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Good Food

Author: KCRW

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Everything you wanted to know about good cooking, good eating, good food! From LA Chef, author, radio host, and restaurateur Evan Kleiman, at KCRW.com.
53 Episodes
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Rituals often surround food, including the Chinese tradition of caring for new mothers during postpartum recovery. One of Koreatown’s most beloved mom and pop restaurants closed this week. California farmworkers have historically fought for basic accommodations such as shade and clean water, and now they face the threat of rising coronavirus cases. Plus, one food writer offers simple, three-ingredient recipes. 
Good Food continues coverage of innovative moves by chefs and restaurateurs to stay in business during the pandemic. Community refrigerators are popping up across the city to feed those in need. Plus, eggplants are cropping up at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, and a battle over apricots is brewing in Moscow.
Restaurants have been a key “third space.” Not home and not work, they’re a gathering place where people can recharge, relax, enjoy some food and drinks between the pressures of work or home. Given socializing constraints, economic pressure, and many adults having to simultaneously work and care for children at home, it’s extraordinary that the industry is still delivering hospitality at all. Today, Good Food focuses on the restaurants — the food, the people, and the pleasure and pain of an industry in the throes of change.
Good Food examines the ways food has been weaponized to create stereotypes and stigmatization. On the flipside, Chef Roy Choi shares how he is spreading love by cooking for teachers with a new food delivery app. Plus, Romanian cuisine is a melting pot where Greek, Turkish, and Slavic cultures converge.
Good Food is taking the day to reflect on the word “independence.” In a 1979 commencement speech at Barnard University, Toni Morrison spoke to the graduating class of women about freedom and power. “You are moving in the direction of freedom. The function of freedom is to free someone else,'' she told them. Fannie Lou Hamer and Audre Lorde famously made this same point: “I am not free until you are free.” Food is a lens. This week Good Food looks through that lens and poses the question, “Who is free?” To write their own story. To record their own recipes. To dine where they want to. To own land. To be crowned the best restaurant in America.
“When a people who have fundamentally defined American barbecue for 300 years in the roughest, darkest hours of America have been overlooked, it’s a tragedy,” says Dr. Howard Conyers. Dr. Conyers is a rocket scientist at NASA, as well as a pitmaster. Good Food explores the men and women who have devoted their lives to slow and low cooking, and preparing meals over the embers, from Carolina barbecue to inspiration from the grills of Bombay and Southeast Asia. Plus, summer vegetables from the farmer’s market are ready for the flames. 
This week has been a roller coaster for the queer and trans community. First, there was the news that the current administration rolled back protections that prohibited discrimination in health care against trans patients. Last weekend, thousands showed support during the All Black Lives Matter solidarity march in Hollywood. On Monday morning, the Supreme Court upheld gay and transgender rights in the workplace, an unexpected jolt of joy during Pride month. Good Food looks at safe spaces in the queer community. Andrea Chang, Deputy Food Editor of the Los Angeles Times, runs down the new rules for restaurants reopening. Plus, tips for building the perfect sandwich at home.
Historically, Black-operated farms have been excluded from USDA relief. Now, similar concerns are brewing with the distribution of funds from the $2 trillion CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act passed in March. Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery, is this week and is celebrated through the lens of food. Next, finding inspiration and alternatives now that cooking fatigue has set in after months of quarantine. Also, revisiting the controversy of “Thug Kitchen” and an update on street vending under the al fresco dining initiative.
A note from Evan Kleiman: After 11 full weeks of being told to stay home, the killing of George Floyd stirred Los Angeles to come outside in great numbers to walk in solidarity. This week, I was moved to see the grace and compassion from restaurateurs whose restaurants experienced damage. Instead of being angry at the loss, they posted messages of solidarity for Black Lives Matter. Let’s say that again. Black Lives Matter. Property can be replaced, lives cannot. The only way to talk about food in such times is to acknowledge that food and food media are not free of overt or structural racism. Who am I, an older white woman to give you comfort? I feel like it is about time we owned our own discomfort, sat with it a while, and learned from it. It’s my job to speak, but all I want to do right now is listen.
 Like it or hate it, home cooking is the task that won’t go away during the pandemic. Author Roxane Gay learned to cook while being a vegetarian, and shares her adventures in the kitchen on her Twitter feed. Plus, veganism is finding its place in Mexican cuisine. Also, a visit with Sana Javeri Kadri following the recent turmeric harvest in India.
Food plays a starring role in some stellar movies from last year. Good Food looks back on conversations with the filmmakers of “The Farewell,” “The Biggest Little Farm,” and “Honeyland.” In each film, food brings people together in ways that words can’t. Also, Los Angeles Times restaurant critics give updates on takeout they’re ordering during the pandemic. Plus, where to get California-grown heritage grain tortillas and pasta.
