239 episodes

The Kitchen Sisters Present… Stories from the b-side of history. Lost recordings, hidden worlds, people possessed by a sound, a vision, a mission. Deeply layered stories, lush with interviews, field recordings and music. From powerhouse NPR producers The Kitchen Sisters (The Keepers, Hidden Kitchens, The Hidden World of Girls, The Sonic Memorial Project, Lost & Found Sound, and Fugitive Waves). "The Kitchen Sisters have done some of best radio stories ever broadcast" —Ira Glass. The Kitchen Sisters Present is produced in by The Kitchen Sisters (Nikki Silva & Davia Nelson) in collaboration with Nathan Dalton and Brandi Howell and mixed by Jim McKee. A proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.

The Kitchen Sisters Present Radiotopia

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.5 • 1.2K Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

The Kitchen Sisters Present… Stories from the b-side of history. Lost recordings, hidden worlds, people possessed by a sound, a vision, a mission. Deeply layered stories, lush with interviews, field recordings and music. From powerhouse NPR producers The Kitchen Sisters (The Keepers, Hidden Kitchens, The Hidden World of Girls, The Sonic Memorial Project, Lost & Found Sound, and Fugitive Waves). "The Kitchen Sisters have done some of best radio stories ever broadcast" —Ira Glass. The Kitchen Sisters Present is produced in by The Kitchen Sisters (Nikki Silva & Davia Nelson) in collaboration with Nathan Dalton and Brandi Howell and mixed by Jim McKee. A proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Eleanor Coppola: Notes on a Life

    Eleanor Coppola: Notes on a Life

    On April 12, 2024, Eleanor Coppola, artist, filmmaker, mother and wife of director Francis Ford Coppola, died at her home in the Napa Valley surrounded by family. She was 87 years old and had lived a most remarkable life.Shortly before her death, Eleanor had completed her third memoir. In it she wrote:“I appreciate how my unexpected life has stretched and pulled me in so many extraordinary ways and taken me in a multitude of directions beyond my wildest imaginings.”On May 6, 2008, on the occasion of the release of her second memoir, Notes on a Life, Eleanor and Davia sat down together at The Commonwealth Club of California and had this conversation before a live audience.Our thanks to The Commonwealth Club of California for sharing this 2008 recording. This conversation was part of their Good Lit Series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.The Kitchen Sisters' San Francisco studio is located in Francis and Eleanor's Zoetrope building in North Beach. Ellie has been a part of our lives since the day we came here some three decades ago. Our love goes to the many generations of the Coppola family.

    • 52 min
    Cool Hair, Great Smile: Remembering Knox Phillips

    Cool Hair, Great Smile: Remembering Knox Phillips

    Over the years, The Kitchen Sisters have zeroed in on Memphis, Tennessee in a big way. The inspiration for that and the inspiration for some of our favorite stories is Knox Phillips. Davia met Knox in 1997 in Memphis when she was doing casting for Francis Ford Coppola’s film The Rainmaker. She was on the set standing next to a guy. Cool hair, great smile. During the long set up between takes they started talking. About Memphis, about music, about radio. She told him about a new series we were starting to produce for NPR — Lost & Found Sound. Stories about sonic pioneers and people possessed by sound. The guy with the cool hair listens. “Girl, I think you better come over to the house and meet my parents. My dad, Sam, started the Memphis Recording Service and Sun Records. He recorded Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Howlin’ Wolf.... When he sold Elvis’ contract he and my mother, Becky, used the money to start the first all-girl radio station in the nation, WHER: 1000 Beautiful Watts.”Nikki was on a plane to Memphis the next day and we drove to the Phillips family house that night. Knox, Sam, Becky and Sam’s girlfriend Sally were all there and the stories started pouring out. We walked in at 7:00 and left after midnight, recording the whole time. Those interviews became the basis of some of the most groundbreaking Kitchen Sisters pieces. Knox Phillips — producer, promoter of Memphis music, Keeper of his family's legacy, died in April 2020, right at the beginning of the pandemic, and never really got his due. His massive spirit, love and music live on.

    • 40 min
    The Romance and Sex Life of the Date

    The Romance and Sex Life of the Date

    In 1898, the United States Department of Agriculture created a special department of men, called “Agriculture Explorers,” to travel the globe searching for new food crops to bring back for farmers to grow in the U.S. These men introduced exotic specimens like the mango, the avocado, and the date. In 1900, the USDA sent plant explorer, Walter Swingle, to Algeria to study the date. As Swingle took temperature readings and soil temperature, he realized that the conditions were very much like those in California’s hot, arid Coachella Valley, sometimes referred to as the American Sahara. In order to market this new fruit and promote the region, date growers in the Coachella Valley began capitalizing on the exotic imagery and fantasy many Americans associated with the Middle East. In the 1950s date shops dotted the highway, attracting tourists. There was Pyramid Date shop where you could purchase your dates in a pyramid. Sniff’s Exotic Date Garden set up a tent like those used by nomadic tribes of the Sahara. One of the most well-known date shops, which still exists today, is Shields Date Garden, established in 1924. Floyd Shields lured in customers with his lecture and slide show titled, “The Romance and Sex Life of the Date.”

    This story was produced in collaboration with Lisa Morehouse.

