100 episodes

Serious Eats' podcast Special Sauce enables food lovers everywhere to eavesdrop on an intimate conversation about food and life between host and Serious Eats founder Ed Levine and his well-known/famous friends and acquaintances both in and out of the food culture.

Special Sauce with Ed Levine Serious Eats

    • Food
    • 4.2, 259 Ratings

Serious Eats' podcast Special Sauce enables food lovers everywhere to eavesdrop on an intimate conversation about food and life between host and Serious Eats founder Ed Levine and his well-known/famous friends and acquaintances both in and out of the food culture.

    Special Sauce: Kenji on Salting Vegetables; Farmer Maggie Cheney on CSAs and Social Justice

    Special Sauce: Kenji on Salting Vegetables; Farmer Maggie Cheney on CSAs and Social Justice

    Much has been written during the pandemic about the increased popularity of community supported agriculture, commonly referred to as CSA. On this week's Special Sauce, we had a far-reaching conversation with Maggie Cheney, one of the owners of Rock Steady Farm, which is part of a special kind of CSA.
    Rock Steady describes itself as a women and queer owned cooperative farm, rooted in social justice, growing sustainable vegetables, flowers, and herbs for our upstate and NYC communities. As you will hear, Maggie and her partners have withstood the many challenges they have encountered during the pandemic with sheer determination, a lot of hard work, and the support, both financial and otherwise, of the communities they serve. But it has not been easy.
    Rounding out the episode is another Ask Kenji segment. This time Kenji answers a Serious Eater's question about the whys and wherefores of salting vegetables like cucumbers and eggplant before cooking them. I don't want to give away too much of his answer, but I will tell you that water balloons are repeatedly mentioned.
    So there you have it, our very first all-vegetable Special Sauce, and it's inspiring, surprising, and informative.
    --
    The full transcript for this episode can be found over here at Serious Eats: 
    https://www.seriouseats.com/preview?record=454208

    • 42 min
    Special Sauce: Kenji on Smashed Burgers; Susan Spungen on Sprezzatura [2/2]

    Special Sauce: Kenji on Smashed Burgers; Susan Spungen on Sprezzatura [2/2]

    On this week's Special Sauce, Susan Spungen, author of Open Kitchen: Inspired Food for Casual Gathering and other books, regales us with her experiences in Hollywood as a food stylist and culinary consultant for movies like Julie and Julia and Eat, Pray, Love. What's it like to be on set and cooking for the likes of Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, and Amy Adams? Listen and you'll find out.
    Susan also talks about her terrific new book. She explains that the organizing principle behind the book is "sprezzatura," an Italian word for "studied nonchalance." The book articulates beautifully a relaxed yet rigorous approach to gathering your friends to eat and drink.
    And, as usual, Kenji gets the episode off to a hot start by explaining the best way to cook his justifiably famous smashed burgers, indoors or out.
    Kenji on smashed burgers and Susan Spungen on cooking for Meryl Streep and "sprezzatura." It's a Special Sauce that should provide a welcome respite from the insanity we're all living through.
    --
    The full transcript for this episode can be found over here at Serious Eats: 
    tps://www.seriouseats.com/preview?record=454070

    • 39 min
    Special Sauce: Kenji on Dried Herbs; Dan Barber on the Outlook for Small Farmers

    Special Sauce: Kenji on Dried Herbs; Dan Barber on the Outlook for Small Farmers

    On this week's Special Sauce we talk to Dan Barber, executive chef and co-owner of Blue Hill, about the huge changes being brought about in the food culture by the Covid-19 pandemic. The startling conclusions he's come to are the result of a survey he and his team sent out to more than 500 farmers. The farmers' responses made it clear that the effects of the pandemic will have catastrophic consequences for many of them. As you'll hear, the usually pessimistic Barber has some ideas that can help both the farmers and the thousands of out of work restaurant cooks in this country.
    The articulate Mr. Barber is followed by our very own Kenji Lopez-Alt, who answers a Serious Eater's question about the use of dried versus fresh herbs. Surprisingly, for certain uses of some herbs, Kenji turns out to be an advocate for the dried variety.
    --
    The full transcript for this episode can be found over here at Serious Eats:
    https://www.seriouseats.com/2020/07/special-sauce-dan-barber-farms-1.html

    • 34 min
    Special Sauce: Kenji on Butter; Anne Saxelby and Sheila Flanagan on Being Optimistic [2/2]

    Special Sauce: Kenji on Butter; Anne Saxelby and Sheila Flanagan on Being Optimistic [2/2]

    On this week's Special Sauce we're once again talking about selling cheese during the pandemic with cheesemonger Anne Saxelby of Saxelby Cheesemongers and cheesemaker Sheila Flanagan of Nettle Meadow Farm and Artisan Cheese. Without a hint of self-pity, Anne and Sheila talk about the nimbleness and the optimism required to keep their businesses going. You can support both Saxelby and Flanagan by buying cheese directly from their websites, you won't be disappointed.

