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

Virgie Tovar is a body image activist and author of the book, You Have the Right to Remain Fat. She says her advocacy for being healthy at any size and against fat discrimination and fatphobia isn't about food, but about human rights. She talked with Franic Lam about what that means for our mental health as individuals and as a society.

Issues concerning substance use disorder and anxiety affect many people in the restaurant and hospitality industry. David McMillan, is chef and co-owner of Joe Beef restaurant in Montreal, a legendary palace of food and drink. Dave realized, after years of running a restaurant known for excess, that he was dealing with something serious in himself. He joined Francis Lam to talk about coming to grips with alcohol use disorder, how his restaurant community responded to his sobriety, and the challenges of supporting mental health in the industry.

Eating disorders can be hard to deal with. For people who experience them, eating disorders can take over their lives, and the pain is compounded by the fact that, all the while, people often feel judged or shamed for having them. The BBC’s show The Food Chain had a powerful episode on eating disorders, specifically on how they affect people in black communities.

So often, conversations regarding healthy eating go straight to health matters below the neck - things like weight management, heart health, managing cholesterol and diabetes.  But some doctors believe that we should be focused on feeding what’s above the neck – our brains.  Dr. Drew Ramsey calls himself a nutritional psychiatrist. He’s an avid researcher of the connection between food, brain function, and mental health at Columbia University – and, he’s a farmer. Contributor Shauna Sever spoke to Dr. Ramsey about his work and how we can work more brain-boosting foods into our diet.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a monthlong effort to increase awareness and education about the importance of recognizing mental illness and providing the support needed to those affected. As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, The Splendid Table is producing two shows focused on the connection of food to mental health. This content is presented in partnership with Call to Mind, a new mental health initiative from American Public Media to foster open conversations about mental health.

Do you remember how old you were when you first showed interest in food or cooking? Do you have fond memories of spending time in the kitchen with parents, grandparents and other family members? According to the KidsHealth website, cooking helps kids learn basic math concepts, build language skills, boost confidence, explore their senses, and encourage an adventerous palate. The folks at America’s Test Kitchen are also big fans of getting kids into the kitchen.

Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking
by Bonnie Frumkin Morales with Deena Prichep

Priya Krishna is a young star of a food writer. Her mother Ritu Krishna runs software development teams, is a terrific home cook and a self-taught sommelier. Together they wrote the book Indian(-ish): Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family to document Ritu's recipes and tell the story of their family. Francis Lam sat down with the mother and daughter at Priya's apartment in New York City to talk about cooking and writing together.

For our episode Mothers & Daughters, Francis Lam visited with Priya and Ritu Krishna, the daughter/mother team behind the wonderful new cookbook, Indian(-ish): Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family.

Enter to Win Indian-ish by Priya Krishna

Apr 30, 2019

May 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 Indian-ish by Priya Krishna with Ritu Krishna. The retail value of the book is $28.00. Enter before May 31, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. Central Daylight Time, by submitting the form below.

A Turkish Menu for Ramadan

Apr 30, 2019


Photo (clockwise from top left): Mung Bean and Onion Salad, Strained Lentil Soup,
Festive Meatball and Chickpea Stew, Stuffed Bread



Photo (clockwise from top left): Mango & Mint Salad,
Spicy Chicken & Chickpea Curry Bake, Marsala Black Chickpeas

A little while ago, I got to have lunch with  Kwame Onwuachi, chef of the restaurant Kith and Kin in Washington, D.C. We were in his apartment, which he shares with his fiance and their dog. But you could definitely tell it’s a chef’s place. There was a whole room with no furniture, and you just know he doesn’t spend a whole lot of time hanging out at home. Outside his window you could see construction cranes everywhere, fancy condo building after fancy condo building, and it’s in a neighborhood of Washington, D.C. that honestly looks like it was all built yesterday.

Our friends at America's Test Kitchen are always looking for new ways to introduce fun and innovative techniques into our home kitchens. Dan Souza, Editor in Chief of Cook’s Illustrated, often leads their charge into culinary curiosity. Here, he talks with our Managing Producer Sally Sally about making nitro cold-brew coffee, and cooking with koji.

