Food | KNKX

Food

Stories related to food in Seattle, including Dick Stein and Nancy Leson's weekly commentary Food for Thought.

Food For Thought is produced by KNKX Public Radio. 

Stoveless In Tacoma

Jul 18, 2018
Stein / KNKX

It was like when you've left the caps lock on in Word, only it was streaming across the touchscreen on my kitchen range.  Err  loctUrnoff sUrfacebUrneRs  accompanied by frantic beeping.  I expected a dAanger wIll rObinson any moment.

The L&T Cheryl DeGroot

Nancy was on jury duty this week and couldn't record.  Here's one of our favorites from yesteryear.

At the conclusion of last week's Food for Thought, I bragged to Nancy Leson that I would create a cheese cracker the size of a Long Playing Record sleeve in my home oven. 

"I'm talkin' about the big Corellian Cheez-Its now" I told her.   Thanks to pastry chef Stella Parks' BraveTart blog I can declare "mission accomplished!"

Before Nancy and I teamed up 12 years ago (!) I did a tw- year series of food features called Jazz Kitchen.  A lot of it was actually useful information, interviews, etc.  Other times I indulged my sillier side with shows about Nuclear Fuel Rod Chicken, The Trouble with Toasters, Aliens in the Fridge, my days delivering liquor to a house of ill fame, and lots more.

For this Independence Day week, I wanted to share a Jazz Kitchen about a July Fourth sing-along with some recent arrivals from Italy during my time as a dishwasher in a Boston restaurant.  

Food memories are no more reliable than any others.  I learned that this week after an email exchange with my sister, Debbie.  Deb's been binge listening to Food for Thought and wrote to chat about a recent one in which I mentioned my childhood experience shopping for live chickens with my mother. 

She thinks I'm imagining it.

Nancy Leson / KNKX

In this week's FfT, Nancy Leson and I talk about stuff we like in jars and bottles. Nancy hails the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables at farmers markets.  But when it comes to preserves and condiments her favorites are on supermarket shelves.

Nancy Leson Mentors A Young Restaurant Critic

Jun 13, 2018
Mac / KNKX

When I told Stein that Teddy Kolios, a high school senior, asked me to be a mentor for his senior project, Stein laughed. “Is he sure that he’s thought that all the way through?

Of course he had. After all, as I reminded Stein, with 20 years of food writing and restaurant criticism (literally) under my belt: I’m a legend in my own mind!

Nancy Leson / KNKX

Nancy Leson's back from  babysitting her eight-week old grand nephew in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. But it wasn't all power tools and free weights for Nancy and neph.  She also found time to food shop and pack down some Carolina BBQ.  First, the shopping.

Nancy Leson / KNKX

Nancy Leson's wild romance with the Instant Pot grew too steamy for husband Mac to tolerate.  "Every time you vent that thing it's taking the paint off the ceiling. "  Solution:  Put the pot on the gas stove where the big overhead hood can catch the steam.

What could go wrong?

The L&T Cheryl DeGroot / For KNKX

I try to get any piece of aluminum foil,  paper towel or  parchment paper to give its all.  In this Food for Thought, I tell Nancy Leson how many uses I got from one piece of plastic wrap.  I was proud. 

She was disgusted.

Stein / KNKX

We'd been thinking about replacing our wobbly, tippy old dining table for years but never cared enough to really go looking.  And then:  "I found it!" the Lovely and Talented Cheryl Degroot announced.  

A nice old solid oak dining table in perfect condition with two extra leaves at Goodwill.  DG rightly prides herself as the queen of thrift store bargain hunters, but this one surpassed even her high standards for low prices. 

Best Chili Oil Ever

May 9, 2018
Stein / KNKX

I'd never heard of Chili Crisp until recently, but Laoganma (Old Godmother) brand Chili Crisp is a Big Thing.  In fact the Laoganma  brand is the top-selling line of chili oils and sauces in China and is rapidly gaining a large following as the cult condiment de jour here in the states.

Stein / KNKX

On our way to the ferry in Anacortes,  DeGroot and I stopped for breakfast at a place recommended to us the night before – Dad's Diner A-Go-Go.  Co-owner Fletcher McLean greeted us warmly and pointed to the chalkboard menu, saying "Or just tell me what you want and we'll make it happen."

I'm easy, so I ordered eggs over, bacon and biscuits. When I complimented Fletcher on the bacon, I learned that they fennel-rub it before smoking over applewood.  Dad's makes all its own charcuterie including sausages, briskest, smoked hams and pastrami.  They even mix up several varieties of their house-brand "Badassco" hot sauce. 

Then he offered me some country gravy for my biscuit.  How good was it?  

Dick Stein

This encore Food for Thought originally aired  August 31, 2016

Wrong-way handles and high-altitude deep fat drops are just a few of the kitchen safety topics Nancy "Band-aids are a girl's best friend" Leson and I took up on this week's Food for Thought.  All that and more -- plus a genius method for threading meat onto kebab skewers.

Nancy Leson / KNKX

Nancy Leson and I love to bake our own breads and often enjoy weekend baking projects.  Recently we both picked up the America's Test Kitchen Bread Illustrated book and decided we'd each make a recipe or two from it and report back to you.  

