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Special Sauce with Ed Levine
57 minutes | a day ago
Lolis Eric Elie on New Orleans food & diversity in Hollywood, Kenji on Red Beans & Rice
On this week's episode of Special Sauce, we're joined by TV and food writer Lolis Eric Elie who dishes on diversity -- or the lack thereof -- in Hollywood and tells us about the joys of eating in and out in his native New Orleans. Later, Kenji stops by to give us his helpful tips for cooking red beans with rice.
40 minutes | 15 days ago
Fast Food: Good and/or Evil with Marcia Chatelain, Adam Chandler & Kenji
On this week’s episode of Special Sauce, we continue our deep dive into the world of fast food. This time Franchise Author Marcia Chatelain, Drive-Thru Dreams Author Adam Chandler, and Kenji discuss the unique good vs. evil duality of fast food. The new-ish made-to-order McDonald's Quarter Pounder and the Popeye's Chicken Sandwich are definitely on the menu.
48 minutes | a month ago
Marcia Chatelain, Adam Chandler, Bill Oakley and Kenji Lopez-Alt on Fast Food
On this week’s episode of Special Sauce, we ponder the highs and the lows of fast food culture with Marcia Chatelain, Georgetown University Professor of history and African American studies and author of Franchise, and Adam Chandler who wrote Drive-Thru Dreams. Then, Bill Oakley shares a few of his fast food reviews from instagram and later, Kenji stops by to share his recipe for Smash Burgers.
49 minutes | a month ago
Special Sauce: Mashama Bailey & Johno Morisano On the Birth of The Gray
When the ultra-talented chef Mashama Bailey collaborated with first-time restaurateur John Morisano to open The Gray in an old abandoned Greyhound bus depot in Savannah Georgia, they knew that their partnership was not going to be easy. On this week's Special Sauce you will hear about the difficulties they encountered along the way related to race, class, and gender. The story of their unlikely partnership is beautifully rendered in their painstakingly honest joint memoir Black and White at the Gray.
64 minutes | 2 months ago
Cookbook Author Grace Young on Saving Chinatown & Wok Therapy
On this week's Special Sauce we talk to Grace Young, renowned Chinese cookbook author, self-described wok therapist, and New York Chinatown advocate during the Pandemic #SaveChineseRestaurants. Plus, we check in with Kenji about Grace and his own upcoming Wok cookbook.
53 minutes | 2 months ago
Special Sauce: Jessica Harris, Marcus Samuelsson & Kenji on Fries
On this week's episode of Special Sauce we celebrate one of the greatest food writers, Jessica Harris, who introduced many of us to the food of the African Diaspora. Jessica talks about her new book Vintage Postcards from the African World, her twelve cookbooks, and her friendship with Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison. For some added perspective on Jessica's extraordinary life and work we talked to another cookbook writer who focuses on the food of the African Diaspora, Red Rooster chef and owner Marcus Samuelsson. Finally, Kenji Lopez-Alt weighs in on one of Jessica Harris' favorite foods, French fries.
39 minutes | 3 months ago
Special Sauce: Two Food Writers on Surviving Covid & Kenji Offers a Comfort Soup Recipe
On this week’s episode, we talked with Washington Post food writer Tim Carmen and his wife, spirits writer Carrie Allen, about their scary battle with the Coronavirus and the lasting impact it has had on them. Later in the episode, Kenji stops in to offer up a simple soup recipe to comfort them, and you.
45 minutes | 3 months ago
Special Sauce: A Restaurateur's Harrowing Yet Hopeful Covid-19 Story
On this week's Special Sauce, host Ed Levine talks to Brooklyn restaurateur (BK Jani) Sibte Hassan. Hassan contracted the Coronavirus in April, and his long road (including a 12 day stint in the hospital) to recovery and redemption takes him through both near-death moments and a surprising spiritual awakening.
47 minutes | 4 months ago
Holiday Baking with Kenji Lopez-Alt, Amanda Mack and Adam Regusea.
