely a thread. There's something that I love about that feeling that you're the first, albeit an illusion let's be clear, but that you're the first to be there sort of.Suzy Chase: Rocky, I want to hear all about Evelyn Juanita Barnette.Rocky Barnette: That was my great-grandmother. So I'm from Appalachia. Everybody starts procreating very young there apparently. So my mother had just turned 16 when she had me and so she was working a lot and still trying to go to school and so I was essentially raised by my great-grandmother for the first three years of my life and then from the time I was seven til she died when I was 20. And so she was an old Southern lady. She had 13 siblings, grew up in the great depression through every single war and she and my great-grandfather, the front of the two-story house was right on the highway and they turned it into a produce stand because it had a giant garden in the back, and that was their business. He was a mechanic across the street at a truck line, and then he, and she would both run the produce stand on a daily basis. So it was like a mini farmers market.Suzy Chase: Was she a good cook?Rocky Barnette: Yeah. Pretty good.Suzy Chase: Do you think that's where you got your culinary skills from your innate culinary skills?Rocky Barnette: Yeah, sort of like inspiration because my mother is going to be ashamed said this, but she's not the best cook in the world but I was inspired by my great-grandmother and what I started doing... She started getting sick when I was a teenager because she was old. So I started trying to recreate things that she would make before I went to culinary school.Suzy Chase: Before culinary school, your mom finagled a job for you at Shoney's when you were 13. Right. And Shoney's is so much better than Denny's.Rocky Barnette: Yeah. It's funny that that Shoney's that I've worked at then got bought out by Denny's and I was like, I don't want to work there anymore.Suzy Chase: So you made money to buy Nintendos and sneakers, and then you moved on to Chico Tacos and Henderson, North Carolina, where you were hired by the German owner, Kurt Markel, who sort of took you under his wing and suggested books for you to read. Then you made your way down to Mexico with a friend of the family's name, Ray who owned a fruit packing business, apple orchards, and a trucking line. Fast forward to your first culinary epiphany in Mexico. Can you tell us about that?Rocky Barnette: I think my only understanding of Mexican food at that time was like TexMex sort of things and even though I worked in what I thought was a Mexican restaurant for three years, but I was high up in the mountains, like the Sierra Occidental Mexico and we were eating beans every day and they were firing fresh tortillas at every meal and you would have a salsa or onions or something with it but when I was at home growing up with my grandmother your traditional Appalachian meal is pinto beans, cornbread, and chopped up vidalia onion and you wound up eating that a lot because it's inexpensive. So I felt right at home. I was like, well, I must be Mexican.Suzy Chase: So, this cracked me up. So you get back to North Carolina three months later and your mom is freaking out.Rocky Barnette: Oh yeah. So this was also the time when there weren't cell phones, no nothing there's no police, running water, postal service, phones, like you'd have to drive an hour down the mountain to use a payphone.Suzy Chase: Did she think you just died or something?Rocky Barnette: Yeah. She she was beside herself. She was like trying to call the national guard and they're like, yeah, we, sorry, can't help you.Suzy Chase: Oh, your poor mom.Rocky Barnette: She thought I was going for a week and I thought I was going for a week or two and then it turned out to be about three months.Suzy Chase: We just talked about how you started your culinary career at Shoney's. So did it blow your mind when you got the internship at the famed Inn at little Washington in Virginia?Rocky Barnette: It was so new and so refreshing and so foreign and so exotic to me that I was just so happy to be there, that I was willing to do anything that they told me to do like go wash the dog, wash somebody's car, go do this, polish this, work 16 hours a day. Yes, yes, yes. And I don't mean any of that as a bad thing. I was so excited to be there and I found it so thrilling, no matter how hard the work was or how long the hours were, because I'd never smelled things like that and never seen things like that. I mean I never tasted French butter before. My grandmother loved produce and she loved food and she was a great cook, but we didn't use fresh herbs in anything. I'd never tasted fresh herbs and I was 20 years old. And so I learned what they call the traditional brigade system it's like the chef is the chef and then everybody trickles down from there. And I was happy to have just been able to start anywhere. And I started as a dishwasher.Suzy Chase: Then you wind up catering shows at The Capri, really thinking about something that you could do for the community you wrote in the book, you had no courage or capital only compunction. How did the idea come about?Rocky Barnette: Well, I'd spoken to Virginia like a few years before, cause I was doing catering events for Ballroom Marfa or I'd like deliver some soup to her house. I had a job at the time, but it was boring to me so she started talking about how she originally intended to have a kitchen at The Capri and we talked about it and I looked at some plans and then we started dating and then she had a captain who could exact your plans. And she intended to do that. That's what I say. Yeah.Suzy Chase: Yeah. In the book Virginia wrote "eventually it all came together we had a classically trained chef on the loose in the culinary challenged town of Marfa we had a town with a lack of great restaurants and incredible adobe structure sitting empty without its next story, we had a match made in heaven" Virginia. Can you tell us about that?Virginia Lebermann: The Capri had been used for some music shows and things like that with Chinati Foundation and Judd and Ballroom, and then people had rented it here and there for events, but it's such a gorgeous building and sits on such a beautiful piece of property in the middle of town. I just felt like ballroom needed its extension and it needed to be a culinary extension, sort of a laboratory to think about where we live. And Rocky seemed like the perfect person, the force to do that with me.Suzy Chase: Like you two have complimentary super powers that when they come together, it makes for something crazy amazing.Virginia Lebermann: And that's very generous of you to say.Virginia Lebermann: Virginia, the subtitle of this book is Welcome We've Been Expecting You. And that phrase is sprinkled all throughout the book. What does that phrase mean?Virginia Lebermann: So that happened when I did call Sean Daley, our friend and designer of The Capri to tell him this crazy story of mercantiles along the border and what we wanted it all to feel like I spoke for, you know, seven or eight minutes. And without missing a beat, Sean Daley had just responded from dead silence to welcome we've been expecting you. And I said, yeah, you get it. And he's like done I'm on board. I want to be a part of it. So it's on the matchbooks that we have at The Capri. We kind of use it. It's the spirit, the essence of what we're trying to accomplish and what we're trying to have the space feel like that you walk in and you take that sigh of relief because you know, somebody is there who is interested in taking care of you.Suzy Chase: And I heard your drinks come fast, you don't have to wait long for a drink.Virginia Lebermann: You don't, we impress that on the boys for sure and the ladies.Suzy Chase: Virginia Food & Wine said you're at the heart of the more recent design and hospitality movement in Marfa. Do you think design and hospitality as a concept will change post COVID or do you think it's going to go all back to normal the way it used to be?Virginia & Rocky: I think that is such an incredibly profound and wonderful question and it's so hard to answer. I think it's what everyone in the restaurant business and the design world are. Everyone's talking about that right now. What has become superfluous? What is still sort of mandatory for the essence of our human spirit in terms of design and culinary endeavors. I have a handful of chef friends from restaurants throughout the United States at this point, and there's one thing that there's this epiphany that they've had where it's like, you know what? I kind of liked this model of people pre-ordering and then we go put it out on the sidewalk and they just like drive by and pick it up without stopping like logistically it's easier to control in a certain sort of way doing delivery where it's like the reinvention of the takeout window but at the same time, what you worry about is when you grow up in restaurants and you love going to restaurants, there's the possibility that, well, you're absolutely going to lose a bunch of restaurants that used to love to go to. And there's a possibility that if it changes too much, you won't be able to go to a restaurant in the way that you did before. And it's not a natural chain of evolution. I don't think it's good for restaurants like Daniel Boulud's restaurant at restaurant, Daniel in New York like I think those things have a purpose in life and Jean-Georges and La Bernadin but these places with these tablecloths, these things like 11 Madison Park has its place, but also every single dive bar and every ethnic restaurant in Queens, like everything has its place in the grand scope. But if it all becomes about the bottom line and how to control inventory and staff hours and all of that, then you've lost the community aspect and the human aspect. Can you imagine all of the ideas? The only design will be what kind of box you get your food? Right? I mean, all the ideas that have happened from the community of restaurants, the poetry that's been written, the paintings on the walls, restaurants and design, and all of these things are such a steadfast place. Spilling sauce on a velvet chair.Suzy Chase: I know I miss going to this bar here in the West Village and listening to the jukebox, sitting at the bar, talking to some rando who probably has an amazing story and listening to some Lynrd Skynryd.Rocky Barnette: Where are you going Blue Smoke?Suzy Chase: No it's called WXOU on Hudson.Virginia Lebermann: Fantastic. Well, I miss that too.Suzy Chase: There's that scene in the movie giant where Elizabeth Taylor is welcomed to town with a huge party of barbecued meat. What principles of West Texas hospitality do you to embrace?Virginia Lebermann: The largesse of it all. Though certainly the excess is a trademark style of any Texan who entertains. We talk about that in the book where you walk in and if, if you are a known quantity and loved by Rocky, he comes out of the plating room and has the entire restaurant clap for you.Suzy Chase: I love that.Virginia & Rocky: It's really fabulous and it is embarrassing and very warm and funny at the same time. That's really an appropriately posed question cause you say welcome to town. The last thing you want to do as a guest is to arrive somewhere and feel like, what are you doing here? So you want people to say here put this down your gullet, sit down.Suzy Chase: I saw the Donald Judd exhibit at MoMA last week and I got to thinking, did Donald Judd influence Marfa or did Marfa influence Donald Judd?Virginia Lebermann: I'm not a Judd scholar. So I'm always a little bit anxious about speaking to a few, simply about what I think happened with Judd but you know, he was influenced by the landscape. It was there where he had the space to create these enormous bodies of work and have them installed in a way that had a relationship with a forever landscape. And conversely, he put Marfa on the map very slowly. You know, when I first started going to Marfa as an adult who was sort of aware of the art world, the people who were there to see Chinati and the Judd installations they were from Germany, they were from all over Europe we never saw a Texan, hardly ever, and a flash of New Yorkers. It's been a very slow process. I mean, if you, if you're touched by the art world at all, you know who Donald Judd is. And so that in turn affects the tourist base in Marfa and the tourist economy there,Suzy Chase: The construction and design of this book is a work of art. Speaking of art can you tell us a little bit about the look and feel of the bookVirginia & Rocky: I happen to be holding in my hand right now. We were introduced through a friend, Jess Hundley who was sort of an external advisor and editor on the book. She's from Los Angeles and has worked on many, many, many books. And she introduced us to a designer called Brian Roettinger, who also based in LA and is actually quite famous for his album covers and wins Grammy's for those and we loved Brian's work. Then we asked Phaidon if they would break with protocol a bit and use a designer that we introduced them to and they very patiently and kindly said yes and so Brian came out to Marfa. I understand is quite different from many books where usually the designer is far away and perhaps doesn't ever see the space or the restaurant or the town or the region. And so Brian got to come out and this is where I think he created a journal. It's a travel journal, the quality of the paper Douglas's photography, which we haven't even touched on yet it's just amazing. The incredible food styling by Rocky Barnette but Douglas the photographer who is also a dear friend. It was a wonderful project because we were also close, but Douglas has a house in Marfa and he has become quite a famous photographer in his own right but did this project very much out of love for all of us and for Marfa and we worked on this photography for a year, we would work on it every time he came in to town just to come home from being on the road. So I think it has that feeling of, oh, it's very personal. Yea Doug is one of the most incredibly effective and professional people I've ever worked with.Suzy Chase: So Rocky, I'm dying to hear about your famous guac.Rocky Barnette: What do you want to know about it?Suzy Chase: Well, why is it so famous?Rocky Barnette: I don't know. I guess people really like it. I think, I guess it tastes good. I grew up mostly in Asheville, North Carolina, and there are a lot of vegetarian restaurants and they're really good and there's a lot of good produce around there. When I first started going to school, we were going to vegetarian restaurants or Mexican restaurants and I've learned about what foie gras was seared foie gras I was like why couldn't I do that with an avocado? And so then I was like, well, I'm here in Texas 20 years later might as well grill these avocados. And the strangest thing is that my Italian sous chef at the Inn at Little Washington, his name is Raphael De La Huerta is the one that taught me to make guacamole. I never knew how to make guacamole, but he taught me things like sneak a little cumin in and use some really fine extra virgin olive oil. And we'll maybe I'll add some extra lime juice and finally grill the avocados like my vegan foie gras dream and then it turned into guacamole and everybody wants to eat it all the time. And it's painful to have to produce. And in Texas, if you don't have guacamole and a steak, you're just in big trouble.Suzy Chase: I made your recipe for Watermelon Radishes with Habanero Vinegar, Aged Balsamic and Lime on page 100. Can you describe this recipe?Rocky Barnette: We started the restaurant in November and we started serving food in January. We're in the middle of the desert and the only thing that I could get that was like resembling a vegetable was watermelon radishes and we had habanero's and we had pickled watermelon rind that I've made before and balsamic. So it was like, well, I'm gonna try to recreate a carpaccio. It pretty simple in my mind, but it just turned out to taste pretty good. The locals got sick of it after about six months to a year. By June, still the only vegetable we can get is without mail ordering something was a watermelon radish, but it was just kind of a sort of take on watermelon on watermelon on watermelon in terms of a carpaccio and just trying to bring out as much flavor as possible.Suzy Chase: Now for my segment called last night's dinner, where I, you, what you had last night for dinner.Virginia & Rocky: So glad that I can tell the truth. I made Crab Fried Rice, my new thing that I like to do with Nantucket Bay Scallops. Now that we're not in the desert anymore for this moment. And Nantucket Bay scallops are in season right now. And so I use sushi grade rice, and then I just try and chop up every kind of vegetable that I can find and then folding in the crab meat. And then I like to cook bay scallops with just fresh parsley, butter and fresh squeezed lemon or pink lemons, which we had recently and I don't mean to be a show off, but, um, and I call the crab fried rice, the mashed potatoes and the Nantucket Bay scallops become the gravy and so you put one on top of the other and it's just really light and refreshing cooked in coconut oil and a lot of ginger and garlic and onions and everything kind of comes together if I do it right, and don't drink too much while I'm cooking. Suzy, I eat a lot of Rocky's food and that Crab Fried Rice, I can't believe it. We were at a friend's house last night and he was making it for Gordon and Gordon stood up after his first bite and marched into the kitchen was like, this is legendary. What is this? It's pretty special.Suzy Chase: So where can we find you on the web and social media?Virginia & Rocky: So we're @CapriMarfa on Instagram. And we do not have a website at all. We still use a quill pen. haha We're pretty simple,The Capri remains a secret.Suzy Chase: Well now I'm officially obsessed with Marfa. I cannot thank you enough for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast.Virginia & Rocky: We are honored. You are so sweet to have us. Thank you so much. And we are indeed honored.Outro: Subscribe over on and thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    The Nom Wah Cookbook | Wilson Tang

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 28, 2020

    The Nom Wah Cookbook Recipes and Stories from 100 Years at New York City’s Iconic Dim Sum RestaurantBy Wilson Tang with Joshua David Stein Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.Wilson Tang: Hi my name is Wilson Tang. I'm the owner and operator of Nom Wah Tea Parlor in Manhattan's Chinatown and I have just released our first cookbook, The Nom Wah Cookbook celebrating 100 years in Chinatown with stories and recipes from my family's restaurant.Suzy Chase: My goodness. It's such a thrill to have you on my podcast. I remember coming to Nom Wah in 2010 because my son was in nursery school at the time. And we'd drop by for dumplings, which were his favorite thing after I picked him up in Tribeca. Nom Wah holds such a special place in my heart. We go there for family celebrations and when the lockdown happened here in the city, we stocked up on frozen dumplings. So enough about me now onto you. Growing up as a son of immigrants, your parents expected you to have a white collar job. Can you describe your time at Morgan Stanley in the World Trade Center?Wilson Tang: Yeah, absolutely. I kind of enjoyed my time there. I love the fact that it was very structured. I loved having a set schedule of sorts and getting up in the morning, putting on my suit and my shirt and my trousers, my leather shoes, and being part of a bigger machine. And I think that was a great prerequisite for me to ultimately becoming an entrepreneur and a restauranteur as I am now, but it was definitely a rite of passage it was something that I needed to prove to my immigrant parents that, hey, your kid has made it. I went through the schooling system, graduated with my degree and here I am first born in the U.S. from my mom and dad and working in a prestigious company in the World Trade Center and just kind of breaking the stigma of immigrants, having low level jobs and not knowing the language and I proved to them that I made it happen and it was a really good experience. You know I did enough of it just to learn the ropes and I was ready to move on and to do my own thing.Suzy Chase: Talk about how your parents didn't want the restaurant life for you.Wilson Tang: The restaurant life was definitely not something that they wanted me to do. My dad had ran restaurants, had his own restaurants, did his own restaurant supply distribution and he knew that it was really hard work. I mean it's a seven day operation, breakfast, lunch, and dinner and he did not want, you know I'm his only son, I'm the only child, to be getting into, the restaurant business, especially when they work so hard to put me through school and, wanted all the spotlights that living in the U.S. can bring. And going back into the restaurant business. You know, this is more than 10 years ago, but they were not happy about it.Suzy Chase: So it's the quintessential story of the American dream, Uncle Wally Tang worked his way up from dishwasher to cook, to waiter, to owning Nam Wah. I am dying to hear about Uncle Wally.Wilson Tang: Uncle Wally is a man of few words. He is where I kind of learned about patients and kind of seeing things through and just putting your head down and work hard and the fruits of your labor will come eventually and he's the perfect example of that starting from, you know, like you said, dishwasher to ultimately owning the business and the real estate. So I look up to him a lot. He really taught me a lot growing up about just what hard work can do. I think that's a very similar story for first-generation immigrants. People that came in the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's especially when they don't know the language, they don't know the American culture and just trying to learn and work and make a living to support their own families.Suzy Chase: In the summer of 2010 you met up with him at The Red Egg. Can you tell us about that conversation?Wilson Tang: Absolutely. My uncle knew that I had hospitality in my DNA. You know, he sat me down at this place. It's closed now called The Red Egg on Centre Street and it was kind of like your modern take of dim sum. And he presented Nom Wah as potentially looking like Red Egg, meaning just a more modern decor. And my answer to him was like, wait a second this is not actually what I want to do. I mean, I would keep Nom Wah the way it looks now, it's kind of like a throwback. It looks like a Chinese diner of last century. And I was, no, I would just keep it the way it is because I think it is one of my jobs to keep old New York old and, and this was my opportunity to do so. So, you know, he pitched me to taking over the restaurant 10 years ago. My response to him was like I actually would be honored to take on this new role in good ole Nom Wah, just the way it is, you know, a little, a little elbow grease, we clean it up a little bit, fresh coat of paint. Uh, you know, we put in like a computer terminal and like an upgraded the air conditioning unit and we were ready to go.Suzy Chase: The old cash register. Isn't that still there?Wilson Tang: It's still there. I mean, it serves as a memory of the past and we have it on display at the restaurant next to our old chamber stoves. And it's, a kind of a throwback, walk down history or memory lane for a lot of our customers. And it's just very intriguing for our new customers to see that, wow, this place has been here for a long time with the old cash register and the old stove and the old steamers behind the register,Suzy Chase: And the tin ceilings and the light fixtures and the floor. I cannot tell you how many photos I've taken for Instagram of the floor.Wilson Tang: Yes, it is. It's quite an elaborate tiling. And you know, to this day, I'm not sick of seeing it because it's, they just don't do it like that anymore. There's no replica of, of that anywhere. And it's just a memory of what old New York looked like. And these things are vanishing as we speak so it's really an honor to run an old restaurant and, and keep it going until who knows maybe my son wants to take it over, but as for now, I'm just a gatekeeper and, hopefully it lasts another hundred years.Suzy Chase: So I want to ask you about one more thing inside the restaurant that built in cabinet, where you store glasses and teapots. It's the most beautiful shade of baby blue. I always take a picture of that when I'm there too.Wilson Tang: Yes. It used to be green, to be honest with you and through the decades, the color has been change a couple of times. In 2010, I had an interior designer, friend of mine that basically told me, hey, you should paint it this color it'll kind of match the stools where the counter seating is. And I just kind of went with that. And that's probably one of the more modern upgrades is the actual color of the tea cabinet.Suzy Chase: So tell us a little bit about the rich history of Doyers.Wilson Tang: Yeah. Doyers Street is one of the original streets of Manhattan's Chinatown. The other two that intersect it are Pell and Mott street. That's really where Chinatown began and through the decades it grew outwards from those three main blocks. And, you know, from just stories of that, my uncle has told me it's seen a lot through the past hundred years from being the core of Chinatown, to being a place where rival gangs would meet to do their work to being...Suzy Chase: To do their work!!Wilson Tang: How do I say that nicely, right? Or to kill each other, but to it being a post office later on in the 1900's to kind of like a nightlife destination, pre-COVID, with our neighbors Apotheke and now Chinese Tuxedo. So it's gone through a lot of different variations, but I love going to Nom Wah really early in the morning where time is almost at a standstill it's quiet, you'll see moms dragging their kids along, taking them to school. You'll see the men with their hand trucks of meat and vegetables going from the distributor to the restaurant and to when the sun hits people are just going about their business and it's kind of like a short cut through Chinatown. It's really a special block. It's one of the shortest, most unique blocks in New York city, I would say.Suzy Chase: And I love how during COVID you were just able to block it off.Wilson Tang: Yeah. So that was actually very key for us when the city and the department of transportation came up with their open streets and open restaurant programs. I was definitely one of the first to sign up. Doyers Street was the first street in Chinatown to be closed off to vehicle traffic and then we were able to apply for the open restaurant component, which allowed us to set out tables and chairs and umbrellas and it made it really look like as the kids would say a vibe. And it really kind of gave us some hope with COVID through the summer. We did decent amount of business people knew we were around and it was great for the summer and into the fall.Suzy Chase: So this cookbook, isn't just about the stories and recipes from the restaurant. It's also a legacy piece for yourself and a love letter to Chinatown. You have so graciously shared stories of various business owners in Chinatown, and I'd love for you to chat about Paul Eng of Fong On. One of those places that's been on my to-do list for years.Wilson Tang: Again, like what you said about the cookbook. It's not about the restaurant, it's not just about the restaurant or about my legacy, but really about the mom and pop stores that make Chinatown unique. And Paul and David of Fong On is definitely a key component in the fabric of Chinatown. And, you know, now Paul, the youngest brother has taken it over and has quite the setup on Division street in Chinatown where they do fresh soy milk and fresh tofu and rice cakes. And it really is a treat to go and check it out to try their savory tofu. And you can see all of the machinery in the background on how they make the tofu and the soy milk so it's definitely a nice little trip to take down to Chinatown and visit.Suzy Chase: So every time I'm at the restaurant, I'm always trying to take a peek into the kitchen to catch a glimpse of where the magic happens. I'd love to hear about your dim sum chefs.Wilson Tang: Absolutely this component of the business near and dear to me, you know, the dim sum profession is really a dying art and not many people are entering this line of work because it's just a lot of components from some hand to all the different types of marinades, to the art, of working a wok, to the steam station and to make rice rolls. It's just a very complicated profession. The guys in the kitchen really have been with me since the beginning. You know my head chef has been with my uncle actually back in the 80's and right now we make a lot of stuff on premise, but we've also, the business has grown where we have a secondary, a commissary kitchen to produce all the varieties of dim sum that we have and to also supply our second and third stores in Nolita in New York and also Philadelphia, it's a work of art. It's a labor of love. That's really what dim sum means a touch of heart. And you know, they're also getting older and we're figuring out innovations on how we can keep this art alive. Part of it is going to mass production with machines. We have machines and make them some potstickers and dumplings now but also just like training, like constantly looking for new people to come in and learn and help out, sad but, you know, it's also hard to find like young folks to learn it. So anyone listening to this podcast, that's interested in learning the art of dim sum, or is in the restaurant world wanting to change gears, please send me a message or find me on Instagram and send me a DM something, because we are constantly looking for people to join our team and to keep the art of dim sum alive.Suzy Chase: I think this is one of your favorite dishes, the original egg roll.Wilson Tang: Yes.Suzy Chase: So your uncle swears, he invented it and it's not like any other egg roll I've ever eaten. Can you describe it and tell us why it's one of your favorites?Wilson Tang: It's one of my favorites because it is indeed a labor of love. We have stopped making it at the current time, just because we're not doing the volume that we were doing and this is one of the items that is very labor intensive, because it involves making crepes of egg. And we're talking about hundreds of them every day with a 10 inch skillet. And we would take the beaten eggs and ladle a scoop of the egg into a skillet to form the crepe. And we would just smack the crepe of eggs out of the pan onto a paper towel. And we would just watch these crepes pile up until they're like a foot high. And then once these crepes are cooled down, we will wrap our chicken and vegetable filling into the crepe of egg. And when an order comes in for that, we gently batter the egg roll and we kind of just pop it in the fryer real quick and then pull it back out. And the result is a very aromatic, crunchy, and just full of flavor and textures. You can put like hot oil, you can put plum sauce, but it's just a very special item that my uncle swears that he invented the egg roll and we've had another menu since he's been working there. You know, it, it's just that one very special item and we call it the OG egg roll. Um, if you get an egg roll at any kind of Chinese takeout, restaurant is typically made with a prefabricated wrapper, almost like a spring roll and they just roll in the filling and then just drop it in the fryer, so this multi-step production is really what makes this special and tasty and a top seller for us for many years.Suzy Chase: Ok, this is a dream come true for me. So I want to go over my top dishes at Nom Wah. And can you give a really short description of these? And I might add these are all in the cookbook, too. Awesome. Okay. The shrimp shumai.Wilson Tang: Shrimp shumai, amazing product and if you were reading the cookbook so this is part of the shrimp master filling. And this is basically shrimp, there's a little bit of squid and our proprietary marinade, and it is beaten in a mixer into a pasty consistency. And we use a yellow wrapper, and I think there's illustrations in the book on how to turn and twist the shumai into the shape of the cup of your hand and patting down with a butter knife on top to get the filling into the wrapper really tight and squeezing your hand into a fist and really pressing the shrimp mixture into the wrapper until it looks like an open face dumpling.Suzy Chase: And then there's a little green pea on top.Wilson Tang: Exactly. Then you put a little green pea on top just for color and contrast, and also something that is a reminder that that was the shrimp one, versus like the chicken one or the pork pork and shrimp one.Suzy Chase: I did not know that. So second on my list is the chicken shumai.Wilson Tang: The same kind of way we make it, all made by hand this one, we take ground chicken with our marinades and ginger. This is actually one of the top sellers for us at the restaurant. Our dim sum is primarily shrimp and pork so having a chicken one is really cool and it kind of breaks up the normal a little bit for us.Suzy Chase: Okay. The next on my list... Your wait staff is always like are you sure you want four orders of this? Because we have a 14 year old now. And we're like, yeah, I swear to God, we want four orders. The crystal shrimp dumplings, har gow, is that how you pronounce it?Wilson Tang: Har gow yeah. You know, like most dim sum restaurants are judged by the quality of their har gow and this is because the skin is super hard to perfect. Your formula has to be precise, to enable the skin to be translucent. So we used to make this by hand and we sold so much of it that we finally in 2015 ordered a machine that makes it.Suzy Chase: Yeah. I think my kid pushed you over the edge.Wilson Tang: Yea if you order four orders, you know, can you imagine rolling dough and then marinading the shrimp mixture and then the dough, literally it is cut into pieces, a couple of ounces per piece, and with a cleaver, it is pressed against the table to form the rapper skin.Wilson Tang: And this is one of the hardest things to perfect, but we had exhausted the way we made it by hand because we had so much volume that we finally went into making it by machine.Suzy Chase: Okay. Steamed spare ribs.Wilson Tang: Yeah. I love that Chinese steam ribs are more like riblets and through the marination with the black bean sauce and the salt, and the sauces that we use this item is so special because it's tasty, is juicy and I just love being able to kind of gnaw the cartilage and some of the meat falls off the bone. I grew up eating this and I remember. And we have this at the restaurant also is like a plate of this spare rib tips over like some rice noodles where the oil and the black bean sauce, like soaks up into the rice noodles. It is just so tasty. It is actually making me salivate right now talking about it. But it's another classic, it's up there with the shrimp dumplings and the shrimp shumai, these are your OG just classics from back on the Silk Road where people were kind of just getting these dim sum snacks through their travels. Like this has a really, really long history. These are the items that really are our signature when we talk about classic dims sum.Suzy Chase: Okay. I have a couple more the shrimp rice roll.Wilson Tang: So shrimp rice roll. I mean like any rice role is fantastic because it's basically rice that is broken down into a liquid form. We lay this liquid onto a steaming sheet to form the noodle and inside, you know, shrimp is one of my favorites because the shrimp that we use from Louisiana, has great texture and it's just got a good snap when you bite into it. But, you know, for those who don't like shrimp, it works well just on its own. The rice roll on its own, very silky smooth, and it tastes incredible with just some sweet soy sauce and chili oil, if you like, and even scallion and cilantro is a good choice for rice rolls, but shrimp is my favorite. The look of it is beautiful because the orange-y shrimp actually, you can see the shrimp inside the noodle when it comes out fresh. It looks amazing to me once you put the sweet soy sauce on it, and a little bit of a chili oil, I can't even, I'm speechless. It's so tasty, the texture, the silkiness of the, of the noodle is just a really good item.Suzy Chase: Okay. Something that I got so hooked on probably a couple of years ago is your salt and pepper pork chop.Wilson Tang: That's actually not your classic dim sum item. And the story for that is we wanted a bunch of items that can work for like dinner time too. And because dim sum traditionally is breakfast, lunch, brunch, and we incorporated that item, it's very Chinese American, to be honest with you, it's literally a fried pork chop cut to manageable pieces. And a little bit of a salt and pepper and secret ingredient a little bit of cinnamon. But I think that's the secret ingredient in that dish. This is definitely not dim sum item, but it made it onto our menu to add depth to a menu that never changes, but that could work for breakfast, lunch and dinner.Suzy Chase: Okay. So the last thing, every time we go there, we have to order, well, it's my husband and son, and they have to order like five of these, your sesame balls,Wilson Tang: You know dim sum restaurants and Cantonese cuisine in general are not big on desserts. So this is definitely a top seller because it's literally one of like three items that we have that are in the dessert realm, but how can you go wrong? Right? Like it's basically a fried ball of flour with sweet lotus paste inside. So it's crunchy chewy, sweet, the sesame seeds on the outside, give it an extra layer of texture. And I mean, those are all the keywords, right? Sweet, gooey, crunchy, golden brown color looks amazing. And this is, this is classic. I mean, that's a treat when we as a child growing up for dessert and even something that I would, that was served, um, when I got married, you know, that this was part of the dessert component of my Chinese banquet when I got married. So always forever in my thoughts this classic chewy sweet crunchy item.Suzy Chase: Now to my segment called Last Night's Dinner, where I ask you what you had last night for dinnerWilson Tang: We had tacos last night. Yeah, we do it actually once a week and pretty simple. We make a quick guac, pan tossed peppers and onions and ground chicken with some taco seasoning and then the hard shell tacos, some lettuce, tomato, and then we kind of do our own taco, fix it, taco bar. So the kids love that it's actually very easy for us to do we just mise everything out, and then we lay everything on the dining room table. And we just kind of take turns like almost like a taco buffet. And my daughter loves breaking the shell apart, almost making a taco salad. And my wife is more no shell. She just puts everything on a plate. And my son and I are just trying to pile up our tacos as high as we can. We'll challenge each other to see who finishes first. So yeah, taco night last night, tonight's hotpot. We've got hotpot going on tonight. Yeah. We've got all the different vegetables, all the sliced meats and, and a good broth going right now. So we went from tacos to hotpot.Suzy Chase: Okay. I'll be right over. So where can we find you on the web social media and in New York City?Wilson Tang: Our website has all the information of all our locations in New York, Philadelphia, even in Shenzhen, China, we have two locations there and you're able to purchase all sorts of gift cards, merchandise, our cookbook is all available online, to purchase at If you follow us on Instagram, it's just @NomWah or you can follow me personally, my Instagram handle is @DimSumNYC. Tea parlor is located at 13 Doyers Street in Chinatown Manhattan and our sister location in Nolita, is more fast casual option is at 10 Kenmare in the heart of Nolita.Suzy Chase: This has been a complete thrill for me. Thank you so much, Wilson for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast.Wilson Tang: Thanks for having me. I had a great time.Outro: Subscribe over on and thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    Bonus Episode- 2020 Cookbook Year In Review | Becky Krystal - Staff Writer for Voraciously at Washington Post Food

