WBEZ | Cooking http://www.wbez.org/tags/cooking Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Is it time for the 'Immigrant Diet'? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/it-time-immigrant-diet-110723 <p><p>At a little Asian grocery store on Chicago&rsquo;s north side, Douglas Cheok studies the produce as he shuffles down the aisles. The Malaysian-born communications consultant, carefully selects small amounts of ginger, garlic, leafy greens, and soba noodles.</p><p>Then he stops at a shelf lined with fermented bean curd.</p><p>&ldquo;This salted bean curd soaked in vinegar and oil adds a more solid taste to the noodle soup or whatever you cook,&rdquo; he says sharing an Asian secret to inexpensive flavor. &nbsp;</p><p>Cheok adds the pungent curd to his cart, grabs a few fresh shrimp and heads to the check out line to buy groceries. It all costs less than $15 but he says it will last well over a week.</p><p>Once back in the kitchen, Cheok chops, minces, boils and stir fries his ingredients into a large feast of soup, greens and noodles. In the process, he demonstrates what might hold the key to affordable nutrition for all.</p><p>At least that&rsquo;s the working hunch of public health professor Adam Drewnowski, who is researching folks who upend conventional wisdom by achieving high levels of nutrition on tiny budgets.</p><p>Drewnowski stumbled upon the phenomenon last year when he was examining data on nutrient dense foods. Much of it is fairly expensive, but there were a few exceptions. Among a small group of Mexican American adults Drewnowski found consumers who were achieving high levels of nutrition at a low cost.</p><p>&ldquo;So maybe the secret is being able to transform those real foods, the raw ingredients which can be obtained cheaply at ethnic markets, into tasty meals&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Maybe, if you know how to cook them and transform then you&rsquo;re going to be OK.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Douglas Cheok show how he cooks healthy on a budget</strong></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/XKVFUFgUWUM" width="560"></iframe></p><p>Drewnowski is the Director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington and he&rsquo;ll be looking at a different sample of data later this year from Seattle. There he also expects to find Asian immigrants like Cheok.</p><p>So what is it about these immigrants that allows them to pull off this feat? &nbsp;</p><p>The folks at Oldways believe it&rsquo;s about sticking to traditional diets. OldWays is a nutrition non-profit aimed at improving health through heritage. And it urges folks to adopt many of the healthful tenets of Mediterranean, Latin American and Asian diets. This month they are launching classes on the African Heritage diet as well. &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Traditional diets are not expensive diets,&rdquo; says Oldways president Sara Baer-Sinnott. &ldquo;The longer that immigrants are here in the US and become acculturated, the less likely they are to continue their traditional way of eating and therefore their health statistics decline. They become more obese. They have more hypertension. They are overweight. And by following traditional diets, it&rsquo;s not a very expensive way to eat and it&rsquo;s a healthier way to eat.&rdquo;</p><p>These diets can be especially affordable in cities like Chicago with abundant, low-cost ethnic grocers. While limes can cost 50 cents apiece at mainstream stores, they can often be 12 for a dollar at ethnic grocers.</p><p>Kenny Moore is a produce buyer for Pete&rsquo;s Fresh Market which serves heavily ethnic communities. He says that he&rsquo;s able to offer bargain prices because he sells such a large volume.</p><p>&ldquo;On a whole Hispanics and Asians do buy a lot of produce and so it helps our volume and our buying,&rdquo; Moore says. &ldquo;They like cooking and use a lot of herbs and vegetables to do so.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ethnic%20grocer%202.jpg" title="Ethnic grocery stores can offer incredible deals on produce because they sell so much of it, store reps say. (WBEZ/Monica Eng)" /></div><p>The situation in these ethnic neighborhoods would appear to be a public health professional&rsquo;s dream: affordable, accessible produce and lots of folks who know how to cook it. So does that automatically equal great health? Not always. &nbsp;</p><p>While Asian-Americans suffer less obesity than the general population, Latinos check in with more. In fact, 6th grade Latino boys suffer from the highest childhood obesity levels in the nation, despite generally robust access to fresh produce. &nbsp;</p><p>Public health researchers are still trying to sort it out why this happens.</p><p><strong>&ldquo;</strong>There are plenty of grocery stores in the neighborhood but buying healthy food. It gets tricky,&rdquo; says Erica Rangel a coordinator for <a href="http://enlacechicago.org/">Enlace, a health and education non-profit</a> in the Little Village neighborhood.</p><p>She recently gathered a group of women enrolled in an Enlace healthy gardening program to talk to about what&rsquo;s contributing to poor health in their community.</p><p>Graciela Contreras is a school lunch lady, gardener and grandmother who suffers from diabetes. Ironically, she blames some of the health problems in her community on traditional Mexican foods.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re used to the way we were taught to eat by our parents in Mexico &mdash; to eat tacos and enchiladas all that,&rdquo; she says in Spanish. &ldquo;That comes with more fat. So we are teaching our children and grandchildren to be healthier by eating vegetables. I steam the vegetables now.&rdquo;</p><p>Rangel believes the health issues have more to do with genetic factors, assimilation and little time for scratch cooking.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s easier when you&rsquo;re trying to feed a family and you feel that pressure to just buy in bulk things with higher sodium that are processed foods,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;You find it everywhere.&rdquo;</p><p>The other ladies offered similar sentiments. But I also chatted with local 6th grader Victor Marquez. While he doesn&rsquo;t have a weight problem, he says he know a lot of boys who do.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think they&rsquo;d have a problem if they ate good food but they eat bad foods,&rdquo; Marquez says. <strong>&ldquo;</strong>They eat junk like frozen stuff, chips, pizza, candy chocolates, lollipops, whatever.&rdquo;</p><p>But what about the fresh fruit stands that operate on nearly every block in Little Village? Don&rsquo;t his pals buy their fresh cups of mangoes, corn, melon and pineapple?</p><p>&ldquo;I always see kids get the chicharrones and the raspados and those aren&rsquo;t good because they&rsquo;re like ink,&rdquo; he says &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>Those chicharrones are deep fried artificial pork rinds and the raspados are snow cones drenched in inky sugar syrup. One vendor told me they&rsquo;re her No. 1 seller with kids.</p><p>But there may be hope for these kids off the street and back in the home. Drewnowski has some new research coming out that suggests the longer folks spend cooking, the better they eat. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>That certainly seems to be true for Douglas Cheok.</p><p>Back in his kitchen, he&rsquo;s chopping vegetables and boiling water for his stir fried greens and shrimp noodle soup. In less than an hour he&rsquo;s turned out enough dishes to last him all week. &nbsp;</p><p>As Cheok finally sits down to his his meal of shrimp soup and tofu with greens, he shares a startling secret.</p><p>&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t know how to cook before I came to the States,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;In Malaysia eating out was cheap so I didn&rsquo;t have to cook.&rdquo;</p><p>Still, the retiree says that if he can learn to cook, &ldquo;Anyone can learn. You don&rsquo;t need a college degree to know how to cook. But it is always good to know how to cook.&rdquo;</p><p>And it might not hurt to live near an ethnic grocery store.