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Claudine Pépin Looks Forward to Food University

Claudine Pépin Looks Forward to Food University


We’ve spoken with culinary director Bradford Thompson, Rao’s proprietor Frank Pellegrino, and pastry chef François Payard about their participation in the upcoming Food University in Las Vegas, in which world-renowned chefs and culinary experts will be teaching hands-on classes, and there are even more interviews to look forward to before the event takes place at Caesars Palace from March 27 to 29. Now, we catch up with Claudine Pépin, daughter of famed chef Jacques Pépin, who's made a name for herself in the culinary industry in her own right.

"I’ve known [producer] Richard Gore for over 25 years, and when he explained the concept to me I was over-the-moon excited to be hosting," Pépin, who has been involved in the food industry her whole professional life, told The Daily Meal. "I won’t just be introducing chefs, though; I’ll be walking around and helping, pouring glasses of wine, with a goal to make the whole experience more fun and to act as liaison between the students and presenters."

As Pépin will have the opportunity to be a part of the overall experience (as opposed to just teaching one class), she’s most looking forward to watching participants grow and learn over the course of the event. "Watching somebody who thinks that they can’t cook, or that they have no palate, transcend that will be amazing. Watching people learn to trust themselves," she said. "We live with our palates, but a lot of people don’t trust it because they’ve been told otherwise. So when somebody tastes wine, and says 'I think I taste blackberries,' they might not have even known it was possible to be right!"

Pépin also believes that the value of the experience, when it comes to the price tag, is beyond compare. "$1,400 will get you a pass to, say Aspen Food & Wine, but that pass doesn’t actually put you in the kitchen, cooking with the chefs," she said. "I’ve done so many events, and I’ve never seen this ensemble. And to have the chefs actually do a hands-on class is amazing. If you really want to learn to cook instead of just looking at food, this will really be a once in a lifetime experience."

You better buy your tickets soon, though, because Pépin has a prediction: "By the time this comes around next year, we’ll have a three-year waiting list."

Dan Myers is the Eat/Dine Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @sirmyers.


DAUGHTER GROWS IN PEPIN'S SHADOW

There's a story that Claudine Pepin likes to tell about her relationship with her father, famed chef and author Jacques Pepin. It must be a family favorite because her dad relates the same tale in his sweet new memoir, The Apprentice (Houghton Mifflin, 2003).

"Claudine was at Boston University, where she was doing graduate work, and she had a small apartment there," Jacques Pepin writes. "She decided to make dinner for me one evening. She knew what I liked and wisely kept the food simple: roast chicken, sauteed potatoes, a green salad and fruit for dessert. Unfortunately, she started cooking too early and I came late -- not a good combination. She anxiously looked at my face and, reacting to my muteness, asked, 'So, how is it?' I answered, 'As a father . or as a chef?'"

Some kids would be daunted by such a retort. But in the Pepin household, honesty is highly prized and egos, while taken seriously, are strong enough to withstand bruising criticism. In fact, according to Claudine, among the riches she has reaped through a lifetime with her father is "how to accept criticism and not to take it personally."

And so as Father's Day approaches, the 35-year-old Pepin sat down to talk via telephone from Portland, Ore., where she lives. She told me of the joys of living with her famous father and the life lessons learned.

"He taught me there will always be somebody who's better than you and that if you can accept criticism, it will make you better. Growing up, I always knew that if I didn't want the real answer, then I just didn't ask the question."

Following that chicken dinner, Jacques Pepin mused that it might be fun to do a father-daughter series in which he taught his only child to cook. In so doing, he could speak to viewers who weren't necessarily chefs, foodies or particularly kitchen adept.

They named the series Cooking With Claudine, and it was so popular that PBS produced 26 shows, which were followed by 26 shows of Encore With Claudine. These were followed by 26 episodes of Jacques Pepin Celebrates, again co-starring Claudine.

Three books -- Cooking With Claudine (1996), Jacques Pepin Celebrates (2001) and Encore With Claudine (2002) , all published by Knopf -- accompanied the series. So the cooking authority's daughter who wasn't interested in food as a career found herself a cooking celebrity.

Her latest ventures are with a tiny Portland bakery and bistro, Ken's Artisan Bakery & CafM-i. She also recently married Rolland Wesen, a New York chef whose credentials include the well-respected Gramercy Tavern and the Rainbow Room. (The New York Times not only ran a feature story on their wedding, it also included the senior Pepin's wedding punch recipe for 90.) Today, Wesen is executive chef at Rivers American Grill in Portland.

If it seems odd that two up-and-comers in the New York City food scene abandoned the big city for a small one, a chat with Claudine dispels confusion. For someone who grew up with all the glamour of famed restaurants and chefs, she's down-to-earth. Maybe that's because she has lost the ability to be impressed. She says she is more interested in learning new things and enjoying life and her new marriage. This is an attitude she says she took from her father.

Pepin doesn't remember when she was not around restaurants and food. She recalls eating great food, always. But she didn't grow up jotting down her father's recipes and philosophies. Rather, she learned about food unconsciously.

"When I was growing up, the place where everybody always sat was in the kitchen. It was the central area of the house. And it was, 'Go pick these herbs. Go to the cooler and get this. Get some wine from the cellar.' The involvement in food was ever present. It wasn't until I was on my own, in my own apartment, that I learned how to cook. But I had already learned how to taste."