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 19, 2020

    2020 Cookbook Year In Review with Becky Krystal Staff Writer for Voraciously at Washington Post FoodPhoto credit- Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; styling by Marie Ostrosky for The Washington Post. Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City, sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors,Becky Krystal: I'm Becky Krystal, I'm a staff writer for Voraciously at Washington Post Food.Suzy Chase: So Becky it's been a year since we last chatted about cookbooks. And I swear, it feels like it's been 10 years.Becky Krystal: Yes!! I was going to say that, it doesn't feel like normal time.Suzy Chase: It doesn't! How has your year been?Becky Krystal: It's been interesting like everyone else's. Our office closed very early on, actually probably before a lot of other offices so we lost access to our food lab and our kitchen and everything else all of our thousands of cookbooks in mid-March and I've been home ever since cooking in my own kitchen testing in my own kitchen. We've had lots of logistical challenges with regard to photo shoots and I was sending and driving cookies around to everyone for our holiday package and for about six months, I had my three and a half year old home with me. So it's been a year - 21.Suzy Chase: What is one of the hardest things you had to conquer cooking in your own kitchen this year? It'll make us all feel better to hear it.Becky Krystal: I think just figuring out well there's a lot, I guess, but figuring out where to put everything actually has been really challenging because I was testing recipe and I recipes and I also have my own cooking supplies. I have the food I was cooking for my family. You know, sometimes I'd have meat marinating for work and other dishes in various states of preparation and my refrigerator and my freezer were just overflowing and I knew I was going to be doing a lot of baking for cookies so I bought 50 pound bags of flour so I have these massive industrial size buckets of flour, basically still sitting in my dining room. So, uh, space is a pretty big challenge, actually.Suzy Chase: You and the Voraciously team put together your favorite cookbooks of 2020. Can you read us the intro to the article?Becky Krystal: Sure. Like all of you, we’ve been at home for most of 2020, cooking more meals in our own kitchens than we ever expected to. Many of us have turned to familiar ingredients and recipes time and time again, when we just needed to get dinner on the table or couldn’t run out to the store. Thankfully, we’ve also had cookbooks to help us get out of the rut. They introduced us to new dishes, new people and new ways to “go somewhere” without actually leaving our homes. Great cookbooks do a lot of things. They inspire us. They make us think. In 2020, our favorite books were tasty and timely, providing us with satisfying meals and food for thought about underrepresented voices and cuisines, how to make do with what you have, and more. We think you’ll find these 12 cookbooks, each selected by a staffer, just as inspiring this year — and beyond.Suzy Chase: So each cookbook was handpicked by a staff member, which I love. And you can read the whole piece over on Could you take us through the process of putting this article together this year? What was the criteria you had to work with and who was included in this?Becky Krystal: Yeah, obviously it was a pretty different year this year. Usually we're in our office and we are getting cookbooks so many in hard copies that, I mean, we're literally tripping over them. So we had to obviously shift that because there's only so much we can pile up in our own houses. So we got as many digital copies as we could. We requested hard copies when we wanted to. And it was just, I mean, we had like a Dropbox file with tons and tons of cookbooks. Basically we asked whoever sent us, can you just send us a digital copy? So all year we were looking at cookbooks, we were cooking out of them. Um, my colleagues Ann Maloney and Joe Yonan, as well as myself, would sometimes feature recipes in our columns over the year and that sort of helped us get a jumpstart on what books we were most interested in. It was just a lot of looking over books. And we had a bunch of meetings where we talked about them and what caught our eye. And we were recommending books to each other and dishes to each other. And then we just sort of looked at our most promising ones and what really spoke to us and what we made dishes out of that we liked and was sort of representative of the diversity of what was out there. And that was kind of how we came around to our list.Suzy Chase: I found it was so hard to cook out of the digital copies this year.Becky Krystal: It's really hard to get as good of a feel for a book in a PDF, which is why when we found one that we thought was especially promising, we would go ahead and ask for a copy. I mean, I still don't really like propping my Kendall or my laptop or my phone up in the kitchen to cook with. So it was really nice when I did have books that I could either cook out of, or I even take my cookbooks down to my printer and scan the recipe and then just have the sheet in front of me. So yeah, it is different both in a tactile sense and just like almost emotional sense to not have tons of books in front of you.Suzy Chase: With the pandemic and some cookbooks being postponed or some canceled all together were you able to spot any cookbook trends this year?Becky Krystal: I think once we start talking about some of these books this'll get into it, but you know, there has been more, I think, of an emphasis and interest on spotlighting cuisines and voices we might not have heard about, or as much about things that have not received the attention they obviously deserve in the publishing industry and even in food media. So we get into all the different African cuisines and In Bibi's Kitchen and obviously even the Russian cuisine and Beyond The North Wind and Korean food in My Korea so I think that's really refreshing. There was still a lot of obviously chef driven books, but like some of those books I just talked about, there's also more, I think of an interest in regular people cooking, right? You know the recipes coming from the Bibi's, the recipes coming from the home cooks in Russia, that's obviously appealing to a lot of home cooks who maybe are intimidated or even put off by these really chefy books. Pie. There was a lot of pie this year, which I think is just wonderful. I love that. So that obviously jumped out to me and bread too, especially sourdough, you know, there were books, I think that were already in the works that just happened to coincide with this uptick of people doing sourdough for the first time myself included. Um, so we had New world Sourdough by Brian Ford. We had Living Bread by Daniel Leader and Lauren Chattman. So I think those are the things that jump out at me in terms of what we could sort of spot this year.Suzy Chase: Okay. So we're going to chat about five of the cookbooks on your list. First off is your personal pick One Tin Bakes by Edd Kimber. What drew you to this cookbook?Becky Krystal: Well, it's baking book and I am a passionate baker. It's definitely my strongest suit. I love the idea that as the title says, everything is made in a 9 by 13 pan, which is not the most glamorous pan it's, you know, the brownies and the blondies and in England, they talk about the tray bakes and stuff, homier things but Edd just had so many different ideas for how to use this one piece of equipment that is inexpensive and really versatile. I mean, I looked through and I wanted to make almost everything in there, which is always a good sign. And I felt like I could, the recipes are really approachable and extremely well-written, which I think is not always the case in cookbooks. And it's not the like sexiest thing to talk about, but a well-written recipe is just absolutely priceless and it's a beautiful book to look at Edd shot all the pictures so it really draws you in. And I just, I think it's lovely. It's not huge, which I also like, because I can feel overwhelmed when I sit down with a book that's like 200 recipes, but there are 70 and you think I could make a lot of these and everything I've made has turned out really great so far.Suzy Chase: Well, baking is not my strong suit. So I loved this cookbook because it seemed super accessible. It wasn't intimidating for me at all.Becky Krystal: Yeah, no, that's, that's definitely true. I mean, they're really, really easy kind of one bowl, couple of ingredient recipes. There are ones that if you feel confident in your skills, you can tackle those. You know, there are a couple of rolled cakes or the layer cakes that sort of stand on their side. So there's a spectrum, but most of it is really approachable even for, I would say beginning bakers really.Suzy Chase: It's funny cause we were talking about the term tin and I said, you know, here in the U.S. we say the word pan and he told me the story about how he actually pitched the title one pan bakes to the publisher. And they were like, um, no, the word pan does not sound nice in the title.Becky Krystal: Yeah. Well, it's also like, it sounds a little more savory almost, you know, there's a lot of talk here people love one pan meals and stuff like that so probably if I heard that, I guess even if you said one pan bakes, but there's something more lyrical about one tin bakes. I agree.Suzy Chase: And I made my very first Dutch Baby out of this cookbook. Did you make the Dutch Baby?Becky Krystal: I did. I actually highlighted it in my regular recipe column a couple of months ago. And it was super popular. I mean, it actually is one of our most popular baking recipes of the year. It's great. I did it with berries. I even tried it with apples. It's so fun and so easy. I thought it was such a delightful recipe.Suzy Chase: I'm going to make that on Christmas morning because it's so easy and it's kind of a showstopper.Becky Krystal: Yeah. You got to get the picture right after it gets out of the oven because it does tend to start to like collapse a little bit. So get your Instagram picture right when you pull it out.Suzy Chase: That's a really good tip now too In Bibi's Kitchen by Hawa Hassan with Julia Turshen. So I think this book is a real gem of 2020, because it fills the void in the cookbook market for African cookbooks. So who chose this cookbook on your staff and why did they choose it?Becky Krystal: Yeah, this was the pick of my colleague Olga Massov who's an assignment editor with us. She is a cookbook author and co-author in her own right so she knows a good cookbook once she sees one. I mean, she just raved about this book. It's an extremely practical book because that's the type of cooking that these women do. It's a lot of pantry ingredients. It's not very long ingredient lists. There aren't a lot of expensive ingredients because often these are people just cooking at home. And even in some parts of the world where these women are from or where they live, they can't access certain ingredients. Even in some places, meat is a rarity. So it's approachable also. I mean, I keep using that word, but it's true. Obviously also with the Black Lives Matter movement, it was incredibly timely to showcase these women who are in Africa or who have immigrated to other places. It was very human, right? Cause each chapter highlighting each of the eight countries has interviews with the women. It's not like, you know, one of these glossy lifestyle books, it teaches you about the cultures. Each intro also includes facts about the countries like their economy and the religion and language geography, stuff like that. It doesn't feel clinical though. It feels like you're just learning something. And it also fights this misunderstanding that African food is all the same. It gets lumped together a lot. And there are obviously differences and each of these countries deserves to be looked at on its own as opposed to, I mean, a massive continent, right? I mean, you would never dream of saying, Oh, European food, but that's what happens with African food.Suzy Chase: Totally. That was my biggest takeaway. Just the diversity of the food on the continent. And it's not a country. Like people think it's a country. It's not.Becky Krystal: I mean, how many more people are in Africa then all the other countries and other places combined I mean, it's unfortunate that it gets lumped together. And I think we all need to do better about making sure we highlight these different cultures and recipesSuzy Chase: Now to My Korea by Hooni Kim.Becky Krystal: Yeah. My Korea was actually the pick of our restaurant critic, Tom Sietsema. It's funny because Tom loves doing stuff like this because he is always, well, I was going to say dining out, he's doing mostly takeout these days. So he loves being able to dive into a book that he can cook at home. And he went shopping at H Mart and got ingredients. And he loved the fact that this is such a great book for people to get a better idea of Korean food. You know, it's not quite the same as Africa, but a lot of us, we think, okay, Korean barbecue, maybe some kimchi, whatever. And there's so much more to this cuisine. And it's just a beautiful book to, you know, Tom, it's a very visceral book. When you look at the photos, there are lots of little things you can start adding to your pantry to add flavors like, you know, the goguchang and the chili flakes and dried anchovies. And a lot of this frankly, is very appealing to me right now in this winter weather, you know, he's got stews and short ribs and dashi. I actually talked to him when I, we ran his bulgogi recipe in conjunction with the story and he said, I wanted to write a book to introduce people to Korean food and I think he succeeded incredibly well.Suzy Chase: I had him on the podcast in late April when we were like the epicenter of the pandemic. And it was a really hard time for him, but he was so smart because he pivoted with his two restaurants to do meal kits and my family and I have gotten his meal kit about almost every week. It has gotten us through this pandemic. It's so good and it's so much food!Becky Krystal: It's also really smart because especially now when so many of us are not doing a lot of grocery shopping, not everything is going to be available when you take your one little trip to the grocery store so if he's helping people get access to these ingredients and dishes, they might not otherwise be able to do in their streamlined kind of shopping then yeah that's a really great idea.Suzy Chase: This is my favorite kind of cookbook because it tells his personal story and then weaves in the recipes.Becky Krystal: Yeah, no, that's really refreshing. I mean, if you want someone to commit to reading and cooking out of your cookbook, I think there has to be some kind of relationship with the reader. I think at least I personally enjoy that voice of the author and learning something about them and why this matters to them. I think it makes you want to invest in it more too.Suzy Chase: We love Hooni.Becky Krystal: Yeah. He's, he's great. I learned a lot from him just inspeaking to him, you know, about his, his recipes.Suzy Chase: Totally, I had him on again in September because I wanted to get an update and he's just so wonderful to chat with.Becky Krystal: Yea he is.Suzy Chase: So next is Beyond The North Wind by Darra Goldstein.Speaker 2: Yeah. This was the pick of Tim Carman who's one of my fellow staff writers. It's such a beautiful book to look at and to read. And like I said, there is a lot that I think people don't know about Russian cuisine and like some of the other books too, the recipes often don't have a ton of ingredients they're usually pretty accessible. You know, not a ton of us around here have access to buckthorn, which is like one of her favorite things to call for but she makes a point of saying like, okay, if you don't have like the horseradish leaves or currant leaves it'll be okay. And one of the things Tim pointed out and something that she sort of alludes to in the book is that, you know, how long, like Rene Redzepi has been teaching everyone about fermenting and foraging and stuff and that sort of caught our attention. People in these places in Russia have been doing stuff like this for a long time, fermenting things and kombucha and all this stuff and I think that's probably not something many people know about and you know, it's just the classic making do with what you have nd that's what these people have been doing for hundreds of years, especially in these places that are very far North.Suzy Chase: My two takeaways from this cookbook, um, were Russians love the taste of sour and they also love honey. I made her honey cake.Becky Krystal: Yeah. Honey cake is also think maybe having a little bit of a moment, you know, there was the Baking At The 20th Century Cafe book, which also had like a really famous honey cake recipe. I mean, I think that's incredibly timely. They've been doing honey using honey for, you know, hundreds of years. And, and I get questions from readers who don't want to use refined sugar and I feel like I should just refer them to a lot of the recipes in here because before they had access to the beet sugar and stuff, they were cooking with honey and it's trendy for some people, but not for these people who it's their tradition.Suzy Chase: This cookbook is almost like a trip to Russia. Her photos are extraordinary.Becky Krystal: Yeah. Actually I was reading it last night and it was called and I was under my blankets and I felt like this feels very appropriate and I could almost see, you know, the Northern lights and the snow. And you know, it's the same with My Korea also and In Bibi's Kitchen, I mean the photography itself also is really important to setting the mood and helping you feel like you're really going somewhereSuzy Chase: The last cookbook we're going to chat about as Modern Comfort Food. I mean, God love Ina for pushing up this publication of the cookbooks so we could all have it mid pandemic.Becky Krystal: So Modern Comfort Food was the pick of Mary Beth Albright, who is our food video guru. And I mean, it's delivers on what it promises, right? It's nothing in the right way. It's nothing that you're like, Oh, I've never heard of that. Right. I mean, she says, she likes to find the things that appeal to us and puts her twist on them. So yeah, tomato soup and grilled cheese. She's got a shrimp and linguine fra diavolo. She uses that same spicy sauce to do the spaghetti squash bake, which I've really been wanting to do since I have one from my farm box, it's friendly and it's not intimidating. And I think for those people who are turned off by extremely novel things or people who are just devotees of Ina, they're not going to be disappointed in this book.Suzy Chase: She's just so real. Like in the cookbook, she wrote about the evolution of a recipe with her Boston Cream Pie that she'd been trying to perfect for years. And I was like, you know, she didn't have to tell us that she's been like struggling to perfect this for years. So I was so thrilled to read that story, how she was chatting with Christina Tosi and she suggested something like a syrupy glaze that you brush on the cake to give it lots of flavor and it also keeps it moist. And so I love that story and how real Ina is.Becky Krystal: Yeah. I mean, we've all been there. Like, there's just this thing that's bugging us and we're trying to master a recipe. And so yeah, I found that very relatable and I found the idea of an orange scented cake and pastry cream in Boston Cream Pie, just, I mean, yeah, 10 out of 10 we'll eat.Suzy Chase: So I had on Trent Pheifer and he has his Instagram and blog called Store Bought Is Fine and he's cooking his way through all of Ina's recipes. Are you familiar with him?Becky Krystal: I am not actually. I think I need to, I know but yeah, it's like he's pulling a Julie & Julia thing, but with Ina which sounds really fun.Suzy Chase: Exactly. Oh my gosh, you have to follow him on Instagram. He's amazing. And he was so much fun to talk with. So what are you looking forward to eating in the new year and what cookbooks are you looking forward to in 2021?Becky Krystal: I am looking forward to eating anything that I don't cook. Um, I've been doing, you know, we've been doing takeout, but, uh, I definitely miss eating what my colleagues make for me. Um, I sometimes will get things that they drop off or if I take home from a photo shoot, but I definitely miss that. And yeah, sitting in a restaurant meal, definitely. Cookbooks. Obviously my list is a little baking heavy because I love baking. Uh, so the things that jump out to me there, Roxanna Jullapat who contributed one of the cookies to our holiday cookie issues has a book called Mother Grains coming out. A lot of whole grains. We previewed a recipe from there, with Linzer cookies that are made with corn flour and we're really excited about that one. The Cookie Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, who I know you've talked to I think. I mean, of course that's going to be good. Zoë Bakes Cakes by Zoë François who is someone who I absolutely adore. She's great on Instagram and I swear by her. Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day that she's done with Jeffrey Hertzberg, To Asia With Love by Hetty McKinnon, who also contributed a cookie to our package. She's great. I mean, she's one of those people who also seems to be always churning out books and recipes, and they're all interesting I mean, I just, and people are always making her recipes. I'm really excited about that one. Life Is What You Bake It by Vallery Lomas who is also really fun baker and she was a previous winner of The Great American Baking Show. Got a shout out to Dorie Greenspan who I know, and also just absolutely adore Baking With Dorie Sweet Salty & Simple, sort of more on the savory side. Julia Turshen who we talked about with In Bibi's Kitchen and she has a book coming out Simply Julia 110 Easy Recipes For Healthy Comfort Food. And then one of my other favorite people, Patty Jinich has another book coming out, Patty Jinich Treasures Of The Mexican Table Classic Recipes Local Secrets. I think that also has the potential to do a lot of what we've talked about with these other books in terms of introducing people to different ideas and sort of more home cooking. So those are some of the things I'm really jazzed about for 2021.Suzy Chase: For me, in 2021, I'm looking forward to eating a chef cooked meal inside a restaurant, not on the street or take out and I'm eagerly awaiting Water, Wood, and Wild Things, Learning Craft and Cultivation in a Japanese Mountain town by Hannah Kirshner. I can not wait for that. So head on over to to check out all 12 of their favorite cookbooks of 2020, and thanks so much, Becky for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast.Becky Krystal: Thanks Suzy. Let's do it again next year!Outro: Subscribe over on and thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    How To Eat Your Christmas Tree | Julia Georgallis

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 14, 2020

    How To Eat Your Christmas Tree: Delicious, Innovative Recipes for Cooking with TreesBy Julia Georgallis Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase, he's just a home cook in New York City sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.Julia Georgallis: I'm Julia Georgallis and I'm the author of How To Eat Your Christmas Tree cookbook.Suzy Chase: There is this BBC One documentary that was released in 2017, I believe, called Judi Dench. My Passion For Trees, and I saw an excerpt and she has such reverence for trees. It's so easy to take trees for granted, but Dame Judy discusses how she touches her trees she talks to her trees, she loves her trees on her six acre property. Her lifelong fascination with trees started when she was little. When did you get interested in trees?Julia Georgallis: I've always been really interested in nature and I've always really loved plants and taking care of plants and I'm also really interested in edible plants like foraging and keeping herbs. So I recently moved back home with my mum in September and I brought with me a sourdough starter. I brought with me my kombucha, and then I brought about 20 plants home with me. So it really started in a big way when I left home, but it's kind of just got progressively more and more as I've gotten older, really.Suzy Chase: First when I saw the title of this cookbook. I was like, what? But then after I started reading it, you made me think about things I've never thought of, like 40 million trees are cut down per year at Christmas time. That is an astounding number and I've never looked at it as wasteful. Can you talk a little bit about that?Julia Georgallis: I think it's not just about Christmas trees. I think we do kind of waste a lot of things, especially around Christmas. Christmas is a particularly wasteful time of year. And this book is it's, you know, obviously the title is How To Eat Your Christmas Tree so it's very much about Christmas trees, but it's also about thinking about how we waste things in general and how we could reuse things and look at things in a different ways, including the plants that we keep and the food that we eat.Suzy Chase: I'd love some tips on how to have a more sustainable Christmas.Julia Georgallis: There's actually quite a lot of things you can do. And funnily enough, when I started this project in 2015, having a sustainable Christmas, wasn't really something that people were really discussing, but now there are so many things you can do. So for example, you could cut down on your meat intake. I'm not saying that you forego the Turkey completely, if you really, really want to eat Turkey on Christmas day, fine, but you know have you ever thought about maybe not eating so much meat in the run-up till Christmas? There's also things like ditching Christmas wrap and maybe not sending Christmas cards, which maybe people don't really do anymore anyway, but those things really, really are quite wasteful. I've also got a recipe in my book for edible Christmas decorations because Christmas tree decorations are so, so wasteful, including Christmas tree lights they're really, really unsustainable, just the way they're made and also the fact that they run on quite a lot of energy. There's quite a few little things that you can do to make your Christmas a little bit more sustainable overall.Suzy Chase: So what's one edible Christmas tree decoration we could do. Off the top of your head.Julia Georgallis: Well, you could do things like gingerbread cookies cause they obviously they keep for a long time so they would, they would last really nicely on your tree. But then in the book I've also got some edible Christmas tree decorations, which can also be eaten by birds if you want to have your tree outdoors, if you have the room or if you have a garden and those are basically seed balls. So you could make seed balls, energy balls, that kind of stuff.Suzy Chase: Can you talk a bit about how cultures around the world see evergreens?Julia Georgallis: Yeah. So this is something that I really enjoyed writing about actually in the How To Eat Your Christmas Tree book, because I haven't just focused on the kind of standard Western Christmas trees like pine, fir and spruce. And I've also looked at things like bamboo, which is very, very surprising to a lot of people because in the East, in Korea and Japan in China, the pine, the plum and the bamboo are kind of known as the three friends of winter and these three plants are seen in a very similar way to how we see pine, fir, and spruce. So they're symbols of longevity, they're really plucky, they're really hardy plants and then also I've written a lot about Juniper, which is a cousin of, of pine and the fir and the spruce and that again is quite a plucky plant. And then there's also the olive, which I refer to as the OG Christmas tree, because the Romans and the Greeks used to decorate their houses around winter time with olive branches, because olives are also symbols of everlasting life.Suzy Chase: Can you describe the flavor profiles of fir, spruce and pine?Julia Georgallis: Oh, uh they're delicious. So I'll start with spruce because that's my favorite tree to eat. So it's, it's really kind of in a way of vanilla-y and I actually recently discovered because I was always a bit baffled as to why my spruce ice cream tasted of vanilla and I actually recently found out that kind of artificially produced vanilla used to have notes of spruce in it as well. So that's the kind of flavor profile that we're dealing with with spruce. And then fir is a little bit more zesty it's a bit more grassy and pine is much, much more delicate than the other two. So pine is, it's very delicate it's quite woody.Suzy Chase: Ya know, it's funny because when I think of pine as a flavor, I think of Pine-Sol the cleaner, do you guys have Pine-Sol?Julia Georgallis: Yeah. And that's the thing that people really think about because they, they always associate pine with like the Christmas tree shaped car smell things that you put on your dashboard.Suzy Chase: And it's such an invasive smell! So it was interesting that you said that pine is a little softer.Julia Georgallis Yeah. Pine is the softest out of the three, like when you boil up the needles, because initially when we first started this project, that was the first thing that I did I boiled up the needles to see what they tasted like and pine doesn't really taste of much when you boil it up, unless you add kind of other things to it. But yeah, I was surprised as well, really.Suzy Chase: So I guess the pine smell is made up.Julia Georgallis: It does smell quite different to how it tastes. And I don't know why, because in a forest it kind of smells a lot more expansive, you know.Suzy Chase: Can we tell if a tree is poisonous to eat?Julia Georgallis: No you can't, but yew's which kind of look a little bit like pines are poisonous so just make sure you're not eating a yew tree. And the other thing is a lot of people will buy trees that haven't been grown in an environment, which means that you can eat them. So quite a lot of trees are sprayed with things, with paint, with all kinds of chemicals so just make sure that if you are buying your tree and you plan to eat it, that you buy it from somewhere that sells organic and nicely treated trees.Suzy Chase: Can you talk about page 126 for a minute, about how we do seek out an edible Christmas tree?Julia Georgallis: Buying an edible Christmas tree it's a little bit like how you are encouraged to buy your food you know, it's like buying an organic Apple for example, or, or something that's been grown in a nice way without lots of pesticides. So in my book, I do have a little section in the back as to where you can buy edible Christmas trees around the world. In the States, you can buy your Christmas trees from the National Christmas Tree Association There's different organizations around the world which are doing really nice things with buying edible Christmas trees. So in Portugal, you can rent your trees from the country's fire service. And they're all kind of nicely grown trees, which I thought was really lovely.Suzy Chase: So you can rent your tree in Portugal?Julia Georgallis: You can rent your tree yeah and you can. You can rent it. They are nicely grown in forests. And then once you're done with it, then the fire service will come and take it away for you dispose of it nicely.Suzy Chase: Then cue the post-Christmas world, where as you put it, it's nothing like the pre-Christmas world everything is glum we're fatter we're poorer, and we're still a bit hung over. We must repent for all the fun we've had and to top it off the mass, throwing away of millions of little trees, commences. What are the five ways to recycle our Christmas tree?Julia Georgallis: So the five ways to reuse your Christmas tree, you can recycle it if you contact your council and check with them, how it's best to recycle your tree. You can also contact your nearest Christmas tree farm for example. Make friends with your local Christmas tree farmer. Where I buy my Christmas trees from to eat they turn their Christmas trees into kind of like horse jumps and all kinds of things, which is quite nice. You can donate your tree to a local zoo or a safari park or any park in your area. I mean, I think the really nice thing to do with your tree is to, if you can, repot it and replant it, and then you can have a tree for next year, it's, it's almost like you're growing a tree that will kind of live alongside you. You can also dry the branches and use them as decorations or make a dried wreath for next year or I would really love to see more people talking to their local florists and see if the florists can do something with some nice pieces of pine and fir and spruce.Suzy Chase: Christmas tree vinegar is by far the easiest way to reuse your tree. Can you describe this recipe? That's on page 45 and this also makes a great gift.Julia Georgallis: Oh yeah. I love this recipe. It is super, super easy. So all you need is a couple of large kilner jars or a mason jar. You will also need about two liters of good quality side of vinegar and roughly 200 grams of fir, pine or spruce and you'll take the needles from your, fir, pine or spruce you will sterilize your glass jar, and then once your glass jar is sterilizing, you'll prepare and finely chop the needles. So there's also a little section in the beginning of my book for how to prepare the needles properly, but it's really easy you basically just snip them off the brunch. And then once your glass jar is sterilized you'll pour the vinegar into large sauce pan heat over a medium heat until it's warm, but not, not quite boiling and then add all the chopped needles to the jar and pour the vinegar over that. Once that's all in the jar, you'll tightly seal your jar and leave it to infuse for at least two weeks, but you can infuse it for up to three months. And so obviously if you leave it for three months, it will be stronger. And you'll kind of know when your vinegars infused because all the needles sink slowly to the bottom of the jar. So once it's infused, you'll use a fine sieve to strain out all the needles and pour the strained vinegar into a new sterilized jar. And then once you've actually made this infused vinegar, it lasts for ages. It can last until next Christmas. So you could potentially make all your vinegar in January for next Christmas and I think that's a lovely, lovely, festive gift.Suzy Chase: Ash is used in cooking all over the world. As home cooks how can we use it?Julia Georgallis: It's much easier to use ash than even I actually thought it was. You basically char your branches. I mean, in this case, Christmas trees, but I guess you could use other types of tree as well. So you put your branches inside your oven, turn your oven up until your branches turned black, essentially. And then you blitz your branches with a hand whisk and then you have ash to use in delicious ways. I've got some recipes in my book for the Burnt Ash Cauliflower, there's Ash Baked Vegetables, Ash Honey Glaze, which I really, really love that's really, really simple to use and you can use that on meat or fish or vegetables, or even pastries actually. You can kind of do lots of different things with it and it gives this really lovely, smoky, quite expansive flavor. You can really taste the kind of pine and the spruce and the fir in the ash. Yea ash is much easier to cook with than I even imagined, to be honest with you.Suzy Chase: So you wrote in the scent of pine essay, which I love by the way you wrote "On a metaphysical level, the forest humbles us, gives us perspective and sparks creativity, making appearances in every creative pursuit of man poems, literature, folklore, religion, and belief systems, art, music, and dance as a place of magic and deep contemplation and an enabler of ritual." What is the most powerful magic that trees have?Julia Georgallis: Yeah, it's the smell, isn't it? It's the smell of a forest. The fact that it can transport you backwards in time and that's quite powerful, isn't it? I suppose, because there's so many different memories that, that sparks for me anyway. And I think for a lot of people, you know, what I really love about my own memories of pine is that they're at different parts of my life and they're in all parts of the world. And they're also at all times of year, like pine forest in the summer in Sweden, you know? And so it's this lovely kind of amalgamation of all different, lovely memories. It's great.Suzy Chase: Pine for me kind of evokes kind of like a romantic loneliness. I grew up in Kansas and it's flat and to me, the flatness is super comforting but then when I get into a forest, it hits me as very lonely. Isn't that weird?Julia Georgallis: Yeah you know, that's the opposite of what I think of them as. You know my first memory of pine is we have some land in Cyprus where my family are from, and my first memory of pine is going and sitting under the pines in the summer and everyone goes and sort of drinks their coffee and plays cards and things and it's kind of very sociable. And, you know, I imagine kind of pine forest by the sea in Sweden, where everyone's kind of running around and going to the beach. So it's kind of the opposite of your memories actually, which is really nice,Suzy Chase: But mine is kind of like a romantic loneliness.Julia Georgallis: Yea like a comforting loneliness.Suzy Chase: I made your recipe for Pine Nut and Chocolate Brownies on page 94. Can you describe this recipe?Julia Georgallis: That's a funny recipe actually, because I think a lot of people don't put two and two together that pine nuts are from a Christmas tree.Suzy Chase: I know! Last night my husband and I were talking about it I said, Bob, have you ever made the connection of pine nuts to pine trees? And I thought, he'd be like, yeah, it doesn't everyone. And he was like, no.Julia Georgallis: No one does. it's so funny. That's why I love this recipe so much because it kind of draws people attention to the fact that Christmas tree is a part of our lives all year round. But this, I mean, I love this recipe it's based on an Italian dessert called, Torta al cioccolato con pignoli. And I love the fact that the combination of the oils in pine nut kind of make this brownie really, really fudgy and very creamy because pine nuts are quite creamy, so super easy to make. So you just need kind of a lovely dark chocolate, and handful of pine nuts. And you end up with this really gooey brownie. It's great.Suzy Chase: Now for my segment called Last Night's Dinner, where I ask you what you had last night for dinner.Julia Georgallis: Oh, so last night, well, I'll start with what I had for lunch because it feeds into last night's dinner, but I had a plate of mussels for lunch in butter and garlic and coriander. And I kept the kind of juice from the muscles that I made for lunch, and I warmed up some rice in it so it was kind of like fishy and garlicky rice and then I made a kind of soy sauce formula with spring onions, chop that up put that in the rice and use half an avocado and lemon and a little bit of sesame oil. So I had egg fried rice basically with some leftovers.Suzy Chase: Yum. That sounds amazing. Where can we find you on the web and social media?Julia Georgallis: So you can find information about my work on And I'm also on Instagram, which is @JuliaGeorgallis. I am actually launching a new project for all of my food research to sit on. And that's also on Instagram, it's called @TheEdibleArchive so it's and that will be launching in January.Suzy Chase: Well, this has been eye opening. Thanks Julia, for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast and Merry Christmas to you.Julia Georgallis: Merry Christmas, Suzy. Thank you so much for inviting. I really, really like your podcast.Outro: Subscribe over on and thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    The New Rules of Cheese | Anne Saxelby