Kim Kushner's menu for a contemporary Passover feast

Apr 17, 2019

Passover is a very special holiday in the Jewish culture. But too many of us focus on the restrictions, what we can’t eat, the ingredients we can’t use, and all of the stress that comes along with it. Cooking a great Passover meal does not need to translate to anxiety cooking. Relax. It’ll all be okay. Instead of spending time analyzing what ingredients to avoid, focus on the foods you really love.

Photo (left to right): Spring Pea, Pea Shoot, Pancetta & Goat Cheese Salad | Clodagh McKenna with Herb-Crusted Lamb Cutlets | Rhubarb, Rosewater & Pistachio Galettes

Shola Olunloyo is a chef who has dazzled Philadelphia and the blogosphere for almost a decade with his modern technique. He was born in Nigeria and raised in both Nigeria and the United Kingdom. Here in the US, he showcases Nigerian food not only on its own but also interwoven with other global cuisines by way of his experimental Studiokitchen project and pop-up dinners. Essential influence on his work comes from deep inside culinary traditions of his family’s native Nigeria.

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “Israeli food”? Possibly pomegranates, za’atar, grilled meats. But what if you hear the words “Palestinian food?” For a lot of people, their mind goes blank. Yasmin Khan wants to fill that picture in with phenomenal dishes spicy shrimp and tomato stew or spiced chicken with dried lime pilaf. She went to Israel and the State of Palestine to talk with Palestinian cooks.

Photo: Fred Ruiz and Kim Ruiz Beck are cofounders of Ruiz Foods. Photo by Lisa Morehouse

Super bowl: the rise of bowl foods in America

Apr 5, 2019

We are living through a fascinating moment in culinary history: the swift and relentless takeover of the [blank] bowl. These days, you can go an entire week of eating all of your meals in bowl form and never overlap once. Why are we bowl happy and how (or when) did adding the word bowl to everything from grain to breakfast become a thing? Haven’t people been putting food in bowls since there were bowls?

Enter to win Notes from a Young Black Chef by Kwame Onwuachi

Apr 1, 2019

April 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 Notes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir by Kwame Onwuachi with Joshua David Stein. The retail value of the book is $26.00. Enter before April 30, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. Central Daylight Time, by submitting the form below.

Remembering Joseph Ades, The Gentleman Peeler

Mar 22, 2019

Ten or fifteen years ago, if you did any shopping at the Union Square farmers market in New York, or if you worked down in the financial district, or if you happened to just walk around Manhattan, you might have seen and heard a man delivering a wonderful sales pitch - for vegetable peelers. That salesman was Joe Ades, The Gentleman Peeler, an older gentleman and New York icon, hunched down on a tiny stool with buckets of vegetables charming everyone in sight while selling vegetable peelers. Ades passed away in 2009.

Quick tips: creative kitchen hacks from Cook's Illustrated

Mar 22, 2019

Creativity is key in the kitchen, where discovering a new use for a piece of equipment or inventing a new shortcut is always a joy. We at The Splendid Table love a good life hack to save time in the kitchen. One of our favorite things about Cook's Illustrated magazine are the tips readers send in on how to find new uses for kitchen tools. It turns out it’s one of Dan Souza’s favorite parts too. He’s the Editor in Chief of the magazine. He talked to Sally Swift about some of his favorites from over the years.

Chefs love their knives. They protect them, care for them, and keep them close at all times. But, you know who loves knives more than cooks? Knifemakers. True hand-made knives are a rarity, and in America, there are only a handful of bladesmiths who deal with them. Quintin Middleton of St. Stephen, South Carolina is one of them. His company is Middleton Made Knives. Francis Lam talked with Middleton about the craft of knifemaking, and how he creates knife designs specifically with chefs in mind.

What would you say is the most important tool in your kitchen? The one that you truly cannot cook without? Actually, that's a trick question. The tools that we use, even the ones we absolutely depend on, are all cultural. That means nothing is truly essential because cooks have been making great food using totally different tools than yours for centuries. Tim Hayward is a British food writer and an obsessive about the history of kitchen tools.

Give your vegetable peeler a workout with these 14 recipes

Mar 22, 2019

In our episode "The Sharpest Tools," we heard an amazing story about the passion behind a vegetable peeler. It inspired us to get into the kitchen and get peeling! Here are recipes suggestions for you or your favorite kitchen assistant to make great use of your trusty vegetable peeler with dishes that include carrots, potatoes and cucumbers.



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.