</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at</em><a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"> <em>@monicaeng</em></a> <em>or write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/48706770&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/it-time-immigrant-diet-110723 Chicago Food Swap lets foodies diversify their diet http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-food-swap-lets-foodies-diversify-their-diet-110353 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/swap.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>While most of us stock our kitchens from grocery stores or farmers markets this time of year, hundreds of Chicagoans have found another way to fill their larders--by trading homemade treats at <a href="http://www.chicagofoodswap.com/" target="_blank">Chicago Food Swaps</a>.</p><p>Last month, at a little store in Oak Park, dozens of amateur cooks showed up with boxes of pastries and pickles and hearts full of expectations.</p><p>Ian Fecke-Stoudt started the event with several little servings of chipotle peanuts, pickled red onions, vegan dog treats, saffron salts and double chocolate ginger snaps.</p><p>But by the time the event was over, the Humboldt Park vegan&rsquo; had his bags jammed full of lot more.</p><p>&ldquo;We got pickled mushrooms, jam and mustard, pickled ramps, sunflower seed butter, focaccia, almond milk, vegan chocolate peanut butter fudge, apple tahini, chia pudding, mango coconut muesli and lots of other stuff,&rdquo; he reported.</p><p>Fecke-Stoudt is part of Chicago&rsquo;s enthusiastic food swapping community. They&rsquo;re a group of friendly do-it-yourselfers who meet at different locations to trade their wares each month. Some are former kitchen pros, but most just have a passion for cooking (sometimes too much) and want to share what they have. <a href="http://www.westoftheloop.com/" target="_blank">West of the Loop</a> blogger Emily Paster said she decided to launch the swap a few years ago,&nbsp; after reading about one in Philadelphia.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m kind of that person with the basement full of jams and pickles, more than any family could eat,&rdquo; she admitted, &ldquo; And so as soon as I read about it I thought &lsquo;I have to do that because then I could actually do something with all this jam and my husband will stop giving me a hard time&rsquo;.&rdquo;&nbsp;The May event was a specialized vegan swap, but the offerings are usually all over the map. And Paster says that this helps home cooks fill in their culinary gaps.</p><p>&ldquo;So I&rsquo;m a big canner,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But I&rsquo;m scared of yeast.&nbsp; Like I can&rsquo;t do yeast bread, too scary. So I love to come in and get some amazing artisan bread.&rdquo;</p><p>But for swapper Linsey Herman, it&rsquo;s also about meeting new people and trying new things.</p><p>&ldquo;I like the community aspect and I like the idea that some people take the idea of the swap very seriously,&rdquo; the former professional cook said. &ldquo;There was a family who are not vegan but studied up on vegan cuisine and they took some really interesting risks and they had great results with a a fudge and a seitan. You do get to try a cornucopia of products and you never know what people are going to bring.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>But what about food safety? Paster says that swappers are instructed to use their best hygienic practices but she warns that there are no guarantees.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;If you&rsquo;re the kind of person who is sort of skeeved out by the idea of eating food someone else prepared it may not be for you,&rdquo; Paster said. &ldquo;I think some people take comfort in the fact that you get to talk to the people who made it and so it&rsquo;s like going to the farmers market in that regard. You can ask the questions if you do have dietary restrictions or an allergy. But it may not be for everyone. If you are super strict vegan or have celiac disease, it may not be for you. We would do our best to accommodate you, but it is a little bit of an assumption of risk.&rdquo;</p><p>Although it varies by state, food swaps aren&rsquo;t regulated by health or business authorities in Illinois. They technically operate as private get-togethers where no money changes hands. And while the concept may seem weird and novel to Chicagoans, it couldn&rsquo;t be older. In fact, trading for food was one of the earliest forms of food procurement. And it&rsquo;s never gone out of style in many rural areas.</p><p>Tara O&rsquo;Loughlin comes Northwest Indiana into the Chicago swaps, where her turkey and duck eggs are kind of no big deal.</p><p>&ldquo;But the duck egg seem to be so popular here,&rdquo; she said displaying her last dozen of the large eggs great for pastry and noodlemaking, &ldquo;People really have gone crazy over them. That&rsquo;s why it was fun to meet Emily here and meet people who love duck eggs so much.&rdquo;</p><p>So how does a food swap work? Each month (it went monthly last year) Paster posts the location and date of the next swap on the Chicago Food Swap site. Folks register to attend and the list is closed when it reaches capacity (this month at about 70). Once there, swappers set up at tables and browse and sample during the first 30 minutes.</p><p>When Paster gives the start signal, &ldquo;things get a little crazy,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s like letting the horses out of the gate.&quot;</p><p>Some people stand by their goods fielding offers while others wander around making deals. Most of these deals go through but some don&rsquo;t. Fecke-Stoudt explains that, as a vegan, trades can be tricky.</p><p>&ldquo;Sometimes people want our kale chips because they&rsquo;re paleo,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;but they have something with lots of meat and other animal byproducts and...&rdquo;</p><p>Other deals go sour if one swapper feels the others product isn&rsquo;t worth as much.&ldquo;So sometimes we&rsquo;ll trade two small things for one big thing,&rdquo; Fecke-Stoudt said.&nbsp;</p><p>For those thinking of attending their first swap, Paster offers a list of tips on her site. And if you want to be the belle of the swap, she suggests going savory.</p><p>&ldquo;There is often a heavy emphasis on cupcakes, brownies, quick breads and caramels and they are often too good to pass up,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But for that reason savory does very well. If people bring soups or tabouleh or little mini quiches that they could eat for lunch the next day, those are very hot.&rdquo;</p><p>If you ask 10 swappers about their best food trade, you&rsquo;ll probably get 10 different answers. Gena Boehm of Libertyville, said she had this very discussion around the dinner table the other night.</p><p>&ldquo;The kids said that it was red velvet cup cakes,&rdquo; Boehm said. &ldquo;My son loved some preserved peaches we got last summer and my husband and I thought we had some really amazing bread one time last year. It&rsquo;s always different. If you ask me six months from now it will be something else.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>The Chicago Food Swap will be held at Sur La Table in downtown Chicago on June 29.&nbsp; This gives you just enough time to perfect those mini quiches, that cabbage kimchi or mango muesli recipe you always wanted to swap and share.</p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-196e5857-a6e0-3796-f705-73efcdb988f8"><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at<a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"> @monicaeng</a> or write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p></p> Mon, 16 Jun 2014 16:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-food-swap-lets-foodies-diversify-their-diet-110353 Grilled meats serve up dangerous compounds, but you can avoid some http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/grilled-meats-serve-dangerous-compounds-you-can-avoid-some-110214 <p><p>For many, Memorial Day weekend means it&rsquo;s finally time to bust out two things: the white shoes and blackened meats.&nbsp;</p><p>American dads may take pride in their cross-hatch grill marks, but those juicy, charred slabs of meat are coming under incresing scrutiny for the dangerous compounds they develop when protein meets dry blazing heat.</p><p>These include heterocyclic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and advanced glycation end products or HCAs, PAHs and AGEs.