As Los Angeles settles in for additional months of sheltering in place, Good Food cozies up on the sofa for a “zone out” show. From magical mushrooms on the forest floor to rare pasta shapes in Italy, grab the popcorn, tune in, and prepare to leave hungry. Plus, author Samin Nostrat and illustrator Wendy MacNaughton discuss their collaboration on the award-winning cookbook, “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.”
Meat is a multibillion dollar industry. With the pandemic forcing closures of packing facilities and employees being too ill to work, the availability of cheap meat for consumers is threatened. Good Food is taking a deep dive into the meat system — in response to a friend asking if her family would have to become vegetarians because of anticipated meat shortages. Also, summers in France inspired the latest cookbook from food writer Melissa Clark. She shares how to make classic dishes at home.
We explore American traditions in cooking: Cajun cuisine in the bayou of Louisiana, dairy restaurants of New York, tacos in Texas and California. Also, after a long battle over decriminalization, street vendors are facing new challenges with the pandemic. Finally, it’s salmon season, and fishermen are expected to have a surplus of fish, but with restaurants closed, there are concerns how to get the products onto consumer tables.
Many restaurants have closed, and others who’ve remained open have adjusted their business models to rely on takeout and delivery. We hear from restaurateurs and a chef on adapting to this new normal. Also, we were unable to hold our annual Good Food Pie Contest in-person, so we turned it into a Pie Pageant on Instagram. Winners for the Best Story and Prettiest Pie share their inspirations. Finally, chile pepper is synonymous with Chinese cuisine, but that wasn’t always the case. Its history in the country may surprise you.
Confinement cooking continues with clever ways to use tinned seafood in the pantry. With the holy month of Ramadan starting this week, we explore traditional practices and dishes to break the fast. We also check in with some of the most vulnerable farming communities affected by the pandemic.
The old adage, “a woman’s work is never done,” takes a different spin as families hunker down  during COVID-19 and share traditional household responsibilities. Out in the backyard, we explore what to plant in your garden this spring, and get some expert tips on home orchards.  We also examine the effects of the pandemic on artisanal cheesemakers. 
The food supply chain has many links in order to get dinner on the table. We hear from a truck driver about  his challenges in getting products to grocery stores. Plus, spring is here, and with it comes Passover and Easter. We have tips for virtual celebrations and meatless dishes.
As we navigate this temporary but new normal of being relegated to our homes, we get suggestions for recipes and healthy kitchen projects. Plus, heroes are on the frontlines of this global pandemic, from humanitarian/chef José Andrés to grocery store employees who keep the shelves stocked.
I’ve been thinking a lot about comfort, and what that might look like or sound like right now. Usually when we talk about comfort on this show, we’re talking about a brothy bowl of beans, and yes, we will go there today. But for me comfort right now is knowing you are there, the Good Food community with whom I socially distance every week through the magic of broadcasted audio. What is happening to all of us is unprecedented, difficult and in constant flux. A couple of weeks ago, I had a conversation with journalist Karen Stabiner on whether or not a certain kind of restaurant is over. It was just a polemic. But now? To call it uncertainty is an understatement. How can an entire industry that is one of the largest employers in the country recover from this? How do individuals who work in the business with no safety net survive? The answer is that we don’t know. Nobody does. In the coming weeks, we’ll interview chefs and restaurateurs about what lies ahead, but for now, it’s all just too raw, too new. As one operator told me yesterday, there are no good stories right now. My heart aches for our community of restaurant folks and the farmers on whom we rely for so much more than bodily sustenance. I’ve never shied away from sharing my personal story of restaurant closures and the debts I still shoulder. So for me, watching this story unfold, knowing the bottom line reality for my peers in the restaurant business, it’s gutting. I know that like all of us here at Good Food, you get part of your joy in life from participating in this community, whether you’re an eater or a chef or a home cook. For a couple of decades now, we’ve come to rely on public eating establishments for not only our celebrations, but our daily hit of sociability and closeness. Restaurants, casual and fine, coffee shops and bars have become our de facto piazzas. They’re places to hang out, share food and drink, and catch up with each other in close quarters. That is gone for now. But we are social animals who do not thrive in isolation, so we will create new ways of expressing joy, blowing off steam with our besties, and even sharing all this around a table. It’s just that the tables and counters will be at home. And the social reach to family and friends out of our physical space? Well, we’d love for you to share how you figure that piece out. All we can do is be there for our small communities in whatever form we are allowed. and maybe figure out ways to interact in new forms. Already I’ve seen Instagram stories of friends dining together over Google Hangouts. And many of your favorite restaurateurs are pivoting quickly, selling their larders to make some extra cash or offering rolls of toilet paper with to go orders. Here at Good Food, we’ll listen to you to discover what we can provide that would be most helpful. Cooking from the pantry is kind of my thing, so we’ll definitely be talking more about cooking and recipes than we did before. But please reach out and tell us what you want to hear.
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Comments (2)

Teal Brooks

yeah!!! Hsiao-ching!!

Jun 14th
Reply

Oso Wallman

such an excellent show. great useful content

Apr 23rd
Reply
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