the splendid table

Like most people who would rather eat cereal out of a box for dinner than eat at Denny’s, I like a little atmosphere with my food. Some Norah with my pizza, some Gilberto with my risotto. Sometimes I’ll match music to the food on my plate, as in the case of the Tostadas with a sprinkling of Buena Vista Social Club we had a few weeks ago. Call me a snob, I can take it. I’m picky about where I sit in a restaurant (not by the kitchen, please) and can’t abide canned pop music while I eat.

I’ve always believed that cooking too goes best with a side of music. Sure, a mug of coffee while you whip up brunch for friends will do, as will a glass of red wine while you season a pasta dish for your lover. But music is entirely different. What we listen to while we cook can have an enormous impact on our experience of that most basic human skill: turning whole raw ingredients into foods fit for our loved ones and ourselves.

What do you listen to while you steam and sautee?

For the past few days though, I’ve traded in musical stalwarts like Sufjan and Over the Rhine for someone a little more gastronomically inclined. A fellow foodie introduced me to American Public Media’s The Splendid Table, a radio show that couldn’t be a better companion in the kitchen. I downloaded a bunch of the episodes from their website to iTunes, which is free and totally legal. Three hours and three episodes later, I was totally addicted. When you’re craving some feel-good talk radio, this sure beats listening to CBC Winnipeg on the Internet. (“it’s minus 40 in Winnipeg this morning…”) Apologies to my homecity dwellers, but I’ll take tales of Tuscan stews over that, any day.

lynne_med.jpgLynne Rossetto Kasper reviews books (both academic and hands-on), talks to cheese experts, covers food news, and answers calls so candidly you feel like you’re eavesdropping. I guarantee this radio show will inspire you, and if not, the website offers a wealth of recipes. Treat yourself and give it a listen. Your cooking will thank you.

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