</p><p>Peter Guengerich is a biochemistry professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He&rsquo;s been studying HCAs and PAHs for 25 years, and he says that, on their own, the compounds aren&#39;t all that dangerous.</p><p>&ldquo;But our bodies have enzyme systems that convert these into reactive compounds,&rdquo; Guengerich said. &ldquo;Things that get stuck irreversibly on your DNA and can cause mutations and potentially cancer, most commonly colon cancer.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s important to note that this has little to do with charcoal vs. gas or other fuels.</p><p>Dr Jaime Uribarri of Mount Sinai Medical Center says what matters are the AGEs &mdash; the crispy, browned, tasty bits that form on the outside of grilled meat and other foods.&nbsp; In the kitchen they&rsquo;re considered flavor, but in most medical labs, Uribarri says, they&rsquo;re linked to inflammation that causes &ldquo;diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, dementia and essentially most of the chronic medical conditions of modern times.&rdquo;</p><p>In fact, recent Mount Sinai research shows that mice fed a diet high in AGEs &mdash; similar to a Western diet &mdash; developed marked cognitive decline and precursors to Alzheimers disease and diabetes. Those fed a low-AGE diet were free of those conditions.&nbsp;</p><p>So does this mean an end to the all-American cookout?&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;If it is something done only once a year it may not be that bad,&rdquo; Uribarri says.</p><p>Only once a year?</p><p>Professor Guengerich won&rsquo;t go that far, but he does urge moderation.</p><p>&ldquo;Well basically if you only eat these things occasionally, [I&rsquo;m] probably not too concerned,&rdquo; the biochemist said. &ldquo;But if you are making a habit of eating these things every other day, grilled at high temperatures, you probably should think about it a little bit more.&rdquo;</p><p>But before you put away the Weber you should know there are lots of ways to cut down on these compounds at your barbecue.</p><p>To reduce the AGE&rsquo;s, Uribarri suggests a few things.</p><p>&ldquo;Make sure the meat is not left for very long periods of time on the grill,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Whenever possible, the meat should be marinated or freshened with juices during the cooking. And simultaneously, eat a lot of fruits vegetables and things that will kind of antagonize the bad effects of these compounds.&rdquo;</p><p>These would include antioxidant rich foods like blueberries, pomegranates and cherries &mdash; one Michigan butcher even blends them into his burger meat.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/blueberries.jpg" title="Eating antioxidant rich foods like blueberries, cherries and pomegranates with grilled foods may help reduce the harmful effects of grilling byproducts. (WBEZ/MONICA ENG) " /></div><p>Studies also show that marination in wine, vinegar or lemon juice can lower the meat&rsquo;s pH and cut way down on the formation of AGE and HCA. Another study shows that rubbing meat with fresh rosemary can cut HCA development most entirely.</p><p>Guengerich says you should also cover your grill with foil to avoid carcinogenic flare ups that produce PAHs on the surface.</p><p>&ldquo;And if you are particularly concerned you can preheat [the meat] in a microwave and get the juice out,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Then take it out and put it on the grill and you&rsquo;ll actually reduce your exposure by about 90 percent and you won&rsquo;t lose that much in the way of taste either.&rdquo;</p><p>Then there&rsquo;s the low-tech method of simply scraping off what Guengerich calls &quot;the black crud&quot; from the outside of your food. Those grill marks are rich in these carcinogenic compounds.<br /><br />Fans of cole slaw, broccoli and Brussels sprouts may also have more leeway. One study found that regular consumption of these cruciferous vegetables can help clear DNA damage wrought by the grilling process.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>And finally, Uribarri suggests simply swapping the dry high heat cooking for gentler water based methods most of the time.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;So take for example a piece of meat,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;You put it on the grill to cook for half an hour, you generate so many AGEs. Then you take the same piece of meat, but now you put it under a lot of water to cook as a stew, you generate much much fewer. &ldquo;&nbsp;</p><p>This may be effective, but will anyone really want to come over to your house this summer for a burger boil?</p><p>Wiviott doesn&rsquo;t think so.<br /><br />&ldquo;No one wants to eat nine ounces of poached chicken or turkey breast,&rdquo; the pitmaster of Barn &amp; Company says.</p><p>&quot;Conversely, if you grill it and you have texture and crunch and flavor and salt and fat, that&rsquo;s when something really tastes good.&quot;</p><p>Wiviott is the author of &ldquo;Low and Slow: Master the Art of Barbecue in FIve Easy Lessons.&rdquo; And he finds&nbsp; it hard to swallow all the recent science deriding his favorite foods.</p><p>&quot;In my lifetime, I&rsquo;ve seen coffee be not good for you; now it&rsquo;s good for you. Red wine not good for you; now it&rsquo;s good for you.&nbsp; Butter, pig fat. Margarine was good for you and now it&rsquo;s not,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I mean, since the cavemen started cooking, people have cooked their meat over an open fire and we&rsquo;re still around. So I can&rsquo;t imagine that it&rsquo;s all that bad for you&hellip;.Plus, it&rsquo;s absolutely delicious.&quot;</p><p>So does this mean you have to choose between boiled meat or colon cancer? Between long life and a char-striped hot dog?</p><p>&ldquo;Well it is a carcinogen,&rdquo; Guengerich says. &ldquo;But I don&rsquo;t want people to have a guilty conscience or feel like they are going to get cancer tomorrow. Just be moderate about your consumption of anything. Grilled foods included.&quot;</p><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Farmers-market-cabbage.jpg" style="width: 620px;" title="Regular consumption of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts can help clear DNA damage from byproducts of grilled meats. (WBEZ/MONICA ENG) " /></div><p><strong>Tips for Reducing Grilled Food Dangers</strong></p><p>If you don&rsquo;t want to give up grilling meat all together, experts say, there are several ways to reduce the formation and your consumption of heterocyclic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and advanced glycation end products. Here are some of them:</p><ul><li>Pre-cook your meat in a pot of water, a low-temperature oven or microwave before finishing briefly on the grill.</li><li>Cover grill with foil to reduce drips and flare ups, which produce PAHs, or consider wrapping your meat in foil before placing it on the grill.&nbsp;</li><li>Marinate meat with vinegar, lemon juice or wine for at least 10 minutes before grilling. This can alter its pH, thus reducing the formation of AGEs during cooking.</li><li>Rub your meat with rosemary or other antioxidant rich fresh herbs before cooking.</li><li>Before eating, scrape off the carcinogenic &ldquo;black crud&rdquo; that may develop on meat or other foods during grilling.</li><li>Remove browned and blackened chicken skin before eating.</li><li>Eat cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables on a regular basis to provide your body with sulforaphane, which has been known to help clear DNA damaging compounds more quickly.</li><li>Eat antioxidant rich, deeply colored fruits and vegetables with your grilled meats to help counter the effects of the compounds.&nbsp;</li><li>Consider a weenie boil rather than a weenie roast. You will produce many fewer AGEs in the process.&nbsp;</li></ul></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 21 May 2014 11:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/grilled-meats-serve-dangerous-compounds-you-can-avoid-some-110214 Did Norman Rockwell ruin Thanksgiving turkey? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/did-norman-rockwell-ruin-thanksgiving-turkey-109193 <p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Norman-Rockwell_Freedom-from-Want%20%283%29.jpg" style="height: 386px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Norman Rockwell. Freedom from Want, 1942. Lent by the Norman Rockwell Museum, Norman Rockwell Art Collection Trust. All Rights Reserved. (SEPS by Curtis Licensing)" /><strong>&#39;Freedom from Want&#39;</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Later this month, millions of Americans will sit down to Thanksgiving dinners of unevenly cooked turkey &mdash; dinners that look suspiciously like the one in Norman Rockwell&rsquo;s&nbsp;&quot;Freedom From Want&quot; painting now on display at the Art Institute of Chicago.</p><p dir="ltr">The overcooked white meat will require pools of gravy to choke it down, and undercooked globs of dark meat will get quietly pushed into the garbage (or microwave).</p><p dir="ltr">Sure, some cooks have devised strategies around these pitfalls, but with 20 degrees between cooking temperatures for the leg and the breast, it&rsquo;s a rare bird that comes out perfectly done all the way around.</p><p dir="ltr">So who&rsquo;s to blame for this culinary crime? And why do we endure this ritual torture like another year of Uncle Charlie&rsquo;s corny jokes? &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Looking for answers</strong></p><p dir="ltr">John Caveny, who raises Bourbon Red Heritage turkeys on <a href="http://www.cavenyfarm.com/">his farm</a>&nbsp;in Monticello, Ill, echoed what many of America&#39;s top chefs have been saying for years: turkeys should not be cooked whole if you want the best tasting bird.</p><p dir="ltr">Caveny follows a &quot;Cook&rsquo;s Illustrated&quot; method of dry brining his turkey parts with three parts kosher salt and one part baking powder, then leaving them covered in plastic wrap for a couple of days in the fridge.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;This allows the moisture, salt and baking powder to go back and forth through the muscle,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It imparts the flavor of the salt, and the baking powder raises the pH of the meat, tenderizing it a little. It works well, and even better well when you&rsquo;ve cut turkey into pieces first.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Similarly, Julia Child&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbur.org/npr/165471083/comfort-and-joy-making-the-morning-edition-julia-child-thanksgiving">famously recommended</a>&nbsp;disassembling the bird and then reconstructing it for the table and chef&nbsp;<a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/2008/11/in-videos-cooking-thanksgiving-sous-vide-turkey-with-grant-achatz-alinea.html">Grant Achatz recommends</a>&nbsp;breaking it down, cooking the breast, thighs and legs sous vide&nbsp;(a high tech boil in a bag system) and saving the other bits for gravy.</p><p dir="ltr">So if top chefs and turkey farmers recommend breaking down the bird first, why do so many of us insist on keeping it whole? Caveny blames the Norman Rockwell painting.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Prior to that, meat was usually cut up in the kitchen and brought to the table sliced or at least into more manageable portions than a whole turkey,&quot; he said.</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Roy-Lichtenstein_Turkey%20%281%29.jpg" style="float: right; height: 264px; width: 300px;" title="Roy Lichtenstein. Turkey, 1961 is also on display at the 'Art and Appetite' exhibit in the Thanksgiving gallery. Private collection. (Estate of Roy Lichtenstein.)" /><strong>Is it Rockwell&rsquo;s fault? </strong></p><p dir="ltr">I recently took in Rockwell&#39;s famous painting at the Art Institute of Chicago&rsquo;s new exhibit, &quot;Art and Appetite.&quot; Curator Judith&nbsp;Barter&nbsp;said the one hundred paintings and sculptures in the exhibition are about much more than just food.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Freedom From Want,&rdquo; for example, depicts a sense of abundance and security that so many Americans longed for in the post-Depression era. And what better than a whole honking turkey &mdash; not some measly platter of slices &mdash; to say abundance?</p><p dir="ltr">But&nbsp;Barter&nbsp;pushes back on the notion that there weren&rsquo;t a lot of whole turkey roasters in the years prior to Rockwell&rsquo;s painting.&nbsp;She said the recipes, texts and paintings she studied for the exhibit indicated that &quot;whole turkeys were common in the 19th century.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">Food historian and Roosevelt University emeritus professor Bruce Kraig generally agreed.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;When turkeys first arrived in Europe in the 16th century, they were cooked whole in various ways,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Roasting was one of them and boiling was another very popular way. Roasting whole turkeys seems to run right through colonial cookery and the 19th century.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Kraig points to a page in the first American cookbook, &ldquo;American Cookery&rdquo; by Amelia Simmons, published in 1796.&nbsp;<a href="http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/coldfusion/display.cfm?ID=amer&amp;PageNum=18">The recipe</a>&nbsp;for roasted turkey calls for a stuffing of wheat bread, suet, eggs, sweet marjoram, sweet thyme, pepper, salt and &ldquo;a gill of wine.&rdquo; (It also recommends serving the bird with cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes, but also mangoes. Talk about early fusion recipes!)</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Breeding a bigger bird&nbsp;</strong></p><p dir="ltr">But Kraig points out that turkeys of Simmons&#39; era were relative waifs compared to their modern chesty cousins.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The modern broad breasted turkey was bred and crossbred throughout the 19th century with the intention of making them fatter and larger with very big breasts,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;This was in direct response the whole mythic story of turkey at the first Thanksgiving.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The turkeys got so busty, in fact, that by the time the Broad Breasted White (today&rsquo;s dominant breed) came along in the late 1940s, it could no longer have sex and could procreate only through artificial insemination.</p><p dir="ltr">Despite this lack of fun, the breed grows quickly and produces prodigious amounts of (easily dried out) white meat. Earlier breeds, and indeed heritage birds, grow slower, sport more fat and offer a more even ratio of dark to white meat, thus making them easier to cook evenly.</p><p dir="ltr"><b>Breaking from tradition&nbsp;</b></p><p dir="ltr">So it&rsquo;s not so much Rockwell&rsquo;s fault, per se. It&rsquo;s that Rockwell&rsquo;s painting coincided with a revolution in turkey breeding &mdash; one that produced giant breasts that are harder to cook evenly with legs and thighs attached. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Caveny says he can tell by the way the breastbone lies on the bird in Rockwell&rsquo;s painting that the artist was depicting a heritage bird &mdash; not an industrial Broad Breasted White &mdash; on his the table. So those who cling to Rockwell&rsquo;s whole-bird ideal are probably trying to pull it off with a different breed entirely.</p><p dir="ltr">Janet Fuller is the former food editor of the Chicago Sun-Times and a current writer for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/">DNAInfo Chicago</a>. A couple of years ago she wrote a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/food/8688787-423/bird-deconstructed-cooking-turkey-in-parts-ensures-tender-meat-richest-gravy.html">story in the Sun-Times</a>&nbsp;urging folks to give up the ghost of the whole turkey for a more edible bird.</p><p dir="ltr">She even served the cut-up version at her own Thanksgiving dinner. I asked her, did anybody squawk?</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;No,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It worked great. The leg meat, in particular, was amazing &mdash; falling off the bone in the braising liquid, which became my gravy. It is some extra work because you do it in stages, but it was fantastic.