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 11, 2020

    The New Rules of Cheese: A Freewheeling and Informative GuideBy Anne Saxelby Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York city sitting at her dining room table talking to cookbook authors.Anne Saxelby: So my name is Anne Saxelby of Saxelby Cheesemongers and I just wrote a book called The New Rules of Cheese, A Freewheeling and Informative Guide that was published by Ten Speed Press.Suzy Chase: Saxelby Cheesemongers is New York City's first all American cheese shop. Daniel Boulud called you the most sophisticated boutique fromagerie or cheesemonger in the United States. Tell me about the American artisan cheese revolution.Anne Saxelby: So the American artisan cheese revolution really started in the seventies with a bunch of really talented enterprising women making goat cheese. There was Laura Chenel in California, Mary Keen, also in California of Cypress Grove Laney Fondiller and Allison Hooper in Vermont and Judy Schad of Capriole Dairy in Indiana. And if I forgot anybody, I'm so sorry, but there were these group of goat ladies, basically, as they would affectionately call themselves and they started making fresh goat cheese which at the time was a very new and novel and probably bizarre thing for people to see in the grocery store and on menus at restaurants, but it was kind of the back to the land movement and also just synchronized nicely with some different things that were going on with fine dining in America. There were some French chefs kind of up and coming and not finding the ingredients that they needed for certain dishes and fresh chevre certainly fit right into that role. So these women started kind of creating these boutique small-scale creameries and really kind of ushered in the whole artisan cheese revolution. Following them in the eighties and nineties, there was a whole wave of different small-scale producers, mostly centered in Vermont and California, a little bit scattered throughout the Midwest, but it seems like the East and West coast were really kind of the first seed beds I would say of the artisan cheese revolution and it's just kind of continued to grow kind of like a mushroom and like an inexplicable, but like awesome way where now there are thousands of different artists and cheese makers across the country in every state making really amazing cow, goat, sheep, even sometimes water buffalo cheeses. And so any kind of Italian mozzarella that's the real deal is made from water buffalo milk, but there, there was a herd of water buffalo in Vermont, and I know that there is still one or two herds of dairy water buffalo in the United States. I think there's one in New Jersey now actually it's called Riverine Ranch and water buffalo milk is just awesome. I think it's very rich and fatty and great makes really flavorful cheese, but I've heard that the water buffalo are a little bit trickier to raise, especially in the colder climates where, where we live. I think they like the warmer environment a little bit betterSuzy Chase: I thought you were going to say well they're all over Paducah or something.Anne Saxelby: I wish.Suzy Chase: So I'd love to hear about your relationship with cheesemakers.Anne Saxelby: I feel like that combined with my love of eating this delicious stuff are the two biggest reasons why I'm in this business. I went to art school in New York City. I went to NYU and studied painting and drawing as an undergrad and when I graduated, I kind of wasn't feeling the art world in a big way. I felt like there was a little bit too much pretense, you know, it was like a highfalutin kind of exclusive club, you know? And I was like, ah, I don't know if I really belong here, but I had no job prospects and so I asked Cato Corner Farm at the green market if I could come and have an internship with them and they were like, yeah, but not until the fall. I had to kind of wait for a little bit to have that opportunity but once I got there, I was just like oh my gosh, I fell in love with not only the cheese making process, but the cheese makers, you know, Mark and Liz who owned Cato Corner. Mark was a former English teacher. Liz was a former social worker and they just wanted to find a way to make a living, having a small farm and making artisan product and cheese was a way for them to do that. And I feel like most of the cheesemakers that we work with have similar stories. She's making this kind of the second career one that was just born out of like a love for art, for food, for community, for sustainable agriculture so I feel like the people to me are just as interesting as the cheeses they make. Having those relationships, those close relationships with our producers is a big motivating part of what makes having Saxelby Cheesemongers so fun.Suzy Chase: At Cato Corner, you wrote in the book, that's where you realize that cheese making was a lot like art.Anne Saxelby: Yes, cheese making is a lot like making art, except it's not quite as, I guess neither one is quite as romantic as people kind of imagine cause if you're really doing something day in and day out every day, you know, it's really hard work but for me, the thing about cheesemaking was that starting with a blank canvas and winding up with a painting or starting with raw milk and ending up with a wheel of cheese was a very similar process. You had to have a good technique and be consistent and apply all of your skills only with cheese. There was no room for BS, which was the thing that kind of bothered me about the art world, because I feel like a lot of contemporary art, you can look at it and you're like, huh, I don't know it looks like a banana duct tape to a wall to me. I don't know if that's really, that's really art or not.Suzy Chase: Or it's like I could have done that.Anne Saxelby: Yeah, exactly.Anne Saxelby: You know, and I was like, is it brilliant Or are you just pulling the wool over on us, but with cheese that doesn't happen. You know, if you don't follow all the steps, if you don't apply this real rigor, that's both science and art you're not going to end up with something delicious. And so there was something about that kind of authenticity of cheesemaking that really spoke to me. I was like, okay, here's this edible art form and it makes people happy so it's just kind of a, win-win win.Suzy Chase: Murray's, Citarella and Whole Foods has enormous cheese cases from cheese from around the world. But I love that you're focused on building a small case featuring American cheese. Can you talk a little bit about that?Anne Saxelby: Sure. So before I opened my shop, I actually went to Europe for a little while to learn more about cheesemaking and wine making. I figured it was kind of like my last to like travel and learn all this stuff before I hunkered down and started my own business. But I also felt like it was important to just learn as much of the background of not only the making of these products, but kind of the selling and aging and, and all of that. So when I was traveling in France and Italy, I was kind of spying on different businesses of all types and trying to take inspiration from ones that I thought were doing things well. And when I was in France, the thing that really inspired me about all the cheese shops, there was their kind of laser focus and attention to detail and a cheese shop in France you're not going to find anything other than cheese. I feel like if you go to a cheese shop in the States, you know, it's usually a little bit of cheese, charcuterie, crackers, olive oil, vinegar, chocolate, all these kinds of other gourmet kind of specialty items. And then also oftentimes also a lot of prepared foods, whether it's sandwiches or salads or things like that. And it's a cultural thing. And there's a reason that laser-focused cheese shops work in France because people have this kind of built in appreciation that's just in their blood, literally through the millennia but that kind of simplicity of just focusing intensely on, on one idea, I found really like exciting and something that I wanted to emulate. So when I opened my own business, I really wanted to just focus in on cheese in particular. And then because of the tiny, tiny little space I found to open my first store, which was on the Lower East Side in Essex Market I literally had a hundred square feet and half of it was a refrigerator and I was like, all right, well, I literally have three feet of cheese case to merchandise cheese and so I'm going to take a gamble and just work with the American artisans that I love and see what comes of it. And luckily people have been into it.Suzy Chase: So your cheese case dictated what you were going to have?Anne Saxelby: Yeah. So I was thinking about the store and I always wanted to have a focus on American, but then once I saw the actual size, I was like, well, you know what, I'm going to do all American because there's not room to do anything else there because that's what I really want to do anyway. So let's, let's just go for it.Suzy Chase: So now you're at Chelsea Market downstairs and cheese has become the lens through which you see the world where you share what you know, and help others, now to help us you kicked off this book with the rules, for the cheese counter of which you have 12 talk a little bit about these rules and why we need them.Anne Saxelby: I was just trying to kind of demystify the cheese shopping process because I feel like shopping for cheese, if you're not like already a cheese nerd can seem a little intimidating so that's really what I wanted to get at with the first 12 rules, like support your local cheese shop. I think it's so important for people to kind of seek out a small independent retailer, if they're lucky enough to have one in their area or a farmer's market, just because those are the people who are super passionate, who are really going to be knowing the details behind the products that they're selling and supporting small business I feel like now more than ever is just so important. And then I talk about learning what the five basic styles of cheese are because when you go to a cheese counter and you see a hundred or 200 or however many different kinds of cheese, you're like, oh my God, how could I ever choose? But all cheese basically fits into like five basic categories, which are fresh, bloomy rind, natural rind, washed rind, and blue. And if you can kind of just know those basic types, you can start to identify what you like a lot easier.Suzy Chase: So I bought the five styles of cheese last weekend at your shop and okay, so number one was fresh and I got the Narragansett Mozzarella. What's fresh?Anne Saxelby: So fresh cheeses to me are cheeses that don't have a rind they're very young, they're very simple to make and they tend to be really mild in flavor. So mozzarella, fresh goat, cheese, ricotta, queso blanco, queso fresco, those to me are fresh cheeses, and they're great to start a cheese plate with because they're really light and mellow, and then you can kind of progress towards stronger flavors. They're also great to cook with. So they're great to have around because if you're using them on a cheese plate, great, but you can also put them in a salad or on a pizza or in an omelet. And so it's a really nice thing to have in your kitchen.Suzy Chase: The next is bloomy rind and I got the Kunik, is that how you pronounce it? Mini?Anne Saxelby: Yes, the dream boat bloomy rind cheese. So bloomy rind cheeses to me are cheeses that have a rind that looks like brie. So they're kind of covered by like a white fuzzy mold. And they're called bloomy rind because this white fuzzy mold literally blooms on the outside of the cheese as it ages and forms this beautiful and kind of protective rind around the cheese. So these cheeses tend to be a little bit softer, a little bit gooier, more buttery and can have kind of a mushroom flavor as well due to that bloom on the rind and the Kunik is one of my all time favorites. It's a triple cream goat, cow blend. I always tell customers behind the counter, it's kind of as close as you can get to eating goat milk ice cream without actually going there.Suzy Chase: The next one I got was natural rind, and that was the Jersey Girl Woodcock Farm.Speaker 3: And I feel like the category natural rind is cheating a little bit, cause it's lumping like so many different kinds of cheese into one group. But to me, a natural rind cheese is anything like the Jersey Girl that has kind of a natural from earthy crust or rind on the outside and that rind forms in the cave, they don't do anything special to the cheeses as it's aging to kind of influence the bacteria and the mold one way or another. They might brush the cheese and flip the cheese as it's aging, but these natural rind cheeses, they tend to be a little bit more aged maybe between, I would say like three and gosh, upwards of like two years old and they can have more intense flavors like that Jersey Girl that you got is like buttery and a little bit sharp and also kind of just earthy and beautiful and I think it's nice to have one of those on a cheese plate that's just a little bit more rustic, a little bit more aged, a little bit more intense.Suzy Chase: The next one I got was a washed rind, the Lazy Lady Farm Two Lips.Anne Saxelby: Yeah. Two Lips from Lazy Lady. So that actually, I don't know if you saw the goat on the label, but Lazy Lady is probably one of our most politically active cheese makers. She says one goat, one vote when we were talking about the election, she was talking about marching, her goats actually down to her local polling place, which would have been amazing if she actually did it. So it's a washed rind cheese, it's washed with a salt brine as it ages and so what that washing process does is that it encourages this kind of reddish orange bacteria to form on the rind and that's what gives washed rind cheeses their signature, pungent smell and pungent quality. And so washed rind cheeses tend to be pungent intense and it's always lovely to have something that's like a little bit funky to push the boundaries.Suzy Chase: The last one is blue and I got the Bayley Hazen Blue from Jasper Hill Farm.Anne Saxelby: Oh yeah. Bailey Hazan is such a classic. That's like my go-to blue whenever I need something to snack on the, at the cave or at the shop. And so blue cheeses are very easy to recognize, of course, because they've got those beautiful blue veins running through them. The mold is not injected into the cheese as many people think, but it's actually activated by oxygen. So this blue mold is put into the milk during the cheese-making process and then about a week or so after the wheels of cheese are made, the cheese maker will come and poke holes in the wheel and anywhere they poke a hole, a vein of blue will grow. And if they're extra kind of like nooks and crannies and the interior of the cheese that oxygen will find its way all in and the mold will kind of spread all throughout the middle of the cheese. And so an important thing to know about blue cheese is that they're not all created equal. Some blue cheeses are super strong and super intense and other blue cheeses are like very creamy and mild and just really kind of luscious and decadent like there's Gorgonzola Cremificato, which is a great Italian blue that's very mild and sweet and there's Cambozola, which has literally combination of Camembert and Gorgonzola and that's another very mild blue. So even if people think they're afraid of blue, I would recommend that they try some just to see, cause there's kind of a full spectrum of delicious flavor to discover there.Suzy Chase: Okay. To eat the rind or not eat the rind. That is the question.Anne Saxelby: Oh, for me, I always eat the rind. Well, unless it's wax cloth or bark, I always try it. Unless it is those three things, it is edible. It's just up to you whether or not you like the taste. So soft cheeses like Kunik, I would not miss that rind for anything. Firmer cheeses like Jersey Girl, I might nibble a little bit of the rind, but maybe it's going to be a little bit earthy and a little bit intense, but I always do try it cause I feel like it can sometimes add really delicious flavors.Suzy Chase: So I guess for the holidays, if we want to make kind of a basic cheeseboard, we should do the five basic styles of cheese?Anne Saxelby: I think that's a great place to start. Yeah. Because then you can get all of kind of these different textures, styles, flavors represented, and it's going to really give you a whole nice spectrum of cheeses and flavors to work with.Suzy Chase: So quickly tell us about your theme to cheese boards. I love this.Anne Saxelby: I was just saying there are a million different ways that you could take it when you're making a cheeseboard, like choose a country you can do an Italian, a French, a Spanish or an all American, or if you wanted to get more specific, you could even do an all Vermont or all Wisconsin or all California cheese plate. You can also do like a tour of the barnyard and pick different cheeses from all the different milk sources. You could also be really silly and do like an 80's theme cheese plate include some, I don't know, weird cheese in a can or no, I wouldn't really do that, but you know what I mean?Suzy Chase: A cheese ball!Anne Saxelby: Yeah, exactly. A cheese ball covered with nuts but I mean, there are a million different ways you could take it and I feel like that's what makes eating cheese fu.Suzy Chase: Okay. So you wrote in the book, cheddar is a noun and a verb.Anne Saxelby: That is true. So cheddar is a style of cheese, but it is also what is done to the curds during the cheese-making process that makes cheddar unique from all other cheeses.Suzy Chase: Now to my segment called Last Night's Dinner where I asked you what you had last night for dinner.Anne Saxelby: Oh my gosh strangely it involves zero dairy. That is very unusual. Actually, so I sell cheese, my husband sells meat, so we're, we've got a pretty like dairy and meat, protein, heavy diet going on. But last night we had shrimp tacos actually.Suzy Chase: Oh, did you make them?Anne Saxelby: I did. Yeah. I feel like during the pandemic we discovered the frozen food section of the supermarket more than we ever had before. And so now I always keep frozen shrimp and my freezer and frozen dumplings because those are great in a pinch. And so yeah I just did the shrimp real quick with some, with some garlic and lemon and you know, cooked some beans and made some pickled red onions and we just threw it all together.Suzy Chase: Where can we find you on the web, social media and in New York City?Anne Saxelby: So on the web and we do sell copies of the book online. I will sign the books and send them out if you order them from our website and we also ship cheese nationwide. On Instagram and Twitter, we're at Saxelby Cheese. And in the real world, we are in the Chelsea Market, which is on 9th Avenue, kind of between 9th and 10th Avenue, between 15th and 16th Streets it's a great market.Suzy Chase: You can find me there downstairs too!! It's my favorite place. I'm telling you this book is a wonderful holiday gift that everyone has to get. And thank you Anne so much for coming on Cookery by the Book Podcast.Anne Saxelby: Thank you so much for having me. It was such a pleasure.Outro: Subscribe over on And thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    Snacky Tunes | Darin Bresnitz

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 6, 2020

    Snacky Tunes: Music is the Main IngredientBy Darin and Greg Bresnitz with Khuong Phan Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.Darin Bresnitz: Hello, I'm Darin Bresnitz. I'm the cohost and coauthor of Snacky Tunes: Music is the Main Ingredient, which is our new book that I did with my brother, Greg and our business partner Khuong Phan. Now it is a perfect gift for the holidays. And if you have kids, you will look like the coolest parent in the room.Suzy Chase: Darin, I've known you, I think since like 2004 or five, when you used to play squash on and off with my husband, Bob, and now you're married and expecting your second child. I can't believe it. Time flies.Darin Bresnitz: I mean, it's pretty wild. I remember when you used to DJ at Trophy Bar. Oh my gosh. Back in the day, what a great spot.Suzy Chase: And then around 2007, you developed TV's first music and cooking show called Dinner with the Band an award-winning series. You and your brother, Greg are legit OG food media guys. So then in 2009, you went on to create Snacky Tunes, the first food and music radio show and you just mentioned Trophy Bar. I feel like we've kind of led parallel lives. Cause I had my soul music podcast that started in 2005. I had my DJ residency at Trophy Bar in 2010. That's when Brooklyn was the epicenter of the food and music explosion and all while I was creating this cookbook podcast. So I'd love to hear about your evolution in Brooklyn, from Dinner with the Band and your podcast and now the book with some stops along the way at Refinery29 and Tastemade.Darin Bresnitz: Oh man. Well, you know, I'll go back to 2001. When I was at school at Boston University and I gotten into television and I opened up the phone book to find myself an internship and the only show listed was The Phantom Gourmet and it was a restaurant review show on NECN, which was their local like a New York 1, but for all of New England and I called them and we chatted and that was my first foray into food and you know, this is like I said, 2001 and so explaining to people that I was working in food TV or working in food media, some people just raised their eyebrows, politely. Some people needed a larger explanation, but you know, from back then, I just really felt that that was really, where the greatest stories lied with greatest people lived, I felt that this was the path for me to really explore the world and I really haven't taken my eyes off the prize. You know, I really have never stepped completely out of the food media world. As you mentioned, I spent a little time at Refinery29, but even there, I was always bringing food into the events that I was doing there, but we were still doing Snacky Tunes, the radio show. We were still doing our barbecue blowouts in Williamsburg, where we had high-end chefs come to Williamsburg and pair them with a DJ. You know, it was always just traipsing along in the different types of media forms and in college when I had the idea for dinner with the band, I thought that if I was going to get into this business that I didn't want to ever just work on other people's show that the whole idea was to create your own thing, which I had taken from a lot of the DIY basement sort of punk rock shows that we were going to as kids, whereas you didn't need anyone's permission. You just went out and you built something and it was yours. And some people came, most people didn't, but at least you made something. And so that building of the show, building of Dinner with the Band in the late aughts is what was sort of the backbone for the first part of my career in TV. And then that ultimately went away and around that time, 2009, when we were sort of making the show and it was also sort of ending is when we started, Snacky Tunes, which Greg and I started at Heritage Radio Network, which was an absolute blast. You know you couldn't get more epicenter right? In the back of Roberta's 2009. I mean that's it. We were just in the heart of it and you could feel it was special at the time. You know, you could really just feel the ground shifting and you could see what was happening, post recession and all the new food ideas, you know, Roy Choi's Kogi Truck coming out of LA and the national, international effect that was having on restaurants and what could be considered a restaurant or a food truck and the accessibility where you didn't need to be in Manhattan or even Williamsburg, you could just be out anywhere and that was what Roberta's was teaching us and stuff. It was just great to be at the center of it. And then, five, six years later, 2015, I just felt the winds shifting for me a little bit and came out to LA and have been lucky enough to be part of the food movement that's happening out here. You know, I would argue that LA is one of, if not the most exciting food cities in the last few years, obviously the pandemic upended not just LA, but a lot of places, especially as we head into a second shutdown right now, but you know, I've been happy enough to be at Tastemade overseeing a lot of our original series for the networks. I just found in my lane early on. I think that's the best way to really describe it is that I found my lane and my lane was food and I never wavered. And there was a lot of setbacks and it's easy when you say the highlights like this to be like, Oh yeah, I went from this and that. And that, the other thing, you know, there was also bankruptcy and taxes owed and ideas not getting picked up and hunting for jobs and being freelance. But at the end of the day, I just never wavered. And food has just sort of been my guiding light, my North star, and I've loved all the food people I've met and all the chefs and the stories that have gotten told, and we've gotten to eat and where it's taken me all over the world and how I met my wife and how we're raising our family and just, it always comes back to food.Suzy Chase: I honestly, think you made that lane and you made it a really hip lane.Darin Bresnitz: I don't know if I would claim to say that I made it, you know, I think that I was happy to be in that lane with some people and I'm happy to be considered when anyone does that I'm a part of that. What I love about my role in this is, and this is where the weird thing is about being on the podcast and having the book is that we're not really front and center. You know, Greg and I have really worked to make the show as a platform for other chefs. And when I go back and listen to my interviews over the last decade or so, what I personally have worked to have done is taken myself out of the show as much as possible. It really is like a setup, a question, and then get out of the way. So, you know, it's doing this media talking about the book, which I so happy that we got to do and to curate and be a part of in many ways. It's like, you know, we wrote the intro and then we got out of the way and we let the chefs tell their stories.Suzy Chase: Okay. So will you sing your Snacky Tunes jingle with me?Darin Bresnitz: Oh man. Uh, let's see. Can I tell you the story about it before we sing it?Suzy Chase: Yesss!!Darin Bresnitz: So we were deejaying at the time and we didn't have a theme song and we're like, okay, we should have a theme song. And the original idea was to have different people. Cause we were having all these bands on and uh, you know, we had all these different musicians that were in our lives at the time and we're like, okay, we'll have people do different theme songs, like one every season or something like that. And then, uh, we were touring with Ricky Reed, AKA wallpaper, AKA Lizzo's producer. And we said, Hey man, can you make a theme song for us? And he was like, yeah, no problem. And then he sent over the theme song that is still the theme song today. And we heard it. And the reason why it's still the theme song is because he nailed it. He wrote the lyrics, he'd wrote the music, he sent everything and it was just like, okay, we're done. And that's, that's it. But yes, you know, tried to remember.Suzy Chase: All right, here we go.Suzy Chase: We talk about food we talk about music with musical dudes, finger on pulse, Snacky Tunes!Darin Bresnitz: Then it has like the NBC ring out like bomb, bomb, bomb. But no, it was great. It was like, Oh my God, uh, you nailed it. We don't need to ask anyone. And then Freelance Whales who was really the first live band that we had on that changed everything. Greg had found them busking in Brooklyn and they came in live and played a five song set. And that was really what changed the way that we did the show. We switched from DJ's to live bands somewhere on one of the episodes they were on they did a cover of, of it which is, you know, you have to dig up in the archive.Suzy Chase: I have to find that. So you and Greg wrote in the book, one of the most important ways people define themselves is by how they connect both to themselves and to the world at large, for us and many of the chefs who have appeared on our podcast, Snacky Tunes, those connections have been expressed by their lifelong intertwined relationships with food and music. I think the only way you could do that podcast and this book is to also have a deep connection to food and music. Can you talk a little bit about your personal connection?Darin Bresnitz: We grew up surrounded by food and music, both aware and unaware of how unique it was to our family. You know, our grandparents on my dad's side were Auschwitz survivors. My grandparents on my mother's side from Poland, for your Russia, a DP camp in Italy came to Brooklyn. And so in many ways we were second generation American Canadians. Our dad's parents wound up in Canada and a lot of the food we grew up eating was a harken back to this old European Eastern style of cooking, you know Hungarian on my grandmother's side and my dad's side and, and Polish on my grandmother's side. And so the idea of us eating food from scratch, being cooked from the kitchen, my mom carried on the tradition as well was just second nature to us, you know, and taking it for granted is maybe a weird way to say it, but just being unaware, that, that wasn't how everyone ate like we didn't eat fast food. We rarely went out to restaurants, not in a bad way. We just, you know, we're always cooking at home. And if we did go out to eat, it would be Chinatown or, you know, Jewish deli or something like that. And so food really became something that we were excited about. And then for music, you know, my father played guitar and was really into music. He was in Montreal growing up and he would go see all the Motown bands that would come over from Detroit and sneak into the bars when he was like 16. And he would also come to the States when he and my mom are dating and bringing back LP's that hadn't been released in Canada and have people over and share music with them. And so, you know, growing up, you'd always share music with us and there was always music on in my house, you know, every weekend morning, wake up to music and food and things like that. And so it just became ingrained in us that listening to music and eating food was just central to bringing people together, connecting with family, taking time to listen to a record or eat a meal together. And then as we got older and we started going out into the world, we weren't cooking as much for ourselves and this was the late nineties so food really hadn't taken off the way it had, but music, you know, we were super into the music scene and we'd go out of the suburbs of Philadelphia and into the city itself or go to our friend's shows and see emo bands and indie bands and punk rock bands and things like that and just the idea that you could create your own show, you could create your own t-shirt, you could make your own songs that just sort of gave us the definition of making things on our own to us, the food and the music itself is how we connected with people.Suzy Chase: So this book is complete with all new interviews, recipes, and playlists from 77 chefs from around the world who share how music has shaped them and its influence on the culinary world. When I first saw this book, I was like, yay, it's a compilation of your podcast interviews from over the years, but it's not, it's all new. Describe how you chose the chefs for this book.Darin Bresnitz: Greg had the concept to do a book and I believe the original idea was go back, pull this out of interviews of chefs that we had on the show. But to be honest, you know, if you go back and listen, like music pops up, but not every chef really goes into depth. And the stories that we're asking are not really the stories that we asked in the book. So we quickly realized that we needed to do a whole new format. Dale Talde, Nyesha Arrington, and Marc Vetri were the three chefs we reached out for the pitch whose stories wound up in the book and they helped us formulate what we would ask and things like that when we were doing our proposal for Phaidon, you know, knowing that this is gonna be a national international book, we sort of said, okay, half-ish of them were going to be North America, the rest will be international and then we kept going along the lines of how do we want to make this book diverse, right? Because we thought that you could easily fall into a very specific type of chef who do these compilation books and then you're not getting any variety. And we knew that we wanted to have some heavy hitters, you know, your Dominique Crenn, your Curtis Stone, your Asma Khan, your Ben Shewry but then we also wanted to have some new chefs that people may be had never heard of like Loic Dablé or Manu Buffara, or Monique Fiso some chefs who might be on our radar but might not be known at a larger level if you didn't know chef in general. And so we just went to work. I mean, we gritted it out to be honest, like we really were really disciplined and diligent in the type of chefs would reach out to and the diversity which was really key from us the beginning and we didn't want to have the thing where we're doing all this work and we wake up six months, seven months, eight months in and we go, oh my God, we didn't stick to our guns you know, we sort of fell short in who we wanted to be in this book. And so, you know, after the friends and after the colleagues when we started looking at who we saw, it still needed to be in the book and where we wanted some representation, you know, we have all six continents represented, we started just doing research and some of them were cold emails some of these people, the only interaction we've ever had with them was hi, how are you? You don't know us. Would you be a part of this book? Here's the questionnaire? Do you want to get on the phone? Let's talk things out. And people were really gracious with their time and their stories and the communication I have now, dozens of cities and chefs that I want to visit all over the world and eat their food and meet them for the first time.Suzy Chase: You just mentioned Manu Buffara, is that how you pronounce her last name? Yes. A chef in Brazil, but I love that you gave a voice to emerging chefs. Can you talk a little bit about her?Darin Bresnitz: Manu's incredible. In doing our research and what I personally know about chefs all over the world, I would say South America is one of my weak points. I don't know a ton. I haven't had the pleasure of visiting there yet and we knew that Brazil has one of the best culinary scenes in the world. It's super diverse they have a great amount of history and cultural representation ingredients. And what we love about Manu is that she really is at the forefront of this new type of cooking, where it's both paying homage to Brazilian cuisine, but at the same time, moving it forward. I mean, the fact that she picked Feijoada, which is I believe the Brazilian national dish, as her dish, but then modernizes it with some of the techniques. And some of the ingredients really shows the culmination and is really a perfect example of the type of food she makes. Feijoada. It was created by African slaves who came to Brazil and it's beans and it's beef and it's pigs ears. You know, it's a lot of, sort of like the bits and ends of food, but the culmination of the dish is something that's absolutely incredible. And then it just creates this gorgeous stew and you serve it with white rice and you have all these great garnishes. And it's just this very comforting, very soul hugging type of dish. Manu just works with local communities, she transforms abandoned sites into urban areas, she's a teacher, she's a chef. She's just one of those people who I go, can I hang out with you? How do we get to hang out more? And we reached out. She said, yes. And she gave us some incredible stories, a great playlist, and introduced, at least me personally, to a lot of artists who I didn't really know anything about. And I would say, and I probably butchering the name of this, but Céu, she was one of the artists on her playlist has become one of my favorite artists of 2020.Suzy Chase: Can you describe the look of this book and how it's all organized? It's super stylish.Darin Bresnitz: Oh, sure. Well, I cannot take really any credit for it. Phaidon paired us with an incredible set of designers Omnivore and they absolutely knocked it out. Now, the way that it works with the process is that we delivered the text so then they were going to parents with the designer and originally we were going to have 50 entries, right. And when you have 50 entries and you have X amount of pages and design costs, that allows for one type of design, well, Greg and Kuhong, and I had a very specific idea about who we wanted in the book and the amount of diversity that we wanted to represent the stories we wanted to tell. So we wound up delivering 77 entries with 86 chefs and restaurateurs. We had quite a few duos and so when you hand in that amount of information, I believe, I want to say the original amount of words we handed in maybe 200,000 words, and we got it down to maybe 110,120 thousand. But you know, when you have that much text, there really isn't that much room for illustration. And when you have that much text, you also think, like you said, how do you organize it? And so Omnivore really just knocked it out with the layout, the way that everything's presented, the way that we have different pull quotes. And we were involved a little bit in the feedback process, along with Phaidon, but I got to give credit where credit's due and they just do absolutely amazing work.Suzy Chase: Kendrick Lamar is in this book 12 times. What do you think that means?Darin Bresnitz: Well, I mean, so none of the chefs knew what any of the other chefs were submitting and when we did the interviews, we did not give any restrictions. We had a list of questions that we asked and we would ask the questions and then sit back. We didn't tell anyone what recipes to make, what songs to pick, which ours to lean into. And when you do something like that, you get some really fun coincidences such as this one. Let's be honest. Kendrick Lamar is one of the most prolific artists in the last half a decade, decade, right? But also he's got that same mentality that all great artists have. And a lot of the chefs we've talked to are great artists into themselves. It's inspirational. It's pushing yourself. It's, you know, looking at a tough situation and persevering. And I think when you're just in the kitchen, you're grinding it out and you're making a name for yourself and you're working really hard. You know, someone like Kendrick Lamar is a perfect ally when you're listening to music and looking for that type of inspirationSuzy Chase: Now to my segment called last night's dinner, where I ask you what you had last night for dinner.Darin Bresnitz: So I finally was able to unpack all of my cookbooks and I didn't want to fall into the, these are ornamental only. They look nice, but I wanted them to be both form and function. And so what I am made was The Phoenicia Diner's Chicken and Dumplings. You take a whole chicken, you boil it, you break it down, you pull the chicken off. Then you add all these root vegetables with some cream and little cornstarch to thicken it up and you just let that cook. And that's just absolutely incredible. And then you make these little biscuits with fresh chives and buttermilk, which are their take on the dumplings, which actually I really liked because I do like the texture a little bit better. And then you serve it up in one bowl and there's just so much in this recipe, but actually gets better each day. So day three of the chicken and dumplings was absolutely fantastic. And my daughter loved it. My wife loved it. It's, it's a very comforting dish when, when it gets to be, I guess, cold out here is below 50, but it does make me feel like I'm back East. It doesn't have like a lot of those flavors.Suzy Chase: Where can we find you on the web and social media and tell us about your virtual book tour.Darin Bresnitz: So you can find everything you need to know about us at You can also go to or is where you can buy the book but also if you want to support independent bookstores, we are huge, huge, huge advocates of that so you can go there and personally you can find me at Instagram, Darin Bresnitz. The virtual book tour. Greg had the idea of doing a virtual book tour and started putting it together and then Khuong and Phaidon and myself also helped put that together but we did over 10 stops. And the idea was in each city, we paired a different chef with a band and usually the chef of the band knew each other but, you know, look, we wanted to talk with people. We wanted to get the word out. We wanted to at least somewhat celebrate the book and some sort of physical presence. And the response we got was really good, hopefully sooner than later, at least hopefully for the second half of 2021 people will get back to physical tours.Suzy Chase: In the book you wrote, we hope you'll find a piece of yourself somewhere in these stories and be moved to create something of your own to share with the world. It was so great chatting with you, Darin. Thanks for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast.Darin Bresnitz: Thank you so much for having me really appreciate it and stay safe. Have a great holiday season, and we will see you in the new year.Outro: Subscribe over on And thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    Store Bought Is Fine | Trent Pheifer

