Splendid Table

Saturdays 2-3 p.m.
  • Hosted by Francis Lam

More than just talking about recipes, Splendid Table explores everything about food: the culture, the science, the history, the back stories and the deeper meanings that come together every time people sit down to enjoy a meal.


Ways to Connect

For our episode Four Persian Cooks, we spoke with a wonderful group of Persian cooks including Samin Nosrat. You probably know her from her fantastic book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, or wildly popular Netflix show by the same name, through which she has taught millions of people how to see cooking in a new way.

Recipes to keep you warm on a late winter weekend

Mar 8, 2019

It's early March, the sky is blue and the weather is above 30 degrees for the first time in weeks. Just when you thought Old Man Winter was in the rear view mirror, the calendar reminds you that spring is here just yet. Surprise! An epic snowstorm is forecast to dump a foot of snow on your town over the next 48 hours. There's two ways of looking at this situation. One is with dread. It's going to be a long weekend bundled up and battling the snow with shovels, snowblowers, salt and scrapers.

Last year, Naz Deravian came out with a terrific book called Bottom of the Pot: Persian Recipes and Stories. And if you know just one thing about Persian food, you probably know what that title is about; it's about the crispy part of the rice, called tahdig, that you find at the bottom of the pot or the top of the rice once it's flipped out of the pot and onto a serving plate or bowl.

Persian power ingredients: pomegranate molasses and dried limes

Mar 8, 2019

We dedicated our entire episode Four Persian Cooks to the unique flavors of Persian cuisine, including two ingredients considered key to the Persian pantry, pomegranate molasses and dried limes. These ingredients lend a layer of complexity – think sweet and tart, or funky and acidic – to dishes in which they are used. For a deeper look, Managing Producer Sally Swift talked to Christie Morrison, editor of special projects and on-screen test cook at America’s Test Kitchen.

Photo: Chef Behzad Jamshidi (right) with Francis Lam in Francis's home kitchen.

Photo: Najmieh Batmanglij (second from left) preparing
All-Green Shirazi Meatballs with Farangis Shahab and her family in Shiraz

Enter to win Bottom of the Pot by Naz Deravian

Mar 1, 2019

March 2019 Giveaway

Every month, The Splendid Table helps listeners equip their kitchens, stock their pantries, and fill their bookshelves. This month, one winner will receive one (1) copy of Bottom of the Pot by Naz Deravian. The retail value of the book is $35.00. Enter before March 31, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. Central Daylight Time, by submitting the form below.

Andrea Nguyen is a best-selling cookbook author and expert on Vietnamese cooking. Nguyen says, in the past, cooking Vietnamese food in America meant multiple shopping trips to specialized Asian markets or substituting ingredients that just couldn't be found here. Thankfully, times have changed and more authentic Vietnamese ingredients are more readily available in the U.S.

When it came time to take calls from listeners for our 100% cheese-filled episode "Say Cheese!," we knew there was only one person we could turn to for both entertaining and expert advice, the fabulous Tia Keenan.

Cheese tips for the home: storage, freezing, and saving rinds

Feb 22, 2019

You've gone to the cheese shop or market and you invested in a great cheese. You’re back home, now what? How do you store it? Is that smell okay? Can you freeze it? America’s Test Kitchen has answers to these and many more cheese questions. Managing Producer Sally Swift talked with Jack Bishop, Chief Creative Officer at America’s Test Kitchen. He also shared the recipe for Frico, the crispy Italian cheese wafer.

When it comes to the cheeses we love most, we generally think of farmers, cheesemakers and, well, cows. But there is another person, perhaps the most important in the equation: cheesemongers. They are the experts that help us determine what cheese we are looking for depending on our mood, food and drink pairings, or event. There is art, science and wildly precise skill to what they do. The Cheesemonger Invitational finds the best of the best.

The aromas and flavors of cheese are uncountable. Every variety of cheese has its own set of sensory characteristics, and they can be different from country to country or from farm to farm. The task of knowing all of these flavors so that regular people like us can better understand them is the job of the cheesemonger. Sure, farmers, cheesemakers and cows get all the credit for amazing cheese, but without expert cheesemongers like Greselda Powell, from Murray's Cheese in New York City, we likely wouldn't know about any of them.

Mandy Aftel, author of Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent, uses a drop or two of essential oil to transform things like ice cream and tea. "It's very special to have something where one drop -- which is this consolidated, precious, wonderful essence of something -- can change things," she says.

Serves 2: recipes for cooking couples

Feb 12, 2019

For some couples, cooking is an intimate activity that brings them closer by preparing food with one another. Whether you're looking for menu ideas for Valentine's or just a casual night-in, we pulled together some of our favorite recipes that are built for two. (Some may actually serve four or more, but that just means you'll have leftovers - or maybe a midnight snack!)