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a producer at WBEZ and co-host of the food podcast&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/content/chewing-fat-podcast-louisa-chu-and-monica-eng">Chewing the Fat</a>. Follow her on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/monicaeng">@monicaeng</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 19 Nov 2013 16:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/did-norman-rockwell-ruin-thanksgiving-turkey-109193 The Mo Rocca Interview http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-12/mo-rocca-interview-104589 <p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.28590838527447426"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Mo%20Rocca.jpg" style="height: 280px; width: 350px; float: right;" title="Mo Rocca cooks, makes documentaries and writes books. What a mensch. (Thom Kaine)" />Today I chat with a man whose voice you&rsquo;re probably familiar with if you&rsquo;re a regular NPR listener, as he&rsquo;s a frequent panelist on </span><em>Wait, Wait...Don&rsquo;t Tell Me!</em></p><p>Also a former<em> Daily Show </em>correspondent, he&rsquo;s now contributing his corresponding talents to <em>CBS News Sunday Morning</em>. Recently, he starred in the documentary <em><a href="http://electoraldysfunction.org/">Electoral Dysfunction</a></em>, which looks at how much there is to know and not-know about the Electoral College. If that weren&rsquo;t enough, he&rsquo;s also got a Cooking Channel show called <em><a href="http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/my-grandmothers-ravioli/my-grandmothers-ravioli/index.html">My Grandmother&#39;s Ravioli</a></em>, as he learns to cook from this country&rsquo;s fine crop of grandparents.<br /><br /><strong>Who have been some of the guests to call in for &ldquo;Not My Job&rdquo; on WWDTM that you felt starstruck by?</strong><br />Well <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130739954">Dick Van Dyke was just the best</a>. &nbsp;When he sang the lyrics to The <em>Dick Van Dyke Show</em> theme (who knew there were <a href="http://lyricsplayground.com/alpha/songs/t/thedickvandykeshowthemesong.shtml">words</a>?!), we were all beyond thrilled. &nbsp;Those 45 seconds were maybe the most exciting 45 seconds of my career -- and I was just listening.<br /><br /><strong>If your grandchildren cooked with you one day, what recipe do you think would be most pleasant or meaningful to make with them?</strong><br />Probably my own grandmother&#39;s ravioli -- and that&#39;s not just a plug for my show (Cooking Channel, Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET). &nbsp;My grandmother was an amazing lady. &nbsp;She worked full-time at a downtown DC department store (in the china and crystal dept) until she was 87. &nbsp;She would often walk to and from work, about 3 miles. No kidding. &nbsp;And she insisted on making these gargantuan holiday meals for us. &nbsp;(My own mother worked hard and cooked for us all week so she needed a break.) &nbsp;Making the ravioli (big handmade pasta envelopes filled with ground beef, spinach and garlic -- really pretty simple), with a light tomato sauce, would be a great way to keep her memory alive. &nbsp;And they&#39;re delicious.<br /><br /><strong>What are some of the Rocca family holiday-time culinary traditions?</strong><br />Lots of pies. &nbsp;Lemon meringue, apple, cherry, pumpkin. &nbsp;<br /><br /><strong>What&rsquo;s the best thing you&rsquo;ve eaten recently?</strong><br />My romantic life has been scandalously quiet recently. &nbsp;The duck poutine I had at <a href="http://www.bistrosixone.com/">Bistro Six-One in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario</a> (I was there doing a story on the Canadian perspective on the War of 1812) made up for that. &nbsp;It was so good, it sent me to another place. &nbsp;Honestly I didn&#39;t know what was happening to me. &nbsp;Every one of my chakras was in overdrive. (Please note, I do not know what chakras are.) &nbsp;I only wish Rob Reiner&#39;s mother had been there to witness the scene. &nbsp;<br /><br /><strong>What are some of the most surprising things you learned during the making of <em>Electoral Dysfunction</em>?</strong><br />We don&#39;t have a constitutionally enshrined affirmative right to vote. &nbsp;And that&#39;s not just some quirky factoid. &nbsp;It&#39;s the root of the very confusing and costly and chaotic way that elections are run in this country. &nbsp;And it continues to corrode our confidence in democracy.<br /><br />Also, people who make documentaries are people of deep faith in the value of content over flash. &nbsp;They have to believe in what they&#39;re making to see their projects through years of struggle. &nbsp;I am lucky to have worked with <a href="http://www.turingfilm.com/about/production-team/bennett-singer">Bennett Singer</a> (from Chicago!), <a href="http://ny011.urj.net/DavidDeschamps.htm">David DesChamps</a> and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0268266/">Leslie Farrell</a>.<br /><br /><strong>You have a background in musical theater; what&rsquo;s a favorite old show of yours you think is underrated that you&rsquo;d love to see revived on a major stage?</strong><br />Gee whiz, everything has been revived at least a couple times by now. &nbsp;I don&#39;t know the book of <em><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anyone_Can_Whistle">Anyone Can Whistle</a></em> (and maybe that&#39;s the problem) but the score is so great. &nbsp;I&#39;d like to see that. &nbsp;I&#39;m also curious to see if they can ever get<em> Funny Girl</em> back to Broadway. &nbsp;Streisand was so outsized by the time she did it at the ripe old age of 21. &nbsp;I think it would be great to see it with revived with someone who&#39;s equally larger than life (if that&#39;s possible). &nbsp;Maybe Lady Gaga as Fanny Brice? &nbsp;(She could also play lead in <em>Bells Are Ringing</em> - what a score! - in the Judy Holliday role. &nbsp;I&#39;m stealing that idea from my good friend Gerard Alessandrini, creator of <a href="http://www.forbiddenbroadway.com/">Forbidden Broadway</a>.)<br /><br /><strong>Typically, what&rsquo;s the first step you take when researching your interview subjects?</strong><br />Read anything I can about them. &nbsp;If I&#39;m doing a profile, I don&#39;t shy away from watching interviews of them on YouTube. &nbsp;I hate to resort to this, but if they&#39;re giving me nothing I&#39;ll go to stories I know they&#39;ve told before, if only to loosen them up.<br /><br /><strong>Do you have any tricks on how to improve the situation when a subject is being unfriendly, taciturn or just plain boring?</strong><br />Change the subject abruptly. &nbsp;Philip Seymour Hoffman is a difficult interview. &nbsp;(If I ever meet him again, I&#39;ll tell him -- and I mean this in a totally non-snarky way -- that he <em>should not be giving interviews</em>. &nbsp;He&#39;s one of the few actors who doesn&#39;t need to. &nbsp;He&#39;s that good at acting. &nbsp;The work speaks for itself. &nbsp;Giving an interview is apparently painful for him ... and it&#39;s ain&#39;t a picnic for the interviewer.) &nbsp;Anyway, out of the blue, I said &quot;You know who&#39;s terrific? Laura Linney!&quot; &nbsp;Of course she is terrific. &nbsp;And Hoffman smiled and really loosened up for a bit. &nbsp;I think he was happy to talk about someone else and he appreciated the spontaneity. &nbsp;Or maybe it just surprised him.<br /><br /><strong>Who are some dream interview subjects of yours?</strong><br />Oh heck, why deny it, Streisand. &nbsp;But I wouldn&#39;t let her know it&#39;s a dream. &nbsp;That would irritate her. &nbsp;Of course I wouldn&#39;t act like it&#39;s a chore. &nbsp;I&#39;d find a balance. &nbsp;(Yes, I&#39;ve rehearsed the interview 50 times. &nbsp;Just me and a chair a la Clint at the RNC.)<br /><br /><strong>What&rsquo;s the most difficult part about writing for children&rsquo;s television?</strong><br />Keeping everything moving. &nbsp;You can&#39;t mark time or tread water, like you can in grown-up entertainment. Kids are too smart. &nbsp;They&#39;ll get instantly distracted if the story isn&#39;t moving forward. &nbsp;Writing for them is the best exercise in learning how to write dynamically.<br /><br /><strong>If you wrote <a href="http://www.amazon.com/All-Presidents-Pets-Reporter-Refused/dp/1400052262/ref=la_B001K8W3AQ_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1356643826&amp;sr=1-1">a new book</a>, what do you think it would be about? Would you return to humor/satire or do something a little more straightforward?