This week, host Ed Levine is joined by the Baltimore-based baker Amanda Mack, who defied the odds when she opened up her family-inspired bakery, Crust By Mack, in the middle of the pandemic. Then, former journalist and podcaster turned Youtube food star, Adam Regusea, talks about his own holiday-inspired traditions and offers some sage advice to home bakers. Later, Kenji participates in a holiday cookie swap—with a broken oven.
53 minutes | 4 months ago
Special Sauce: Kenji on His Children's Book, Cookbook, and Gift Giving This Year
Kenji Lopez-Alt tells all about his new New York Times best seller children's book Every Night is Pizza Night on this week's episode of Special Sauce. It turns out that for Kenji writing a 48 page picture book for his daughter was in many ways much more difficult to write than his 900 page mega-hit The Food Lab. Counterintuitive, right? Lucky listeners will also get a sneak preview of his next cookbook, which is about the joys of wok cooking at home. Kenji admitted that the manuscript he handed in was more than a thousand pages long! Finally, he and I discuss how the whole concept of gift giving this holiday season has been altered by the pandemic.
54 minutes | 5 months ago
Special Sauce: Kenji, Jamelle Bouie on Thanksgiving vs. the Pandemic
Special Sauce, Serious Eats founder Ed Levine's podcast, is back to stay (with new theme music, no less) with a Thanksgiving episode that explores the seemingly antithetical nature of the pandemic and Turkey Day. After all, Thanksgiving is all about gathering around the table with people you love and sharing a meal with them. The pandemic on the other hand is all about minimizing contact and connections and sharing. J. Kenji Lopez Alt, NYT columnist Jamelle Bouie, Splendid Table host Frances Lam, Franchise author Marcia Chatelain, celebrated crime novelist Laura Lippman, and cookbook authors Jessica Harris and Nik Sharma, weigh in on this thought-provoking topic. One thing they all agree on: the pandemic has made us reexamine just what we all should be thankful for this year.
42 minutes | 9 months ago
Special Sauce: Kenji on Salting Vegetables; Farmer Maggie Cheney on CSAs and Social Justice
Much has been written during the pandemic about the increased popularity of community supported agriculture, commonly referred to as CSA. On this week's Special Sauce, we had a far-reaching conversation with Maggie Cheney, one of the owners of Rock Steady Farm, which is part of a special kind of CSA. Rock Steady describes itself as a women and queer owned cooperative farm, rooted in social justice, growing sustainable vegetables, flowers, and herbs for our upstate and NYC communities. As you will hear, Maggie and her partners have withstood the many challenges they have encountered during the pandemic with sheer determination, a lot of hard work, and the support, both financial and otherwise, of the communities they serve. But it has not been easy. Rounding out the episode is another Ask Kenji segment. This time Kenji answers a Serious Eater's question about the whys and wherefores of salting vegetables like cucumbers and eggplant before cooking them. I don't want to give away too much of his answer, but I will tell you that water balloons are repeatedly mentioned. So there you have it, our very first all-vegetable Special Sauce, and it's inspiring, surprising, and informative. -- The full transcript for this episode can be found over here at Serious Eats: https://www.seriouseats.com/preview?record=454208
39 minutes | 9 months ago
Special Sauce: Kenji on Smashed Burgers; Susan Spungen on Sprezzatura [2/2]
On this week's Special Sauce, Susan Spungen, author of Open Kitchen: Inspired Food for Casual Gathering and other books, regales us with her experiences in Hollywood as a food stylist and culinary consultant for movies like Julie and Julia and Eat, Pray, Love. What's it like to be on set and cooking for the likes of Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, and Amy Adams? Listen and you'll find out. Susan also talks about her terrific new book. She explains that the organizing principle behind the book is "sprezzatura," an Italian word for "studied nonchalance." The book articulates beautifully a relaxed yet rigorous approach to gathering your friends to eat and drink. And, as usual, Kenji gets the episode off to a hot start by explaining the best way to cook his justifiably famous smashed burgers, indoors or out. Kenji on smashed burgers and Susan Spungen on cooking for Meryl Streep and "sprezzatura." It's a Special Sauce that should provide a welcome respite from the insanity we're all living through. -- The full transcript for this episode can be found over here at Serious Eats: tps://www.seriouseats.com/preview?record=454070