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2020

    Store Bought Is Fineby Trent Pheifer Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City, sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.Trent Pheifer: Hi I'm Trent Pheifer and for the last five years, I've been cooking my way through all of Ina Garten's recipes.Suzy Chase: If you enjoy this podcast please be sure to tell a friend I'm always looking for new people to enjoy Cookery by the Book, now on with the show. I feel like Ina's cookbooks are a must for any home cook. I have so many questions for you, Trent, but first tell us how you got this spectacular idea to cook through all of Ina Garten's cookbooks and the TV show.Trent Pheifer: It happened about five years ago. At the time I had just read, Julia Child’s, My Life in France, and it kind of coincided with a time that my roommate and I were constantly watching the Barefoot Contessa on Food Network, but not totally making a lot of her food. So those two things kind of combined at the same time I was in a relationship. I was cooking a little bit more. So I started to try to branch out and develop my knowledge of cooking. After a summer spent with hundreds of failed recipes I decided that I should probably stick to one cookbook author that throughout the course of the several recipes that I had made, had always come through for me. And that was the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten. Her recipes have been foolproof, I'd made three or four over the course of the summer. And I jokingly mentioned to my friend that, you know what, maybe I should just teach myself how to cook by working my way through all Ina Garten's recipes, ala, Julie and Julia one of my favorite movies. Who doesn't love Meryl Streep? So I started the Instagram account kind of on a whim with a photoshopped image of me and Ina called Trent & Ina saying that if I cooked three recipes a week, I would finish all of her recipes in five years and that I hoped Meryl Streep was available to play us in the movie. Yeah. And it's been five years since then. And, it's been a really crazy journey.Suzy Chase: So you just finished Barefoot Contessa Parties. And you mentioned on Instagram that you cook from all the books simultaneously, how do you organize everything?Trent Pheifer: So when I first started, I realized I was going to need some sort of system at the time there were like I said 800 recipes, and now they are about 1300 and my memory is failing me so I knew that if I didn't have some sort of system I was going to be repeating recipes, forget recipes. So I created a massive Excel spreadsheet. I downloaded all of the lists of recipes from all of her books and then split it into spreadsheets that are divided into tabs of appetizer, soups, alcoholic drinks, lunches, sandwiches, dinners, breakfast and then those are broken down into, by meat or vegetarian, just so that I can easily with a quick glance pick out the recipes that I want to make for the week. And each of those have the recipe name, the title of the book, the page number, my rating, any notes I did, and then any hard to find ingredients or expensive ingredients. And it just saves me so much time on meal planning because I can go into that document in five minutes and say, I have time to run to one grocery store, which recipe can I get that won't have hard to find ingredients and then kind of match it up to other recipes on the spreadsheet.Suzy Chase: All that stuff on your spreadsheet, you put on your blog, like the page number or the TV episode, all of that, right?Trent Pheifer: Yea and my original plan was to build those out a little bit more. So I include the book and page number, the episode category of how easy is that, is it easy, intermediate, hard to make ingredients that you could use store-bought is find ingredients hard to find ingredients, pricey ingredients. There used to be more categories. I used to do kind of a two-fer idea where, what would you turn the leftovers into, what you could serve it with, but time kind of gets away from you and so I've kind of kept it simple on the website. It's kind of all the basics for, if you're looking to make this recipe, here's what you need to know.Suzy Chase: So yesterday I was interviewed by BBC radio and they asked me who I would love to have on the old cookbook podcast. And I blurted out Ina and they were like, who's that? And so I kinda, I just, I just, how do you, how do you, and so all I could say was she's iconic. She's our iconic American chef cookbook author. So what is Ina to you?Trent Pheifer: I think that Ina has always been somebody that, and like I said, with my, with my roommates, we used to watch the show and never really cook anything. She just has a magnetism to her that she has this fabulous lifestyle that I think all of us would aspire to be having an amazing time with her friends, but she's also super approachable. So she welcomes you into her house. She makes you feel like you belong there, that you can cook. And then once you start cooking your recipes, you realize that she tests these over and over and over again. She watches people cook her recipes and then incorporates things that they made mistakes with into the actual recipe. So I just think that she's been in the game for how many years she has nailed how you make a recipe and how you describe a recipe to somebody. But on top of that, she's a fun, loving, everyone wants to be friends with her, everyone wants to be invited to one of her parties and when you watched a lot of those early shows, you kind of felt like you were the in in-crowd with her at one of these fabulous parties. So I think she's just an expert that is welcoming and is not intimidating. And everyone feels welcomed with her.Suzy Chase: The first recipe you made was the Lentil Sausage Soup from Barefoot in Paris. How did you choose this as your first recipe to kick this project off?Trent Pheifer: I wish I could tell you that I spent so many hours to pick the perfect recipe, but to be, to be real honest, it was probably what I made the week before. I started this project in early October weather's getting a little cooler. Who doesn't love the combination of sausage and, lentils? And give me a soup any day, every day. So to be honest, it was probably just what I had cooked the week before and had taken a photo of.Suzy Chase: I love it. Would you rate these books from your favorite on down? Are you doing that on your Instagram?Trent Pheifer: So at the end I will, I feel like do a rating of each of the books. Right now I tell everyone that my favorites are Barefoot Contessa At Home and Barefoot Contessa Back To Basics. I just really think there are so many go-to recipes from those two books that like, especially if you are a new cook, there's just a lot that I repeat all the time. I mean, the Back To Basics Shrimp Scampi was one of the first recipes I made, and it's one of the recipes that I am constantly making. It's just so simple and such an impressive meal. So I'm doing ratings of each of the recipes as I go. I'll be very curious once I aggregate all the recipes from every book to see what ratings, the books end up coming out to. 'Cause I rate each recipe one to five, so we'll see how all that adds up in the end.Suzy Chase: Oh my God, I can't wait. So when I was piling up my collection. I realized that she, somewhere along the line, dropped Barefoot Contessa in the title.Trent Pheifer: Yes and I'm not exactly sure, like after I said Back To Basics, I was like, I actually don't know if it's actually called Barefoot Contessa Back To Basics.Suzy Chase: It is. I'm looking at my pile right here. It's called Barefoot Contessa. But that's the last cookbook that had Barefoot Contessa on it, like forward facing.Trent Pheifer: And I think that for so long, she was known as Barefoot Contessa, but I have found sometimes when I mentioned Barefoot Contessa to people, if they're not into cooking, they might not know exactly who she is, but a lot more of them have heard of Ina Garten. So I wonder if that was a conscious move after Back To Basics, to skew more towards name recognition of her own name.Suzy Chase: Yeah. I'd love to know that story. Okay. Trent, you need to find that out.Trent Pheifer: Hey, when maybe we'll all have a dinner together or lunch together and we can find it out together.Suzy Chase: That would be amazing. So I know you have a tiny New York City kitchen like I do, and your kitchen seems fully stocked. Where do you store everything?Trent Pheifer: So when I first started project, I was living in Harlem and the kitchen I had was absolutely tiny and I probably had just your basics, your plates, nonstick pan, silverware, and some odds and ends. And over time when people realize you have a passion, they start buying new things, or you start partnering. I partnered with Cassandra's kitchen, which is like a one-stop shop for all of Ina Garten's favorite tools and ingredients. So I partnered with them and so over time I've built up so much stuff that at one point in my old apartment, I was storing things under my bed, under the couch. I had a bookcase that was full of, things. I've started to pair down a little bit of what I have, but right now I have a little bit of a bigger kitchen in my current apartment in Washington Heights. So I have a little pantry that stores a lot of things, and there's just a lot of storage for the small kitchen that I do have. I think when I first started dating my boyfriend, he was like, are there pans and baking sheets under your couch? And I was like, just ignore it. You'll thank me later when I'm cooking you dinner, breakfast, or any of that. So I do have more space here, but it's always a challenge, I feel like in a small kitchen organization has become my friend as soon as I'm not cleaning the dishes as soon as I'm not prepping everything ahead of the recipe is when I start to lose my mind, I have three pans of roasted vegetables I have no clue where I'm going to set them as when I have a little bit of a meltdown in the small kitchen.Suzy Chase: Same. I like how honest you are in the descriptions, like on recipe, number 469 Artichokes with Lemon, Terragon,Aioli, you confess that you don't love artichokes. How do you cope with foods you just don't like.Trent Pheifer: I think one of the blessings of this project has been having to make recipes that I don't want to make. I usually, if I really, really think I'm not going to like it, I try to cut it in half or quarter it, I try to cut it down to the smallest portion that I can but that's not always an option. I think with that recipe, it might have mentioned that like I love a cheesy artichoke, give me a artichoke spinach dip or artichoke pizza, but there've been some surprising things. I think that, uh, one of the dishes that I thought I was going to hate, and I'm happy that I didn't cut in half was her Roasted Sausage and Grapes. It was just a phenomenal dish and I never thought of roasting grapes, but it really concentrates their flavor and the sweetness from them paired with the salty sausage was just absolute perfection. On the flip side, there have been ones, such as her Pear and Parsnip Gratin that I made a whole casserole dish of and I just don't love mashed up pears and parsnips. I'm not a fan of parsnips and had to eat a casserole dish of that for a week. Not my favorite thing, but in the end, I truly believe that for any dish or any ingredient, you need to try it at least three times, you could have purchased a bad ingredient. You could have gone to a restaurant and they just aren't good at making that certain dish. So I try to live by the idea that I need to try things multiple times. One of those things that I'm still working on is finding the perfect anchovy. So if anyone has any recommendations for a delicious anchovy, let me know, because I can't find one I love.Suzy Chase: When do you break down an order from Seamless or do you?Trent Pheifer: All the time. All the time.Suzy Chase: Really?Trent Pheifer: There's just certain recipes, I love cooking and I probably cook four days a week or five days a week, but there's just certain things that I'm not going to spend at home, especially work's been busy and I want something quick and delicious and tasty. If I haven't gone grocery shopping, I'm going to Seamless just because grocery shopping for me has become a little bit of a bane of my existence in the city. The grocery stores just don't have this big of footprint as they do in many other places. And so I find myself going to three or four stores just looking for chives. So at that point, I know I can order from Seamless my favorite Thai place down the street, or my favorite ramen place down the street. And I'll be there in an hour. It's just, you're exhausted after a day. Sometimes you just need Seamless.Suzy Chase: So talk to me about food photography. It's the hardest thing for me. I make something and then I'll take a photo and I really want to make it look delicious. And oftentimes it's dark and my photos don't come out great for Instagram. What do you do?Trent Pheifer: I mean, if you really scroll back to my early Instagram, you'll know that I struggled with that a lot early on. The premise originally was to put my horrible photos next to Ina's beautiful photos but over time, I guess, five years of taking pictures of everything you've eaten, you start to figure out what works. And I know that everyone says that natural light is your best friend. So a couple of years ago, I got a very large day light bulb from Amazon. I think it was like $15. And then I got a little clamp thing to plug it into and it has changed my life. I'm no longer chasing the light to get the perfect picture at 8:00 PM at night. And I think for probably $30, I have something that just saves me a lot of stress. And to be honest, I think natural light is your best friend. That's the one thing. I shoot all of my photos on iPhone 11 people are always like, what special equipment do you use? And all of my photos are shot on iPhones and it's finding natural light. And I mean, sometimes I wish that I weren't taking pictures of the food and I could just glop it onto a plate, but it ends up being a lot of fun. And I do think that what I would recommend is getting one of those daylight light bulbs, because it makes a world of difference.Suzy Chase: I'm going to get that because it's so hard for me cause I make dinner for my family and it's usually out of a cookbook and I need to take a picture and it's like right now and it looks muddy. So I'm going to get one of those light bulbs. Thank you.Trent Pheifer: And we'll send you all the information and I'll send you some pictures of stuff I've taken at night that people are convinced during the day.Suzy Chase: Yay! So do you have a favorite Ina recipe?Trent Pheifer: This is such a hard one after a thousand recipes, this is one of the hardest ones, but what I really always keep coming back to is her Sausage and Fennel Rigatoni. It's from Cooking For Jeffrey, it just hits all the spots. I never thought I would love fennel as much as I do. I still don't love raw fennel, but cooked fennel is absolutely delicious sausage, cream sauce, pasta, you really can't go wrong with it. So that's one of them that I always recommend to people. And then I always hear back saying thank you so much I can't believe I had not made that one, but if I have to pick one that's the one I always go with.Suzy Chase: Speaking of cooking for Jeffrey, I went to BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music). When was that? Like 2014?Trent Pheifer: I think so. Yeah, it was right around then... Oh no, no, no. It had to have been 2015 or 2016 because I didn't start this until 2015Suzy Chase: And yeah, 2016. And Ina was at BAM doing a cookbook talk for Cooking for Jeffrey. And they were taking questions at the end and someone, and I swear to God, I thought it was you, stood up and mentioned your Instagram Store Bought Is Fine.Trent Pheifer: I was so upset because I was actually on a trip with a friend to hike Machu Picchu. And I was on a plane on my way back. My Instagram started blowing up and I was like, what's like, or maybe it was right after I landed on. My Instagram was blowing up. And my friend has Hasani was like, I just stood up in front of the audience and told them about your account. And I was like, you get free food for the rest of your life!Suzy Chase: Yes!! And the whole row was like, what is that?Trent Pheifer: I think that was only a year into this project, but I truly think that was a little bit of a turning point in this project. I mean building a following on Instagram can be a hard thing there's, there's so much competition and I think that was one thing that people started to hear about me and the community has just been so absolutely wonderful and so supportive it's been this nice little corner of the internet that just brings me so much joy and everyone's so supportive and we just all share a love of Ina.Suzy Chase: Today on your Instagram, you wrote "it's been nearly a month since I posted an Ina recipe with any significant amount of green veggies. I was stressing y'all." You can say that again. So first I want to tell you what I made last week, stress cooking during this election. Creamed Spinach and Eggs page 234 Modern Comfort Food. That was the perfect morning after election breakfast.Trent Pheifer: That sounds perfect. That's been high on my list too.Suzy Chase: The next was Chicken with Goat Cheese, and Basil on page 114 Barefoot Contessa At Home. One of the very first recipes I ever made for my husband when I was first married. So easy.Trent Pheifer: Do you still make it regularly?Suzy Chase: Yeah, it's the easiest, most delicious chicken.Moist, which is key.Trent Pheifer: And that's what I love too. And I do hear from a lot of people 'cause Ina often recommends getting boneless skin on, which is very hard to find, but I'm always telling people like, it's not that hard once you've, deboned a chicken a couple times you have all of that to use for stock and then you get these delicious chicken breasts and the skin just keeps everything moist and with this one, you really need it because it holds the basil leaf and the goat cheese and that's just one of those phenomenal recipes.Suzy Chase: And the next one I made was the Croissant Bread Pudding on page 192 of the very first Barefoot Contessa cookbook. All I can say that is so much half and half!Trent Pheifer: It is!! That is one of my favorite dishes ever. I'm not big on the raisins. I can skip the raisins, but that was just one that I could not stop eating. And then I couldn't stop thinking about how many calories were in it.Suzy Chase: It was perfect last week though cause we didn't even care.Trent Pheifer: No. Last week was a free week, free calories nothing sticks.Suzy Chase: And now we're back to green veggies today.Trent Pheifer: We got to have balance in life, I guess.Suzy Chase: What would you make for Ina if you had her over to dinner?Trent Pheifer: So I always joke that this would be wonderful and also would stress me out so bad that I would probably stress about it for a couple of weeks and then I would head over to Popeye's and I would pick up a Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich. We'd enjoy that. I would make her favorite Whiskey Sours. And then for dessert, I would make my grandma's Red Velvet Cake with Heritage Frosting. I know that with red velvet cake, people are adamant that it needs to have cream cheese frosting, but my grandma's heritage frosty is out of this world, it's a cooked frosting where you mix flour and milk and create kind of like a bechamel and then you cool that, and then you whip in the butter and sugar. And it has been my favorite thing since I was a little kid. And I just want Ina to experience that as well.Suzy Chase: Tell us the story about when you met her in Paris.Trent Pheifer: It was truly kismet. I had seen a couple of weeks prior that she was in the city, but I had assumed that by the time we were there, she was not going to be there. And we had made reservations at a tasting menu, a restaurant called Verjus and we had made them originally Friday. Our friend was like not getting into until Paris until Saturday, can we change the reservation? So last minute we changed reservations to Monday and it was just truly meant to be. I walked in and the restaurant is no larger than a large living room. And directly in the corner are Ina and Jeffery enjoying a meal in Paris of all places. We both live in New York, but have never run into each other. And I run into her halfway around the world. I didn't want to bother them right then so we kind of bee-lined to our table. I had to face away from them because I wouldn't be able to concentrate the entire meal. And we did the wine pairings. So I, over the course of the next hour, hour and a half, I built up my liquid courage and my friend and I walked over after we had seen they've paid their bill and I was like, "hi Ina. I absolutely love you. I just couldn't pass up this opportunity to introduce myself. I'm sorry to interrupt. I'm cooking my way through all of your recipes. And then I go, I'm Store Bought Is Fine." And she looks at me and she goes, "I heard you were in town." I think I could have died. Happy. I think people that had followed me had commented on her Instagram saying Store Bought Is Fine is in Paris too, you have to find him. So we had this really lovely conversation, talked about the dinner, talked about our trips in France. Just talked about the night and both of them were so friendly, so gracious and at the end I was like, could I get a picture? And Ina goes, "we just called a cab I'll give you the heads up when we're heading out and we'll go out and get photos." And she took photos with us and just could not have been more sweet. You always worry about meeting somebody that you appreciate and you look up to so much that maybe they could never live up to what your expectations are. People are humans, but she lived up to them in every way, shape or form. And it's just one of those nights that I have to pinch myself every once in a while 'cause I still don't believe that it happened.Suzy Chase: Does she follow you on Instagram?Trent Pheifer: She doesn't, but she's super supportive. She comments on photos, likes photos but she keeps her following, like who she follows very low. I think she tries to keep it at a hundred people at all times. I mean, she's super wonderful. If I reach out to her, she responds super supportive.Suzy Chase: So I'm curious to hear about your new found passion, developing your own recipes.Trent Pheifer: So that is something that I have just not had time over the last four years, as you can imagine, doing this project, doing the grocery shopping, cooking, photographing, writing for the website and for posts, chatting with followers, all of that kind of stuff takes up a lot of my time. So over the last two years, I've started a document every time I come across an idea of a recipe that I want to try to perfect, a recipe from my childhood, that I want to update, a recipe from a restaurant that I went out to. So I have this master list. So once the project is over and I should wrap it up in about, I think 15 months if I stay on schedule, I really want to start developing and diving into developing my own recipes and putting my own spins on a lot of dishes that I have ideas about.Suzy Chase: Have you gotten to be a better cook through all of this?Trent Pheifer: I always tell people, this was where I got my cooking education. Prior to this, my cooking was whatever I heated up from the Trader Joe's frozen food aisle. And in five years, I've moved from there to being able to make my own carnitas at home and making Baked Alaska at home. And it's just one of those things that I think so many people get intimidated saying they don't know how to cook and I think they think that you should walk into the kitchen and it's intuitive and you should know everything, but you just have to build those skills up over time. I always think back to something Ina says, and it's like, once you know how to do one technique or way of doing something, you know how to do a hundred techniques once you know how to make a broth, chicken broth, you know how to make vegetable broth. You know, how to make pork broth. Yes, there are variations to each of those, but once you can learn the basics, everything else becomes a little bit easier. So I look back five years ago when I was screwing up almost everything that I was making and just think of how far in just five years that I've been able to come. It helps that it's one of my passions and it's my happy place, I think the kitchen used to be a source of frustration as I think it is for a lot of people. And now during quarantine was my savior. It was that place where I could go have a little bit of control in my life, create a satisfying meal and just space out for an hour or two hours. So yeah, this has really taught me how to cook. And I think, Ina always says that she cooked her way through Julia Child's Mastering The Art Of French Cooking and that's how she learned to cook as well.Suzy Chase: You just mentioned the Baked Alaska, how hard was that to make?Trent Pheifer: So I would say overall easier than I was expecting. I think one of the issues is I was very paranoid about timing and then, cause I was worried that ice cream was going to melt at every step of the way. But when you really look at the basic elements of it's relatively easy. It has a raspberry sauce that you can make ahead of time. And it's Ina's classic raspberry sauce that she uses in tons and tons of her dessert recipes. It's store-bought cake that you cut into circles, it's store-bought ice cream that you mold into balls. So it's raspberry sorbet and vanilla ice cream that you mold into a ball and then put on the cake and then you freeze those until it's rock hard. I think the hard part might be the meringue if you're not used to making meringue that could be the difficult part, but I think, and I think a lot of people think that, it would be a near impossible dish to make at home. How are you putting ice cream in a 500 degree oven and it coming out perfect? But it did. The meringue really insulates the ice cream and you have this perfectly sugary delicious meringue with crisp brown edges and freezing cold ice cream and a sponge on the bottom. And it was much easier than I thought it would be.Suzy Chase: Now to my segment called Last Night's Dinner where I asked you what you had last night for dinner.Trent Pheifer: I had a goulash recipe. So I think maybe a month ago I had a follower reach out and she had said she had created a cookbook of her children's favorite recipes from growing up and that she had an extra copy of it and she reached out to me and said, I want somebody to have this that is as passionate about cooking as I am and so she sent it to me and I was sobbing. I was sobbing when she told me about it. I was sobbing while I was reading. It is a book filled with so much love and I think that so many of us have those recipes from growing up in our childhood that will never be the same as the ones our moms made, but it's always nice to have the recipes so that you can go back to them and I made her Beef Goulash last night and it was such a great comfort food served over egg noodles. It had paprika and red pepper and the sour cream and it just was spicy. It had the perfect amount of spice. The meat was falling apart. It was an absolute delight last night, so long story, but that was what I had last night. And I just thought that was a great story.Suzy Chase: Where can we find you on the web and social media?Trent Pheifer: You can find me at Store Bought Is Fine on Instagram. My website is also Store Bought Is Fine on Facebook.Suzy Chase: Thank you for bringing Store Bought Is Fine into our lives and thank you for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast.Trent Pheifer: Thank you so much for having me. This has been so much fun.Outro: Subscribe over on and thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    Ikaria | Meni Valle

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2020

    Ikaria: Food and Life in the Blue ZoneBy Meni Valle Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City, sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.Meni Valle: Hi I'm Meni Valle and my latest cookbook is Ikaria: Food and Life in the Blue Zone.Suzy Chase: What if there was a place, an idyllic island where residents don't go to gyms, don't take pills or adhere to fad diets, and yet they live longer and have a quality of life many of us could only envy. This amazing place is in the Aegean Sea and it's called Ikaria, a beautiful Greek Island named after Icarus, a mythological figure who fell into the surrounding sea when his wax wings melted in the sun. I first learned of Ikaria from you and this gorgeous cookbook. When did you first learn of Ikaria?Meni Valle: For me it would have been about five or six years ago, and I was just doing some research into the Mediterranean diet, which I'm very, very interested in. I'm coming from a big Greek background as well. And I just stumbled across some work and interviews and things about Ikaria and the blue zones and I delved more into that because it was just fascinating. I wanted to learn more about the food and what it was about their eating that was helping with their longevity but even when I found out about the food and learned more about the food, there was so much more I learned about the joy of Ikaria.Suzy Chase: So it's been said that this Island is the most shining example of all the blue zones. What exactly is a Blue Zone?Meni Valle: The Blue Zones are places in the world that have been identified where people are living a very long life, either free or very little chronic disease. They're living a long life, you know, many residents over 80, 90, over 100 but leaving a really healthy life. So there are five places in the world that have been identified they are, they are Ikaria, obviously from Greece, Sardinia, Okinawa, Costa Rica at Loma Linda in California. And even though these are all very culturally diverse, they do have common threads and their common threads are things like the plant-based diet exercising, naturally in that I mean, walking to work or working in their gardens and walking most places actually and the most important one I find was that really strong sense of community, which they all seem to have.Suzy Chase: The inhabitants of the small Greek Island live on an average 10 years longer than the rest of Western Europe. Can you talk a little bit about speaking with the locals and how they cook and eat and what were some takeaways for you?Meni Valle: I've spent quite a bit of time in Ikaria. My first visit was in 2017 and I've been going back every year, except for this year, of course. And I've gotten to know quite a few of the locals that have almost become family and there was a woman that lived about two doors down from where I normally would stay. Her name is Monica and she's 90 and I remember the last time we sat down and had coffee with her when I was there last September. And I did say, you know, Monica, tell me about your day. What is it about your life here? She said, I get up in the morning the first thing I do is guide into my garden, I look after my plans, I talk to my flowers, water, the garden, do everything I need to do. Then it's breakfast, which is normally something simple, like some herbal tea, a bit of toast with their beautiful Ikarian honey, their local honey, which is also been quite well known for their medicinal purposes too and their health benefits. And then she said I'll go out to the garden, do my work again out there, look after the house. And then I start on my lunch and start cooking and they have their main meal of the day around 2pm and that would always be so lots of vegetables, maybe a little bit of meat, maybe a little bit of fish, but mainly plant based veggie dishes or bean dishes, lots of salads. And then in the afternoon, so rest and they do take the time. This is the thing they talk about a lot is make sure you take the time needed to rest, do not rush through your day. If you need to rest, you take that time so they always rest in the afternoon in the evening, she said it's a light dinner could be just a bit of yogurt or fruit, but the other thing she said in the evenings if we say we might go for a walk, if someone has their light on in their house we'll stop and say hello and walk in and have a bit of a chat sit with some friends, have a glass of wine, maybe have a chat so they've got this slow pace life. And those are the things that I've come away with this slow pace. They're always with other people too you don't find them, that thing was really interesting, you don't find people that are on their own very much or lonely as we have in our modern world. They don't have any old people's homes, for example, it would be shameful for them to put their old people in a home. Everyone sort of lives together. They look after each other, the older people, the grandparents and the older people that the ones with the wisdom and the ones they do look to quite a lot for everything. So I think for me, I took away the slow pace, that sense of community that looking after each other, they do actually have a genuine care for the people in their village and everyone on the island.Suzy Chase: I'm curious about two things you just brought up the local herbal tea and the honey. Um, can you talk a little bit about Liza, the beekeeper, after you talk about the local herbal tea?Meni Valle: So when I was in Nas which is the place, I normally will stay with Thea and Illia, they did say to me, you must go visit Liza she's the beekeeper not far from Nas and she has got a beautiful honey farm. So we did, we went up and knocked on her door basically and opened with open arms. And with very little notice she was very happy to show us around and we sat and tasted some of her honey bread. One of the most exciting experiences there, quite a highlight, was when she took us out to the bees and smoked the bees and she actually put her hand inside and removed some in her hand. And when she was holding them, I did ask her what does that feel like? And she said it actually feels like holding soft cotton. She was very passionate about her bees. She talked about them like they were her family. She's very knowledgeable in beekeeping and her honey. And she talked about the different honeys that they've got there and the different varieties. The thyme honey, I think was my favorite. They've got a lot of seasonal honeys as well, but all delicious in their own way. And she said, you know, a teaspoon of honey every day, that's her little secret, I suppose that as you will live to a hundred, but they were beautiful. And she was an incredible, incredible, passionate woman about her honey, and like I said, she treated her bees like family.Suzy Chase: I would love to hear about how you gathered the recipes for this cookbook.Meni Valle: I've been to Ikaria now three times. So while I was there, I was cooking in the inn many times, I'd go in and just peek in the morning and see what she was doing and we would go forging, we would go to farms. And I've got to know quite a few of the locals there. And we always would sit and talk about food over a coffee or a piece of cake. And they're all very generous and talked about what they make and how they eat. And it would always invite me to their home, please come and have lunch and we would I'd go and we'd sit and we'd talk. And many times we'd cook together. So over the last four years, probably I've been sort of collecting those recipes, but also seeing how they did things and put those recipes together. It has been quite interesting and also I just love the way the story is behind the recipes as well when they talk about the food they make and why they do certain things. Beans, for example, are a big part of their diet, whether it's black-eyed beans or chickpeas, that kind of thing. They do have them a lot. And there was one lady who was saying to me, when we have our beans, we always serve with pickles on the side. And I said oh yeah is there a particular reason for that apart from they taste good together. So when we serve our bean dishes, whether it's a salad or a stew casserole, we always serve some pickles on the side, whether it's a pickled zucchini or a mushroom or whatever that might be or cabbage or whatever. And that is because apart from the fact that they taste good together, they actually need helps them with their digestion of the beans. So that was interesting to hear too, because obviously all the recipes in the book everything's meant to go together, it's about sharing a big sharing table. So, you know, it's about picking recipes out of the book that you like and putting them on a big table and just sharing it. And the pickles go with the bean dishes. A lot of the sides like the tzatziki or calamari or other sides there will go really well with the vegetable dishes like fried zucchini, tzatziki. So it would be just a dish in front of you that you would eat individually. You would share a lot of these dishes. So I love the way they do that too. And the different breads they make and the way they make their phyllo which is different from the way my mother used to make it because when mum came from Northern Greece and she made her phyllo like quite different to the ladies, what they do in Ikaria and I find that really interesting as well, because even though most people wouldn't know of a phyllo pie and a spanakopita which is quite well known but every place in Greece makes it their own unique way, they have their own techniques and I find that interesting. I love learning about that and listening to the stories that are behind those dishes.Suzy Chase: What are a few things you can always find on the Ikarian table.?Meni Valle: You will always find on the Ikarian table bowls of salads, fresh bread, beautiful fresh local cheese, which they make their goats cheese. You would always find some of their local wine. There's always, the bean dishes, the salads, like I said, the vegetable dishes the cheeses, pickles, olives, and they have local olive oil as well. Very healthy kind of food obviously, and everything is designed to be eaten together on the big sharing table.Suzy Chase: The other day, I made your recipe for Collard Greens with Potatoes on page 69. Can you describe this recipe? And can you say it in Greek for me because I'm not even going to try.Meni Valle: Okay. The Prasino Kolaro Me Patates that's just a very rustic dish not only simple, but really, really healthy, nutritious it's collard greens potatoes and it's a stew and if you don't have a particular ingredient you can use other ingredients as well. I love this. Simply served with some olives and cheese and some fresh bread it is a meal on its own, or you can have it as a side if you want, you know, with a bit of grilled fish, some meat, but on its own it's just delightful. It's just simple, and I was saying a little while ago to someone they're really, really simple dishes. And they said, well, there's complexity in simplicity. So it might be simple, but it's very, very good as well. So using the best seasonal ingredients you can get when they taste the best of course, that's, I think, the key to any of these dishes in the book.Suzy Chase: So I wanted to ask one more question about the people. They're so sharp and they're living such long healthy lives. Do you think there's a genetic component to this mystery? Or do you think it's just all lifestyle?Meni Valle: I'm not sure about the genetic component to be quite honest, Suzy, I think really it is lifestyle. I really do. Ikaria is a textbook example of a Mediterranean diet, but in a holistic sense, it's the food they eat, not just what they eat, how they eat it. And by that, I mean, by sitting down at the table and sharing that food with family and friends, that strong sense of connection of community and sense of purpose and having people around, I think those are the things that contribute to their longevity. They did talk about technology and, just said, yes, you know, we have mobile phones here of course its internet just like everybody else you know, we have all that, but we use it in a different way. We're not obsessed. And our teenagers aren't glued to their mobile phone devices, or they spend a lot of time outside whether it's gardening or just outdoor activities. I really believe it's their lifestyle, their philosophy of life. They also are very famous for their Panigiri which is a festival and they have these quite often from about March to about October, and everyone in the island, or most people in the island will gather in a village and they'll have roasted goat wrapped in paper. They come to the table, you have your salads, you have your local wine they drink, they have a band, everyone's dancing from about 9:00 PM till about 9:00 AM the next morning singing and they have a lovely time. But the main thing about these Panigiri's and the thing that really struck at the most apart from having a fantastic night and a lot of fun and energy out there is that all the money raised in these festivals goes to a common cause on the Island. So if any family might need some medical help or to get to the mainland or a school might need some repairing or some roads need repairing all the money goes to that cause. So again, it's that sense of community and it's illustrated every single day that I saw there, I saw people helping each other. And I remember something that Monica had said to me, the 90 year old lady, she said Meni you need to be where your heart is full. And that really was something I think about quite a lot. And she was an amazing person and full of energy at her age and she always would say to me, don't ever stop smiling and be where your heart is full. And I think that kind of says it all about Ikaria, that slow pace, that community, that eating fresh, seasonal food, the joy they find in the little simple things in life. That's what it's all about. So that's their magic and their soul.Suzy Chase: Now to my segment called Last Night's Dinner, where I ask you what you had last night for dinner.Meni Valle: Last night's dinner was a simple Greek salad. I had some beautiful tomatoes that I had bought from the market. So it was just tomatoes, cucumber. I had some lovely feta cheese that I put in and I just had some fresh bread I had bought yesterday morning from a bakery that I love, and it was a very, very simple dinner last night, just a Greek salad. So it's my go-to.Suzy Chase: Where can we find you on the web and social media.Meni Valle: My website is many, and you can find me on Instagram @Meni.Valle. You can find me there.Suzy Chase: You need to be where your heart is full definitely sums it up. Thank you so much Meni for coming on Cookery by the Book Podcast.Meni Valle: Thank you so much. Lovely chatting with you, Suzy.Outro: Subscribe over on and thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    A Thanksgiving Feast For 4 On A $25 Budget | June from Delish

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 21, 2020

    A Thanksgiving Feast For 4 People On A $25 BudgetBy June Xie of Delish / Budget Eats on YouTube Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City, sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.June Xie: I'm June Xie and I'm a senior food producer at Delish and today we're going to chat about the Thanksgiving feast I made for $25 on my Delish YouTube show called Budget Eats.Suzy Chase: Dearly beloved we are here today to celebrate the gobble gobble with Budget Eats Thanksgiving Edition from Delish. Okay. I would love to chat about Budget Eats first, and then I want to dive into your Thanksgiving Edition. So, first of all, I am psyched to be able to chat with you about food. There may be 10 things that have gotten me through the pandemic and your videos are one of them. When I get burnt out on cooking, I go to your videos to get excited, to get back into the kitchen. I think my favorite video of yours is the one entitled "I Tried My Partner's Diet For An Entire Week" and that's where I learned about papad. Can you describe papad?June Xie: Okay. I'm so glad you brought this up because a lot of viewers have reached out to me saying that I have been pronouncing it wrong my entire life. And, uh, maybe we should play a sound clip of how it's properly pronounced, but I believe it's something more like papad and you kind of turn the second syllable into a rolling u-r sound.Suzy Chase: Well, however we pronounce it. It's amazingly delicious. Can you describe it?June Xie: Yeah, I think it's made out of a pulse flour. So lentils, I think is my usual go-to kind of papad and it's usually speckled with spices and it's like a little dehydrated disc that when you apply it to heat, either in a microwave or on the stove top on a flame or frying, it, it turns into this very thin crackery substance that has little air bubbles trapped in it and it's basically like a chip. And I like to describe it as an Indian flavored Lays baked potato chip. That's the texture that it's reminiscent of for me.Suzy Chase: Yes. Oh my gosh. Now I had to search around on Amazon. Where do you find yours?June Xie: I go to Patel Brothers in Jackson Heights, which is a swifty 15 minute walk from my place.Suzy Chase: Oh, lucky you living in Jackson Heights. You have all the spices, all the food, all that goodness.June Xie: You betcha and all the noise too, but it's a fun affair.Suzy Chase: So I also made a whole meal of Feta with Steamed Brown Rice and Black Bean Sauce. You have really inspired me to try new and different foods. Do people tell you that?June Xie: Yeah, I haven't met anyone in real life yet, but there's a lot of viewers who reach out to me on Instagram and they just showme pictures of random meals that they put together and they tell me that they were inspired by my videos. So just go to town with it, put all the leftovers together or just cook to their heart's desire. Kind of no rules, no borders, no boundaries. Just go for it.Suzy Chase: You have such a flare with leftovers.June Xie: I grew up eating a lot of leftovers. I think that's why.Suzy Chase: You just have a knack. So you also use this frozen Curry block for your Curry rice. What is that?June Xie: Okay. It's actually not frozen it's just like in dehydrated pack form and it's actually shelf stable at room temperature and it's a Japanese Curry block. That's essentially what it is. It has a lot of oils and spices and a little bit of MSG in there. And all you do is break off yourself, a cube or two and put it into water or your stir fry and it just melts into your pot and it makes your pot taste divine. It just makes your pot tastes like Japanese Curry.Suzy Chase: Your partner, who is basically in every video is Aaron and Aaron has an amazing palate and I think he's a good cook too.June Xie: I think he's actually a better cook than I am.Suzy Chase: No! So where did you guys meet? How long have you been together? And I guess you guys live in Jackson Heights. I was going to ask where you live.June Xie: Yeah, we live in Queens. We live in Woodside, which is a neighboring neighborhood from Jackson Heights, but it's all good. As long as you're in this part of Queens, you're around good food, but Aaron and I met in China actually right after college in 2011, we were both on a teaching fellowship and we met during the teacher training Institute and we've been together pretty much ever since.Suzy Chase: One thing I've learned about Aaron is he lives for spicy food and you use quite a bit of sambal oelek and something called red pepper, nice tasty, which cracks me up every time. What is that?June Xie: Okay red pepper nice tasty I believe is just a catch slogan on the container of our jar of go-to gochugaru it's a Korean chili flake. It's very fragrant. It's not all that spicy, but it has a deliciously red, vibrant color to it and we just like to sprinkle it like you would a crushed red chili pepper flake.Suzy Chase: I also made your homemade ramen recipe. So amazing. I could go on and on, but we're here to talk about Thanksgiving. So growing up as a Chinese immigrant, what was Thanksgiving like for you?June Xie: To be honest, I didn't ever grow up with the traditional Thanksgiving spread. My parents would just probably cook a few more dishes and they normally would, and that would be it, it would just be a slightly bigger dinner. It didn't really mean anything to us as Chinese immigrants, what this holiday was about. And I mean, growing up, going to the public school system in New York, we would get fed that Thanksgiving story of like pilgrims meet Native Americans. And they were all happy together and they shared this feast. So to me at the time in fourth grade, I was okay, this is a nice holiday, I guess, but it has nothing to do with my personal history so it never really reflected or resonated with me personally,Suzy Chase: As someone who never grew up with the traditional spread of Thanksgiving, what you did in this video was take a little inspiration from the traditions and mix it up with a little of what you call your own crazy, which I call brilliant. Can you talk a little bit about that?June Xie: Yeah, I mean, I think what really helps me in all of these shows is having that restriction of budget and given that I can't buy everything that I need means that I need to work it out in my head, what I actually can make and what I want to make and smush those two factors together. So knowing that I only had $25, I could not afford a whole turkey, which means I had to go away from the traditional feast of Thanksgiving, which often features a whole roasted turkey. So having discussed it with Julia we decided I needed to have turkey in some form. So I went out and I tried to find the most affordable Turkey and I found some turkey legs. And I was like, well, I have turkey legs, but I don't just want to roast them that seems quite boring and it's not really going to look like anything. So I just decided to break it down into meat, bones, and skin, and do something different with each of those components and look at them as separate ingredients.Suzy Chase: So how do you go about the recipe development for this feast? Like what was your process? Because to me it looked like, in all of your videos, it looks like you kind of have a framework in your mind, but you work out the recipe on camera. It's like watching you test the recipes in real time.June Xie: I mean, I think you got it exactly right. I think that's exactly what I do. I feel like there's a three part process to the recipe development behind these videos. The first part being me, trying to think possibly what dishes I would want to make if I had all the ingredients on hand. And then the second part is going shopping and seeing what I actually have and adjusting my first thoughts into feasible recipes, given my ingredients that have now materialized in front of me and finessing as I go, as I cook, obviously and not having tested any of these recipes before, because I didn't have the ingredients to test with it's a little bit of, here's my blueprint. I'm probably going to stray from it. Let's see what mess I get myself into and let's see how I can get myself out of it.Suzy Chase: You said, and I quote, "having never cooked Thanksgiving meals before, I've only heard anecdotally that it is a multi-day love affair. It will break you mentally, physically, psychologically, emotionally and it is the perfect way to come together with family after days of slaving over your food." So you made seven, seven total dishes. Can you give us a brief overview of the spread?June Xie: Okay. So seven dishes. Let's see if I can recall them all. I made two turkey dishes, the first one being Kung Pao Turkey and the second one being Mouthwatering Turkey. The second one is basically a spin off of Kou Shui Ji, which is a Chinese dish, very disgustingly named saliva chicken. If you translate it directly, it is saliva chicken, but I think it just means that it's so delicious you can't help but drool when you see it and it's basically this slightly simmered chicken just like in plain stock or water. And then you shock it in ice water immediately so that it tenderizes without over cooking. And then you spread this like divine spicy, clear red atomic chili oil over it. And it's got like Sichuan peppercorns in it and Sesame seeds in it. And it just coats that chicken, which has that essence of chicken now flavor bombed with spicy fragrant goodness so that's one of my personal favorite chicken dishes in the Chinese cuisine. And Kung Pao, I feel like everybody's had a Kung Pao chicken before so I just made a rendition of that with turkey, marinated the turkey overnight so that it tenderizes with that cornstarch slurry and then we seared it in a cast iron pan, and then we doused it in some sauce and then I put some pumpkin seeds in it, which turned out to be a misstep. But I think you're just going to have to watch the episode to find out what happened and then onto the sides, shall we? Julia said we had to have potatoes so I got some potatoes, potatoes are cheap, they're great for budgets and I decided to make some mashed potatoes, but not just any mashed potatoes. I roasted my potatoes then I scooped out the innards then I made a creamy mashed potato with those innards and then stuffed it back into the potato shells for a twice baked, mashed potatoes and for that I had to make some gravy and I got some mushrooms to make a mushroom gravy, which was fine on its own, but got very upgraded when I poured that gravy back into the pan that I had just cooked the Kung Pao Turkey in and that flavor made that gravy Aaron's second favorite dish out of the entire meal. So gravy is where it's at guys you've got to make a really good gravy because you can pour that on anything, your dry turkey if you have it your stuffing, if you have it and it just upgrades everything.Suzy Chase: You can drink it.June Xie: Yeah. I mean, sure. Why not? Why not? It's Thanksgiving go for it. I made a not stuffing stuffing stuffed into a butternut squash half and I used some potatoes in place of breadcrumbs or bread cubes and Aaron really liked that one too. I personally really liked the potatoes, just boiled then roasted until they were crunchy. It was kind of like a cross between a potato chip and a hash brown and it was just delicious all around perfectly snackable. So there's an idea for you, if you just want to make a cheap snack boil your potatoes and tiny cubes, coat them in oil and spices and then roast them until they're crispy. It's like the new potato chip. You're welcome. And then I made a boring side, you know, just like some roasted caramelized brussel sprouts with a little bit of roasted onions and carrots because we all got to have our veggies. There was also a savory Curry butternut squash pie that I made because I had those butternut squash innards, and I had leftover russet potatoes so I shredded the russet potatoes and made a hash brown crust out of them and then poured the pureed butternut squash innards into it and baked it and it was kind of pleasing to me because I like baby food textures. Aaron totally hated it. So to each their own. But if you are a fan of that mashed potato texture and you like your hash browns, you might want to give this recipe a try. Let's see, what else did I have?Suzy Chase: You had some cranberry sauce.June Xie: Yes. Cranberry sauce, pretty straightforward. A little bit of sugar, a little bit of citrus zest. I took the stems of some Rosemary sprigs because I don't want the Rosemary needles falling into it and just infuse that slight Rosemary flavor into it. It was pretty good. A little squeeze of Tangerine juice at the end to loosen it up, add a little bit of sweetness and tartness. I mean, I love cranberry sauce. I feel like it's one of the most delicious and Thanksgiving-y sides you could ever have. So there was no way I was going to skip that.Suzy Chase: See, that's such a June thing to add the Tangerine juice in it. Like I would never in a million years think of that,June Xie: Hey, it was cheap. It was like seven for a dollar. I was like, I'll grab one of these it'll fit into my budget no sweat oranges were more expensive. They were like two for a dollar. So whatever's in season. Whatever's cheap. You just got to go with it. I think a lot of people look at a recipe and they're like, I have to get every single ingredient on this list before I can make it, which is not only costly and troublesome, but also intimidating to some cooks, especially if you're new and you don't have much in your pantry. And you're like, well, to make this one dish, I have to buy 20 things. Sometimes it's just not feasible both economically and time-wise, you just don't have time to do that so I think recipes are a great starting point to use as a blueprint, but they should not limit your ability to cook something delicious for yourself.Suzy Chase: I want to talk about the comments. I hate it when people criticize Aaron in the comments,June Xie: Aaron hates it too.Suzy Chase: I mean, he's there to be the critic.June Xie: Yes and a reminder that he's doing this as a favor for me, because this is my job and not his.Suzy Chase: Right like he could stay in the other room and just work all day and not even participate.June Xie: He's a nice guy. He doesn't seem like a nice guy. Maybe if you're just meeting him. Because when I did meet him at first, I hated him for the first six weeks of my life, but it takes some time.Suzy Chase: So since we're knee deep in this fun pandemic and we can't host dinner parties, what are you guys doing for Thanksgiving?June Xie: I think we're just gonna stay home, sleep until noon. Wake up, eat a lot of snacks, probably eat all of my leftovers that I constantly have because I'm home developing recipes, shooting recipes, testing recipes, and just no one else to feed it to. And, uh, I don't know if I'm lucky, he'll watch a movie with me most of the time, he's just playing video games.Suzy Chase: So I'm always impressed by how you never let anything go to waste. Where did you learn how to cook?June Xie: I have a restaurant background. I worked in restaurants for a little over four years, but I feel like the thrifty side of me, the scrappy side of me basically just grew out of growing up with a work at home dad who, you know, threw together dinner so that we ate but like he would forget ingredients in the fridge and then I would look at this really sad wilting celery and like really dying herbs and I would just be like, dad, why, why are you doing this to us?Like there's food in the fridge and you're not cooking it. Can I cook it? And so I would just start cooking and I don't think I made anything good, but I cooked it because I didn't want to see the food go to waste. I think growing up with parents who were basically pretty low-income, I would say coupon clipping was a pastime of mine in high school. I loved to go grocery shopping and like look out for the deals. So I feel like I trained myself to do this from a very early age. And it's just a part of me. I think waste not want not is the saying and it's true for me. If you have it, why not use it?Suzy Chase: I did a little research on you and I saw that you were the pastry chef at Loring Place. And I just had Dan Kluger on last week with his new cookbook Chasing Flavor and you were also a cookbook assistant to Lindsay Maitland Hunt and I had her on recently to talk about her cookbook, Help Yourself. Are you planning on releasing your own cookbook?June Xie: Absolutely not. And just to credit I was not the pastry chef at Loring Place. I worked under the pastry chef at Loring Place and the pastry chef that I worked for is Diana Valenzuela and she's absolutely amazing I feel like she's one of the most talented pastry chefs I've ever had the pleasure of working with, but no, no cookbooks in my future, if I ever were to come out with a cookbook, I think I would have to transform the idea of what a cookbook is. I feel like there would be a lot more maybe writing in a narrative form over recipes that lay out exactly what to do. I'm not really recipe oriented despite being a recipe developer. I grew up in a Chinese household a lot of it is oral history, a lot of it is learning by observing and doing and not so much following a written recipe. So it's not really in my background to work through recipes like in the American tradition so it's almost like a second skill I'm trying to acquire and not really an instinctual gravity towards it.Suzy Chase: You know what else I'm thinking about as much as your videos are quirky and fun. They're also incredible lifesavers for folks who might be dealing with food insecurity now during the pandemic and economic stress. Can you talk a little bit about that?June Xie: I feel like there's definitely a lot of viewers who have written in and have said, you know, this has been a terribly hard year and it's really nice to see you do so much with so little. And I feel like the reason why this video series has been quite successful is because it's practical. It's because people are unemployed and people are low on funds and we don't know when this pandemic is going to end and we don't know if things are going to change soon enough and it's, it's a very real side of what we're living through right now. It's pretty horrible. 2020 has been pretty bad and it's not like these issues that we're facing this year are brand new. They have always been here, but I think going through the pandemic and going through this poor handling of our response to it has really shown us where our weak spots are and it's put it right in front of our face. And it's saying hey, you can't ignore me now because look at all of these people going through this very hard time. I mean, eating on a budget has always been a concern for working families and I think now more than ever, it's on top of everyone's mind.Suzy Chase: Now to my segment called Last Night's Dinner, where I ask you what you had last night for dinner.June Xie: I don't know if you want to hear thisSuzy Chase: I'm dying. Yes, I cannot wait. Okay.June Xie: Yesterday I had the pleasure of eating many of my leftovers from my Christmas Budget Eats sheet, including salmon fish bones that is right fish bones and, um, some pork spare ribs where most of the meat has fallen off and I was just gnawing on bones there's a lot of bones in my diet behind the camera I'm kind of a bone fanatic. And after that, I went onto a medley of spicy pickles, canned fish, as well as some Indian snacks, including these delicious fried chickpeas. If you live near an Indian grocery store and you have the opportunity to go into their snack aisle, you need to grab yourself a couple of bags of fried Indian snacks. They are one of the most delicious, crunchy things you will ever eat. After that I had half a slice of my Buche de Noel which I also made for the Christmas episode, as well as a lot of chocolate and a lot of cheese. And do you want me to keep going?Suzy Chase: Yes.June Xie: I basically never stopped eating.Suzy Chase: And you're so tiny!June Xie: I mean, it's, uh, I don't know where it goes, but apparently according to an internet theme, as soon as I hit 45 it's all going to just poof, appear in my face so we're going to hold on for another 15 years and then I'll be not so tiny anymore.Suzy Chase: Okay. Tell me about salmon bones.June Xie: Okay. So for the Christmas budget episode, I made the salmon soup. I grew up with a lot of soups, pork soups with a lot of bones in it because bones are really where the flavor is. And I managed to grab a bag of salmon scraps from my local grocery store for only a dollar and it's all the trimmings off of the fish. So the tail of the fish, the spine of the fish, where they have cut the filets off, you know, the fins of the fish, the skin of the fish and so there wasn't a lot of salmon meat in that bag, but there was a lot of trimmings and a lot of flavor. So I made a salmon soup for that episode. And then I'm left with these bones and I know some listeners out there, my shirk at it but I really just like to chew and gnaw on the bones, it has so much flavor in it and there's like a little tendon that runs along the spine that is quite chewy so if you like your textures and you're not grossed out by this salmon bones, it's where it's at, baby.Suzy Chase: Where can we find you on the web social media and where can we find your Thanksgiving recipes?June Xie: Obviously if you want to watch these Budget Eats videos, you can find them on the Delish YouTube channel and I have an Instagram, but you're going to have to hunt for me. It's okay. It's easy. You have Google. Google will tell you and Thanksgiving recipes will be on the delish website and if you have any recipes that I didn't put on the website, feel free to reach out to me and I'll give them to you. I don't put all of my recipes on the website because not all of them are tested. And honestly, I don't feel proud of all of them to be giving people prescriptions of how to cook them. But if you want them, I'll give them to you.Suzy Chase: I am thankful for you and everything you've taught me how to make on YouTube. Thanks so much June for coming on Cookery by the Book Podcast.June Xie: Thank you so much, Suzy. It's been a joyOutro: Subscribe over on And thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    Chasing Flavor | Dan Kluger