</strong><br />I want to do more history. &nbsp;I want it to be funny. &nbsp;Maybe more naturally funny. &nbsp;Less high-concept. &nbsp;(Helen Thomas as a turkey buzzard who had an affair with Millard Fillmore qualifies as high-concept, yes?)<br /><br /><strong>How does it feel to be the 336th person interviewed for<a href="http://zulkey.com/WBEZ?"> Zulkey.com/WBEZ?</a></strong><br />That&#39;s the area code for Winston-Salem, NC where I spent two of the best summers of my life, studying acting at the North Carolina School of the Arts. &nbsp;I&#39;ll always be grateful to my parents for sending me there and the teachers who taught me (sorry I never lost my lisp!) and the friends I made, including Lisa Anderson (who lives in Greensboro, also 336!) and Parker Posey, who has gone on to have a spectacular career!</p></p> Fri, 28 Dec 2012 08:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-12/mo-rocca-interview-104589 The Tess Rafferty Interview http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-11/tess-rafferty-interview-103938 <p><p>Thanksgiving is just hours away, so I thought today would be an excellent day for a cooking-related interview. Fans of <em>The Soup </em>may recognize Tess Rafferty from her occasional appearances on the show, most famously as the <a href="http://www.thesouptv.com/latest/diddy-dirty-money-meets-dirty-dancing-maxi-pad/216911">dancing maxi pad</a>. But recently the comedian and writer published her first book, <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Recipes-Disaster-Memoir-Tess-Rafferty/dp/1250011434/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1347999216&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=tess+rafferty">Recipes for Disaster</a></em>, a memoir described as &quot;what&rsquo;d you&rsquo;d read if Bridget Jones wrote a culinary memoir.&quot; You can learn much more about her <a href="http://tessrafferty.com/">here</a>. &nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/TR%20-%20Cover%20-%2010.12.12.jpg" style="float: right; height: 450px; width: 300px;" title="Tess Rafferty. (Photo by Justine Ungaro)" /><strong>Working at <em>The Soup</em> seems like the ultimate dream job to some. But what were some of the less-fun aspects of watching lots of TV and writing jokes about it for a living?</strong><br />Have you ever heard the parenting tip that if you catch your kid smoking a cigarette you make them smoke a whole pack so they never want to smoke again? That&rsquo;s what watching reality TV for a living is like. When I started on the show I offered to cover a lot of shows because I was already watching them anyway. By the end of it, I was yelling at my husband to turn off the TV if I caught him watching <em>The Real World</em> on one of my weeks off.</p><p>Also, reality TV has changed a lot in the time I was on the show. It started out as something that resembled reality and then became, &ldquo;Oh no. Kim Kardashian wants help picking out the color of her Bentley and her sisters don&rsquo;t care. What&rsquo;s going to happen?&rdquo; Also, too much of it became <em>The Real Bad Girl Wives Club of the Who Cares?</em> &mdash; just a bunch of women yelling at each other with a bad soundtrack and constant bleeps. It&rsquo;s seizure inducing. I had to put a wallet in my mouth just to watch it.</p><p><strong>Who were some of your favorite guest stars to appear on <em>The Soup</em>?</strong><br />Wendi McLendon-Covey and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erwdAmIlfjU">Rob Corddry</a> blew me away. They both so talented, and they hung out with the writers afterwards and told us how great the show was, which was such a huge compliment. <a href="http://www.hulu.com/watch/165286">Seth Green</a>&nbsp;was a frequent guest and always up for anything. And <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnejQuR9Qok">Yvette Nicole Brown</a> always knocked whatever we gave her out of the park, always asked who wrote it and sent us Lollicakes afterwards. So basically anyone talented who kissed our asses and fed us. Writers are insecure people and we like sweets.</p><p><strong>What kinds of memorable responses did the show receive from the people it made fun of?</strong><br />We featured a clip of someone who had that adult baby fetish and they later wrote someone on the show and told them to check out their blog, which detailed their experiences trying to potty train themselves.</p><p><strong>How did writing for TV and standup help you write the book?</strong><br /><em>The Soup</em> was like boot camp: One of the best joke writers I know described it as throwing a hundred pitches in a row. Writing jokes every day, 49 weeks a year, then thinking of jokes on the fly, really helps you be quick about what you&rsquo;re writing and not overthink things or second guess yourself. I don&rsquo;t get scared about sitting down and starting something anymore. And when I wrote&nbsp;<em>Recipes</em> <em>for Disaster</em>, I couldn&rsquo;t afford to. I was still at <em>The Soup</em> full time and had to write the book at night and on the weekend. Also, being stand up gave me what I think is a very conversational tone when I write.</p><p><strong><em>Recipes for Disaster&nbsp;</em>is a culinary memoir.</strong><em>&nbsp;</em><strong>What&rsquo;s the biggest dinner party challenge you&#39;ve ever set up for yourself?</strong><br />I served a three-course dinner, of which two courses were fresh, homemade pasta. I wanted to make ravioli and serve it in <a href="http://lacucinaitalianamagazine.com/ingredients/recipes-for-basic-brodo">a <em>brodo </em></a>but decided we needed a protein course, too. So I made <em>boeuf bourguignon </em>and&nbsp;thought, &ldquo;Wouldn&rsquo;t it be fun to serve it over homemade fettuccine?&rdquo; I have different definitions of fun from everyone else, I guess. I spent much of the day before covered in flour, rolling out pasta and making frantic calls to a chef friend, trying to figure out the best way to store the pasta without having it dry out or get too gooey.</p><p><strong>What&rsquo;s your go-to dish when you want to impress your guests without trying very hard?</strong><br />Lately I&rsquo;ve been making a <em>Coq au Vin</em>, which always tastes great, but is also easy enough that I make it on week nights for just me and my husband. But when guests come over I cook it with pancetta.</p><p><strong>What&rsquo;s the key to a good roast joke?&nbsp;</strong><br />Writing about the same targets day after day, I always looked for a detail about someone&rsquo;s life that hadn&rsquo;t been talked about yet and tried to find the funny or unexpected in that. Roasts are fun&nbsp;because you can be inappropriate and hard hitting, but you have to back that up with something just as funny and shocking &mdash;&nbsp;otherwise you&rsquo;re just writing mean, stupid things about people.&nbsp;</p><p>Here are three of my faves that aren&rsquo;t also too filthy to print, from my first&nbsp;<a href="http://www.comedycentral.com/episodes/1l6bj2/roast-of-roseanne-roast-of-roseanne-season-1-ep-101">roast of Roseanne</a>.&nbsp;I was really honored to be part of it, having been such a fan of roasts for years:</p><p>&ldquo;Roseanne, of course you were attracted to Tom Arnold. You thought with all of that powder on his upper lip, there must be a donut somewhere.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Roseanne you&rsquo;ve butted heads with writers, producers and executives. You&rsquo;ve given more Jews upset stomachs than lactose.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Roseanne, you old hippie broad, I can&rsquo;t believe you&rsquo;re still on Twitter now that you know hashtags don&rsquo;t tell you how much the hash costs.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>How does it feel to be the 331st person interviewed for </strong><a href="http://Zulkey.com/WBEZ?"><strong>Zulkey.com/WBEZ?</strong></a><br />I feel like that&rsquo;s a very lucky number because it&rsquo;s one less than the amount of electoral college votes Obama got in the election. So it&rsquo;s like an Obama landslide minus Delaware or Rhode Island.<em> [Editor&#39;s Note: Due to the timing of publication, Rafferty was actually Interview no. 332&nbsp;</em><em>&mdash;</em><em>&nbsp;or, the Obama landslide </em>with<em> Delaware or Rhode Island.]