    • 15 min
    Parsi New Year—First Day of Spring

    Parsi New Year—First Day of Spring

    Niloufer Ichaporia King lives in a house with three kitchens. She prowls through six farmer’s markets a week in search of unusual greens, roots, seeds, and traditional food plants from every immigrant culture. She is an anthropologist, a kitchen botanist, a one-of-a-kind cook, a Parsi from Bombay living in San Francisco, and the author of My Bombay Kitchen: Traditional and Modern Parsi Home Cooking.

    Niloufer is known for her ritual celebrations of Navroz, Parsi New Year, on the first day of Spring, when she creates an elaborate ceremonial meal based on the auspicious foods and traditions of her vanishing culture. The Parsi culture is some 3,000 years old and goes back from India to Persia. It’s estimated that there are now under 100,000 Parsis in the world.

    Also featured in this Hidden Kitchens story are author Bharati Mukherjee, sharing her memories of the forbidden Bengali kitchen of her girlhood, with its four cooks and intricate rules of food preparation. And Harvard Professor Homi Bhabha, born in Mumbai to a Parsi family, who talks about auspicious lentils and the birth of his son.

    The Kitchen Sisters Present is produced by The Kitchen Sisters (Nikki Silva & Davia Nelson) with Nathan Dalton and Brandi Howell. We are part of Radiotopia from PRX, a curated network created specifically for independent podcasts—some of the best stories out there.

    Special thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and contributors to the non profit Kitchen Sisters Productions .

    • 17 min
    Buildings Speak: Stories of Pioneering Women Architects hosted by Frances McDormand

    Buildings Speak: Stories of Pioneering Women Architects hosted by Frances McDormand

    Little known stories of pioneering architects — Julia Morgan, the first accredited female architect in California, who designed Hearst Castle and was nearly written out of the history books. Natalie de Blois, who helped imagine the first glass skyscrapers on Park Avenue by day and raised four children by night. Amaza Lee Meredith, a Black queer modernist architect from the 1930s South who helped establish Sag Harbor as a haven for Black intellectuals, artists and beachcombers.

    A new special from The Kitchen Sisters, the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation and PRX, hosted by Academy Award-winning actress Frances McDormand.

    Story production by Brandi Howell for the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation’s podcast, New Angle: Voice, in association with The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva), mixed by Jim McKee.

    • 50 min
    Black Chef, White House—African American Chefs in the President's Kitchen

    Black Chef, White House—African American Chefs in the President's Kitchen

    A look at the President’s kitchen and some of the first cooks to feed the Founding Fathers—Hercules and James Hemings—the enslaved chefs of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

    Hercules, described as a “dandy,” had eight assistants—stewards, butlers, undercooks, waiters. He cooked in a huge fireplace—hearth cooking. He walked through the streets of Philadelphia in a velvet waistcoat, with a gold-handled cane. When Washington was getting ready to leave Philadelphia to return to Mt. Vernon, Hercules escaped. Washington sent out search parties and offered rewards. Hercules was never found.

    In 1784, Thomas Jefferson was appointed minister to France. He took with him his body servant, 19-year-old James Hemings (the brother of Sally Hemings), to master the French style of cooking. Hemings apprenticed with well-known French caterers and pastry chefs and assumed the role of chef de cuisine in Jefferson’s kitchen on the Champs-Elysees, earning $48 a year. In 1793, Hemings petitioned Jefferson for his freedom. Jefferson consented upon one condition—he must train someone to take his place. After teaching his brother, Peter Hemings, the cooking techniques he had learned in France and at home, James Hemings became a free man.

    These stories begin a long connection of presidents and their African American cooks, including the story of Zephyr Wright, President Lyndon Johnson’s cook who worked for the family for 27 years. Johnson spoke to Zephyr Wright about the Civil Rights Movement and the March on Washington. She attended the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Johnson gave her a pen he used to sign the document.

    Featuring interviews with: Jessica Harris, Culinary Historian and author of The Welcome Table: African American Heritage Cooking; Historian Willliam Seale, author of The President’s House; Chef Joe Randall, founder of African American Chef’s Hall of Fame; William Woys Weaver, food historian and author; Sharron Conrad, African American food historian. Special thanks to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum and Michael L. Gillette for use of Zephyr Wright’s oral history.

    The Kitchen Sisters Present is produced by The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva) and Nathan Dalton and Brandi Howell. Part of Radiotopia from PRX, a curated network of podcasts created and owned by independent producers.

    • 16 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
1.2K Ratings

1.2K Ratings

eg portland ,

Nothing else like this

Always something you would not hear about anywhere else. The Kitchen Sisters don’t disappoint in providing extra interesting topics and people who you will want to research further . I often think how have I never heard about this person after an episode.

Austinnnnnnnnnnnnnn ,

One of my favorites

Excellent storytelling, editing, and interviews. Radiolab first introduced me to the audio tapestries that are possible on radio / podcast. Kitchen Sisters transports you to hidden kitchens and other oral histories. My favorite episodes are the Sam Phillips episode about Sun Records, and the one about barbecue pits.

Dgh005 ,

Thank you!

I’m absolutely living for the Hip-hop archive in Harvard. I also really enjoy the diversity of the show in general. From women of different ethnic backgrounds, occupations, history really, coming together and giving them the platform to speak their truth. Keep the diversity going and flowing.

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