Nancy Leson / KNKX

We got so much response to last week's Instant Pot show that this week we're talking about other electric gizmos we love in our kitchen.  Nancy Leson, who has never seen a thrift store KitchenAid Mixer she didn't want (especially if it's red) has at least four.

Nancy Leson / KNKX

I blame Stein.

For months he’s been insisting we do a show on the Instant Pot. This, from the guy who didn’t even own a rice cooker until I gave him one for a recent birthday. 

Nancy Leson / KNKX

During  our recent successfully concluded (thank you very much!) spring fund drive, Nancy Leson and I asked listeners for Food for Thought topics.  First one over the e-transom came from Tom who wanted to know if we preferred to roast our chickens whole or spatchcocked.

I said "spatchcocked!"  I love to say that word.  Give it a try and you will, too.  What does spatchcock mean?  Probably not what you think.

The Call Of Cauliflower

Mar 21, 2018
Nancy Leson / KNKX

Looks like cauliflower is the new kale.  For a guy who always loved both, it's annoying to be seen as subscribing to a food trend.  On the other hand, I'm not giving the stuff up just because it got fashionable.

Nancy Leson / KNKX

Nancy Leson thought it was just about the coolest thing she ever saw – a knife stand made of closely packed wooden skewers at Ono Poke in Edmonds. A better use than watching them char and crumble over hot coals no matter how long you soak them.  I suggested a superior skewer.

Which sent us off on a few of our favorite kitchen hacks.  You'll find  some here and some in the audio  –including a trick for a crisper shrimp, using  the cardboard in a roll of paper towels to store Ziplocs, the best way to re-heat pizza, and an egg separation hack that has to be seen (in the video below) to be believed.

Kiddie Food Memories

Mar 7, 2018

In this week’s Food for Thought, Nancy Leson and I dredged up our earliest memories of food.  Nancy recalls wolfing an entire stick of butter.  I tell how years later I learned what my grandmother’s “special” soup was really made of.

All that plus shopping for live chickens, Nancy’s lima bean phobia, wax flakes in the milk and collapsing straws in this week’s Early Food Memories show. 

Stein / KNKX

A recent Annals of Gastronomy column by Sadie Stein (no relation) in the New Yorker made the case against today's fashionable open kitchens.  Both Nancy Leson and I were in complete agreement. When we're cooking we vant...to be...alone.

KNKX

"Stein, were you a hippie?" Nancy asked.  Well, I had the hair then (sigh) but no interest in the food.

Which led us straight into a discussion of '70s longhair cuisine.  Jonathan Kauffman's new book Hippie Food is a fascinating history of how the counterculture back then changed the way we eat today.

Happy Year of the Dog!

Feb 14, 2018
Nancy Leson / KNKX

It's Lunar New Year. The celebration of  Year of the Dog is now through March 2.

Food is a big part of Lunar NY celebrations, and today there are more resources than ever to teach you how to prepare it.  Naturally, Nancy the Mom couldn't help but talk up her son's Asian cooking abilities.

Nancy Leson / KNKX

She’s at it again.  Nancy Leson swears you can have good-to-go pizza crust in just one hour.  Of course I think she’s delusional but I’m too diplomatic to say it.

Oh, wait – no I’m not.

There’s all kinds of stuff found in beers these days: cucumbers, pumpkins—-and plums A small brewery in Spokane will start selling beer they’ve made from local plums.

The fruit was repurposed with help from a non-profit that aims to cut down on food waste.



Nowadays the vast fields of grain in eastern Washington and northeastern Oregon feed the world. But once upon a time—1825 to be exact—the first crop of wheat in the Northwest was planted at Fort Vancouver.

For the rest of the 19th century, many farmers grew wheat, oats, rye and barley west of Cascades. Now, foodies, farmers and others are collaborating to revitalize the historic grain production on the wet side.

Stein / KNKX

I took a few days off from the station and ran wild in the kitchen last week.   I made pizza, steamed ribs, roast duck, duck soup, bagels, rye bread, an ill-fated lambstrami, and a glorious batch of supercrisp oven baked wings. Recipes and a notes below.

Nancy Leson / KNKX

"Stein, I am devastated,"

The cause of  Nancy Leson's massive mope?  The Maldon Sea Salt factory closed?  Oysters actually do know what's happening to them?  Or did she discover the true content of the bestseller To Serve Man?  

Nope.  What it was, was... well, let's let Nancy tell it.

Nancy Leson / KNKX

"Stein, some women spend money on shoes and jewelry.  I buy pots."  And Nancy Leson has the cookware to prove it.

Nancy Leson / KNKX

All I had to do was tell Nancy Leson I'd made a pot of gumbo, and right away she's saying her husband Mac's is better.  Even though...Even Though... she's never even tasted mine.  Come to think of it, I've never tasted Mac's, either. 

There's a gumbo throw down brewing but it'll probably have to wait til next year.  And of course it's really all just a matter of personal taste. I  doubt that in the history of the world any two people ever made gumbo in exactly the same way.

Besides, this Food for Thought is really about making changes to recipes.  And Nancy and Mac did make an interesting switch in their gumbo recipe.

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