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 15, 2020

    Chasing Flavor: Techniques and Recipes to Cook FearlesslyBy Dan Kluger Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City, sitting at her dining room table talking to cookbook authors.Dan Kluger: I'm Dan Kluger, and we are talking about my new cookbook called Chasing Flavor.Suzy Chase: If you enjoy Cookery by the Book please tell a friend I'm always looking for new people to enjoy the podcast. Now on with the show. You are the quintessential New York chef, you've worked under and alongside some of the great names in the restaurant world. Danny Meyer, Jean-Georges, Tom Colicchio, and Floyd Cardoz who we lost to COVID in April. Can you talk a little bit about how all of these guys influenced your cooking style?Dan Kluger: I started in the front of the house at Danny Meyer's Union Square Cafe and had really no idea that I would someday become a chef. I was really just spending my days off in the kitchen to learn a little about what goes on back there in the hopes that it would become an owner someday. I should know what goes on. And Michael Romano, who was the chef at Union Square Cafe at the time ended up offering me a job. So I started, I think it was back in 1995 as a prep cook, just peeling potatoes and frying calimari and cleaning salad greens. And it was an eye opening experience to begin with. But, you know, really taught me about the basics of food. It taught me about the basics of production of food, and it opened my eyes to some incredible Italian food. When, when Michael Romano was cooking his Italian food, it was not always you know, what we think of as Italian food. It was from areas all over Italy and he would hone in on something really specific. And so there's a lesson to go with it, which I really loved as a young cook. So, you know, I got a little taste of, of, uh, cooking, a little taste of food and flavorful food and great products from the farmer's market all while working at a place that I had originally worked in front of the house. And so I was tied to hospitality and it was tied to taking care of people. I think that really kind of spawned the interest in this for me and specifically the interest in not just cooking, but cooking to really make people happy and, and bring the whole experience. So that was my time at Union Square Cafe and towards the end of it I was really fortunate enough to be friend Floyd Cardoz who was working out of Union Square Cafe as he was building Tabla and doing menu tastings and his food was incredible. And, uh, you know, at that time it was kind of like nothing else. And Michael Romano was also a huge fan of Indian food so they shared a love for it. I think that's in part why Tabla became Tabla. I didn't grow up eating Indian food and I didn't grow up really with really any ethnic food other than going out for Chinese food and once a month with my parents, so it was really an eye opening experience and a great opportunity. And through that, I ended up going with Floyd to open Tabla and I worked actually alongside him for seven years. And again, like just every day was a learning experience, both in the culture behind the Indian food and the flavors of Indian food and then because this was not just your average Indian restaurant and it was really American and French techniques with Indian spices. I learned so much about technique and building flavor and so I would really credit Floyd as having started my taste buds and my love for this balance of flavor. That's something we talk a lot about in the book I've talked about throughout my career. And, uh, after seven years there, I went off to work with Tom Colicchio on a private club in Midtown. He was a consulting chef and he hired me as a chef and so now going to work for him, I was able to really hone my skills on what I consider American food and what I consider my food today. And then from there I met Jean-Georges and decided to go work with him. I opened a couple different projects for him, but ultimately ended up becoming the chef of ABC Kitchen, which opened, I guess it was 2009, 2010, somewhere in there, and was really based on farm to table nothing could be from further than 150 miles with the exception of our olive oil and our lemons and things like that. So I was able to really polish and hone my skills on flavor using these products and under his tutelage and within this incredible setting of a brand new restaurant. And then I opened Loring Place back in 2016. And here we are today with, with Chasing Flavor. It's a culmination of all those experiences tied into a book that I want it to act as a way for people to become more comfortable with both flavor building techniques, whether it's charring or roasting or smoking, as well as comfortable and confident in terms of building a pantry that they can use with all sorts of different products to create these really flavorful meals.Suzy Chase: Okay. Before we talk about Chasing Flavor, I have to tell you a funny, kind of New Yorky tidbit. I remember when chef Cardoz opened Tabla in 1998, and I could only afford to go to The Bread Bar downstairs, but it was amazing. It was the less expensive alternative. You kind of got a little bit of what was going on upstairs and the onion rings were amazing.Dan Kluger: Yes, they were, yes they were. Yeah. It was an incredible restaurant again, you know the right place, the right time to launch Indian inspired concept that really could speak to lots of different people, whether it was through The Bread Bar, which was this home-style Indian kind of street food menu or upstairs, which was, kind of the crème de la crème of ingredients and techniques to showcase these Indian spices.Suzy Chase: So the month that Loring Place opened, I had Mimi Sheraton on my podcast. And since she's a neighborhood gal, I asked her what her favorite restaurant was and she said, Loring Place. And I was like, what? What's that? And she said, "Oh, it's on eighth street. It's my favorite restaurant." And I was like, oh my gosh, I have to check it out. And so let me just talk about where it's located. So it's located in Greenwich village on eighth street, practically across the street from Electric Lady studios and for the longest time eighth street wasn't, shall I say, the most desirable street? And I feel like you made the street, what it is today. How did you discover that location?Dan Kluger: I don't think I made it what it is today, but I was certainly able to be a, I guess, a big part of, um, it's change and what it's become today, but really I would give the credit to my friends who own Eighth Street Wine Cellar, which is right across the street from me. And they've been around, I think, uh, 14 years now. And I used to come down here a lot after work. And so for me the street was kind of become home. And then probably about seven, eight years ago, uh, The Marlton which is a nice hotel that opened up on the corner and I think really helped Stumptown coffee. And so just through those two places and, and the wine bar, I think we started to see a change in the street, New York in general, started to get a little bit cleaned up from the riff raff that was on that street before and we came in you know, right time before too many restaurants around the block and I was really excited to be part of a neighborhood that I like and a block that I had already seen a bunch of growth on and now be part of its continued growth.Suzy Chase: So I feel like the majority of your career has been centered around the Union Square Greenmarket. Can you share some of your shopping strategies for going to any green market? Like, do you come with a list? Do you have the route mapped out before you get there? Or do you just walk from one end to the other, which is what I do?Dan Kluger: It's all of the above. We're shopping for the restaurant there's obviously a list. What do we know we need? And if we need 10 flats of tomatoes to get us through the weekend, we will probably, pre-order five of them from one of our favorite farmers. And then we'll spend the rest of the time walking around finding the other five so that we kind of distribute amongst other farmers and we're able to pick up tomatoes and taste them as we go. In terms of restaurant, that's a big part of it, but it was not as targeted as that. If I'm not shopping for the restaurant, I'm shopping more for menu development or for myself, then it's really more a matter of I like to walk through with really open-mind looking for whether it's something new or something that I didn't really expect to pick up and cook with, but was sort of inspired at that moment.Suzy Chase: You believe that every recipe should leave us with something beyond a tasty dish. Can you talk a little bit about your takeaways?Dan Kluger: Every recipe as you said, has something called the takeaway .The takeaway could be that this chili sesame condiment is great on the arctic char, but it can also be used not for a raw fish dish. You can braise tomatoes in it and serve it with poached halibut, or the takeaway could be something as simple as, you know, how we cook our parmesan croutons and that's something that, again, they're, they're there for a specific soup, but they can also be used on a salad, or it could be about how we marinate something or how we roast something to get enough caramelization on it that, you know, something like a brussel sprout is still creamy, but now it's crunchy. It's got a little bitterness, it's got extra sweetness from that caramelization. So again, the idea is that we're giving you the confidence to use these skills, whether it's the key ingredient or a full dish.Suzy Chase: So normally you write a recipe for the kitchen staff, how much tweaking did you have to do for us home cooks in this cookbook?Dan Kluger: There's certainly some where we simplified them a little bit, maybe a restaurant recipe, we make an herb oil that has to hang overnight and was a little more time consuming and expensive and in this case we just chopped herbs. So the idea behind any recipe that's in there is still that dish at its best.Suzy Chase: You talk about elderflower syrup in this cookbook, which is one of your secret ingredients for salad dressings.Dan Kluger: We used a lot at ABC, but I grew up every summer going to England and elderflower is a big thing there and I remember my grandmother having this bottle of syrup and kind of fell in love with it at a very young age and at ABC, I really kind of learned the versatility of it and started using it in lots of different things from hot sauces to, to vinaigrettes.Suzy Chase: So I grew up in Kansas and corn was everywhere, but I only learned about a corn zipper on page 11 of your cookbook. Where have I been?Dan Kluger: You know I fell in love with the corn zipper many years ago and just found that it's a little bit easier and cleaner than just using a knife, but obviously a knife works really well.Suzy Chase: I need a corn zipper in my life. So let's go back to that magical day in 1995, when you were a student at Syracuse in the food service program, and you were asked to show a special guest around campus.Dan Kluger: I owe the credit to gentlemen named Leon Genet. His children went there and I think he may have even gone there. And so he had an auditorium named after his wife and a lecture series that he sponsored and he used to bring all these different people up to speak, whether it was the CEO of Macy's or Tommy Hilfiger or in this case, Danny Meyer. And Leon and I had kind of hit it off at an early stage of my time at Syracuse. And he said, I got Danny coming, Danny's great I want you to show him around and we set it up and I attended the lunch with Danny and then we took him for a walk around Syracuse campus and we took them to the Carrier Dome and up in bright lights was welcomed Danny Meyer. And we kind of hit it off and after that, I applied to Union Square Cafe to be a summer intern.Suzy Chase: That's a crazy story.Dan Kluger: Yeah. I lucked outSuzy Chase: Totally well, no, you made it happen. You made the magic happen.Dan Kluger: You know, I think I've talked about this other people for when I've said, you know, I lucked out or I was lucky, then they said, no, no, no, you, you made it you've you you've made these things happen and I think I've made things happen and I've used my opportunities to make the best of them. And I certainly not just been handed a silver spoon at the same token. I got very lucky with these things. I got lucky in meeting Danny. I got lucky in meeting Floyd and I got lucky in meeting Tom. I got very lucky in meeting Jean-Georges and you know, those things, I, I truly believe are luck I mean, I worked my tail off to get to those places, but if I hadn't met any of those people, you know who knows where I'd be today. So I do think luck does have something to do with it.Suzy Chase: This cookbook teaches us some new cooking techniques. So why should we use a wire rack when roasting vegetables?Dan Kluger: So the wire rack sometimes called an icing grate, goes on a normal sheet tray is really great for roasting vegetables because you toss the vegetables in some oil you put on top, and as it goes into a hot oven, the hot air of the oven is not only cooking the top of the vegetables and the sides that are exposed, but because it's on the rack it's going underneath and cooking the bottom of them whereas if you just had them on a tray or on a piece of parchment, they're actually going to steam in part. So this, this makes them become, depending on what you're cooking and how you're cooking it. I kind of refer to it as like raisinating them and it starts to dry them out a little bit and intensifies them and that's what I really like about it is you can take something like a butternut squash and roast it on there, and I just find it, it takes more moisture out and it just makes it more naturally intense.Suzy Chase: That's so smart because there's nothing worse than one side that's kind of crispy and caramelized and nice. And the other side is just kind of like wet and goopy a little bit.Dan Kluger: Yep. Exactly. That's what we're trying to avoid.Suzy Chase: I made your recipe for Heirloom Tomato Toast on page 39. And it took me back to the Union Square Cafe days. Can you describe this recipe?Dan Kluger: Yeah. So it's funny that you talked about Union Square you know, every season we had the tomato bruschetta, uh, where we just took ripe tomatoes and tossed them with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and garlic, and put on toasted bread. I thought it was great, obviously very simple, but for me, it was just a little too simple. It was always missing something. And so at one point I decided to make this heirloom toast where I bought, obviously some of the best tomatoes you could find, but then took the toast and rather just grill it we actually toast it with parmesan so you get this crunchy layer parmesan on it, but it makes this like really great layer to put the tomatoes on it, lots of flavor and then we build the tomatoes up. They're sprinkled with salt and olive oil. And what actually happens is they, they leach out a little bit of their liquid. The bread has been toasted, so it's a little bit dry and can take the liquid. And so now you have this like parmesan bread with soft tomatoes and the bread is starting to soak up some of that juice. And so it just to me becomes an incredible flavored toast.Suzy Chase: Now to my segment called Last Night's dinner, where I ask you what you had last night for dinner.Dan Kluger: I made vegan ramen last night. I built this broth by really caramelizing, deep caramelize, the onions and garlic and ginger, and then add it in miso, which is really one of my favorite products and some Korean chili paste and tomato paste and even some vegetable Marmite basically cooked all that together and then finished it with soy and vinegar and all these things by making this really flavorful base. You wouldn't have known that there's no pork fat in there. I mean it was like still really jammy and rich, just like if it was a deep, normal ramen base. So again, it's, to me, it's always about building flavor in stages.Suzy Chase: Before we wrap it up. I want you to tell us about your Thanksgiving dinner kit at Loring Place. It looks delicious and I'm going to order one for my family.Dan Kluger: Awesome. It's all of my favorites, obviously turkey and then we take the breasts we cook that separately, the legs we braise and we bake into an incredible pot pie and then we have roasted spiced acorn squash, we have roasted brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, cranberry chutney, which has, you know, this sort of Tabla Indian note to it, then stuffing and then last but not least a gravy that I've been making for years with Apple Jack Brandy and apple cider. So you can have dinner on the table and probably a half hour with not a whole lot of work.Suzy Chase: I'll say hey, look what I made everyone. They'll say, this is delicious. Where can we find you on the web social media and your restaurant here in the village?Dan Kluger: Website is Social media is Dan_Kluger, LoringPlaceNYC,on social media, as well as our new restaurant opening this December called Penny Bridge LIC and then both of them are and Chase: Thanks so much Dan, for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast.Dan Kluger: Thank you. It really a pleasure talking to you.Outro: Subscribe over on And thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    SerVe | The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 1879

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 10, 2020

    SerVe: Revisiting a Century of American Legion Auxiliary CookbooksBy The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 1879 Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City, sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.Ann Diaz: I'm Ann Diaz, and I'm here to talk about SerVe: Revisiting a Century of American Legion, Auxiliary cookbooks.Suzy Chase: If you like this podcast, please be sure to tell a friend I'm always looking for new people to enjoy Cookery by the Book. Now on with the show. Growing up, I was familiar with the American Legion hall that was located in Overland Park, Kansas and bingo and wedding receptions were the only things I knew about the American Legion, but it's so much more than that. Many of us don't know the story of the American Legion. Could you give us a little history?Ann Diaz: So most people know that the American Legion is a patriotic service organization that's been around for a long time. It did start in 1919 following World War One when it was observed that returning veterans needed a place to share memories and the challenges of war with each other and so Congress actually authorized the formation of the American Legion. Today there are more than 2 million members, which we call Legionnaires and I think 13,000 posts worldwide so including the United States, also France, Mexico, and the Philippines have Legion posts. But you know, it's really more than a social club, The Legion also offers benefits to veterans and advocates for veterans, and it's also a place for veterans to continue serving their communities a lot of them are service minded they work with youth, you've probably heard of Legion baseball. They also have shooting competitions. They have scholarships and oratorical competitions, and there's also a program called Boys State and Boys Nation. There's also Girls State and Girls Nation it's for juniors and seniors going to be seniors in high school to learn about leadership and citizenship training. So they do a lot of things that people don't always know about. They were also behind, the startup of the VA and they wrote the first draft of the GI bill back in 1944, it was called the servicemen's readjustment act back then. Since that time more than 8 million veterans have gone to college with that bill. So they do a lot in our communities.Suzy Chase: So the American Legion Auxiliary celebrated 100 years last year, tell us why The Auxiliary was established.Ann Diaz: So The Auxiliary was established just shortly after The Legion. As you can imagine, the women who were left behind during war time, they were busy, folding bandages, stretching resources, picking up the slack so they were not about to be left behind when it came to ongoing support of veterans and community service. So Congress also agreed and they chartered the American Legion Auxiliary that same year that The American Legion was started back in 1919, our unit, which is called Unit 1879 is the first one to be affiliated with the college campus so that's really cool. Our mission statement for The Auxiliary talks about the spirit of service, not self. We're here to support legionnaires and all veterans active duty service members and their families. There's a lot of fundraising that goes on oftentimes around food, right? Cookbooks, pancake, breakfasts, bake sales. We also educate youth on citizenship and the military, and we have a poppy program that recognizes veterans and raises money for them and gives us an opportunity to connect with veterans. You've seen the poppies, they're just like little red and green paper poppies that we hand out to veterans, take donations if they'd like. It's a fundraiser, but it is a way to connect with veterans.Suzy Chase: There's quite a bit of setup for this interview. So first, can you describe how this cookbook, a labor of love, came about in 2017 and your involvement?Ann Diaz: The seeds of the idea started as part of my grad school project, but it really became more powerful as The Auxiliary got involved. My auxiliary sisters in Unit 1879 really brought it to life, but the backstory I think is important too. So I was bothered by the number of veteran suicides and started researching what's known as the civilian military gap, the disconnect that we have today in understanding veterans, because we have a lot fewer connections to the military today. Less than 1% of our adult population serves, where compared to after world war two, where 12% of the adult population served. So there were a lot more family connections, people understood the challenges. So it's easy to stereotype what we don't understand. And it's definitely hard for us to support what we don't understand. So that's the civilian military gap. And I made my way to the local Legion post, wondering if bingo was really like the only way that I could get to know some of the veterans there. And they invited me inside and I wasn't really prepared for that, but suddenly there, I was sitting with about a half a dozen veterans from the Korean war from the Navy. And so I thought, wow, okay, this is my opportunity to get to know them a little bit. And, you know, I realized, I didn't really know how to engage in conversation. I didn't know what to say. So I realized I was part of that problem, part of the civilian military gap. So I went home and I brushed up on my military literacy. I did some research and I had conversations with veterans, with 22 veterans over the course of about five months and the conversations were so diverse, surprisingly diverse and really the only commonality I think was that we were conversing around food. So that was kind of one thing, but it was really transformative for me, any stereotypes that I may have had about patriotism or supporting veterans was kind of shattered in that process and at the same time, I was reading a book of essays called See Me For Who I Am. They were student veterans stories about war and coming home. And there was this line that caught my attention, a student veteran by the name of Jeffrey Norfleet. He wrote something like "I'm a walking discovery channel. Ask me about the cultures I've seen, asked me about the foods that I've eaten, asked me about the countries and the people and the nightlife." And I thought, wow that's really interesting. I could have a conversation about that. So the simple idea of food just kind of kept popping up the idea of the old spiral bound, auxiliary cookbooks. I kept thinking about food. I kept thinking in my out of my element, trying to, you know, write about the military I really don't know anything about the military. Why am I not writing about like food? And then I realized that that was really kind of the bridge, this idea of food and cookbooks and food stories, which is something really that women in the auxiliary have known for generations, right? Show up, bring food, listen simple. Really. So my advisor at CSU and I was just started imagining this historic cookbook, like how it could be a vehicle for increasing military literacy. And then I realized that there was an actual auxiliary unit right there on our campus. And so I met with them. I shared that idea and I realized that I was eligible to join because of my father's service and he's a member of the Legion. This was in 2017. So we had two years because 2019 would begin the hundredth anniversary of the organization. So the ideas kind of started to pour in, collect vintage cookbook from.. Has to be one from at least every state from every era and we're going to start with that. We're going to glean through for recipes and interesting tidbits, but we have different skillsets. We have Debra, who's a retired nurse and Jen, who's a registered dietician. And Rachel, who's really comfortable with technology. She's younger. And she said I can help with the online part of it, the e-commerce and the fulfillment. We have another Rachel who owns a cleaning company. So identifying the interesting household tips throughout the books, we have Karen Boehler, who is a former school principal with a huge servant's heart she's been involved with the Auxiliary for decades she was co-project manager with me. She researched and wrote the histories and many of the food stories for the book, Sharon is a customer service expert so she's really organized and she did our bake sales and help choose recipes. And we just had this great collaboration of skills and talents. I'm a writer and editor. I took a class in InDesign, so I could design the book because I had a vision for what it should look like that allowed us to self publish it and save a lot of money so we can donate more for veterans.Suzy Chase: I wanted to have you on the cookbook podcast because today is Veterans Day and I want to shine the spotlight on what war means and the sacrifices paid. And I wanted to note that The American Legion family must be nonpolitical. So this is about serving our country and honoring a legacy. Over the past couple of years, as you said, you've been collecting American Legion Auxiliary cookbooks. Where did you find all these cookbooks?Ann Diaz: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. It was a good challenge. We were really determined to collect one from every state or department they're called in The Legion family and covering all eras so discovering that one really did exist from 1919 was really the jumping off point for the project while it was still in the research stage. I did an online search and found a reprint of a book from Eureka, California from an auxiliary unit there in 1919. So that was the, okay, this is going to work sort of moment that they're out there from that far back. And then a lot of Google searches followed after that. eBay, Amazon just general searches, Kitchen Arts & Letters in New York City tracked down about a half a dozen books for us. And some of the online vendors, like a 1920's book from Seymour, Wisconsin is a leather cover with gold embossing on it and they wanted $90 for it. So I wrote and told them what the project was about and they gave us a really nice discount. We did that a couple of times, but all of our ladies reached out to their friends, made personal phone calls. So everybody really did their part. And Karen who I mentioned, our unit president for Rolodex is like a who's who of people in The Auxiliary and so she started reaching out to people and she got us some 1920's books from Idaho that are canvas covered, binder style cookbooks from the 1980's. She has friends in Alaska and Hawaii. So those hard to find books, she helped us with those.Suzy Chase: The 1919 recipe is the oldest recipe in this cookbook. What's that dish.Ann Diaz: So those are Clifford Teacakes. Isn't that just a charming, old name? Clifford Teacakes um, you just think of like doilies and fancy China, but really it's like an icebox cookie. You might remember Icebox Cookies? It's almost got like the texture of a biscotti, which people enjoy today so we wanted it to be a contemporary looking book to bridge those generations. So you're not going to see the photo of it on grandmother's China. It's going to be something a little bit more contemporary to kind of illustrate that hey, these are things that maybe your great grandma made, but you would enjoy it today. Some recipes will say like 15 cents worth of ground pork or to cook it in a warm oven and it won't say any amount of time. So we had recipe testers figure all this out for us. We had about 75 recipe testers, including our ladies across the country who volunteered but we paged through all these vintage books once we collected them and we identified and put on a spreadsheet over 600 recipes that were interesting for some reason. So we sent out the original format of them and people had to figure out like, what are some of these things mean? And they filled in the gaps and, and we said, you know, make it a little bit more contemporary, people might not use oleo or lard or whatever. Like what would you use today? We want it to be a book that people will use. They did that. They sent us detailed notes about what they did. They took photos. And then we re typed the recipes that made the cut. And then we sent those out again to another set of recipe testers to make sure that it still made sense and then it was going to work. So every recipe has been tested twice. And then below the title of each recipe in the book, we credit the original contributor and the book title that it was from and the year. So that really connects us to the past.Suzy Chase: I love that you put some of the recipe tester notes in the cookbook and you call it "Overheard in the Test Kitchen." I thought that was super cute.Ann Diaz: Yeah, it's kind of like marginalia right like the stuff that you'd maybe scribble in your cookbook.Suzy Chase: I noticed that most of these recipes are comfort foods and comfort food was so important to the military that the US spent, I couldn't believe this, $1 million in 1945 to convert a barge into a floating ice cream factory. Can you just talk a little bit about comfort food and the connection to home?Ann Diaz: So it's been said that an army marches on its stomach, that's an old saying, I suppose, with a lot of truth to it. So comfort foods were important and still are important on the military front. It's good for morale. There are some fun stories in the cookbook. There's one about the Hershey's company. So the military, I think this was also during World War II, that the military commission, that Hershey corporation to make a candy bar for field rations.Suzy Chase: Did it taste funny?Ann Diaz: Yeah, apparently it took many tries. They didn't want it to taste that great. Those were some of the criteria. They said it had to be small, four ounces so that it would fit in their rucksacks. It had to withstand the heat of the Pacific theater. It had to be high in energy and that it should taste only slightly better than a boiled potato so that the troops wouldn't overindulge. But then it got to the point where I think they got better with the recipe to the point where some service members would trade their cigarettes for the chocolate. Cause they really wanted the chocolate.Suzy Chase: My dad was in the Korean war. So my mom used to make SOS. Your recipe in the cookbook is from the official USMC Food Service Association recipe from 1952. I didn't realize there were so many different versions of this recipe in different branches of the military, for those who aren't familiar. Can you describe this recipe?Ann Diaz: Yeah. So it's like a toast covered with a white sauce that either has ground beef or chipped beef in it and my stepdad says when they made the chipped beef, that's when we'd go out for pizza like that, that was really bad. The chipped beef was awful but he also thought that in the Navy, there was more of a tomato base to it. So yeah, it was different in different branches of the military, different recipes. We didn't expect to find that recipe. It's not one that women would have passed down as the pride of their kitchen, but we were just talking about it and started looking for it and then a cookbook from Tennessee showed up in the mail and lo and behold, this recipe from the Marine Corps, this official recipe was in there. So Carrie, one of our members called the local tavern and said, hey would you guys be interested in making this SOS on armed services day a couple of years ago and served it free for veterans who came in. And so veterans came in, they got a free meal, they got to reminisce a little bit and we got to hear some of their stories. So that was pretty cool.Suzy Chase: Could you tell us about the three-fold mission of this cookbook?Ann Diaz: So the first part of our mission is to honor the legacy of these women that have served for a hundred years. The second is inspiring conversation, equipping people with tools so they kind of understand the wars that we've been involved in and give them some ideas for conversation about simple things like food. And the third is supporting mental wellness for veterans. So this is of course a fundraiser we're donating nearly a hundred percent of the proceeds because most of our costs were covered either by sponsors or work that we did ourselves. So we're donating proceeds to mental wellness programs for veterans. A lot of the creative arts, The Auxiliary collaborates with the VA on a national veterans creative arts program. Cause that's really good for mental health. And we've also helped publish a book of essays written by veterans in our area. So those are just some of the things so far. And we're just getting started.Suzy Chase: Now to my segment called Last Night's Dinner where I ask you what you had last night for dinner.Ann Diaz: We actually made a nice big pot of Beef Burgundy. It's a recipe in our cookbook and it was delicious. It was missing the homemade bread, but I'm cutting back on carbs right now and my grandma would be really disappointed in that, but it was delicious Beef Burgundy.Suzy Chase: Where can we find this book on the web and social media?Ann Diaz: On the web it is is our website. And we also have a Facebook page under the same name, ALA Serve Cookbook where people can find us. They can find us at Kitchen Arts & Letters and some stores in Colorado, but that information is on our website.Suzy Chase: I think if we all lived by the motto, service not self, our world would be a much better place today on Veterans Day, we give thanks to our service members and veterans. And thank you, Ann for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast.Ann Diaz: Thank you, Suzy,Outro: Subscribe over on and thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    Pie For Everyone | Petra "Petee" Paredez