Photo: Chantell Quernemoen

This essay by Tienlon Ho is excerpted from You and I Eat the Same by Chris Ying (Artisan Books Copyright © 2018).

Book editor Chris Ying discusses both the connective and oppressive power of global foods with Francis Lam in this interview.

"One Seed Rules Them All"
By Tienlon Ho

The Japanese tradition of raising and eating wasps

Feb 8, 2019

Edible insects are often talked about as a possible "food of the future" - but what does insect eating actually look like in the here and now? Guest producer Soleil Ho is the food critic for the San Francisco Chronicle and writer of Meal: Adventures in Entomophagy. She went to Kushihara, a mountain village in Japan where wasps are a seasonal delicacy, to learn more about the region's traditional eating of insects. 

Let's say you owned a restaurant, which means you're in the business of making customers happy. Would you insist that the customers have to eat the food while it's hot, with exactly three shakes of hot sauce, and always with an iced tea? Probably not. However, some places do put strict rules on how their food should be enjoyed. For example, Louis' Lunch, the legendary burger joint in New Haven, Connecticut.

Chris Ying is one of the founders of the food magazine Lucky Peach, and is the editor of an essay collection called, You and I Eat the Same. The subtitle of the book explains that the writings within consider the countless ways food and cooking connect us to one another. So Francis Lam asked Ying to come on the show to talk about it.

Here's a thing we seem to all have in common - lunchtime is disappearing. From to once-sacred lunch and siesta cultures to #saddesklunch, lunchtime, as a time to recharge and live a life worth living in this beautiful world in community with friends and family, looks like it's on its way out. Bee Wilson is a food historian and the author of the forthcoming book, The Way We Eat Now.

Party Menu for Chinese New Year

Feb 5, 2019

The Chinese Lunar New Year (Year of the Pig) begins February 5, 2019 and ends on February 19, 2019. It is the time when family members, whether nearby or far away, will return home to celebrate. Among the various forms of celebration -- which include fireworks, dragon and lion dances, temple fairs, and giving out of red envelopes -- there are also recipes that have special significance.

Party food and snack recipes for the big game

Feb 1, 2019

It's almost time for the biggest football game of the year. Keep your game day party guests happy with a full spread of snacks. We're featuring a few of our favorites for you here. For more snack and party food ideas, see our complete Super Bowl Recipes Collection.

Corn Chip Strips

Photo: Lara Ferroni

Enter to win a set of cheese books by Tia Keenan

Feb 1, 2019

February 2019 Giveaway

Chef Magnus Nilsson is the head chef of Fäviken restaurant in Sweden. Over the last six years, while running the world-famous kitchen, he also managed to find the time to travel to every region of every Nordic country to document how they cook and bake, and what they eat.

From soy sauce to Sriracha, the evolution of sauces

Jan 29, 2019

What do the fermented meat condiments of fifth-century China and the foam, scents and smoke used in molecular gastronomy today have in common? They are all sauces. Maryann Tebben, head of the Center for Food Studies at Bard College at Simon's Rock and author of Sauces, explains.

Defining a sauce

Bagels past and present with chef Dianna Daoheung

Jan 25, 2019

New York City is known worldwide for its bagels, but they are not the be-all, end-all. There are many traditions and styles within the world bagels. Dianna Daoheung is the executive chef and head baker at Black Seed Bagels in New York, and a two-time James Beard award nominee for Outstanding Baker. She stopped by the studio to talk with Francis Lam about the history of bagels and their stylistic differences. They also taste bagels including her own from Black Seed, which are a hybrid of the New York and Montreal styles.

Magnus Nilsson is one of the most respected chefs in the world. While overseeing the kitchen and menu at his restaurant Fäviken, somehow he also managed to travel to every corner of every Nordic country and write/photograph not one, but two books documenting recipes for every single food in every cuisine he found.

Bread is ever present in many cuisines. It's for mopping up juices, eating with butter or oil, or it's an art form to itself. We can’t think of a cuisine that puts its bread more front and center than the food of Ethiopia. Meals are served on a bread called injera as the plate. Injera is like a sour, spongy pancake. There is an fantastic Ethiopian restaurant in Brooklyn called Awash.

Next to cornbread, there is probably no American bread that inspires more passion than biscuits. They have a legendary mystique. Erika Council is a software engineer, writer/photographer, and biscuit maker who runs the Bomb Biscuits pop-up in Atlanta and the Southern Soufflé recipe website. She is unimpressed with all the pomp around making biscuits, but that’s not to say she doesn’t take them very seriously.

In our Daily Bread episode we talked about a wide variety of breads from around world. But, when we asked our friends at America’s Test Kitchen what they’d want to share with us, the answer surprised us: white bread. Turns out their editor Tucker Shaw is obsessed with it. Sally Swift talked with him about the beauty of making white bread at home and got his amazingly simple recipe for American Sandwich Bread.