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

There are a lot of questions and concerns right now around the coronavirus and the safety of our food. The science behind all of this is an everchanging field of study, but we wanted to learn the current findings and recommendations for keeping safe not only with home-cooked food and delivery, but also when out in public shopping for food and grabbing take-out from restaurants. We learned a lot from food science writer J. Kenji López-Alt. He is the Chief Culinary Advisor of Serious Eats and the author of The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science.

Podcast Extra: How to Make a Sourdough Starter

Mar 25, 2020

With so many people now spending more time at home and in the kitchen, we’ve noticed a lot more photos on social media of beautiful home-baked bread. However, we’ve seen just as many people asking how to get started baking. Which got us thinking back to a piece we did with Bridget Lancaster from America’s Test Kitchen. She walked us through the amazingly simple steps of putting together a sourdough starter at home. In this podcast extra, we hear from Bridget in her own home kitchen.

Things To Do With Rice

Mar 23, 2020

Rice is one of those universal staples found in kitchens all over the world. It’s eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, and the number of ways it can be prepared is practically infinite.  It’s both exotic and simple, and you very likely have some in your cupboard. We’ve curated a rather large number of recipes, so if you’re looking for ways to put that rice to work, check out the links below for main dishes, sides, salads and desserts.

Podcast Extra: Freewheeling Salads

Mar 23, 2020

This podcast extra is all about taking your salads into a much more imaginative place. We revisit an interview with Ilene Rosen who has been making salads professionally for decades. Some say she is responsible for the kale salad trend (you decide!).

We all know this situation. You’re about to start cooking dinner. You look deep into your produce drawer or reach into your bowl of garlic and onions only to find your last few onions have gone south - they are soft and have dark spots. Yup, you’ve waited too long to use them. But if you had caramelized those onions, you would have an amazingly, delicious weapon to deploy in your kitchen, in all kinds of recipes.

Don't let these onions go to waste! Photo: Orion6729|iStock|Getty Images Plus

A Message from The Splendid Table

Mar 18, 2020

During this difficult and confusing time, we want you to know that all of us are right there with you. We're social distancing, juggling kids and jobs, doing a lot of hand-washing, and worrying about friends and family all across the world. Just like you, we’re also doing a lot more cooking. With that in mind, we are hard at work getting you interviews, recipes, and ideas that you will find useful. You’ll hear our regular show as usual, but we’re also digging around our archives and will be posting content regularly. Stay tuned and come back often to our podcast feed and website.

How to cook dry beans

Mar 13, 2020

Question: How do I cook dry beans?

How to cook dried beans and what to make with them

Mar 13, 2020

See our Beans Recipe Collection for some ides of what to cook with many different types of beans.

We at The Splendid Table get asked a lot: "How do I cook dried beans such as navy beans or pinto beans?"

Here's the deal with all dried beans:

1. Rinse

Rinse the beans and discard any small pebbles or shriveled beans.

2. Soak

Saliha Mahmood Ahmed is a doctor in London, who turned her passion for cooking into a winning appearance on the British TV show Masterchef. Then, she turned her other passion, for culinary history, into Khazana, a cookbook of dishes inspired by the long-defunct Mughal empire. Yes, the empire that conquered Central Asia through north India, and built the Taj Mahal. But, what do we know about their food?

A few years ago, a pastry chef named Dominique Ansel shaped croissant dough into a ring, fried it until puffed, and became the creator of the Cronut, one of the world's most copied pastries. He also became a master maker of lines, as in hours-long lines outside his bakeries around the world, people waiting for cronuts, frozen s'mores they light on fire, and mugs of hot chocolate where the marshmallows literally open up and blossom like flowers before your eyes.

When I say the words "Cajun food," do you think: big, spicy, blackened, with people yelling "Bam!" in the kitchen? Well, Melissa Martin was raised on the bayou in Chauvin, Louisiana and the food she grew up with wasn't very much like what we see on TV. She has a restaurant in New Orleans where she serves the home cooking that takes her back to her mother's kitchen.

I first heard of Bryant Terry almost 20 years ago, when he started a program in New York City that taught underserved kids how to cook delicious and healthy meals after school, bring that food back home, and become the spark to empower their families to take control of their health and diets. He was brilliant and charismatic, and he’s since gone on to become the chef-in-residence of the Museum of the African Diaspora.

Photo: Joe Yonan and Carl Mason at home with their pets.