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 8, 2020

    Pie For EveryoneBy Petra “Petee” Paredez Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York city sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.Petra Paredez: I am Petra Paredez and my cookbook is called Pie For Everyone, Recipes and Stories From Petee's Pie, New York's Best Pie Shop.Suzy Chase: If you liked this podcast, please be sure to tell a friend I'm always looking for new people to enjoy Cookery by the Book. Now on with the show. Pie is the secret of our strength as a nation and the foundation of our industrial supremacy. Pie is the American synonym of prosperity. Pie is the food of the heroic, no pie, eating people can be permanently vanquished. I thought you'd get a kick out of that cause that's out of, The New York Times in 1902.Petra Paredez: Oh amazing.Suzy Chase: Isn't that funny?Petra Paredez: Yeah. I mean, I'm a pie lover. I might not go that far, but I love it.Suzy Chase: Well I know you did a lot of research at the New York Public Library, right?Petra Paredez: It's actually something you can do online. They have a lot of menus available online. So you can look at all these big, beautiful menus PDFs of antique and vintage menus from, decades past from New York City and beyond and see what people were eating. One thing that pretty much all over those menus from past decades is pie for dessert and also pie for main meals as well. But when you check out the New York Public Library database, the menu database that's a really strong common thread in all of these menus.Suzy Chase: I've heard. It's amazing.Petra Paredez: It's so much fun to look at. I mean, if you just look up pie and then you see all of of these different tags for different menus and they're constantly being uploaded, just pies you've never heard of or fruits, you might not have heard of as well.Suzy Chase: So Americans really seem to think that pie is ours. The first known written recipe for Apple Pie dates back to an English cookbook published in 1381. Now, how is pie a culinary vehicle that can travel across millennia and seasons?Petra Paredez: I think to address that you kind of have to think about what makes the pie and what your definition of a pie is. If we think of it as a filling that is baked in a crust, there's so many different examples of that across cultures and across huge swaths of the human timeline. But, you know if it's some sort of grain crust and a filling, people have been making that for millennia way back to the Greeks, the Egyptians, and you can be a little loose with your definition. I mean, what people often cite as first pies sound to me an awful lot like cheesecake, um, maybe like a sheep's cheese in an ancient grain crust and that's part of why I think cheesecake is pie too, by the way,Suzy Chase: I was going to ask you that is cheesecake cake or pie. I think of it as cake.Petra Paredez: Some versions strike me much more as a cake-like dessert. And then some versions I think are more tart, like are or pie like in the sense that they have a much more clearly defined crust and then an egg and cheese based custard or filling that is baked inside of it. I think of cake is something more with leavener, and a crumb to it. Some cheesecakes have that. I like it fluffy, but not necessarily with a crumb, but yeah, I mean, I think pie in general is such like an amazing vehicle because you can kind of take whatever your spices and fruits or even savory elements that are part of your cultural cuisine and stuff 'em in a crust and bake them.Suzy Chase: I'm curious to hear about how you grew up in a pie business that your parents started in 1981. That was a long time ago.Petra Paredez: Yea. It's sounding farther and farther away. That's for sure. Yeah. My parents started their pie business sort of out of desperation. They had been farming for a while. Their small farm operation went under and they noticed that there was a dearth of good pies at the farmer's market. And my dad being the sort of analytical guy with strong opinions that, "Oh I can probably do that" not having been a professional baker in the past. He and my mom, they started making pies in their house and selling them at the farmer's market. And before they knew it, it was popular enough that they had to define themselves as a brand and a company. And they decided to call it Mom's Apple Pie Company, thinking that it sort of conveyed this sense of, I don't know, sort of like an Americana, some sort of, you know, wholesome family values, Mom and Apple Pie, but really, they were just like pretty destitute hippies without stable housing who didn't know what else to do. And, you know, my Dad was guided by his strong opinions of what a good pie should taste like and he was able to use that to guide him towards his goal of making those pies. And people responded really well. But I would say that my upbringing was quite different from, you know, my peers and that I, I knew exactly what my parents did for a living. They made pies. Every Thanksgiving I would take the week off of school and work alongside my parents at the bakery. And it wasn't that we were valuable workers when we were, you know, 8, 10, 14 it's more that they didn't have the time to take us to school. So they were doing a lot of, you know, all nighters and probably wasn't even safe for them to drive around at that point. And so we were alongside them, wrapping up pies, taking them to customers, doing all of the little odd jobs, but feeling very important about it too.Suzy Chase: Okay. So when you used to go to the restaurants, your dad would critique the crust of other pies.Petra Paredez: We still do it.Suzy Chase: Oh my gosh.Petra Paredez: Yeah. It's a really funny habit. I mean you know, it's one way of taking your work with you wherever you go. If you're a cook or a baker, um, you can't help, but observe these things. If you go out to eat at a restaurant, but he was pretty funny about it. His brow gets really furrowed and it looks super serious and he's like looking at the crust up close and feeling it with his fingers. It can be a little bit embarrassing except we're all kind of into it. So it's not that he's judgemental it's just that he gets puzzled because he knows how good pie can be, but you're just so much more often able to find mediocre pie than really excellent pie. So he's just wondering why put it on the menu if it's not going to be really great. And he's of course always looking for a super flaky crust and super juicy and flavorful filling. And for him, I think it comes down to like the quality of the fruit. He's super picky about those things. So those are all things that I took with me to, to my business when I started my own thing in New York City with my husband, just those super high standards and wanting to get local fruit that's in season, rather than just, you know, have everything available year round. You know, I'm looking for certain things that in my relationship with those farms and it's mostly just I'll take the ugly fruit as long as it's really nice and bright, rather than all the stuff that looks really good, but might not taste as good.Suzy Chase: Well, that leads us to your high pie standards and your five tenants of a good pie. Let's start with the crust. You say it should be flavorful and plastic fork tender.Petra Paredez: Yeah. That means that if you are eating it on a plate, you should be able to eat it with a plastic fork and have no problem getting right through the crust. Crust used to be more of a vehicle for the pie and a vessel for the pie, for the filling of the pie. But we don't have to carry pies on long journeys overseas or in a pocket or whatever we can just make a really good crust that we want to eat. I mean, to me, the best crust is butter crust. It should be tender and flaky, like so flaky that it shatters. That's what I'm going for.Suzy Chase: You have 7 types of pie crust in this cookbook. I didn't think there were seven types of pie crust.Petra Paredez: Yeah. I wanted it to be accessible to people with different diets. So most of the filling recipes are gluten free. So there's a gluten free crust option and there's a vegan option as well because all of the fruit pies with the exception of like one or two fillings, all of the fruit pies in there are also vegan. So when I say pie for everyone, I really do want it to be accessible for everybody. And I also think that while the butter crust works great with savory pies, it's definitely the most versatile crust out of all of them. It's nice to have a whole grain crust. Sometimes it makes it feel like a much heartier meal if you're having a whole wheat crust or a rye crust, for example, with a savory pie.Suzy Chase: So you touched on this just a little bit just now, but what should we be looking for in fruit?Petra Paredez: You just want to be the fullest expression of itself. So fruit at the height of its season is really what you should want or fruit that's been frozen at the height of its ripeness. You know, if you were to freeze fruit in the summer and use it in the winter, that's going to be so much better than buying that same fruit in the winter. If it's out of season where you live and what I want in a fruit filling is just for those natural flavors to be amplified. And if you just add sugar, you're not really going to amplify it. You have to add sweetness and acidity in good measures. Something that is missing often in fruit fillings is sufficient acidity. To me, lemon juice is always just the best, best source of acidity to add to a fruit pie.Suzy Chase: Talk a little bit about the historic precedence of spices in pies.Petra Paredez: Yeah, well, I've been noticing some pie filling choices that, you know, I might not always agree with. And I would have these like knee jerk reactions to spices with berries, for example, for some reason that never really, that idea never really appealed to me. And then I was reading, um, Amelia Simmons, I'm sure you're familiar with American Cookery, like the first American cookbook, right and I noticed that she is equally as opinionated as I am about this, and she advises cinnamon and mace other sort of warm spices to treat fruit like apples. But she says that every species of fruits such as plums, raspberries, blackberries may only be sweetened without spices. And I thought that was really interesting just to lay it down like a hard and fast rule. That's how I feel about it. I mean, ultimately to each her own but I liked that she laid that down so that I didn't have to.Suzy Chase: What should we be thinking about when making chess, nut and custard pies,Petra Paredez: Those pies are so heavily based on like nice fatty ingredients, like chess and nut pies are based on eggs, butter, and sugar. And then you have custard pies, which are based on a variety of dairy, usually like cream and milk and, and eggs and sugar. And so to balance out those flavors, I think that you need a nice amount of salt, but they also just need to be made out of really quality ingredients. So just really good butter. And I also think that nut pies, like in a pecan pie, for example, using something other than corn syrup, I know that it's a traditional ingredient and pecan pie, but it's also sort of a bizarre invented food that doesn't really exist in nature at all and it doesn't exist by any natural means. It's made by a sort of treating sort of a cornstarch slurry with enzymes that they get from bacteria and fungi. It's just all too weird for me. So I like to use a nice natural sweetener with more character than corn syrup. The only character that corn syrup has is his character that's added through vanilla or molasses. So if you like those things, then you might as well use sweeteners that have molasses in them naturally like a cane sugar and molasses or use use honey use maple syrup. Those things will add so much more depth and character to a nut pie.Suzy Chase: And last, what are the do's and don'ts with filling flavors,Petra Paredez: I've noticed a lot more sort of herbs being added to fruit pies and spices added to Berry pies and I think that sometimes those things might sound more appealing than the end result. I just think that you should let your palate be your guide rather than driving to make something unique or, or going for a sort of..what ends up being sort of a gimmick you know, a classic pie done right will always sort of beat a bizarre combination any day. And so don't combine things based on how they sound more based on how they might look aesthetically, think about how their flavors balance each other out and contribute to a more balanced filling of a nice amount of acidity and sweetness and touch of salt. Those are better considerations when you're putting together ideas for a filling.Suzy Chase: So how is your pie technique different from your Dad's?Petra Paredez: I learned so much from my Dad and I think his butter crust is phenomenal, but when I started making my pies here in New York City, I was making them with local ingredients and I found that I was learning little things along the way and modifying the crust recipe along the way in ways that suit my ingredients better. But ultimately the biggest change was I was just like adding more and more butter. I was seeing how, how far I could push it. So in the crust, I have even more butter and my butter that I get up here, I get mostly from Kriemhild Dairy, which is upstate and Ronnybrook Dairy also upstate. So I get super high fat content butter, and that makes the crust really excellent. For the longest time, my lemon chess and almond chess recipes didn't diverge from my Dad's at all and then I thought, maybe I can see if there's a way to have this nice chess pie texture with less sugar, because I know that the palate of people in New York city is a lot less inclined towards sweetness as compared to in Virginia. So that's one thing that I changed. It meant that I had to sort of add more egg yolk as an emulsifier and keep that filling nice and solid. But I was able to reduce sugar and let some of those other flavors come through in the chess pies and maintain that really lovely chess pie texture.Suzy Chase: Okay. Here's the hundred thousand dollar question. Okay. Here we go. What is your favorite pie?Petra Paredez: Oh gosh. Okay. I mean, I have two favorites for different occasions. Is that all right?Suzy Chase: I mean like today, like right now.Petra Paredez: I just actually, Coconut Custard I've loved since I was a kid and I just love coconut desserts. I always loved coconut desserts. My step-grandmother was from Thailand and I spent so much time with her when I was little and I ate so much coconut stuff with her. So you know going to my parent's bakery after spending the day with her I really liked Coconut Custard Pie. And that, to me, it's sort of an underdog. Although I think I talk about it enough that it's gotten more popular at our bakery over the years. And I think that the very best pie that we make is the Berry Dream Pie. Like that's the one that when people try it, it just consistently knocks their socks off. It's just a Berry explosion. It's so super fresh, super vibrant. Like the tartness is just like at that sort of maximum where it's still like really tasty and dessert, like, but it just really lights up your palate.Suzy Chase: I got the Coconut Custard over the weekend, which is my favorite kind of pie too. I love anything coconut.Petra Paredez: Yea, oh cool. Just the nice flan-like quality, my Dad, they make it with that more easy to find like angel flake type coconut which I love, I love that stuff, but it kind of tastes a little far removed from coconut now that I'm an adult. And so I like using unsweetened coconut cause then like unsweetened, organic coconut is in tinier pieces. It dries out a little more but it's a little easier to slice and more of that pure coconut flavor comes through.Suzy Chase: Now to my segment called Last Night's Dinner where I ask you what you had last night for dinner.Petra Paredez: So last night my husband makes the most amazing carnitas and they're so good. And we've realized lately that the only way our 2 year old will finish his dinner is if he's eating Mexican food. So now we have to just constantly have tortillas available, constantly have beans cooking. I'll do beans in the pressure cooker when I forget that I haven't made dinner yet I'll just do beans in the pressure cooker real quick. And so we'll just do tacos with carnitas and it's so good.Suzy Chase: Oh man. I'm with your son. I'll be right over tonight!Petra Paredez: Yea it's like Taco Tuesday every day now because they never get sick of it and it's not worth making a meal that my husband and I will enjoy and then like trying to feed it to the kids. And then your ego is shattered because you're like, everybody loves my cooking except you. So yeah, taco Tuesday every night.Suzy Chase: Where can we find you on the web social media and in New York City? So @peteespie on Instagram, if you are in New York City on the Lower East Side, we're on Delancey Street we've been there coming up on 6 years at Thanksgiving time. And we have a beautiful cafe in Clinton Hill on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn as well now.Suzy Chase: Well, this was so awesome. Thank you so much, Petra for coming on Cookery by the Book Podcast.Petra Paredez: Thank you so much, Suzy. I had a lot of funOutro: Subscribe over on and thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    Help Yourself | Lindsay Maitland Hunt

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 1, 2020

    Help Yourself: A Guide To Gut Health For People Who Love Delicious FoodBy Lindsay Maitland Hunt Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City, sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.Lindsay Maitlan...: Hi, I'm Lindsay Maitland Hunt, and I am the author of Help Yourself, A Guide To Gut Health For People Who Love Delicious Food, as well as the cookbook Healthyish, which came out in 2018Suzy Chase: For more Cookery by the Book. Join me over on Instagram and if you enjoy this podcast please be sure to tell a friend. I'm always looking for new people to enjoy Cookery by the Book, now on with the show. So you've lived in LA, New York, Berlin, and now Jackson, Wyoming, hopefully back to Berlin soon. You've been a recipe developer, a magazine editor at Real Simple, one of my all time, favorite magazines, and now a two time cookbook author. This cookbook has come out at the perfect time for me. I'm not alone when I say I've been emotional eating and drinking during the quarantine, so much banana bread and so many Aperol spritzes. Who is this cookbook for?Lindsay Maitlan...: Well, first of all, thank you so much for having me. And the answer to your question is it's for everyone, because the thing about gut health is what that term is referring to is that we all have this collection of microbes that lives inside our large intestine, which is known as the gut microbiota. You might also hear the term gut microbiome, which is another term that's used for the collection of microbes, but also refers to their genes. So what happens is that this is the waystation to health because everything we eat gets digested by these microbes. And then those end up communicating with the rest of our body via chemical messengers. So the point is that this book is for everyone because we all house a community of microbes. No two are exactly alike. It's sort of, I like to compare it to a fingerprint. They all look similar, but they're all completely individual. And like I said, these microbes are the waystation to health. And so even if you have a diagnosed illness that you might be treating via how you eat or via the gut microbiota, it's also true if you're in great health, you still maintain this community of microbes. So no matter what this cookbooks is good for youSuzy Chase: Let's start with your food journey. So you were sick for three and a half years. Describe the tipping point for you when you knew you'd exhausted all the doctor's visits and 17 pills a day.Lindsay Maitlan...: So what happened was that I was accumulating a grab bag of symptoms, and I think so many people can relate to this. It wasn't necessarily something so clear. There was no straightforward diagnosis, but rather symptoms. So heartburn, migraines, itching, weight, gain depression, you know, hives all over my whole body, not even looking like myself in the mirror to me. And what happened was every time I go to a doctor for whatever symptom I had, you know, you go for the hives, you go to an allergist for feeling depressed you go to a psychiatrist or psychologist, things like that. Never was anyone able to connect for me that these were coming from something together. And I would say, you know, is there a connection? I, I never had heartburn and I never had itching and hives and I never had migraines. Could these things be connected at all? And I would always be told like, no, there's no connection. And then I would ask, is there something that I'm eating? I don't know. I mean, I'd been a recipe developer for so many years at this point, but I really saw food as a modality that had mostly to do with taste and maybe secondarily to do with how much I would weigh or how I looked but I wasn't really thinking about it translating and how I felt. And these doctors also told me that there was no connection there. So what happened was that after all these years, I really didn't feel like myself. And I ended up going to stay with my parents in Wyoming. I was feeling really depleted. I'd been living in New York and felt like I just have to give up because I'm spending all my time, going to doctors, dealing with the health insurance claims that come with that calling the insurance company, because inevitably something went wrong and really starting to feel like my identity was changing and being defined by feeling sick all the time. And I went to this functional medicine doctor. So he's someone who's trained in functional medicine, as well as having a traditional MD and he charted all the symptoms when they started and showed me this graph that showed them coming up into a wave and he said, this is totally normal. I can help you. What he told me to do was actually to cut out foods to cut out gluten, dairy and eggs. And I tried that and I did not feel any better. And so when you ask about the tipping point, you know, that's when I really had the ah-ha moment of like, I think I just need to buy the books by the scientists about this gut microbiota, whatever that means and start interviewing them and start reading scientific papers and figure out based on the science, which turns out it's these health promoting microbes that live in our gut. What they actually thrive on is dietary plant fiber. Once I understood that, I just started adding in those things that the microbes loved and also taking out refined grains to excess, not fully cutting them out and cutting out refined sugar to excess, again, not fully cutting it out, but really cutting back. And that's when my health started turning around.Suzy Chase: So the standard Western diet today is centered around many forms of the same thing, sugar, how toxic is sugar?Lindsay Maitlan...: I think this is something I say in the book, it's a saying from toxicology, which is the dose makes the poison. I think sugar in its self, like any ingredient or food is not inherently bad. Like I really like to stay away from moralizing terms like good or bad or guilty, or, you know, guilt-free, I think sugar is fine in moderation. And, and again, like I think part of this way of eating that is more like what I like to say, plant focused rather than plant-based because it's not a vegan cookbook, although it encourages eating as many plants as possible as making up your day-to-day way of eating. Sugar has a role for many people who get in better touch with their bodies and, and want to have some things sweet and delicious. It's so satiating, it speaks to pleasure. Or, you know, you mentioned stress eating during the pandemic. I certainly know I've wanted more sugar than ever in the past six months and anticipate through the election and to come that I'll probably be wanting sugar as well. Um, yeah, it's really when you get into excess, because it starts changing the way our body functions. And so what happens there, so satiating that you end up eating something and maybe it takes the place of those foods that actually the health promoting microbes in your gut need to thrive, which again is like a variety of whole plant food sources. So you might eat something that's really high in sugar and therefore skip that plate of broccoli because who really wants broccoli when a cookie is sitting in front of you. Like I know I don't.Suzy Chase: So I think you just touched on this a little bit, but to me, this seems like a modern phenomenon. My mom and grandma never complained about these issues. Do you think it has to do with our modern process food?Lindsay Maitlan...: It has to do with processed food. I mean, yes that's, that's definitely true. Um, the rise in use of antibiotics, indiscriminately is one thing that's also pointed to because there's nothing wrong with antibiotics they are such life-saving tools. But often, I mean, we know this right now, there's a pandemic caused by a virus, a virus isn't killed by an antibiotic. An antibiotic can only kill a bacteria, but so often people have taken antibiotics sort of just in case. And what happens is that those don't just kill one tiny individual microbe, but they wipe out whole strains and that can change how the gut microbiota community functions long-term because you can end up wiping out so many of these health promoting species. Yeah. And you mentioned processed food. I think also the reality is that it takes time to cook. And this is something, you know, that I think is a little more complicated than we have time to get into the podcast but if anyone's interested in the way that the rise of women not having as much time in the home or working, the second shift has affected the way we eat. There's this book called Formerly Known As Food by Kristin Lawless that really digs into that. So it just takes time to go healthy food, which is something that I think a lot of people want to shy away from. But that's the truth it's a process food it's just fast and ready to go and so when you have less time, you're less likely to create the dinner that's made from whole food plant sources.Suzy Chase: So instead of recommending high fiber foods for gut health, you say work in a variety of plants, including vegetables, whole grains, beans into your diet. I love that this cookbook makes it clear exactly what we need to get at the grocery store.Lindsay Maitlan...: So there's a book, another book I love reading. And, um, there's a book called Nutritionism by Gyorgy Scrinis, who's a researcher professor out of Australia and he is the one who coined the term nutritionism which Michael Pollan also popularized, which basically says, when you talk about the nutrient above the food. So originally I went straight forward with the proposal for this book. I was like, it's about low-glycemic high-fiber foods, you know, but if someone hears that they don't necessarily know what that means. Then they look at the carrot and they're thinking, is this low-glycemic and high fiber? What does, what does that mean? What does glycemic even mean? But if you understand that, the reason that we know that a variety of plants is so good for us is because of some things that we know they're high in complex chains of carbohydrates, which are what dietary fiber is, and they contain antioxidants and polyphenols and all these flavonoids, these complicated words. Sure. But at the end of the day, does that really matter? Those are the things we are able to name, but what about all the other components of the food that we don't know about yet and what happens when they're combined together? Instead, if we think about just getting the variety of those whole food plant sources, we're still getting the high fiber low-glycemic high antioxidant, all this sort of health jargon that's out there and is meaningful in a lot of ways. But at the end of the day, often I think for many people obscures what we eat away from choosing the whole foods when possible, and going for the packaged foods that might say, Oh, this is high fiber, you know, but it's actually a carrot that's been dehydrated and refined and used as a powder. We don't know what that's inherently as good as eating it and it's whole food source. And in fact it seems that there is actually a complex matrix of things that happen when that fiber is encased in the actual food. So that's why I try to stay away from those sorts of jargony health terms.Suzy Chase: Two weeks ago, I finished a 10 day cleanse and boy was that rough. And you know, my biggest problem was with flavor. I wish I would've had this cookbook, back then to learn about your nine ways to dress up a meal. I basically relied on flaky sea salt the whole time. Can you give us a couple of your delicious examples?Lindsay Maitlan...: Of course. I'm curious to know what kind of cleanse you did while I'm looking up that page.Suzy Chase: I did The Class.Lindsay Maitlan...: What's that?Suzy Chase: Do you know The Class by Taryn Toomey?Lindsay Maitlan...: Oh, it's a workout.Suzy Chase: Well, it's a workout called The Class by Taryn Toomey, but then she has The Cleanse. So you do The Cleanse and then you do classes every day of the cleanse.Lindsay Maitlan...: I see. Okay. So the nine ways to dress up your meal is something I like to just have on hand for always thinking about how to make a combination of relatively plain ingredients taste more delicious, add half an avocado out a quarter cup of chopped nuts, always adding fresh herbs tastes delicious. And this is part of a section called Prep city, which is in the front of the recipe portion of the cookbook where I give basic vegetable recipes, a little section, I call Three Magical Transformations, which includes roasted chickpeas, pickled shallots, and breadcrumbs made from cauliflower. I also talk about making beans, legumes and whole grains, broth, chickpea, flatbread, and idea is that, of course, it's great to make a whole recipe if you want. That is either from my book or someone else's book or anything, but sometimes it's actually more efficient to have some components ready to go, to throw together a meal. But if it's just a bowl of like brown rice roasted, cauliflower and you know, steamed broccoli, I don't know if that's going to feel like a meal. And so this nine ways to dress up your meal. Like I said, avocado nuts, herbs, you could add a fermented food, you could shake some seeds all over. I have a seed shaker in my book, which sounds kind of silly to stir some seeds together in a jar, but it is actually amazing because instead of pulling out the bag of hemp seeds and flax seeds and chia seeds, there's in a jar ready to go, always sea salt and get a real pepper grinder. Don't use the kind in the tin and finishing with a cold pressed oil, whether that's pumpkin seed or walnut oil or olive oil, these types of things make a random jumble of components or take out or whatever you have leftovers. They make them feel a little more satisfying flavorful and usually colorful and more exciting to you.Suzy Chase: The other night, I made your recipe for Shrimp Black Bean and Kimchi Tacos on Page 260. What an interesting flavor combination. I would never think to mix black beans with kimchi. Can you describe this recipe?Lindsay Maitlan...: Absolutely. This is something I get told a lot about my recipes, like, oh, I never would've thought of putting that together. So what you do is you start scallions, beans, kimchi, fish sauce, and some water and a skillet so that everything is bubbling and sort of starts to have a sauce. And then you just store in shrimp and those steam through just, you know, two to three minutes, you don't ever want to overcook shrimp in my opinion, and then throw some cilantro on top and those get piled onto corn tortillas. And it is an unbelievably fast dinner. And it gets a lot of the things that we know are good for gut health, like beans. You have the corn tortillas. I love sprouted corn tortillas. Kimchi is a fermented food also what's great is that it has cabbage in it so there's that extra vegetable in there. And obviously like shrimp is delicious and has a lot of benefits for us.Suzy Chase: What I don't see often in cookbooks as a nutritional index. And wow, I can tell you put so much work into this. Talk a little bit about the nutritional index because it is a thing of beauty.Lindsay Maitlan...: Thank you. So I really appreciate that. So one thing I did was partner with two nutritionists, one who was a supervisor on the book for me and another who ran the numbers. And the three of us worked together to make sure that nothing was too out of control when it came to what the general health recommendations of the government and of these nutritionists were. And so I paid for the nutritional analysis because I knew that it would be valuable and it is a lot of work because you're looking at so many numbers, but part of what I do at the beginning, when I introduce it as say, like, I really don't use these numbers, but what I do look at, and if anyone wants to, and these are marked in blue rather than black for the rest of the numbers for each recipe, the total dietary fiber and the added sugar are marked, because as discussed earlier, dietary fiber corresponds to what we know that beneficial microbes like to eat that's comes from plant food sources and added sugar as on the flip side, the thing that we're trying to reduce for a variety of reasons that are a little more complex. And so those are marked on the nutritional index for anyone who wants sort of a light touch engagement with understanding what we're thinking about overall, getting towards helpfulness with the gut in mind, that being said, there's also this scorecard, which is something that's on every recipe, which is another way of thinking about nutritional, which is more my way of thinking, which is the additive way because everyone's body is different and I mentioned this like a calorie is not equal. So if I eat a 500 calories slice of cake, and then I do 500 calories on the elliptical, then I'm fine, right? It's not a net net like that. And a calorie from sugar is not the same as a calorie from a carrot is not the same as a calorie from a kale. And on top of that, your individual community of microbes in the gut microbiota and the large intestine changes how you actually extract calories. So someone might extract 570 calories from that piece of cake and someone else might extract 470 calories.Suzy Chase: Wow. I haven't never heard that.Lindsay Maitlan...: Oh, it's crazy. I mean, it's so, so interesting. And another book that's amazing by Gary Taubes is called The Case Against Sugar. He talks a little bit about that and another book called 10% Human and all the books that I read and referenced and the scientists I spoke with and there's all the citations in the back as well for anyone who wants to do further reading. I created this thing called the scorecard, which you'll see on each recipe. If it's relevant, it'll have a little check mark for how much to check off on the scorecard, which you can download on my website and you can either save it to your phone or print it out. And the idea is you actually check off what you do in each day. So you had a serving of leafy green vegetables, you had two servings of other vegetables and fruit. You had a serving of whole grains and you can sort of track over time how it is that you're doing in terms of keeping your beneficial gut microbes in mind.Suzy Chase: For the Shrimp Black Bean and Kimchi tacos the scorecard is LGVs beans and legumes and fermented food. What's LGVs?Lindsay Maitlan...: Leafy Green Vegetables.Suzy Chase: Oh yes. That ticks so many boxes.Lindsay Maitlan...: Yeah, exactly. And that's what I wanted to show was like, this is not crazy. There's so many ways to be incorporating these types of things into our way of eating that maybe we wouldn't have because it wasn't on our minds. It's like, I know this is true for me. I just wasn't that focused on making sure I ate leafy green vegetables every day, because I had this idea of like healthfulness being determined by calories and exercise and how big my body was. And I think that's a really dangerous way to be thinking because like health has just, it's not just about whether your jeans fit.Suzy Chase: Now to my segment, this season called last night's dinner, where I ask you what you had last night for dinner.Lindsay Maitlan...: I'm really glad that I have a good answer to this.Suzy Chase: Pizza Hut! ha.Lindsay Maitlan...: I actually made a version of the recipe it's from prep city. So one of my favorite recipes in the book that I cannot recommend more is on Page 253 Roasted Eggplant and Chickpeas with Herbed Oat Pilaf. So I had the herbed oat pilaf. I roasted some patty pan squash. I sauteed shallots and swiss chard stems together to make the sort of topping and then braised the swiss chard leaves separately, more like spinach. And then I roasted some leftover broccoli, like the way that I do the cauliflower breadcrumbs cut them really small, toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, roasted those until they were crispy and delicious to sprinkle on top and then had some of the tahini sauce from the book to drizzle over top. Oh, and there were some roasted lion's mane mushrooms.Lindsay Maitlan...: Where can we find you on the web and social media and where can we find the digital scorecard?Lindsay Maitlan...: So you can find me at and if you go to, you can get a little overview of the books and some blurbs see some links to buy the book. And if you go to or, you'll be able to get a little overview of how the scorecard works and I recommend actually best just taking a screenshot with your phone because you can use Instagram to just mark it up in the little stories function, if that makes sense.Suzy Chase: Oh, that's smart.Lindsay Maitlan...: Yeah. And then I write a newsletter, which you can find at or you can find me on Instagram at Maitland.Suzy Chase: Awesome. Well, thanks Lindsay, for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast.Lindsay Maitlan...: Thank you so much for having me it was a delight.Outro: Subscribe over on And thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    An Entertaining Story | India Hicks

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 25, 2020

    An Entertaining StoryBy India Hicks Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.India Hicks: Hello, my name is India Hicks, and I have just recently published a book called An Entertaining Story.Suzy Chase: Part cookbook and part reflection on parties past, this book is a good reminder for us all about how to throw a dinner party. How have you been entertaining during this crazy time?India Hicks: So the first couple of months, like most of the world, we were locked down on our properties and certainly not allowed out. I live on a very small, tiny Island in The Bahamas called Harbour Island, and it's only three miles long and half mile wide, but The Bahamas took the lockdown very seriously, the prime minister is a doctor and he could see that it would be very detrimental to a nation such as The Bahamas where there is no medical infrastructure whatsoever. So the lockdown was so harsh and draconian that we were not actually even allowed out on our properties. We weren't allowed to the beach. I very, very luckily, have a garden, a large garden and so I was at home with, my other half, David and my five children and it was rather than an amazing time all together. But one of the things I really noted was even though we weren't entertaining as such, we certainly weren't inviting friends over we didn't see anybody for a couple of months I still wanted the time that I had together with my kids when we were actually sitting together at supper to feel memorable and meaningful. So yes, of course, breakfast, everybody made their own and lunch sometimes we even skipped if we just were making sandwiches, but dinner, we insisted the kids learn to cook something as they went along. And when one kid said he was gonna make cheese, souffle's we thought, right, this is a real cause for celebration. It was quite an intrepid first meal for him to be undertaking but I really went to great lengths to lay a beautiful table, to make sure that the candles were lit to make sure that the linen was starched to make sure that there was a pretty tablescape because I think it was a lovely evening for us to sit together as a family. So it was interesting that the world had stopped and the way we had entertained had stopped, but the way we were gathering together as a family hadn't stopped. And I think that that's still warranted making the extra effort around the table. We also celebrated a lot of birthdays. I think we went from March, April and May to having three different birthdays in every month. And we certainly went to great extent to make beautiful and imaginative cakes. I made a Corona cake. I can't cook Suzy at all. So you're talking definitely to the wrong person for your podcast, but I can bake and I certainly can decorate and I made this Corona cake and it had a face and a big blue mask across the top. We did have a lot of fun with that. I had never made, I think we call it Royal icing. You call it something different, I think in America, but I'd never made it before. And I found a recipe that involves melting marshmallows to make the icing. So that was kind of funSuzy Chase: Organized by meal this book begins with the most important meal of the day. And what is that?India Hicks: Well, I felt that that was drinks time. There's something really comforting about the drinks not only cause it involves alcohol for the most part, but also it's the prelude to what comes next. And I think sometimes we rather take it for granted. And in my book I talk about let's, let's make the most of it. So if you are not necessarily able to set up a very pretty arrangement at the end of a dock during a sunset on a tropical landscape, don't worry about it that's okay but if you can find a new corner of your apartment to set up an interesting drinks table, that's just lovely. If you can have it in the garden, that's even better. So just be a little bit more imaginative with the way that you actually host drinks. I also, as I said, cannot cook. I am, what's known as a culinary idiot, but I certainly can lay out a platter of all different kinds of choices so that when you've invited someone over for drinks and it may be a grumpy mother-in-law, it may be a new colleague you're trying to impress. It may be the mother of a school friend of one of your kids, but it is nice to give somebody something to eat while they're having their drink and I said that it's so easy to lay an imaginative platter and it may have honeycomb on it and different types of cheeses and different types of salamis and it may have dried fruits, but it's just fun to put it together and you can do them by color scheme, or you can do them by vegetable or fruit piled up together, however you want but I think it's, I think it's a fun and an inviting way to start a drinks hour.Suzy Chase: Your culinary skills or lack thereof have been inherited from your mother. You said she can barely boil an egg, but she's very good at peeling grapes. Is that hilarious?India Hicks: Well, it's only hilarious when you really realize that that's the truth. I didn't want it to sound like she's absolutely useless, cause she's certainly not in the times that she might've not have spent in the kitchen. She certainly made up for, with having a very extraordinary progressive mind. And she is very well versed on everything. Deeply knowledgeable version of encyclopedic memory, even at 91. So I think it was actually a good thing. She wasn't in the kitchen because she was doing a lot of other very worthwhile things.Suzy Chase: Since you got those culinary skills from your mother, you have Claire Williams around. Can you tell us about her?India Hicks: Definitely. We call Claire our top banana and I'm lucky enough to have had Claire join our family 16 years ago. She came out from England and at the time I was working and traveling quite a bit for, and so needed a nanny to be there with the kids. David was also working. And so Claire arrived as a Mary Poppins type figure into the household. And soon it was evident that actually she, she enjoyed her food as much as she did looking after the children. And so she sort of graduated into the kitchen, which has now become very much her headquarters. And so there are recipes in the book, but do not for a moment, think that I have either tested them or tried them. They are very much Claire's recipes. And I asked if we might borrow some for the book. We chose them very carefully because I thought the book is actually quite relevant for right now what's going on in the world because we are talking about entertaining again in a very meaningful way, where when you get the opportunity to be with people, you want to make the most of it because God knows how long we're going to have those opportunities. Now, you know, any stage the British government is going to shut us back down I'm actually in Paris right now, the bars and restaurants are going to close. So when I'm with people, I want to make sure that it's really the people I love and want to spend time with or who inspire me or educate me or excite me. And so having that time together, I think you don't necessarily want to be overly thinking about your menu. So all of the recipes that we've included in my book are actually very relevant for right now they're comfort food like honey roasted sausages or mackerel pâte or chicken pot pie or an apple crumble. There's nothing very fancy. It's all very doable.Suzy Chase: One of my favorite photos in the book is on page 46, where your mother's cutlery mingles with your fathers. I would be remiss if we didn't chat for just a bit about your parents. So there's really nothing more elegant than that photo of your mother with her breakfast tray on page 202, I read Daughter of Empire this summer next to the pool. And did your mom have a life? I also have to say, I'm crazy about your podcast with her. And basically any time you sit down with her, I'm curious to hear just a little bit about her and that breakfast and by the way, her memory is incredible.India Hicks: Well, I'm so glad Suzy, you've really done your homework. Not only can you can number the pages in my book, but you can also reference the title of my mother's book. Yes I'm lucky to have had an amazing mum who has been inspiring in many ways and we are completely different characters and yet we get on incredibly well. We share the same sense of humor. She has a very dry wit that's extremely amusing, she's a brilliant raconteur and as you say, her memory is sharp as a tack and I think the podcast came about because we just had enjoyed reminiscing. And then I realized that when I put tiny snippets of these conversations up on Instagram or social media, people had a real thirst for them they wanted to hear more. I mean, she's of a generation that that is really a dying breed. I think the war babies who went through a war and put up with an awful lot of bullshit that we all scream and shout and stamp our feet over, they just got on with it. And so it was great to have the chance for us to sit together and for her to tell her stories and for me to ask the questions and of course, you know, even my mouth dropped open on a couple of occasions for the kind of the shock of the life that she led and the generation, the upbringing that she came from, where certain things were just taken for granted and, you know, our generation is so incredibly different but it was a wonderful opportunity to do that.Suzy Chase: Another book I read over the summer, was your father David Hicks' scrapbook. Your father is up there with my all time favorite interior designers, Mario Buatta and Sister Parish, can you give us a brief overview of your father and a couple of his more notable design projects and then tell us about his love of ice cubes?India Hicks: Well, my father was a very unique character. Certainly, you know, I said that he set the world in light with his very dynamic designs, which he did. I mean, he shook up the very quiet English drawing rooms and he mixed colors together that were vibrating, vibrating, never clashing, He said. He mixed geometrics. He put old with new and he really did things in a very different way. And his work is emulated today as much as it was in the sixties, when he was at the top of his career, he was a whirling dervish, extremely decisive, extremely opinionated. And people paid a lot of money for that opinion because he did have world class taste. He traveled a great deal. He was very adventurous. He was very experienced in the world of design and really knew every beautiful house, every beautiful garden, every beautiful hostess. And he was a bon vivant he loved to live life to its fullest. He had some very notable projects. He designed the Prince of Wales' bachelor apartments at Buckingham Palace. He designed the bowling alley of The White House. He designed the American Airlines tie that geometric A when the American Airlines first dress their air stewards. So certainly he's had an illustrious career. He was very definite about certain things and an ice cube, as you say was one of them. And he felt that the ice cube should be large. And it shouldn't be these ridiculous pity, things that come out of ice machines there's those were useless in his opinion. So he had these very large, there was some metal ice trays. And I remember a handle that we had to leave a back in order to release these oversize ice cubes into this would never work. That handle never worked right. Handled it ever. Right.India Hicks: Needless to say, I'm a huge fan of your family, your brother, Ashley got me through the quarantine with his delightful Instagram lives where he flipped through the design books and did virtual home tours. Your whole family got me through the quarantine basically.India Hicks: That's very nice to her. Ashley is brilliant and funny and very acerbic and has a very dry English wit, but he's actually at extraordinarily well-read and knowledgeable also. And whilst I was creating my book on Christmas cakes and birthday parties, he was devising a book on tombs and I think for my mother, it must be very funny to see two very different children, both publishing books, actually his book on tombs never did get published. So he's probably rather annoyed that my silly book on Christmas crackers did.Suzy Chase: He says, we all love jib doors. I love it when he says that.India Hicks: That's very him.Suzy Chase: So your father once wrote in your little autograph book, good taste and design are by no means dependent upon money. Can you talk a little bit about the dinner that you had in LA when you still had your company?India Hicks: Oh goodness. Um, I love the fact that you've read all this and my father was absolutely right. You know, good taste and design are not dependent upon money. And there have been many occasions where we have borrowed things or been very careful and crafty in the way that we have hosted events. And I don't think you need to have overly exorbitant budgets to have a wonderful evening. And when I was in LA and we had, I think it was about 60 or 80 of these amazing women who I had worked with for a while come and join us. We wanted to thank them for their time with the company we put together this incredible long table, very, very dramatic. And we kept the wondering what are we gonna be able to do down the center of it and I realized that we had this overstock of towels, swimming towels. And I said, why don't we use the swimming's towels? We can repurpose the swimming towels to go down the middle of the table. And they were blue and white. And then I said, right, that's our theme, blue and white and we hired some blue and white dinner plates and then I found these big blue on white paper lanterns very Oriental looking paper lanterns off Amazon. And we tied it with fishing wire onto the end of some bamboo poles. And we've got some vases that we put them in. And I think the effect was pretty dramatic. And I think it made the woman feel very thanked. And we were, as I said, very careful and crafty with the budget, the girl who was helping me with the event had a brilliant idea, which was, she said, never let a friend invite a friend. It's just got to stick to the list. And that's so true. You stick to your list. You don't let someone bring an extra guest.Suzy Chase: Unless it's me! Yeah, the table runner and the whole table looked like, let's say a blue Staffordshire ad or something like that.India Hicks: Good. Why do you think it was at that level?Suzy Chase: So Pretty. So what is your philosophy when it comes to seating arrangements or placement as the French say,India Hicks: I like a placement as I say in my book, I think there's nothing worse than kind of lingering, waiting to know where you're going to set or who you're going to end up with or feeling like you're going to be chosen last for the tennis team. I think it's nice when a hostess immediately, it says, right, Suzy you're going to be sitting there, David, you're going to be sitting there. Timothy you're going to sit there. I also think it gives an opportunity for the hostess to have really thought a little bit through first. So we know who would be interested by sitting next to so and so would they actually spark a good and interesting conversation? Will it make the evening more meaningful for them? I think there's nothing worse than sitting next to somebody, you know, terribly well, who you see all the time. What is the point of that? If you've got the opportunity to meet somebody new or be inspired by somebody or learn from somebody that's so much more interestingSuzy Chase: At one dinner party, your mother was sitting next to Lenny Kravitz and she called him zinni crayfish.India Hicks: Yes. The next day she said, how fascinating that chat was. Was he a musician that zinny crayfish?Suzy Chase: So once we're seated then comes the hard part. The small talk you stack the guest list with someone you think will be riveting. Tell us about Captain Bob. Speaking of riveting.India Hicks: Well, anyone who comes to Harbour Island, know Captain Bob, because he runs the local grocery store, but he's a good friend of ours and his wife and I both have the boutique together, The Sugar Mill, but Captain Bob, he's a wonderful local character and he was at sea for many, many years on a fishing boat and they would go out for crawfish and it was such a valuable commodity that they literally took guns on board the boat because there are modern day pirates out there. They would be at risk of having their cargo thieved. So I love the idea that, that he has fought modern day pirates out at sea. He's also been struck by lightning and he's been bit by a shark. I mean, who doesn't want to sit next to somebody who tells those kinds of tales?Suzy Chase: I love that you're not afraid to use baby's breath on a table. I always used to think of that as kind of, let's say like a filler for flower arrangement, but it goes so well with the rustic wood table.India Hicks: But I love a filler for a flower arrangement, especially one that you can then dry and use afterwards. Again, it comes down to budget. That's fantastic. I can't bear the waste of flowers when they're, when they're dying and you don't know what to do with them.Suzy Chase: I know that's such a great idea because you think, Oh, I'm just going to throw this away.India Hicks: Yeah, don't dry it.Suzy Chase: How is entertaining in The Bahamas different from entertaining in England or LA?India Hicks: Uh, more challenging just from the fact that, you know, we have one boat that comes once a week and if the boat doesn't come, then you're kind of screwed. You know, in England you can pop out to the local supermarket to get something that you may have forgotten on Harbour Island it's just much, much harder, much more limited in resources, much more limited in the selection of things that you can get hold of. I think that oddly that's made me more resourceful in the way that we decorate. So, you know when you pull out your white tablecloths and you realize that actually it's still got wine stains on it, and there is no way that you're gonna be able to get those out, think about, oh, I'm going to take the bedspread off my bed and use that as a tablecloth cause actually that looks so much better when it's washed and pressed on the table than the white tablecloth with the wine stains. So I think we are forced to think creatively.Suzy Chase: Paris is always a good idea, they say. You're in Paris right now with your partner, David Flint Wood and I see that they're shutting down the bars today.India Hicks: Well, that's what I've heard but I was out and about earlier and I didn't notice a tremendous difference. So we'll see what happens. But I think, I was very keen to make sure that life moved on and forward as much as possible. Yes, there are some very dramatic and very necessary restrictions on our lives. But we found a way that we were able to come to England and I was able to spend six weeks of my mother. And then we got on a train and came to Paris and we found an apartment that, that people had left the city they didn't want to be in the city and we were able to get the apartment very inexpensively. It's got an amazing view. And for David and I just for a couple of weeks, it's been so lovely. I know I can pop back on that train and get back to my mother or kids at any stage I need to. And even if the bars are closed, you still get to walk around in an amazing, beautiful city. So I'm very, very grateful to be here and I'm very happy to be here. And I don't really mind at the bars are closed because we can always get a bottle of wine and just sit in the window ourselves and drink it and look at the view.Suzy Chase: Now to my segment called last night's dinner where I ask you what you had last night for dinner.India Hicks: Oh my God. I had, probably not what you're expecting. We had artichokes with a lot of melted butter and David cooked them in lemon juice, which was rather nice. And then we had a big French baguette with some Camembert cheese, and then I finished it off with half a box, and I'm quite proud of that, half a box of After Eights.Suzy Chase: Wow.India Hicks: Yeah, yeah. That's what my stomach said as well as I went to bed.Suzy Chase: Where can we find you on the web and social media and where can we find your podcast?India Hicks: Oh, these are the really lovely questions on Instagram, India Hicks Style. I write every word I post every picture. I edit every look and feel of it. So it's very much me. I have a blog. If you go to you'll find my blog there and the podcast, any platform that has podcasts, you'll find it's called The India Hicks Podcast.Suzy Chase: This has been a once in a lifetime treat for me. I cannot thank you enough for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast.India Hicks: Well, thank you. It's a pleasure for me and how amazing as well that we can talk from Paris to New York with such ease. Outro: Subscribe over on And thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    One Tin Bakes | Edd Kimber