</em></p><p><em>Read an extended version of my interview with Rafferty <a href="http://www.zulkey.com/2012/11/the_tess_rafferty_interview.php">here</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Wed, 21 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-11/tess-rafferty-interview-103938 Thanksgiving war stories from a Butterball ‘call girl’ http://www.wbez.org/content/thanksgiving-war-stories-butterball-%E2%80%98call-girl%E2%80%99 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-23/AP070427036341.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" calendar.="" class="caption" foto="" ladies="" news="" of="" pr="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-23/AP070427036341.jpg" style="width: 428px; height: 400px;" talk-line="" the="" title="Take a page from one of the experts featured in Butterball’s 2002 &quot;Ladies of the Talk-Line&quot; Calendar. (PR News Foto/Butterball)" /></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F68040657&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Dynamic Range is taking a break for Thanksgiving and will be back the first week of December. In the meantime, check out this updated episode that originally ran in November 2011:</em></p><p>Butterball produces 20 percent of the turkeys Americans eat every year. And since 1981 their <a href="http://www.butterball.com/tips-how-tos/turkey-experts/overview">Turkey Talk-Line</a> experts have handled some 100,000 calls each holiday season from frantic home cooks trying to impress their in-laws or salvage a dinner gone horribly wrong.</p><p>Butterball&rsquo;s corporate headquarters are in Garner, North Carolina, but their call-in line is located in Naperville, Ill. And, as the company struggles with its public image and <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/business/butterball-probes-turkey-abuse-accusations-1C7103234">new allegations of animal abuse</a> at its North Carolina plants, the ladies of the Talk-Line may be the company&#39;s best public face: Some of the experts who work there from November to December every year seem to comfortably conform to a kind of 1950s Suzy Homemaker ethos, pleasingly plump Betty Crockerites who majored in home ec. Others are bilingual registered dieticians with master&rsquo;s degrees.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-23/AP061115045108.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; margin: 5px; float: left;" title="Before: nineteen-week-old turkeys at the Clayton Straughn farm near Turkey, N.C. (AP/Gerry Broome)" />Sixty call specialists will be on hand this year to answer questions ranging from the mundane &ndash; <em>How long will it take my 18 lb. beast to thaw?</em> &ndash; to the shocking &ndash; <em>My turkey is on fire. What should I do?</em></p><p>The answer to that last question, incidentally, is to hang up and call 9-1-1.</p><p>Butterball&rsquo;s experts recommend taking as long as four full days to thaw your turkey. They&rsquo;ll also be happy to walk you through the steps of microwaving the bird, if that&rsquo;s what you want to do. It&rsquo;s apparently their &ldquo;least popular method,&rdquo; despite being all the rage in the &lsquo;80s, but is still not as horrifying or as gross as <a href="http://www.ask.com/food/Lobster/Microwave-Lobster-Recipes.html">cooking a live lobster in the microwave</a>.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-23/butterball turkeys_flickr_anthony easton.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; margin: 5px; float: right;" title="After: Butterball turkeys. (Flickr/Anthony Easton)" />Renee Ferguson is a former Butterball expert and self-described Butterball &ldquo;call girl&rdquo; who parleyed her experience on the hotline into a cookbook &ndash; <em>Talk Turkey to Me</em> (Wishbone Press 2006) &ndash; and an appearance on the Food Network&rsquo;s <em>Throwdown</em> with Bobby Flay.</p><p>Ferguson appeared on the show&#39;s &ldquo;Turkey and Dressing&rdquo; episode, for which she made <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/throwdown-with-bobby-flay/turkey-recipe-recipe/index.html">roasted turkey with an apple sausage dressing</a> and an <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/throwdown-with-bobby-flay/apricot-amaretto-sauce-recipe/index.html">apricot amaretto sauce</a>. Flay won the round with his combination of a <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/black-pepper-pomegranate-molasses-glazed-turkey-with-wild-rice-goat-cheese-dressing-recipe/index.html">black pepper-pomegranate molasses glazed turkey</a> with a <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/wild-rice-and-goat-cheese-dressing-recipe/index.html">wild rice, goat cheese and chorizo dressing</a>.</p><p>If you have any last minute cooking disasters before the big meal on Thursday you can call Ferguson&rsquo;s former colleagues in Naperville between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. at 1-800-288-8372. (And now, you can also tweet them <a href="https://twitter.com/butterball">@butterball</a> with the hashtag #TurkeyChat.) In the meantime, listen to Ferguson&rsquo;s account of her all-time favorite calls &ndash; and some of her cooking war stories &ndash; in the audio above.</p><p><a href="../../series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range </a><em>showcases hidden gems unearthed from </em>Chicago Amplified&rsquo;s<em> vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Renee Ferguson spoke at an event presented by <a href="http://www.culinaryhistorians.org/">Culinary Historians of Chicago </a>in November of 2010. Click <a href="../../story/culture/books/talk-turkey-me-good-time-kitchen-talking-turkey-all-trimmings">here </a>to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p></p> Wed, 21 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/thanksgiving-war-stories-butterball-%E2%80%98call-girl%E2%80%99 List: My mom's Thanksgiving dinner menu http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-11/list-my-moms-thanksgiving-dinner-menu-103802 <p><div><div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4510045540_007af3ff65.jpg" title="Thanksgiving at the Zulkeys', circa many years ago. (Claire Zulkey)" /></div></div><div style="text-align: center;">Pomegranate, Beet &amp; Mandarin Orange Salad</div><div style="text-align: center;"><br />Mini Sparkling Cranberry Muffins</div><div style="text-align: center;">Pumpkin Bread</div><div style="text-align: center;">Apple Bread</div><div style="text-align: center;"><br />Roast Turkey</div><div style="text-align: center;">Mashed Potato Casserole with Chives</div><div style="text-align: center;">Our Favorite Cornbread Stuffing</div><div style="text-align: center;">Praline Sweet Potato Casserole</div><div style="text-align: center;">Brussels Sprouts Lardon</div><div style="text-align: center;">Apricot Bourbon Roasted Carrots</div><div style="text-align: center;">Maple Cranberry Sauce</div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2011-11-18/ultimate-pumpkin-pie-94185">The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie</a></div><div style="text-align: center;">Chocolate Truffle Tart</div><div style="text-align: center;">Cranberry Shortbread Squares</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 13 Nov 2012 09:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-11/list-my-moms-thanksgiving-dinner-menu-103802 Program gets kids in the kitchen for some healthy eating http://www.wbez.org/story/affordable/program-gets-kids-kitchen-some-healthy-eating <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Cooking.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:PunctuationKerning /> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas /> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables /> <w:SnapToGridInCell /> <w:WrapTextWithPunct /> <w:UseAsianBreakRules /> <w:DontGrowAutofit /> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if !mso]><object classid="clsid:38481807-CA0E-42D2-BF39-B33AF135CC4D" id=ieooui></object> <style> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } </style> <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]-->The last bell signals the end of the school day, but for some Chicago elementary students, the day starts again&hellip;but this time in the kitchen.<span style=""> </span>A non-profit has been teaching low-income kids how to cook healthy, affordable meals.<span style=""> </span>The aim is to prevent childhood obesity and develop life long eating habits.<span style=""> WBEZ Pritzker Journalism Fellow</span> Icoi Johnson reports that the program is shifting gears.