Last year, our team spent a few days in St. Louis, where we met a lot of wonderful food lovers including Loryn and Edo Nalic, the very gracious couple who own a Bosnian restaurant called Balkan Treat Box. The restaurant started as a food truck serving up unique Bosnian dishes around the city. But before either the restaurant or the truck, there was a relationship, a story of love that crossed many oceans to bring Loryn and Edo together.

To Damira Inatullaeva and her Uzbek roots, cooking is not simply cooking, it is a way of socializing and sharing knowledge. So, we were excited when we were recently invited into her home to learn to make a very special dish. Damira is a retired cardiologist and her husband Sahib Aminov was a professor of Central Asian history at the University of Samarkand; they came to the U.S. from Uzbekistan seven years ago.

Photo: Michaele and John Weissman (left) and one of their many shared loaves of rye bread

For beer lovers who are cutting back on their alcohol intake, there is a new wave of non-alcoholic options available that don’t fizz out on the flavor. Regardless your reasons for seeking out an NA beer, there are definitely other benefits beyond presence of alcohol which include fewer calories, fewer carbs and less sugar. For these reasons the NA beer market has seen an uptick in the past few years.

If you step into a cool cocktail bar today, chances are they have drinks made from mezcal, a Mexican spirit with an intense, roasted, smoky flavor. But just a decade ago, barely anyone in America had heard of it. You could call it the hot new thing in bartending, except that it’s hundreds of years old. And in Oaxaca, it’s much more than that. Bricia Lopez, who’s been called the Mezcal Queen of Los Angeles, is the owner, with her family, of Guelaguetza restaurant in Los Angeles.

Photos above: Jordana Rothman (left) and Julia Bainbridge

Mark and Brian Canlis are brothers and the third generation of their family to run Canlis, a nearly 70-year-old restaurant in Seattle and a true landmark. But even beyond the restaurant, what’s extraordinary about the Canlis family is how thoughtful they are at helping people to connect. And for years, in the basement of the restaurant, they had a very special barrel of whiskey. But, you couldn't buy yourself a taste of it - not with money, anyway.

The language of wine is a mix of science and poetry

Feb 14, 2020

Esther Mobley
Photo: Russell Yip

We don’t know if there are any songs written about when a bar opens for the night, but there are plenty of them dedicated to the moment before it closes. "Last call" isn’t just a public service announcement, it isn’t just a call to action - buy another drink or get outta here - it’s a ritual, it’s an intimacy, it’s the moment the night changes.

While we were in Toronto as part of the Hot Docs Podcast Festival, we took the opportunity to team up with Toronto-based food and travel writer Suresh Doss, who is amazing at capturing the stories and flavors of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). He was our guide to a small handful of places in the borough of Scarborough, population approximately 600,000. It's an incredibly diverse area with a lot of different neighborhoods, all teeming with restaurants.

Step into the kitchen with Andrea Nguyen, author of Vietnamese Food Any Day, and learn how to make two of her favorite recipes.

Last fall, we were invited to record at the Hot Docs Podcast Festival in Toronto. We thought it would be a good chance to take a look at how Toronto, and Canada, eat. Our first guest was Matty Matheson, a guy who went from being a restaurant cook to being a chef to being someone who literally has a music festival named after him.

Above: Melissa Clark on stage with Francis Lam at Hot Docs Podcast Fest (left)
while Chef Joshna Maharaj tries to throw Melissa off her game in Stump the Cook.

Of all the questions you ask yourself when packing up your life to move across the country, "What are we going to do about the tree?" isn't likely one of them. But, that's exactly the situation food writer Hugh Merwin found himself in when his partner, Tejal Rao, learned that she'd gotten a job as on the other side of the country, in California. The tree in question was a curry tree, whose leaves are often used in South Asian cooking. (Curry leaves are nothing like curry powder.

Joe Gitter is a senior editor and test cook at America's Test Kitchen, where they're all about methodical, scientific process in developing their recipes. And they make a ton of books, magazines, and videos, so they run a super tight ship. But Joe got something into his head and couldn't let it go, even though his team told him to back off. It was a recipe with a single ingredient recipe -- water.  He told Sally Swift all about it. 

Photo: Chef Dan Felder in the Pilot R&D test kitchen.

Dan Felder
Photo: Ali Bouzari

Melanie Dunea during her trip to the Middle East in 2015.