    After our inspiring cheese talk, we once again stay on the dairy theme when Kenji Lopez-Alt answers a Serious Eater's question about the differences between American and European butter.
    --
    The full transcript for this episode can be found over here at Serious Eats: 
    https://www.seriouseats.com/2020/07/special-sauce-anne-saxelby-sheila-flanagan-cheese-2.html

    • 23 min
    Special Sauce: “Ask Kenji” Is Back! And Anne Saxelby and Sheila Flanagan on Selling Cheese During the Pandemic [1/2]

    Special Sauce: “Ask Kenji” Is Back! And Anne Saxelby and Sheila Flanagan on Selling Cheese During the Pandemic [1/2]

    This week on Special Sauce we are returning to the topic of the horrendous toll the pandemic has taken on the food culture. Today, we’re talking cheese. In the first of two far-ranging interviews, I spoke to cheesemaker Sheila Flanagan, co-owner of Nettle Meadow Farm, and Saxelby Cheesemongers owner Anne Saxelby.
    This episode of Special Sauce also marks the return of our "Ask Kenji" feature. Today, given our interviewees, I thought it was only right that Kenji answer a dairy-related question, about butter. (Sheila Flanagan, in addition to cheese, makes a delicious, lightly salted butter, too.) 
    So enjoy the cheese and butter talk on today's episode of Special Sauce. And please stay safe and healthy. 
    --
    The full transcript for this episode can be found over here at Serious Eats:
    https://www.seriouseats.com/2020/06/special-sauce-anne-saxelby-sheila-flanagan-cheese-1.html

    • 33 min
    Special Sauce: Alexander Smalls on How Food and Music Nurture Hope and Connection [2/2]

    Special Sauce: Alexander Smalls on How Food and Music Nurture Hope and Connection [2/2]

    "A jukebox is the musical equivalent of a well-stocked pantry," says Alexander Smalls. Poetic riffs on the relationship between food and music are just par for the course with Smalls, who's both a Grammy and a James Beard Award winner (not to mention a Tony winner, too). In part two of our interview, we talked about everything from hanging out with James Baldwin and Nina Simone in Paris to the guests he'd invite to his last supper. How does a table with the aforementioned Baldwin and Simone, along with Toni Morrison, Jessye Norman, Aretha Franklin, and Gloria Steinem sound? Pretty damn swell to me. 
     
    It was such a pleasure and an honor to hang out with Alexander Smalls, who is truly a national treasure. His new book is titled, Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes From My African American Kitchen, and it belongs in every household's collection. Just like last week, we'll play the episode out with his stunning, soon-to-be-released rendition of Wade in the Water.
     
    --
     
    The full transcript for this episode can be found over here at Serious Eats: 
    https://www.seriouseats.com/2020/06/alexander-smalls-2.html

    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5
259 Ratings

259 Ratings

walkingwell ,

Interesting guests, but...

I find myself wishing this podcast was more like the website; more educational. The host seems to find ways to talk about his struggles with starting and running Serious Eats in every episode, which becomes predictable and a little grating.

Chattasteff ,

SFantastic interviews lately. Keep up the good work!

Love the interviews with tough minded, creative women! And learn so much from Kenji. Thank you!

cowbjdfwibibdeSmitty ,

Food is politics...sorry complainers

To those complaining and wanting the host to shut up about politics and just talk about food, here’s a newsflash. Food is politics. And if you don’t know that you are not paying attention and/or you have never experienced food insecurity. Our entire food system is based on politics - how it’s marketed, what we have access to, how farmers are allowed to operated (ya, know, the little thing called the Farm Bill everyone has been talking about), etc. Water is wet, people. Get over yourselves or perhaps tune in to Guy Fieri instead if what you are looking for is all flash and no substance.

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