34 minutes | 9 months ago
Special Sauce: Kenji on Dried Herbs; Dan Barber on the Outlook for Small Farmers
On this week's Special Sauce we talk to Dan Barber, executive chef and co-owner of Blue Hill, about the huge changes being brought about in the food culture by the Covid-19 pandemic. The startling conclusions he's come to are the result of a survey he and his team sent out to more than 500 farmers. The farmers' responses made it clear that the effects of the pandemic will have catastrophic consequences for many of them. As you'll hear, the usually pessimistic Barber has some ideas that can help both the farmers and the thousands of out of work restaurant cooks in this country. The articulate Mr. Barber is followed by our very own Kenji Lopez-Alt, who answers a Serious Eater's question about the use of dried versus fresh herbs. Surprisingly, for certain uses of some herbs, Kenji turns out to be an advocate for the dried variety. -- The full transcript for this episode can be found over here at Serious Eats: https://www.seriouseats.com/2020/07/special-sauce-dan-barber-farms-1.html
23 minutes | 10 months ago
Special Sauce: Kenji on Butter; Anne Saxelby and Sheila Flanagan on Being Optimistic [2/2]
On this week's Special Sauce we're once again talking about selling cheese during the pandemic with cheesemonger Anne Saxelby of Saxelby Cheesemongers and cheesemaker Sheila Flanagan of Nettle Meadow Farm and Artisan Cheese. Without a hint of self-pity, Anne and Sheila talk about the nimbleness and the optimism required to keep their businesses going. You can support both Saxelby and Flanagan by buying cheese directly from their websites, you won't be disappointed. After our inspiring cheese talk, we once again stay on the dairy theme when Kenji Lopez-Alt answers a Serious Eater's question about the differences between American and European butter. -- The full transcript for this episode can be found over here at Serious Eats: https://www.seriouseats.com/2020/07/special-sauce-anne-saxelby-sheila-flanagan-cheese-2.html
33 minutes | 10 months ago
Special Sauce: “Ask Kenji” Is Back! And Anne Saxelby and Sheila Flanagan on Selling Cheese During the Pandemic [1/2]
This week on Special Sauce we are returning to the topic of the horrendous toll the pandemic has taken on the food culture. Today, we’re talking cheese. In the first of two far-ranging interviews, I spoke to cheesemaker Sheila Flanagan, co-owner of Nettle Meadow Farm, and Saxelby Cheesemongers owner Anne Saxelby. This episode of Special Sauce also marks the return of our "Ask Kenji" feature. Today, given our interviewees, I thought it was only right that Kenji answer a dairy-related question, about butter. (Sheila Flanagan, in addition to cheese, makes a delicious, lightly salted butter, too.) So enjoy the cheese and butter talk on today's episode of Special Sauce. And please stay safe and healthy. -- The full transcript for this episode can be found over here at Serious Eats: https://www.seriouseats.com/2020/06/special-sauce-anne-saxelby-sheila-flanagan-cheese-1.html
34 minutes | 10 months ago
Special Sauce: Alexander Smalls on How Food and Music Nurture Hope and Connection [2/2]
"A jukebox is the musical equivalent of a well-stocked pantry," says Alexander Smalls. Poetic riffs on the relationship between food and music are just par for the course with Smalls, who's both a Grammy and a James Beard Award winner (not to mention a Tony winner, too). In part two of our interview, we talked about everything from hanging out with James Baldwin and Nina Simone in Paris to the guests he'd invite to his last supper. How does a table with the aforementioned Baldwin and Simone, along with Toni Morrison, Jessye Norman, Aretha Franklin, and Gloria Steinem sound? Pretty damn swell to me. It was such a pleasure and an honor to hang out with Alexander Smalls, who is truly a national treasure. His new book is titled, Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes From My African American Kitchen, and it belongs in every household's collection. Just like last week, we'll play the episode out with his stunning, soon-to-be-released rendition of Wade in the Water. -- The full transcript for this episode can be found over here at Serious Eats: https://www.seriouseats.com/2020/06/alexander-smalls-2.html
53 minutes | 10 months ago