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">MATTHEW/CHILD:<span style="">&nbsp; </span>You guys an easy way to get the skin off, it take it underneath your palm and just push down on the garlic, kind of smash it. <br /><br />The official school day is over at John W. Cook School on Chicago&rsquo;s Southside. But a group of students are staying behind to learn how to cook.<br /><br />Jazee Burton explains what&rsquo;s on the menu.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">BURTON:<span style=""> </span>We&rsquo;re making mango crisp crumble and then we&rsquo;re making chicken tenders.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The students learn everything, from measuring ingredients, to using a knife&hellip;safely.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Jontae Townsend demonstrates a technique called a Bear Claw.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">TOWNSEND:<span style=""> </span>We put our fingers and our thumbs tucked in so the knife can just hit our knuckles.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Burton and Townsend are involved in a program put on by Common Threads, a Chicago non-profit group.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Common Threads uses professional chefs to teach students how to cook.<span style=""> </span>One of those is former sous-chef Matthew Peterson. Peterson says the Common Threads programs gets kids excited about cooking.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">That&rsquo;s important, since a lot of the kids in these schools are familiar with fast food or stuff that can be microwaved.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">PETERSON:<span style=""> </span>I want to give other kids a passion for cooking and bring back those skills that a lot of people in my generation and generations younger than me have lost.<span style=""> </span>I don&rsquo;t know, I just really want to show them that there is a better way to eat that they can take pride in something like cooking.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The Common Threads teaching program has been around for a while. It was founded in 2003 by Art Smith.<span style=""> </span>You might remember him as a former chef to talk show host Oprah Winfrey.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">The program&rsquo;s gotten a lot of attention over the years for doing good.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>There are now hundreds of kids who can use a knife properly and know the ins and outs of baking, frying, and broiling.<br /><br />But there are tough questions about whether teaching kids to cook well is enough.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Mary Russell Directs Nutrition Services at the University of Chicago Medical Center.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">RUSSELL:<span style=""> </span>To help reduce obesity I think we need to hit it from a lot of different prongs.<span style=""> </span>This is a good one, but it&rsquo;s not going to solve the problem, because it&rsquo;s only when they&rsquo;re in school.<span style=""> </span>If they don&rsquo;t get it reinforced, it would be unlikely to have a lasting impact unless there was the availability of parental support and encouragement.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">It turns out Common Threads has been thinking about the same problem, so it is now getting parents more involved.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Jillayne Samatas is the Education and Outreach Manager at Common Threads.<span style=""> </span>She says they&rsquo;ve had parents observe their children cooking, but now they&rsquo;re thinking about getting parents in the kitchen, too.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">SAMATAS:<span style=""> </span>It will be a five week series, where we&rsquo;ll have a parent and child that has been in our cooking class before, come to a class for 2 hours for five weeks following a curriculum that will get to cook together but then also learn some basic nutrition information as well.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Samatas says Common Threads has learned a lot about teaching low-income children about cooking and food. But there&rsquo;s one lesson that&rsquo;s a bit depressing. Samatas says a lot of the parents in their program can&rsquo;t access the kinds of food their children learn to cook.<br /><br />Sometimes they have to travel miles outside their own neighborhood just to get to full-service grocery stores.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">SAMATAS:<span style=""> </span>As much as we realize there is an access problem, our organization isn&rsquo;t at a capacity right now to address that issue.<span style=""> </span>Our primary role is to teach and educate.<span style=""> </span>But it&rsquo;s something that we are definitely involved in and trying to understand ourselves how can we help with that issue and it&rsquo;s really difficult to figure out.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">But Samatas says this access issue won&rsquo;t stop Common Threads from its teaching.<span style=""> </span>She figures the group can&rsquo;t solve ever food-related problem low-income kids will have&hellip;but someone needs to give them the confidence and know-how to run their own kitchens some day.</p></p> Tue, 04 Jan 2011 15:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/affordable/program-gets-kids-kitchen-some-healthy-eating Need A New Kitchen? Casting call wants you! http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/need-new-kitchen-casting-call-wants-you <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="468" width="350" alt="" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//corner-of-the-kitchen-fooferkitten-flickr.jpg" class="size-full wp-image-19099" /> <br /><em>Photo by Fooferkitten via Flickr</em></p><p>A colleague of mine is working on a new series for A &amp; E, part cooking and part design-related. Here's the show in a nutshell: they're going&sbquo;&nbsp;to surprise a frustrated gourmet - someone who has a&sbquo;&nbsp;real&sbquo;&nbsp;passion for cooking but is trapped in an&sbquo;&nbsp;awful&sbquo;&nbsp;kitchen - with a brand new one. There are a couple of other surprises along the way - which&sbquo;&nbsp;they can't divulge - that will make it a real treat for a true foodie/amateur gourmet. They are currently booking 6 episodes, one of which will be shot in Chicago.</p><p>Here's the official casting call: </p><p><strong>CASTING NEW KITCHEN MAKEOVER SHOW - FREE KITCHEN!</strong> </p><p>Do you have a friend or loved one who has a real passion for all things food -eating, restaurants, chefs, and especially cooking - but is trapped in an outdated, nonfunctional and really ugly kitchen? Now's your chance to nominate him/her to receive a kitchen worthy of a gourmet chef for free! We are currently casting dynamic homeowners who <em>love </em>to cook but are in <em>desperate </em>need of a completely new kitchen. We're also looking for you...our accomplice in this mission. If selected, you would help our team install a state-of-the-art kitchen for the frustrated foodie in your life. If you're interested in nominating a cook and being a part of our exciting new show, please email us the following information:</p><ol> <li>Your name, address, phone number, occupation, age and relationship to nominee</li> <li>Your nominee's name, address, occupation and age</li> <li>Photo of you (2 pictures max)</li> <li>Photo of nominee (2 pictures max)</li> <li>Photos of the nominee's kitchen (3 pictures max)</li> <li>Tell us why you are nominating this person.&sbquo;&nbsp; We want to hear about his/her love of cooking - favorite type of food to cook, favorite restaurants, favorite chefs - and what she/he doesn't like about their current kitchen.&sbquo;&nbsp; The more personality/detail the better!</li> </ol><p>Only submissions including all of the above will be considered. Our email address is kitchenmakeovershow@gmail.com. We will be shooting in NYC, Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New Haven, Washington D.C. and Chicago. Be sure to put the name of your CITY in the subject line. </p><p>ACT NOW. We're casting the series IMMEDIATELY! </p><p>So good luck, and hey, if you or your friend get the new kitchen, you have to invite me over for the premiere dinner!</p></p> Fri, 26 Mar 2010 10:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/need-new-kitchen-casting-call-wants-you