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 17, 2020

    One Tin Bakes: Sweet and Simple Traybakes, Pies, Bars and BunsBy Edd Kimber Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City, sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.Edd Kimber: I'm Edd Kimber and my brand new cookbook One Tin Bakes is out now.Suzy Chase: If you enjoy Cookery by the Book, please tell a friend I'm always looking for new people to enjoy the podcast now on with the show. Food writer, baker four time cookbook author, and winner of The Great British Bake Off first season in 2010. Can you believe that's 10 years ago, by the way,Edd Kimber: I know it's crazy. To me it feels like minutes ago, but then 10 years a lot has happened in the last 10 years.Suzy Chase: Because of the show you were able to leave your job as a debt collector. What advice do you have for home bakers who are thinking about competing on a cooking show.Edd Kimber: A lot of those shows are very different when they become more established. I think I was very lucky to be on an early season, the first season, and it gives you different opportunities and it could be better or worse depending on your viewpoint. But for me, the reason I think it was better is it didn't quite have the same attention, you know, the press didn't have this odd British vendetta against anything that's popular and the criticism that the contestants get, because it's such a big show now with social media, wasn't there. So for me, I was able to go on the show and it was enough to give me a little stepping stool, to be able to take a risk and try and do this as a job, whereas now much more high pressure. So I think if you're going to go on the show these days, you have to really think about what you want and how you think you will achieve that. Because now that the show is every year and people are used to that kind of roll out of new contestants, their attention spans are incredibly short. And unfortunately, if you don't make some form of impact very quickly, then you will be forgotten sadly within the next year. And so I think it's much, much harder now to actually have success on those shows. So what I would say is, you know, I learned a lot about myself on the show. It gave me a lot of confidence and really helped me define what I wanted to do going forward. If I was going into it now, and I pinned all my hopes with my future career on that show and the success it might bring to me, it could be incredibly difficult and disappointing when that just doesn't happen because there's so much competition out there. So I would say try and just enjoy it for what it is. It's a fun thing to do. All of these shows can be fun to film.Suzy Chase: Before we dive into the cookbook. I'd love to chat about the title One Tin Bakes. I interviewed Lola Milne a few months ago and she wrote the cookbook Just One Tin. She changed the name to Just One Can for the U.S. Version. Did you ever consider the name change for the American market?Edd Kimber: Yes. So I initially when my publisher and myself sat down to talk about doing this book, I suggested to make it more international. The book should be called One Pan Bakes. However, it was decided the word pan doesn't sound very nice in the context of a title. Whereas One Tin Bakes has a slightly nicer lilt to it. And because we live in a slightly more international world these days, most people will understand that tin and pan are interchangeable, but it is really tricky with those words. And I have the same thing when translating recipes from, English to American having to choose which wording to use. And to be honest, I actually used the word pan completely interchangeably. When writing the book, I would often slip into writing pan because it's just often why use, I sometimes will call a Bundt pan, a Bundt pan, and I would never call it a Bundt tin because it just doesn't sound right to me. So in the end it doesn't seem to affect it too much, but there has been a few people who've been a bit snarky about the English title and the fact that English ingredients are listed first and American ingredients are listed in brackets. Some people have not liked that.Suzy Chase: That's hilarious. I was talking to Skye McAlpine last week and she kept saying, I heated it up on the hob. And I'm like the hob?Edd Kimber: We have the same thing with grill because obviously grill here means something very different in the U.S. so when I say cook something under the grill, that might be very confusing to someone who's like, do I put it under the grill? No, no, no. It's under the broiler, which to me just sounds like a very unattractive where to broil something sounds. It sounds so gray and I don't know, there's just something very disappointing. And I don't know, just something very sad about the word broil and I don't know why, it's just how it reads to me, but, yeah, there is always a slight difficulty I've realized over the last 10 years that you really cannot please everybody. And unfortunately, I've also realized I don't want to, because if you try and please every single person you're making something, that's not going to be interesting. So my kind of rule is I always try and please myself first, because I think I write from a place of trying to write what I would have wanted, you know, a decade ago or two decades ago for the home baker. And hopefully if I find it interesting, that means other home bakers would find it interesting too. And I also try never to talk down to my audience, to my readers. I want to help uplift their skills. So I try and make something that's interesting from my point of view and hope that people are along for that journey, which most people are, which is good.Suzy Chase: So in One Tin Bakes what is the exact tin that you recommend?Edd Kimber: So it's a metal 9 by 13 pan. It's just made incredibly well, it will last you a very, very long time. So if you want the exact tin I recommend that one from Nordic Ware is my preferred tin. But in reality, especially in America, so many people will already have a 9 by 13 because it is for brownies you know, it's a very classic pan so if you want to use what you already have, that will be absolutely fine. That was the reason we chose, or I chose a 9 by 13 tin when my publisher came to me and said, we kind of were thinking about this idea you've been talking about baking everything in one tin and we really liked the idea, but we don't know what that would be. So I went away and fleshed out the idea more than I had in the past and I settled on a 9 by 13 because I thought it was more flexible than anything else out there really and a lot of people would already have it because it's so popular for brownies.Suzy Chase: The reason this book exists is because of the Milk Chocolate Caramel Sheet Cake on page 12. Can you tell us that story?Edd Kimber: The whole kind of Genesis of this book stems from this one cake. So people who have followed my work, read my website and follow me on Instagram will recognize that cake hopefully because I published it now, I can't remember how long ago it is now a year? No must be more than that, I did it a long time ago, basically. And I posted the sheet cake recipe that I'd been working on for awhile and I absolutely loved it. It was just something so delicious to me and sheet cakes really, aren't a huge thing in the UK. We have this thing called tray bakes, which I don't really like as a term because it conjures up to a lot of people, old fashioned boring, kind of things your grandma would make, but not in a kind of cool nostalgic kind of way. And so I kind of tried to avoid that term, but sheet cakes were not really a thing of the UK. I really like them because I find my approach to making fairly international and I've been working on this recipe for awhile. I posted it thinking, Oh, I think it will do well. It's chocolate, chocolate always does well for me and the frosting was to my mind, just ridiculously good, but the response to it kind of blew me away and the recipe went completely viral I had hundreds of people making it the first weekend. They posted it. And within a couple of weeks, thousands of people had made it and posted pictures of it. That was the original thinking for the book. And after that happened, my publisher kind of got me in and said, this is the thing we think we should be talking about. And so after this recipe did so, so well, we decided this should be the thing. And that kind of was the starting point for the book. So, I love the recipe so much. I made a version of it quite often.Suzy Chase: And I've read somewhere that this cake is the best way you know how to make friends. Oh my gosh.Edd Kimber: Cake is always the best way to make friends. I think all of my friends at some point have been bribed into friendship with me through baked goods. I think that's basically a descriptor of my life.Suzy Chase: Tell me about your love of chocolate. You have so many chocolate recipes in this cookbook,Edd Kimber: Someone wrote a negative review of the book saying there's too much chocolate. And I really thought is there? Who hates chocolate? Also, I am a very, as my partner would say, I'm a very, very sensitive person. And so when someone leaves me really quite aggressively negative reviews, I have to go through the book and prove it to myself that they're wrong. I went through the book and I remember thinking, but it's very well balanced. There's a real breadth of recipes. But to me, chocolate is something that I love working with because it's a never ending source of inspiration. There's so much you can do with chocolate. There's different styles, obviously there's different origins or the flavor profile is different. It's just a completely fascinating product. And I think, you know, I've been doing this for 10 years and I know with baking what is going to be popular and chocolate is always going to be most people's favorite thing. So for me, chocolate is something I like using, because I know people are home like using it. And for me, that has always one of my guiding principles is I want to make things that people will actually want to make. I think you look at say, very chef led or, you know, high-end cooking books for me. They can be a great source of inspiration for me, but I think for most people at home, those books are so alien to them because the styles of recipes or the amount of effort put in there, or the ingredients, or just the level of complexity can be very, very off putting. And I would never want to do that. So everything I put into my books I think is doable by the home baker and something a home baker would want to do, and that will vary in skill level. So you'll have people who are very, very new to baking and just want something that's a one bowl cake that you can whip up without thinking about. But then you'll have people who have been baking for decades and wants something that's exciting from an ingredient point of view or a technique that they've not heard of before. But that's kind of the lens I always view my recipes in. So chocolate will always be in my books. I refuse to apologize for that. It's something that people just love. So, I'm sorry if you don't like chocolate, but there's 70 recipes in this book and I think maybe 15 are chocolate. So, I think there's plenty if you don't like it too, but if you don't like chocolate, I'm not sure we can be friends.Suzy Chase: So, one thing that's not chocolate is you have a distinct memory of when pop tarts made it to the UK. It cracked me up. Cause you said when you were young, you saw pop tarts as exotic and cool. Talk a little bit about that.Edd Kimber: Neither of those things are true. So I am basically, I, I grew up in that kind of period in the nineties when there was a big real push in the UK to kind of towards American things. And that could be, you know, American TV when I was a kid, Friends was the biggest show ever, and people were absolutely wild for it. But then also it was the period where a lot of American ingredients were, brands at least, we're trying to make in the UK, this new thing that seems so different to a British tastes seems so different and interesting and cool. And it turns out that pieces of sweet cardboard and I remember trying one, and it was one of the more wacky flavors. And I just thought this is so disappointing on every level. But the main reason they are bad to me is the pastry or whatever actually is made from is such an odd, unusual texture that it's just not good. So I love this idea. I have the Poptarts in my head and I wanted to go, okay, let's make a really, really good hand pie that just happens to look like a pop tart. And I love, love, love that recipe.Suzy Chase: It's on page 74, if anyone wants to make it.Edd Kimber: Yeah. And it's a really adaptable one. You can really use it as your template and recreate your favorite if you do have one pop tart or just let your imagination go wild and choose whatever filling you want really just don't make it too wet because it will end up making the pastries quite soggy. So something that's a little bit thicker.Suzy Chase: I have a heck of a time lining a pan with parchment paper. There's always one corner that looks crazy. Can you talk about your genius clip technique?Edd Kimber: I've been doing this clip thing for years and years and years, and I didn't realize that other people didn't do it because it seemed so obvious to me, but the reason I started doing it is, and I know this is not as common in the U.S., most modern ovens in the UK are fan ovens and they have quite powerful fans sometimes. And so you're making a batch of brownies and you've lined the tin so that excess parchment comes up the side so you can remove the brownies really easily later. I was finding very often that and would blow into the brownie and bake itself into it. And it would be really annoying cause you'd ruin the look and it would be messy and hard to use. So I would clip with a kind of just bulldog clips really. And they just hold the parchment in place along the side of the tin. And it's really something, I only do for square or loaf pans or 9 by 13's, round tins that I'm not normally lining the sides very much. So it's not really an issue, but in the book I give a number of different ways to line a tin with parchment because depending on the recipe, there's different ways you'd want to do it. But the way I do most often is instead of lining all four sides with one giant piece of paper where you will get really kind of ugly corners, if you don't cut it so it sits neatly. I basically cut a long strip that will go across the entire base and then up both of the longer sides of the tin and it kind of acts as a slang. So when the recipe id done all you need to do, depending on the recipe is just use a blunt knife just to kind of separate it from the top and bottom sides, the smaller sides. And then you use the sling of parchment just to easily lift out. And it's very, very straightforward. And then sometimes you won't need to line it at all because it's something that just pops out easily. And then sometimes I want to serve the recipe in the tin, because that's kind of the joy of a 9 by 13. You can make it in the tin, serve it in the tin and so for those occasions, sometimes I just lined the base so that you've not got kind of ugly parchment showing. So there's a whole range of ways of doing it, but the clips is a very useful way to just hold that in place. But what I would say is if you're going to buy some clips, make sure they're not plastic coated because the plastic will melt in the oven. So I try to find one side just metal, no coating on them whatsoever.Suzy Chase: Your photos in the cookbook are just as flawless as your recipes. Did it take some time to master the art of food photography?Edd Kimber: Yeah, so I've loved photography since I was a kid, really, I studied art at one of our kind of school things called an A Level, it's kind of a bit like your diploma. And I have learned just by being, alongside some amazing photographers over the years that I've picked up many tips. And I've also over the last 10 years of doing my website. I've kind of developed what I think of as my own style. And so when my publisher had approached me to potentially shoot this book, as well as write it, I had been in a position where I was trying to do more photography work professionally anyway. And that actually interestingly changed London during our lockdown because I ended up shooting for multiple magazines from home because I was one of the only food stylist in London that could also photograph. And that meant I was a hot commodity, but that would be very useful. But having the confidence to do my own book took a long time because I'm so enamored when I get to work with incredible teams, like my previous book Patisserie Made Simple, I got to work with one of my all time favorite photographers and just the most incredible team of a food stylist and a prop stylist and then myself. And it was just the most joyous six week process. Whereas doing this was much more different because I was at home and I was shooting on my own with no assistance, no stylists, no nothing. I did the whole thing. And so it was a very, very different process. But the thing that enabled me to do was to shoot as I wrote, which was a massive benefit because I try and write a seasonally as possible. So I don't really like shooting with strawberries from December or, you know, stone fruit in January. I try and use the best. So it looks like a look when you use it and the benefit of doing it as I wrote the book rather than one block after it was finished meant it was much easier to do that, but it was a really interesting process and something I actually loved, like looking through the book at the finished product I'm so, so proud of how it looks and how the feel of the book has a noticeable style. My boyfriend says to me all the time, well, that would be a very Edd Kimber shot because it's got a certain look to it and a certain style to it because I'm not one for propping lots of things. I like things quite clean and simple. I also like very graphic shots of closeups of the food, because that's what the book's about. It's not about pretty tablescapes. I was very, very proud of the finished look.Suzy Chase: Last week. I made your recipe for Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars on page 53. Can you describe these?Edd Kimber: So the Tahini Chocolate Bars were one of the last recipes I developed actually for the book, I get told off very often by all of my editors, whether it's for my books for my magazine work or our newspaper work, because I have obsessions with ingredients and I tend to want to feature them all the time. And there's a few of them generally, my most known one is cardamom, I try and sneak it into everything cause I think it's an incredible spice for baking and tahini is another, and I'd already written a recipe for Tahini Babka Buns, which was inspired by a trip to Israel. And I kept thinking, do I need another tahini recipe or really the question was, will I be able to sneak in another tahini recipe without my editor going, well, you can't have two, but I think the benefit of tahini right now is I'm not a big fan of kind of like food trends cause I think it's a little bit reductive, but for what it's worth tahini is a very popular ingredient at the moment in the UK. So it felt very easy to be able to write a second recipe. But the nice thing about that recipe is the tahini isn't necessarily the most forward ingredient, it's basically adding a ton of depth. Sometimes you'll have a recipe where tahini is kind of the front and center and it's all about that sesame flavor it's all about that kind of nuttiness that it brings. And sometimes tahini can be more of a background player or a way of adding depth. And I think with that recipe, the tahini is there, but it's not smack you in the face, this is just about tahini it's a real nice blending of a kind of classic chocolate chip cookie profile with this underlying warmth and nuttiness from the tahini that goes so well with chocolate. I think it's a match made in heaven. It just was a really nice way of doing something that wasn't just a chocolate chip cookie in a bar form, but it had something else going on that makes it just a little bit more interesting. And I don't know, tahini sometimes to me makes things have this slight addictive quality because it adds this real warmth, nuttiness, and you go, I just really liked that and I want a little bit more of it. And so I, yeah, I really liked that recipe. And I think I said that about everything I've become a broken record? And I think it's because I have this rule. If I don't like an ingredient, it doesn't go in my book because if I don't like it, how can I talk about it to someone else? So I have this habit of saying, Oh yeah, I really liked the recipe. I'm like, yeah, of course you do, you wrote the book, you should really like all of them.Suzy Chase: Now for my segment called Last Night's Dinner where I asked you what you had last night for dinner.Edd Kimber: So we didn't cook last night, we were at in-laws house, so my, I'm not married but I call them my in-laws, my mother-in-law, my partner's mother made us a kind of tagine with lamb and almonds. And I'm not sure what fruit she used. There was a sweetness to it though. And then she also made us a kind of Thai aubergine curry. And then we had rice and two types of couscous. So it was a real mismatch of foods, but it was delicious and very nice to have a meal that wasn't cooked by myself for a while, because I tend to be one of those people that I spend all day in the kitchen and then I will very often make the dinner as well. So it's nice when someone else is doing that for you.Suzy Chase: Where can we find you on the web and social media?Edd Kimber: I'm very easy to find I'm @TheBoyWhoBakes on everything. So my website is and I'm on every social media that I'm actually on is just @TheBoyWhoBakes. Very easy to find.Suzy Chase: Well, thanks Edd, for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast.Edd Kimber: My pleasure, thank you for having me.Outro: Subscribe over on and thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    In Bibi's Kitchen | Hawa Hassan

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 12, 2020

    In Bibi’s KitchenBy Hawa Hassan with Julia Turshen Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase, she's just a home cook in New York City sitting at her dining room table talking to cookbook authors.Hawa Hassan: My name is Hawa Hassan, and I'm here to chat about my new cookbook In Bibi's Kitchen.Suzy Chase: If you like this podcast, please be sure to share it with a friend. I'm always looking for new people to enjoy Cookery by the Book now on with the show. So your cookbook is based on recipes and stories from the kitchens of Bibi's. What does the term Bibi mean?Hawa Hassan: So Bibi is the word for grandmother in Swahili, which is the most spoken language on the Indian ocean. On the African side of it.Suzy Chase: Give us a little overview of the cookbook with the eight countries that border the Indian ocean and how you came up with this concept.Hawa Hassan: Well, In Bibi's Kitchen is meant to be an exploration of recipes and stories through food. It's intended on keeping conversations from our matriarchies, which are our Grandmothers. I spent a long time trying to figure out how to make foods from home. So how do I cook Somali cuisine when I've never been shared written recipes? And when I originally got into the food industry, I knew that along the timeline of me making condiments and you know, who knew what else I'd go on to do. But I knew the one thing I really wanted to do was do as I'd often done, which was speak to women who were older than me, about what they were cooking. It's rare that I got to ask even my own grandmother. What inspires you? What are you most proud of when you look back? Um, so it's really just their stories and their words and their recipes that are in this book and are the backbone of In Bibi's Kitchen.Suzy Chase: So describe the complicated content process. How did you go about testing these recipes?Hawa Hassan: Originally? When we approached the Bibi's, we knew that we wouldn't get a full recipe from someone. So what we did is we used my iPhone to record. We used Skype to record, we used what's app to record. So it was a lot of recording, a lot of just watching. Was it a pinch? Was it a heavy pinch? Was it a can of coconut milk? That's how we got there.Suzy Chase: How long did that take to examine what they were doing and then get it down on paper?Hawa Hassan: Honestly, not long at all. I think the thing that we were most concerned about was just making sure that the recipes were true to what the Bibi's did you even got the feel for the recipe when you were in their company.Suzy Chase: So if you really examine it, this is an old fashioned cookbook that has nothing to do with trends.Hawa Hassan: Absolutely. Our intent was not to talk about what's new and next, but to really focus on how do we preserve these stories? How do we tell big stories from women who inspire us through recipes?Suzy Chase: Tell me about where you grew up and your early life growing up.Hawa Hassan: I was born in Somalia, in a city called Mogidishu in the late eighties. In 1991, Somalia was experiencing civil war. And so in the midst of that, my family and I packed up moving to Kenya. And after the first year of being there, my mother was presented with an opportunity to have myself accompany a group of people who were moving to Seattle, Washington. And so with the hope of them joining me, my mother sent me ahead. I ended up living with this group of Somali people for quite some time in Seattle. Sponsorship, never came through for my family and ultimately they ended up relocating to Norway and Oslo in Norway, and now they live there. They'd been there for a little over 20 years and that's where I call home. But yeah, we were separated for quite some time because they didn't have the capacity to come in the mid-nineties.Suzy Chase: Since you were separated from your mom for so many years at such a young age, do certain recipes help bring back fond memories of your whole family being together?Hawa Hassan: Oh, absolutely. I mean the Somali chapter is really, an ode to my mother. I think I keep having this conversation in telling people that so much isn't about what we're cooking, but the smell of the spices. And so our Xawaash is what, you know, I could be anywhere in the world and if I smell cinnamon toasting, I'm like, oh my God, it smells like my mom's house.Suzy Chase: The other night, I made your recipe for Somali beef stew on page 93 and the Xawaash spice mix on page 74. Can you describe the Xawaash spice mix?Hawa Hassan: Yeah. Xawaash is a bunch of warm spices put together. The word Xawaash comes from Yemen, but Xawaash for Somalis is really inspired by the Indian Ocean. So it's, cardamom cumin, cinnamon, whole cloves. You toast all of these together. You grind them together. Then you toss in some turmeric, stir it all together, all of the flavors really dance off of each other making your dish just warm and sweet, but then yet savory. And I think that really speaks to Somali cuisine and not just Somalia, but most of the country along the Indian ocean in that our foods are really focused on, warm spices and not sour spices. And so it adds to our food in that way.Suzy Chase: So of all the countries on the entire African continent, Somalia has the longest coastline at the tip of the horn of Africa. You featured Ma Halima and she lives in Minneapolis. Can you tell us a little bit about her?Hawa Hassan: So Ma Halima is a woman that I met in Minnesota. She's someone whose story is just as wide as the continent is. She had lived in Saudi Arabia, had been born Ethiopia. I had grown up in Somalia, had moved to Minnesota, her husband and her children put her kids through school. But Ma Halima used to have a restaurant in Minnesota. She's what all Somali women are for me, boisterous a little direct, loving, inclusive. She just welcomed us with open arms, myself and Victoria who actually shot that day for us.Hawa Hassan: What's one takeaway that you learned from the women that you interviewed for this cookbook,Hawa Hassan: That nothing is permanent. That life is about heaps and flows and not to get too attached. I really walked away having a greater sense of what purpose meant and how I could better use time. And that was from just sitting around in their kitchens outside or inside having those conversations and interviewing them.Suzy Chase: You brought up a really interesting point, the void in the book market for cookbooks that feature African food. Can you talk a little bit about that?Hawa Hassan: You know, Africa is 54 countries from my perspective, the way that Africa has been written about is that it's one country. And the way that stories are shared about Africa is as it's one place and Africa is not a country, Africa is a continent. And for me, what was my main inspiration outside of speaking to women was to really use the opportunity of being given a book deal, to introduce eight countries. And what better way to use the Indian ocean as a thread, right? Because what I want to do anyways is to demystify that Africa is far away and the foods of Africa are hard to cook and it's still such a mystery to so many people.Suzy Chase: So on that note, I'm glad you brought up the fact that so many cookbooks are written and photographed by people who aren't from that place. I guess it's maybe an offshoot of cultural appropriation?Hawa Hassan: I think it depends right? What the context is. I think anyone can write foods from wherever they enjoy writing them from, but it's just, what is the intent behind it? And how are you being homage to that culture? And are you acknowledging that these foods do not belong to you, but to someone else and then like, is there someone else better than you to tell that story? That's closer to the story, right? So I, I really want to get away from the idea that people can't make foods from other places, because I think that would be a disservice to everyone who enjoys food, but we should start getting closer to the idea of who is telling these stories. What perspective are they telling them from? Is there someone closer to the story that can tell the storySuzy Chase: Now to my segment called Last Night's Dinner, where I'm dying to hear this, so what did you have last night for dinner?Hawa Hassan: So I had miso salmon on a bed of white rice and I shared this with my partner. I don't want you to think I had all of this myself. And we had a half of a chicken, on pureed potatoes and kale salad from Walter's in my neighborhood.Suzy Chase: I thought you were going to say peanuts cause you just got off a flight.Hawa Hassan: No!Suzy Chase: I thought you're going to be like... A diet Coke and some peanuts.Hawa Hassan: No. So I got home late last night and then he ordered it. And then I had a glass of Chenin Blanc from South Africa.Suzy Chase: Oh, nice. Perfect.Hawa Hassan: Yeah. They're not serving food or anything on airplanes anymore, so that's okay for me.Suzy Chase: Yeah, that's fine. Where can we find you on the web and social media?Hawa Hassan: My company Basbaas is available at And I am available @HawaHassan on Instagram and you can follow Basbaas Sauces on IG if you want as well.Suzy Chase: So I saw you like three years ago, speaking at Dean and DeLuca and I bought my first jar of Basbaas there.Hawa Hassan: Tou were an early, early adopter. Exactly. That was when we had the bad branding and everything. Thank you.Suzy Chase: Where can we find it? Just on the website?Hawa Hassan: Yeah. So right now we're focusing all of our attention on direct to consumer, but stay tuned because we've got more flavors coming, a new design coming, and hopefully we'll continue to create condiments from the continent.Suzy Chase: This cookbook brings home the fact that we all speak the language of food. Thanks so much Hawa for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast.Hawa Hassan: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate you. This is fun.Outro: Subscribe over on And thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    Your Starter Kitchen | Lisa Chernick

