KNKX Public Radio

FOOD is a monthly segment exploring cooking, eating, and how food shapes our identity and culture here in the Northwest.


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FOOD is a monthly segment exploring cooking, eating, and how food shapes our identity and culture here in the Northwest.








FOOD: J. Kenji López-Alt on Seattle, cooking and representation

I don’t know about you, but one of the pandemic rabbit holes I fell down was finding — and watching — cooking videos on YouTube.


Food for Thought: Salisbury Steak goes here. We make our own TV dinners

This story originally aired Jan. 30, 2019. I recently made Daniel Gritzer's Swanson's Hungry Man style Salisbury steak recipe from his Serious Eats blog for the second time, and it came out every bit as satisfyingly savory as the first. When I told Nancy Leson, she told husband Mac, who exclaimed "My all-time favorite TV dinner!" So, Goodwife Leson made it, too, and we compared notes.


Siblings' food memories don't always match

This story originally aired June 27, 2018. 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.


Food for Thought: Baking the 'impossible' pie

This story originally aired Dec. 11, 2019. When someone asks me "Do you like a challenge, Dick?" I start looking around for the exits. So what was I thinking when I tried to make Stella Parks' "Impossible" pecan pie pie – a baking project even its creator warns against attempting. The recipe was originally in the draft for her BraveTart pastry cookbook, but the editors thought it too difficult for inclusion. Parks famously refuses to publish the recipe. She doesn't want to deal with the...


Chicken Deboning for Beginners

This story originally aired Oct 24, 2018. Even if I'm going to cook boneless chicken thighs, I always buy the bone-ins and bone 'em out myself. They're less expensive that way, and I get to save the bones in the freezer until I have enough to cook up some chicken stock. But up until, now I've never attempted to debone an entire bird. Surprise: It was way easier to do than I expected and a lot of fun, too.


Food for thought: This post contains cookies

The New York Times claimed it was the “Perfect” chocolate chip cookie. “We'll just see about that," I thought. So Nancy Leson and I deployed our sheet pans to compare results. I got a XXL cowpie. Nance did better.


Enjoy Lentils From Soup to Shanks

This story originally aired Nov. 29, 2017. I like lentils and I love the spicy red lentil soup recipe Nancy Leson recently sent me. Adapted from Lynne Rossetto Kasper's The Splendid Table's How to Eat Weekends , this recipe is fast and easy to make, and perfect for rainy weeknight dinners, too. For a more time-consuming, weekend lentil dish, do try the lamb shanks and lentils recipe from another Kaspar – Kaspar Donier. You'll find both recipes below. As of publication we still have not...


Food for Thought: Northwest Bread Bakers rise to help local food banks

Seattle Times columnist Nicole Brodeur recently published a story about a growing number of bread bakers contributing homemade loaves to area food banks. It was news to me, but Nancy Leson was already a participant.


Food for Thought: The long wait for new appliances

After 18 years in Nancy's basement, her backup fridge, a move-in gift from a neighbor, finally found its final defrost. That left Leson with only ( gasp ) one fridge. I enjoyed twitting her about her two-fridge household, but she really does need them both.


Food for Thought: The case for toaster ovens

“Stein,” Nancy Leson said. “You need a toaster oven.” I continue to maintain that I don't need no stinkin' toaster oven, but I must admit she makes a pretty good case.


Food for Thought: Why have I ignored French cooking?

Even I had to laugh. After all my years in the kitchen I'd never had much interest in a cuisine on the very short list of world's greatest. Then a YouTube video from the French Cooking Academy made me a believer.


Food for thought: Sentimental objects of the kitchen

“I don't know if it's because we've all been feeling extra emotional lately or what,” Nancy Leson told me. “But I've been thinking about the emotional attachments I have to certain kitchen tools.” She went on to describe the giant cleaver taking up real estate on their knife rack even though they never use it. Get rid of it? Never. It was Mac's grandmother's and they love to see it there. My wife, the lovely and talented Cheryl DeGroot has always loved the kitchen treasure she hauled from...


Food for Thought: These are a few of our favorite eats

Nancy Leson and I didn't bother with any introductory chitchat to begin this week's show. I hit the music and we were off to the food races. While our favorite foods may not be yours (yet), I hope this list will prove a resource for those times when you just can't decide between cold Velveeta on toasted English muffin or fried noodles dipped in fermented tofu. We kick this week's off with our seventh-grade lunch favs and continue (downhill, in my case) from there. Please feel free to channel...


Food for Thought: This bagel has not been photoshopped

I demurred when my wife, the Lovely & Talented Cheryl DeGroot, dared me to use an entire batch of dough to make one gigantic bagel. But then she double-dog dared me, so I really had no choice.


Food for Thought: What we cook when we don't feel like cooking

This just in! Nancy Leson's report on responses to a recent Twitter thread asking “Are you really !#&! tired of cooking?” I was shocked — simply shocked — to learn that after all these months of home isolation many people really are !#&! tired of cooking. Not me, though.


Food for Thought: Ice Cream

It's always sounded like fun to have an ice cream machine. But years back I also thought it would be fun to have a fondue pot. See where that's going? After all, how often would I really make my own ice cream? So I asked Nancy Leson if she had a machine and how often she used it.


Food for Thought: Friends sharing food

Nancy Leson thinks there's more sharing going on these days, especially of food, and I agree. Just down the block from us in East Tacoma a neighbor is cultivating two raised beds of produce, free for the taking. Nancy's friends have been dropping off everything from home made masks to strawberries to fresh seafoood. I need to get to know these people.


Food for Thought: This space available

Note to the reader: This Food for Thought post about woks is certified to be pun-free. An email from listener Nancy B suggesting we do a show on woks got Nancy L and me talking about things you can do with them other than stir-fry. It's certainly the most versatile cooking vessel in my kitchen.


Food for Thought: Things to do with all those green beans

This story originally aired Aug. 21, 2019. Those colorful bean seeds I traded our cow for worked only too well. No vine to the sky, but plenty of green beans here on the ground. So many that we're having trouble keeping up. One day the thought came to me: Green bean spaghetti. Could there be a recipe for such a thing? In .47 seconds I discovered 14,100,000 of them.


Food for Thought: Nancy gets jammed up

This story originally aired July 24, 2019. Nancy Leson 's apricot tree, a Puget Gold she's had for 21 years, only puts out fruit about every five years. This was one of those years, and a bumper crop it was. With all those apricots the only thing to do was make apricot jam. There was just one problem. "Over the years," she says, “the one thing I have failed at is jam-making.” Not anymore.