Special Sauce: After a Tony, a Grammy, and a Beard, Alexander Smalls on What’s Next [1/2]
The last Special Sauce I recorded in a studio before the coronavirus pandemic hit was with the multi-talented chef, opera singer, and restaurateur Alexander Smalls. He was just about to publish his new book, Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes From My African American Kitchen. It was March 11th, and after an hour-long interview I found myself in awe of Alexander. We hugged in the green room at the studio as we said goodbye, and that was in fact the last hug I have received from anyone besides my wife since. It was an extraordinary interview, befitting an extraordinary man, who I think is the only person in the world to have won a Tony, a Grammy, and a James Beard Award. But now, three months later, given what's transpired in the interim, we thought it was time to check in with the remarkable Mr. Smalls. We were very confident that he would have a lot to say about our current state of affairs. And as you're about to hear, he most certainly did. But before you hear all that, we decided to include a big chunk of our initial interview in this episode. Next week you'll hear more about Alexander's new book and recording. I think Serious Eaters will find both this week's episode and next week's to be must-listens. How lucky we are to hear Alexander Smalls's story in its entirety at this moment. -- The full transcript for this episode can be found over here at Serious Eats: https://www.seriouseats.com/2020/06/special-sauce-alexander-smalls-part-1.html
47 minutes | a year ago
Special Sauce: Cookbook Author Susan Spungen on Craving Togetherness [1/2]
Special Sauce has obviously changed a lot with the advent of the pandemic. But before we changed the format a couple of months ago to adapt to the times, we'd already recorded a couple of great interviews. One of them was with my old friend, cookbook writer and food stylist extraordinaire Susan Spungen. Susan's new book, Open Kitchen: Inspired Food for Casual Gatherings, came out 17 days before New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued his stay-at-home order. Susan's bag was already packed for a national book tour, but obviously that tour never happened. With the country slowly opening back up for small gatherings, I thought it would be a great time to check back in with Susan. I figured she might have some interesting things to say about what a properly socially distanced gathering would look like and what we would eat there. As she says, we've arrived at a moment when "people are craving togetherness and they like to eat together and be together." We should note that Susan's comments and mine are impressionistic and most assuredly not prescriptive. People should consult trusted sources like the CDC to find out how they can gather and eat. We also went back in and edited some of her original interview into this episode. With so many people out of a job today wondering about what the future holds for them work-wise, I found it comforting to hear about Susan Spungen's circuitous career path. She went from dropping out of art school to making omelets to order at a hotel buffet to working side by side with Martha Stewart for ten years. I hope Serious Eaters will find it comforting as well. -- The full transcript for this episode can be found over here at Serious Eats: https://www.seriouseats.com/2020/05/special-sauce-susan-spungen.html
20 minutes | a year ago
Special Sauce: NYT’s Pete Wells on the Future of Restaurant Criticism [2/2]
On this week's Special Sauce, New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells, who's been used to eating out six nights a week, tells us about cooking lunch and dinner for his two teenaged sons now that he's home every day. Pete explains that he's really enjoyed returning to the kitchen every day; he notes that he originally got into food writing because he loved to cook. I asked him if his sons appreciate his culinary efforts? "At least they're not complaining," Pete says, which is about the best you can hope for with teenagers. But you'll also want to tune into the episode to hear Pete's thoughts about how the role of the restaurant critic will need to adapt to the restaurant landscape, which, as everyone knows, has been overturned by the coronavirus pandemic. -- The full transcript for this episode can be found over here at Serious Eats: ttps://www.seriouseats.com/2020/05/special-sauce-nyts-pete-wells-on-the-future-of-restaurant-criticism.html
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