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 10, 2020

    Your Starter Kitchen: The Definitive Beginner’s Guide to Stocking, Organizing, and Cooking in Your Kitchen.By Lisa Chernick Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City, sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.Lisa Chernick: I'm Lisa Chernick and my new book is called Your Starter Kitchen.Suzy Chase: For more Cookery by the Book you can follow me on Instagram. If you enjoy this podcast, please be sure to share it with a friend. I'm always looking for new people to enjoy Cookery by the Book. So, you are an executive food editor at Weight Watchers, a James Beard book awards judge, a two time James Beard book awards nominee, you spent more than 20 years as a food writer and editor, including work at Epicurious and Food Arts Magazine. By the way, I miss Food Arts so much. It was a glorious magazine.Lisa Chernick: I agree. I miss it too. Even when I wasn't part of the team officially, I always felt like I was part of that team. They were great people. I love the magazine. I miss it a lot.Suzy Chase: Okay. We need to talk about bringing it back, but we'll talk about your book first.Lisa Chernick: Okay. I like that.Suzy Chase: So tell us about how this book is based on your experience as an American, who lived in Italy and trained in the French culinary tradition?Lisa Chernick: Well, the book is really a collection of experiences that I've accumulated, as you said, from living in Italy from going to culinary school, which just happened to be a French training program. And, you know, I think more than anything, it was an opportunity for me to share all of the knowledge about what makes my kitchen run well and some of the things that maybe I thought could be improved upon that I wanted to share with other people, everything that I think really a cook needs, and it all kind of had the opportunity to come together in one place and I just thought that that was a great thing. And in terms of the particular types of cooking that are near and dear to my heart, it really just, I think is my good fortune just because I was in graduate school when I was in Italy and I came to really value a lot of the ingredients and a lot of the cooking sensibilities that Italians have. They're very good about portion control, sort of just this innate easy going way of, you know, a little bit of everything because it tastes so fantastic seems to satisfy. I'm a huge fan and supporter of using great olive oil. I love pasta. I love great cheeses, good tomatoes, olives, capers, a lot of the things that were sort of in the Italian, pantry and fresh ingredients and it just sort of informs a lot of what I do. I think it's just because my time that I was, I was very open to learning, happened to be when I was over in Italy so I picked up a lot there. And then cooking school kind of filled in the rest.Suzy Chase: I love that you call this book a journey, it concentrates on items you need and pantry staples that you should have on hand in three different phases of having a kitchen. Talk a little bit about the three phases.Lisa Chernick: Well, the first phase was really meant to be helpful for someone in that very first kitchen that you might be pulling together away from the kitchen you grew up in, chances are you're going to have roommates and chances are you're going to be starting out with pretty much nothing. Whatever, few things you might've been able to swipe from your parents house and that's about it. So I wanted to kind of jump in right there and help people see what they really need and also avoid the sort of quantity over quality trap that I think happens a lot of the time when you're doing a kitchen for the very first time. You know, you think you need a lot of things and some of them you probably do, but a lot of them, you probably don't. And I wanted to have all of that written down in one place. I mean, I wish that I would've had that written down in one place. When I think back to my first apartment, it kind of makes me laugh some of the crazy, ridiculous things that we all thought we needed to have. It's also important with the roommate situation. If you're going into a kitchen together, if each of the roommates can sort of use some of their resources to buy one really nice thing and bring that into the kitchen, you know, really good knife. And nice sauce pan whatever the item might be. That's a high quality item. They can bring that along with them through their whole cooking lifetime. And then you don't have to have an argument about who gets stuck with the crummy chip plates at the end, and who gets to have the nice knife. If each of the roommates has their one thing, it'll be theirs forever. And I also wanted to teach some easy, simple stuff in that first kitchen, like how to make a vinaigrette, how to make eggs for yourself a frittata that you could eat for breakfast, or you could have for dinner, just things that make you feel taken care of. And then the second phase is for people who are a little further along, you know, maybe it's your first place of your own. That's truly yours. Maybe you bought a place or maybe you're getting married or moving in with someone. And, and maybe if you're lucky you even have the power of a registry behind it. And you're looking to figure out what to put on that registry. And so I wanted to kind of touch on what I felt was important at that point. And the third phase is really that chance to whether it's because you have more space or more resources financially or both that you can kind of really splash out and fill it with things that would be really wonderful without being just cluttery or unnecessary. I tried to touch on all of the elements in each of those three and give recipes and techniques too.Suzy Chase: What are the gadgets we shouldn't be buying. And what's a gadget that you bought in your first kitchen that you shouldn't have bought.Lisa Chernick: I have a cherry pitter that I bought that is still with me since forever. And I don't have the heart to get rid of it because it was kind of nice, I think when I bought it and it's not that big so I feel kind of like, well, it doesn't take up that much space, but this cherry pitter, if I use it once every few years, it's a miracle. It should be paying rent. It's like taking up space in the drawer and it has been there forever. And it does virtually nothing just don't buy it to begin with.Suzy Chase: What are some tips for a more seasoned cook.Lisa Chernick: For the more seasoned cooks, I feel like one of the main things that you come to discover is that planning is as important or even maybe more important than the execution that French term mise en place, which is like everything in its place, the more you cook, the more you realize how much of a difference it makes to be organized before you start. And also now that we're all cooking so much more than we used to because we're home so much, I think also planning meals, that's a job, that's a real effort and you have to do it in order for things to really work well in your home kitchen. I was thinking about the holidays and I was thinking about how Thanksgiving is kind of the ultimate expression of that, of that planning and being ready for something the list-making for Thanksgiving. It kind of begins in October and you know, it's like, what are the dishes going to be? What's the menu, who's coming and then sort of breaking it all down into what to, by when, so that you're never feeling overwhelmed. And I have a little section about this in the book. It's a big undertaking and it can be so much fun. It's my favorite holiday because I love cooking all of those dishes and the challenge of timing. It all. It's, it's really fun.Suzy Chase: What is one item that makes your kitchen your own?Lisa Chernick: Good knives, sheet pans and several pairs of tongs.Suzy Chase: And a cherry pitter.Lisa Chernick: And a cherry pitter that just stares at you making you feel like a dope, yeah. A good sharp knife is much less dangerous than a dull one. A well sharpened knife is just going to glide through the food and you're going to be fine. Y.Suzy Chase: You have a whole section dedicated to kids in the kitchen. Talk a little bit about the kids essential collection.Lisa Chernick: Having the right pantry items and what you need on hand to do some easy baking with kids and to do some cookie decorating and the kinds of things that really feel magical to kids. That's really not that hard to do. It's not a lot of stuff you need to keep on hand. It's just a fairly tight list and I have it in the book and I think it's just really nice to be able to be ready. And let me say, on the topic of cookies, one of the recipes in my book, is a pan cookie, which is essentially just like a bar cookie recipe. I came to love that recipe so much because I think kids love making cookies to the point where they love adding ingredients and stirring and making the dough and that's all the glamorous part. And then they kind of burn out and kind of leave. And then the parents find themselves rolling out four dozen chocolate chip cookies, thinking like, how did I get myself into this? Why aren't the kids doing this part? And the kids are sort of done. And so the bar cookie slash pan cookie is the best answer. You let them make the dough, put it in the pan and then when it's all done, the bar cookies are out on the platter. And everybody's happy.Suzy Chase: Now for my segment called Last Night's Dinner where I ask you what you had last night for dinner.Lisa Chernick: Well, I love this. This is such a great segment. And my last night dinner was really hilarious. So I would be delighted to share this with you. It was sort of the crown jewel in my weird Italian Jewish mashup series. If I could call it that, where I used leftover brisket from Rosh Hashanah from the Jewish new year. And I turned it into my pasta sauce that I had with pappardelle. And the funny thing was there was also leftover kugel and I was kind of contemplating how to bring that into the picture, but I just sort of felt that they really needed to be separate. We sort of had to just move that one over to the side. And I made this really nice salad with arugula that had some of the dressing, but it was a beautiful apple cider vinegar and mustard vinaigrette. There were apples and there were some roasted brussels sprouts and there was a little bit of cheese in there. What else did I have in there? Oh, some toasted rye bread croutons that I made myself and that was really yummy.Suzy Chase: Where can we find you on the web and social media?Lisa Chernick: My Instagram is Lisa dot Chernik and my website is And you can keep track of me in either of those places.Suzy Chase: This book is the reality check for our kitchen that we need. Thank you so much, Lisa, for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast.Lisa Chernick: Thank you so much for having me. I loved talking to you.Outro: Subscribe over on and thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    A Table for Friends | Skye McAlpine

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 3, 2020

    A Table for Friends: The Art of Cooking for Two or TwentyBy Skye McAlpine Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City, sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors.Skye McAlpine: Hi, I'm Skye McAlpine and I'm a cookery writer. My latest cookbook is A Table for Friends.Suzy Chase: For more Cookery by the Book. You can join me over on Instagram. And if you like this podcast, please be sure to tell a friend I'm always looking for new people to enjoy cookery by the book. Now on with the show, Katie Amour Taylor of the Katie Considers blog wrote "You are the most perfect person to turn to if you're looking for inspiration in the kitchen or setting our dining room table." I could not agree more. So when you were six, you and your family moved from London where you were born to Venice. One special thing about this cookbook is it's your take on Italian food combined with your husband's Australian Italian heritage. Can you talk a little bit about that?Skye McAlpine: Yes. Um, well, so for me these are all recipes that I make often, you know, that are really part of our family life. And, it's called A Table for Friends because for me a huge part of that is our friends who come and join us for Sunday lunch or supper on a Tuesday, whatever it is, are an extension of that family. So it really is kind of food to share with the people that you love. I've been thinking about this quite a lot recently, and I think food...We kind of all tend to speak in a language of food. There are kind of certain dishes and ingredients and ways of cooking, things that we grow up with and that I guess our families give us as children. As teenagers, as young adults become part of our language. And then as we make our connections and our own life choices and maybe go on our own travels or our own experience as we add to that language and it becomes richer for it. And it evolves a bit like kind of actual language. So for me, it's a lot of Italian influences. A lot of, in many ways, Venetian influences a lot of the food that I kind of grew up eating or that I might have kind of tweaked the recipes a little bit or acquired this recipe. Maybe I was on a holiday somewhere and had a dish that was particularly amazing and came home and recreated it. And then that became part of a repertoire of the language of food that I use regularly and a big influence of course has been my husband. We first met first met at University so we were both 18. So we'd been together a long time and he is of Italian heritage, his Grandparents immigrated from Sicily to Australia after the second world war, like a lot of Italians and then left in Australia, which is where his Father was born and where he was born. So a lot of the dishes like favorites of his, like there are a couple of recipes for meringue cakes, which are sort of halfway between a pavlova, which is like his favorite thing in the world to eat and a kind of cake. Cause I kind of make like these tiers, like circles of meringue and piled them up one, two, three on top of each other and layer whipped cream and maybe fresh fruit or lemon card or sugared chestnuts or something like that between each layer. So the kind of influences from my own family and from my new family. If that makes sense,Suzy Chase: I love that you don't call yourself a chef. You call yourself a self-taught cook. Tell me about your obsession with cookbooks.Skye McAlpine: Oh my god, my favorite thing. It's borderline unhealthy for me that almost like children's books, but for adults, I know that seems mad, but nothing bad ever happens in a cookbook, only good things are in cookbooks, Apple pie and ice cream and all sorts of amazing happy things happen, But I'm hugely fascinated by food. I'm a very, very greedy person. I love eating. I love the rituals that surround the meal and the food, but I've also endlessly fascinated by the stories behind food. And I think people so many authors and cooks tell those stories so beautifully in cookbooks. Literally my dream afternoon is to kind of snuggle up in bed with a mug of hot chocolate or tea and a pile of cookbooks and just kind of leaf through them and dip in and out and read the stories and plan what we're going to eat tomorrow. And literally that would be the dream for me.Suzy Chase: You wrote A Table for Friends just as you cook. How should we be using this cookbook?Skye McAlpine: I kind of divided each chapter by where you cook the food. So recipes that you just throw together where there's no actual cooking in a traditional sense of what's involved. It's more about assembling ingredients and tossing them together and bringing them together to make something delicious recipes that you could cook the hob and recipes that you cook in the oven. And then I also found that when I plan a menu, I basically have like a one star dish and that could be like a really scrumptious frittata. Or it could be like a macaroni pie, you know, like puff pastry, filled with pasta or something, but it's like one big central star dish. And then I do a couple of like sides to go with that, which is usually a salad. If a main dish is meat or fish, I might do some potatoes or couscous or something like that, go with it or roasted fruit or what have you. And then I'll always do a pudding because I just kind of like love a pudding. So the other kind of division and the book or the other theme in the book is instead of doing kind of starters and then main courses, et cetera, I just got stars, sides, sweets. And at the end I've got a little chapter called extras, which are sort of for when you want to go that extra mile, you know, you feel like making your own mayonnaise which is so good and so easy to do, but so unbelievably delicious to eat, or you might want to bake your own loaf of bread to go with lunch. They're not essential to the meal, but it's that little extra special touch.Suzy Chase: So speaking of pudding, you don't do starters or the kind of fiddly dishes you might find in a restaurant, but you do do pudding on an extravagant scale. As an American I have a different pudding experience from you. Can you describe the pudding that you make?Skye McAlpine: Well pudding is... I think it's like an English colloquialism pudding for me is basically like the sweet or the dessert. So it could be anything from ice cream to a meringue and whipped cream cake to apple pie. I do this one that I absolutely love that's in the book. It's like one of my absolute favorite recipes. It's kind of like really custardy apple filling, and then it's got like buttery sugar crumble on top. So pudding for me is that, but I think in the U.S. pudding is more like a sort of creamy dessert isn't it like a sort of set jelly.Suzy Chase: Yeah.Skye McAlpine: Which I also am a big fan of.Suzy Chase: So I watched your Vogue video with Hamish Bowles and he asked you, how do you chop garlic? I laughed so hard. He is just so darlingSkye McAlpine: He's wonderful. But he, it was quite fun because we filmed that video at the very, very start of lockdown and kind of within weeks, he turned into this kind of Cordon Bleu chef. I mean, he was texting me photos of what he was cooking and it looked amazing. It was kind of like Duck à l'orange homemade bread and I basically wants to move in and live with him so that I could eat his food.Suzy Chase: You know, he lives a few blocks from me and I'm always looking to run into him to be like, Hey Hamish, it's Suzy! He doesn't know me, but I would love to know him. Um, so your first step in planning a lunch, dinner or party is planning the menu. What goes into that?Skye McAlpine: You know, I'm all about making your life easier and simpler. I think the simpler, you can make the business of cooking for more likely you are to do it. So when I'm planning the menu, I obviously thinking about factors like how many people have I got coming over? This is less relevant today, but you know, am I cooking for 20 people? In which case, I want to go for a dish that is very low maintenance, not something that involves a lot of like fine chopping or complicated timings or cooking in batches or anything like that. I just go for something really simple that I can pop in the oven or prepare in advance and leave as is. how much time have I got. If I don't have much time, then really paring everything back and thinking, you know what, let's just do really good shop-bought ice cream for pudding from the gelateria with cones. That's like, everyone's favorite thing to eat or something really, really quick and simple. Like one of my other favorite recipes in the book, is frozen berries, which just like a melted white chocolate and saffron sauce. And you literally just melt white chocolate and some cream together in a pan with a little bit of saffron. So it goes as kind of gorgeous, like sunny, yellow. And then after dinner, you sort of put a bowl of frozen berries in the middle of the table and pour the hot sauce over it. And it kind of goes like sticky and fudgy. It's completely delicious, but literally probably take 10 minutes to make if that, so that's the kind of dish that I will really do if it's a busy day. If I've got a lot of work, if I just, for whatever reason don't have the time or the inclination to cook, I kind of choose dishes like that. Again, it goes back to this thing of like thinking about my kitchen. So again, if I'm cooking for a lot of people, I'll think about things like oven space. And if I am doing something that involves roasting in the oven, I might just quickly try and put the roasting trays that I'm going to use and try and fit them all in the oven as I'm planning my menu, just check that it will all fit rather than kind of going out, doing all the shopping, setting my heart on that menu and then just as I'm starting to realizing that I can't squeeze it all in the oven, that's when it becomes stressful. When you have moments like that.Suzy Chase: Oh I hate that.Skye McAlpine: Yeah, me too. I've definitely been there. Many times.Suzy Chase: You're also a huge fan of dishes that can be made well in advance.Skye McAlpine: Yes, that for me is the absolute dream. I love that because I really enjoy cooking. I'm really happy, like puttering around in the kitchen with an audiobook, listening to a podcast or just kind of lost in my own thoughts. And you know, I'm happy cooking. What's not fun is when you're cooking and you've got other things that you need to be doing or you're racing against the clock or there's this added element of stress. So I think if you can prepare in advance, it just makes any party or any meal that you're cooking so much more relaxing because you know, that that bit is done. If you've made your frittata ahead of time, like I do this, it's in the book like four or five different kinds of cheese and spinach frittata , but I might assemble all those ingredients two, three days before actually cooking it. And then I can cover it with some clingfilm, keep it in the fridge or if I freeze it. And then when the evening comes, all I need to do is just pop it in the oven. And that just makes it also much more relaxing.Suzy Chase: So your father, Lord McAlpine had a cupboard of curiosities as a child. Did you take after him with your love of objects and art?Skye McAlpine: I guess so, I mean, both of my parents are very, you know, my father was and my mother still as very visual people, they both have a very strong sense of style and definitely growing up in Venice, which has got to be one of the prettiest cities in the world I'm always very aware of aesthetics in a way, and of the fact that a few small beautiful touches in your world, even if that's something as simple as a bowl of sunny looking lemons or, you know, at this time of year, like a lovely big bowl of pomegranates or something like that sitting on your kitchen table, these small beautiful elements can transform your day and your mood. And over time it makes your life better to be surrounded by beautiful things. So that's definitely been, I think, a big influence for me since childhood. I feel very lucky to have grown up with parents who kind of taught me to value beauty around you and value sort of taking the time to create it, but also the ability to sort of see it in smaller, more unusual things, whether that's a bowl of huge red onions or a beautiful painting.Suzy Chase: So talk a little bit about setting the scene where the foundation of a good meal is the table.Skye McAlpine: I love a table that feels really welcoming, and I think it's such a fabulous thing. If you feels almost like you're having a party or it's a special occasion and actually it's just supper on a Tuesday night, but that just makes that Tuesday, that makes that whole week more memorable and more special. You know, I love decorating the table. I, I use a lot of candles, everyone and everything, I think looks more glamorous by candle light. So lots of candles and flowers when they're in season, I think obviously so beautiful, but also even just using fruit, you know, grapes and plums and cherries and peaches in the summer months and apples and pears and the autumnal months just sort of big bowls of them on the table. It looks so beautiful and so inviting. And it does create this sense of relaxedness. What I love about that is like, you'll all have dinner and then you'll find that sort of after dinner that bit where you're kind of lingering on around the table, relaxing, maybe having a coffee or a tea chatting people kind of help themselves to the decorations and eat a little bit of a plum and have a cherry or two. And it's just really relaxed and fun. And I also find kind of bluntly put decorating with fruit is not so wasteful or expensive. Like I love flowers, but can often be quite extravagant, whereas fruit is more affordable. And also once I've used it as decoration, I will, we eat it either in cooking, I might make a pie or apple crumble or whatever it is. I'm a big fan of that for the table. And, you know, small touches like actual cotton or linen napkins, I think is a small touch that can feel so luxurious. It sort of sets the tone for the meal to be a special meal, even actually you've just ordered take out putting a few candles on the table, maybe a jug of flowers. What have you, laying the table nicely just makes the difference and elevates the food.Suzy Chase: I adore how you mix and match China. Are they all family pieces?Skye McAlpine: No, I mean, some are bits and bobs that I've inherited from my parents or that they kind of had lost interest in and I scooped up like a magpie, but many a pieces that I find in charity shops or on eBay. Second hand, some are new pieces. I just worked recently on a tableware collection with Anthropologie. So I've got a few of these pieces dotted and that it's a mix of old and new. A lot of old and like you said, completely mix matched. I kind of love that I think it makes the table feel more colorful. It makes it feel a bit more relaxed because I think you want beautiful plates. You want it to feel like a special occasion again, but you never want to set as a table where everything is completely perfect and precious and so perfect and precious you're kind of sitting there thinking, Oh God, I don't want to drink from my water glass in case I break it. So I think that by mixing and matching things, you do kind of add a feeling of relaxedness and casualness to the meal otherwise it can be a little sad to buy a beautiful plate and then never get to use it because it's too precious.Suzy Chase: So I bought your teal and white splatter serving bowl from your Anthropologie collection. And I cannot wait for it to be delivered either today or tomorrow. I'm so excited.Speaker 2: I hope you enjoy it. Yeah, that was a really fun collaboration to work on because you know, I love, china and plates and all things table top. But also part of what I feel is my experience pragmatically, as someone who sort of taught themselves to cook, is that in terms of making the table look beautiful is it's a lot about the plates. Cause a lot of really good foods, if we're being really honest, it's quite brown. It often tastes delicious, but it maybe it doesn't look so appetizing. But I think if you put it on a colorful, beautiful plate that transforms everything. So it was really fun to kind of create some of my dream pieces.Suzy Chase: So over the weekend, I made your recipes for Burrata with Preserved Lemons, Mint and Chili on page 24 and Strawberries in Lemony Syrup on page one 92, these are two quick and very, very easy showstoppers. Can you describe them?Skye McAlpine: Yes You've chosen two of my favorites, the burrata is basically you just buy burrata, which is, as you know, it's an Italian cheese, a bit like mozzarella, but the middle is kind of buttery so it's sort of creamier even than mozzarella and you can buy it definitely in England, you can buy at most supermarkets now definitely in Italian delicatessans, if not, if you can't find burrata just a really good mozzarella is delicious as well. And then I just get preserved lemons and just slice them up thinly and sprinkle on top maybe have some chili flakes, a bit of mint, or you could use thyme, whatever you like. A drizzle of olive oil and literally that is it, but it's so yummy and fresh and creamy. And this is kind of what I love about it is it's again, this notion of throwing things together, this style of cooking, but it doesn't involve pots and pans. If you're working from a galley kitchen or a student kitchen or your oven is broken or whatever it is, you can still create something that you really want to eat. That you're really proud to serve to the people that you love, but that doesn't actually involve any cooking. And similarly, the strawberries and lemon syrup, what I find is you just slice them in half and then squeeze over them a little bit of lemon juice and sprinkle over a bit of sugar and let it sit for maybe half an hour. So you might do that. And then you go and have your lunch or dinner. And then by the time you come around to eating, then they've kind of macerated and these almost pastel pink syrupy juices have formed and it's just so deliciousSuzy Chase: Now to my segment called Last Night's Dinner where I ask you what you had last night for dinner.Skye McAlpine: Oh it's so delicious. Again, it was one of these things that didn't look very appetizing, but it was a really cold day yesterday here and I was really craving like comforting warming, nourishing food. So I made the soup with lentils and lemon and spinach. It was just what I felt like heating last night. It was really, really good.Suzy Chase: Where can we find you on the web and social media?Skye McAlpine: will soon becoming to the internet hopefully when I get my act together and mostly I'm on Instagram, which is @SkyeMcAlpine, and that's where I share most of my things that I have to share recipes and snapshots from daily life and points of inspiration.Suzy Chase: Well this has been so lovely. Thanks Skye for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast.Skye McAlpine: Thank you so much for having me. It's been such a joy chatting with you.Outro: Subscribe over on and thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

    Amboy | Alvin Cailan

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 27, 2020

    AmboyBy Alvin Cailan Intro: Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City, sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors. Alvin Cailan: Hello everyone. It's Alvin Cailan, and I have a new cookbook out called Amboy: Recipes from the Filipino-American Dream. You can also find me as the host of The Burger Show too.Suzy Chase: In the preface you wrote "Eggslut Chef writes first cookbook! If you're looking for 100 food porny egg sandwich recipes, then you're going to be extremely disappointed in this book." So you kicked this cookbook off, talking about working your butt off for two years, sacrificing friendships and leveraging all your credit cards for the brand it has become today. Can you talk a little bit about how your brand has evolved and what Amboy means to you?Alvin Cailan: Oh, wow. Starting Eggslut was, was one of the most difficult things I've ever done in my life. I really do believe it was like a Masters and a PhD in, restaurant and hospitality management. But I think the most clearest way I can explain that introduction and the transition into Amboy is that I created Eggslut, but I am Amboy like Amboy is who I am. It's what my Grandma called me when I was younger. She would describe me to her friends at church as Amboy, meaning, American born and it stuck with me. And then as I went through this journey through my culinary career, I realized that Amboy is actually the definition of my style of cooking, because it takes all the influences of my culture being Filipino and, mixing it with all of the recipes that I've, I've learned either professionally or through where I live.Suzy Chase: You say, this is a story about a brown kid from a brown family whose roots are in Southeast Asia. Talk a little bit about not feeling American enough or Filipino enough.Alvin Cailan: And didn't speak English until I was five years old. I think my parents tried to speak Tagalog to me from the moment I started to talk till I was five, because they knew that I was going to go to school in America and learn English. So they were going to leave, the English teaching to the teachers. So when I first started school in kindergarten, you know, I would say, and pronounce things weird. And it was always kind of like, I was the odd ball out because I also grew up in a predominantly Mexican neighborhood. And so I was already the most different one out of everybody. Then after school, when school was over and it was summer vacation, my parents would ship me off to the Philippines to hang with my Grandma. And when I was in the Philippines, I wasn't Filipino enough for the Filipinos. I was still just the American boy. So my entire life been trying to figure out my way either in American culture or in Filipino culture. And honestly, I've just really embraced the fact that I'm a first generation Filipino American, and I'm owning it. I'm not ashamed of who I am. I'm actually really proud of being Filipino, but I'm also like very, very, very American.Suzy Chase: You know, what cracked me up in the book was your dad was brother Tony, the leader of the Lips To Lips Gang.Alvin Cailan: So, yeah, my Dad.I had no idea until I started going to the Philippines and, and it was kind of like a weird, like Michael Corleone moment in the Philippines when we would arrive at the airport and seven dudes would come pick us up and we would roll in a caravan back to our native province. And while we were there, people would line up to talk to my Dad and I would never understand it. And one time I was being disciplined by my father in front of his Dad. And his Dad ended up saying like, Hey, why are you so tough on this kid? You're a knucklehead too. And my Grandfather ended up telling me like, yeah, your Dad was the leader. Like, he was like the leader of the band. He had a group of friends and he was the boss. And I was like, I had no idea. So now I use that against my Dad. Every time he gets mad at me, when I do dumb things,Suzy Chase: I heard you say once that your parents are pretty big haters, do they love what you're doing now?Alvin Cailan: They're tossed up. Like they couldn't understand me being a cook. And then now they don't understand me being a TV personality slash businessman because, you know, I'm always busy and just having lunch or dinners, I have to schedule you a month out and they don't understand that. My Dad's kind of worked his way around it, where he just comes and visits to me at work. My Mom's more of a home body. She lives in her little bubble and she doesn't venture out. So she's a little bit more of a hater than my Dad, but you know, we're working on it.Suzy Chase: You say, sauce is a magnifying glass for food. Tell us about that.Alvin Cailan: Ooh. I mean, so this is another quintessential Amboy, theory, right? Because Filipino food is relatively saucing. Lots of things are one pot wonders. And so growing up, I, you know, I had an affinity for sauce, everything I had to have. I mean, I like ketchup and it's almost on an embarrassing level, but I realized that like a lot of like American food that I eat is very dry. And I was like, man, like fried chicken when you eat fried chicken. And it's just like the juiciness of the fried chicken and that's it. And so it's different from Filipino culture because if we have fried chicken in the Philippines, we eat that with an all purpose sauce, which is like a brown sugar bread crumb and like chicken liver sauce. And it's, it's super, super good. And then growing up, my Grandmother used to serve us fried chicken and I would add, Ketchup to it. And like when I went to culinary school and it was fried chicken week, I'd asked the chef. I said, Hey, chef, new century, we have all this fried chicken that we made. Is there any catch-up in it that I could use with it? And people were like, what, what are you doing? I'm a big fan of sauce. And then even through my culinary career, you know, I've always excelled in the saucier station. Uh, it was one of the things that like, I love building flavors, you know, with stock and all that stuff. So actually believe that sauce doesn't take away, but it can definitely enhance dishes.Suzy Chase: And do you think you got that love of sauces from your grandma, Emma, who was really your great Aunt?Alvin Cailan: Oh yeah. A hundred percent. She, so she, she brought in the fanciness into my life. She, she was married to a French chef and she, herself actually is still cooking. She has her own cafe in Montreal or Quebec and she, she taught me so much. I mean, like one of the first sauces I ever learned was just the simple mayonnaise with Dijon mustard. And I ate it with crudité and being seven years old, growing up in a blue collar town in Pico Rivera, eating crudité with dijon mustard and mayo was definitely a pinkies up type of situation. And I, I loved it. I was like, Oh my God, I know this is fancy. And my friends would probably make fun of me, like during the lunch hour, but I am, I'm going to show this off and I'm going to show people. And you know what, honestly, that actually like, kind of helped me socialize when I was younger. And when I was a kid, because I would always bring weird, ketchup in mayo sauce, we would mix sauces during our lunch hour at school. And we would mix sauces that we would get in the cafeteria. So, yeah, I think I definitely have my, my Grandma, I'm not to blame for that. And, uh, also my best friend, Mark Tagnipez growing up, he was like, he was literally the first person I talked to, um, on my first day of kindergarten. And, um, he's also a chef now in Melbourne in Australia. So, you know, food and sauces and all of that really like run deep in our veins.Suzy Chase: In the cookbook. You have some tips on how to make the perfect pot of rice. What is the number one thing I'm doing as a home cook to mess it up?Alvin Cailan: Well, number one is you have to clean your rice. You have to rinse your rice because it has a lot of that excess starch. And it has like a gritty mealy texture to it when you cook. So when you rinse off that, extra starch and, when they dry the rice granules, it also has like residue and honestly, in the mentality of a Filipino you're in the old world, they would have these gigantic nets and they would dry rice, and it wasn't necessarily considered sanitary. I remember vividly my grandma tossing rice in her patio and picking out all of the pebbles in the little rocks that came from the rice pods. And so we were taught to thoroughly, thoroughly rinse your rice, even if it was packaged, bought rice at the store. And honestly it really does make a difference because I actually had to fire a line cook for not washing the rice and really getting bombarded by Asian Americans on Yelp, because that day they totally could tell that the rice wasn't cleaned. Oh my gosh. I think Asian-Americans probably can tell, because I think all of Asia at such a young age, we were taught to thoroughly, thoroughly rinse the rice.Suzy Chase: So I have a couple of egg related questions for you and they're super random. So why do we need to crack eggs on a hard flat surface?Alvin Cailan: I personally believe that it prevents the shell from a breaking like the thick white membrane. When you have fresh eggs, there's usually, like the idea of the anatomy of the egg would be the thing whites, the thick whites and the yolk, and what you don't want is the thick whites to break. Cause when you crack them into a pan, you don't want the whites to run out you kind of want it to stay in a kidney shaped form. That's one. And also when you crack eggs on the side of a bowl it's harder for me to control when I crack it all, all open because I have to stick my thumbs in between the crack that I made and then open it. So I think really it's just to prevent the shell from mixing with your egg.Suzy Chase: And here's my other question. Why do you crack cold eggs into a cold pan?Alvin Cailan: I personally think that when you cook eggs and when you start off scrambled eggs specifically, fried eggs are a different story, but scrambled eggs have to be cold eggs in a cold pan because I don't know if you've ever had, uh, like when you've made scrambled eggs and then it kind of has like this, like a watery consistency after it's cooked. It prevents, it, prevents that from happening. It really just gives you the creamiest and, fluffiest scrambled egg, when you start off that way.Suzy Chase: Okay. Here's my last one. What's the deal with chives and eggs?Alvin Cailan: Oh my gosh. It's like peanut butter and jelly. It's something that doesn't take away from each other. Like the egg flavor does not take away from the chive flavor. The chive flavor doesn't take away from the eggs together. It's just married beautifully. It's it's like harmony in a bite.Suzy Chase: I have to hand it to you for being so brutally honest in this cookbook, especially the chapter entitled The Reality of Success. It really shows the struggle and pull between your creative concept and control and losing that by leveling up your brand. What advice would you have for chefs figuring out exactly what they want to be.Alvin Cailan: For people seeking advice I always give you the option or I say, where do you want to end up? What is the end goal? Do you want to be a rich millionaire with multiple locations vacationing in, Greece? Or do you want to become a James Beard award winner or, you know, cause those are two completely different worlds. And so when you become successful and your brand is now visible, it almost becomes a household name. You have to examine yourself as a chef. Do you want to stay creative and make amazing dishes and teach different generations so that they become great chefs? Or do you want to capitalize and become a business mogul? And that's the crossroad, that's the fork in the road that you have to choose and whichever path you choose, you stick to it and you make your decisions based off of that one particular goal, like in the kitchen it's everything to me. And when I see customers come in and out of my restaurant and they're happy, it honestly makes everything the hard work, the sweat, the blood, the tears worth it. And no monetary figure for me can ever replace that.Suzy Chase: That's deep.Alvin Cailan: Yeah. It's really deep because a lot of people think like when, when you have dreams and goals and you're just setting foot on, trying to accomplish those goals. You never, ever planned for what would happen once you achieve those goals. I was one of those guys where like, I was like, all right, well, I'm going to make a brand. I know it, it feels good. It feels right. I think we're going to kill it. But by the time I got to the point where we were had four hour lines at the restaurant, we were winning awards left and right. You know, I really did have a hard time choosing whether or not to become the next, Ronald McDonald versus do I want to follow the footsteps of my mentors and chefs that taught me along the way. And I went the old school route and now I feel like my job is more than just a chef. It's like more of like a teacher and, and almost like a counselor.Suzy Chase: Speaking of killing it. When you were at Chef's Club Counter here in New York City, I couldn't get a table to save my life. It was always packed. So I was excited to cook up The Slut on page 286, because I couldn't get one made by you. Now, this dish changed your life. Ruth Reichl basically got the word out. Celebrities fell in love with it. And you even did a popup with Drew Barrymore in Aspen. How is this dish similar Jöel Robuchon's?Alvin Cailan: Oh, it's definitely 100% influenced by Jöel Robuchon. Jöel Robuchon was my chef idol growing up. And when I was in culinary school, he was going through like, he had like 18 Michelin stars at that time when I was in culinary school. And he was just like the Michael Jordan of it all. And so when I made potato puree or mashed potatoes, I always use his recipe. And I remember doing this particular dish, the coddled egg dish in a martini glass for like a final in culinary school. And I was like, well, that is such a pretentious dish, but it could totally be a cool dish. And kind of like for the masses, if we did it in a mason jar, when I created Eggslut and we were menu testing, I used to buy those eight ounce mason jars or six ounce mason jars at the grocery store. And, I would pipe the potato puree in the mason jar, crack an egg on it and then slow poach it in a pot of simmering water. And honestly it didn't skip a beat. It was amazing. And I have to thank, Jöel Robuchon for that inspiration.Suzy Chase: It's, mind-blowingly simple.Alvin Cailan: It is. Again, it's like the harmony of simple ingredients and everything having an affinity for each other and then all of that in your mouth, just giving you the best experience possible.Suzy Chase: So tell me a little bit about your latest concept, Amboy.Alvin Cailan: Well, so Amboy is, it's like it's a loose term, right? It's it's who I am. And so in February, when we were thinking about opening a restaurant before COVID, we wanted to create a burger shop during the day and a steak shop at night with Filipino flair in the evening, and then COVID happened in the citywide shutdown happened. And, it was super hard for us to get provisions, eggs, bacon, meat. You know, I was ordering off of grocery apps and what was arriving at my home was just awful. I mean, I was ordering New York strip steaks and I was getting chuck steaks delivered. I was growing frustrated with it. So we pivoted the restaurant, we really put a focus on selling raw meat, eggs, and bread and bacon and hot dogs. And it was for the community. And really the community was like, yes, we need this because at the time there was like a looming meat shortage happening. And, we definitely were able to offset that for the household consumer and the neighborhood is, has taken ownership of who we are. And now we are, one of the better burger restaurants in the city and also a boutique butcher shop.Suzy Chase: So now on to my new segment, this season called Last Night's Dinner, where I ask you what you ate last night for dinner.Alvin Cailan: Oh, wow. Okay. That's easy. We, usually don't sell any old cuts of meat, in the case. So on Wednesday nights we take home a lot of the like three or four day old steaks that were in our case. So last night I cooked a couple of Denver steaks and a Picanha steak. And we ate that, believe it or not, which just ate it with bread. And it was delicious.Suzy Chase: You're a huge hip hop head. What is your favorite rap song of all time?Alvin Cailan: My favorite rap song of all time, even though it's almost like bad to talk about him right now because of who he has been in....Suzy Chase: Are you going to say Kanye?Alvin Cailan: Yes. Yeah. So the song Runaway it's pumped full of ego, cause there's like a five minute instrumental riff before the lyrics even start. But that, that song Runaway really describes who I had to be in order to become who I am today. And it was because I had to sacrifice a ton of things and you know, I was called half of everything in that song. But if you can relate to that song you can, you understand that through all the hardship and through all the loss of friends and family at the same time, you kind of have to celebrate the fact that you made your dream come true and you can have the best of both worlds. Honestly, that song has resonated to me a lot. And it's kinda hard to listen to now, because all I could hear is Kanye's, current rants in the news and stuff like that. But that is definitely one of them. And then I think before Eggslut and before success, two-part so that was my current favorite song. And secondly, when, before all of that, it was always, I Got Five On It by The Loonies.Suzy Chase: From back in the neighborhood.Alvin Cailan: Yeah. That was my old school jam. That was like the anthem of our neighborhood. And yeah, those two songs I think are some powerful hip hop songs and in my personal life.Suzy Chase: Where can we find you on the web social media and in LA?Alvin Cailan: I made it super easy for everyone. It's just @AlvinCailan on Twitter, on Instagram. And then on Facebook, it says my full name, super easy.Suzy Chase: I cannot thank you enough for pulling this story out of your heart and putting it down on paper. And thanks for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast to celebrate my 200th episode with me.Alvin Cailan: Hey, thanks for having me.Outro: Subscribe over on Thanks for listening to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book.

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