While winters were lived in or near New York City, where her father was becoming more recognized, summers were spent in France with her paternal grandmother and cousins. This European exposure has influenced the way she approaches food.

"Frugality in the kitchen is a huge lesson I learned. We use everything. There is nothing wasted in our house. My father's adamant about that." In the European tradition, leftovers are not really leftovers but the beginning of a new meal. Roast lamb becomes lamb curry, which may itself become something else.

"And definitely he taught me quality over quantity."

Growing up with the kitchen as the center of the household did not mean simply good food. It meant that the family gathered together around that food. "There was no missing dinner at our house."

Today, the family is still close. "I speak with my parents often. Even across the country, we still have a day-to-day relationship."

Kim Upton writes for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, a division of Tribune Media Services.

"Eggs were big at our house. We ate them for breakfast, lunch and dinner," Claudine Pepin says. Serve this omelet Repin-style with a salad and a fruit dessert. Try making this for dad on Father's Day.

Dash salt and fresh-ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fine-chopped parsley

1 teaspoon fine-chopped chervil

1 teaspoon fine-chopped tarragon

1 teaspoon fine-chopped chives

1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter

Mix the eggs, salt, pepper and herbs together in a bowl. Melt the butter in an omelet pan over high heat. When the butter is hot and the foaming has subsided, pour the egg mixture into the center of the pan and cook it over medium heat 10 to 15 seconds, allowing the eggs to set and curl at the edges.

Then with the tines of a fork, stir the eggs, so the runny part flows into the areas between the set curds. Repeat this process a few times. When most of the eggs are set but they are still slightly liquid in the center, the omelet is ready.

Using a fork or a thin spatula, fold the omelet in half in the pan. The underside will have a nice brown color. Invert the omelet onto a plate and serve it immediately. Makes 1 serving.

PER SERVING: 277 calories, 67 percent calories from fat, 21 grams total fat, 653 milligrams cholesterol, 8 grams saturated fat, 19 grams protein, 2 grams carbohydrates, .30 gram total fiber, 381 milligrams sodium.

Recipe adapted from Jacques Pepin Celebrates (Knopf, 2001) by Jacques Pepin.

"With my grandmother's souffle, you don't have to separate the eggs," Claudine Pepin says.

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

2 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) grated Swiss cheese, preferably gruyere

3 tablespoons minced fresh chives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 6-cup gratin dish and set aside. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a saucepan, then add flour and mix it in well with a whisk. Cook 10 seconds, add the milk in one pour and mix it in with a whisk. Keep stirring with the whisk 2 minutes until the mixture thickens and comes to a strong boil. It should be thick and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in salt and pepper. Allow about 10 minutes for the white sauce to cool.

Meanwhile, break the eggs into a bowl and beat well with a fork. Add the eggs, the cheese and the chives to the cooled sauce and mix well to combine. Pour into the prepared gratin dish and cook immediately or set aside until ready to cook. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until the souffle is puffy and well-browned on top. Although it will stay inflated for quite a while, it is best served immediately. Makes 4 servings.

PER SERVING: 543 calories, 71 percent calories from fat, 43 grams total fat, 418 milligrams cholesterol, 27 grams saturated fat, 26 grams protein, 9 grams carbohydrates, .16 gram total fiber, 473 milligrams sodium.

Recipe adapted from The Apprentice (Houghton Mifflin, 2003) by Jacques Pepin.

This recipe looks daunting, but it's actually easy. Once the little horn-shaped cookies are made, it's simply a matter of filling them with fresh berries and whipped cream. It's a perfect summer dessert. To make it even easier, the cookie horns can be made several days in advance and sealed in an airtight container so they stay crisp.

3 ounces (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

1 egg white from a large egg

8 cups mixed fruit such as pitted cherries, red currants, blackberries, raspberries, loganberries, strawberries and blueberries

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting, optional

TO MAKE CORNETS: Line a baking sheet with a reusable nonstick cooking mat or parchment or grease the baking sheet with butter. Melt the butter in a saucepan, and while it is still warm, add the sugar and whisk it into the butter for a few seconds. Add the vanilla and egg white and whisk for another few seconds and then add the flour and whisk until smooth. The mixture will still be a bit liquid.

Spoon heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, making only four cookies at a time. Using the bottom of the bowl of a teaspoon, spread the cookies in a circular motion (like spreading tomato sauce on pizza dough) until each cookie is about 5 inches in diameter. Bake in a 375-degree oven about 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Remove from oven and let settle and rest about 11/2 minutes before molding. (If molding is done too soon, the cookies will break apart.)

To mold, roll each large, warm cookie around a cone-shaped metal cornet, removing the cookies when cool, or simply roll the cookies free-form into a cornet shape without the metal insert. As soon as a free-form cornet is rolled, place a small cornet-shaped ball of crushed aluminum foil inside the cone to prevent it from collapsing while it dries. (To make single-portion cup-like receptacles to accommodate ice cream, whipped cream or fruit, press the hot cookies, top side out, around inverted 1/2 cup molds, pushing gently all around so the cookies conform to the shape of the molds.) Allow cookies to cool and harden 10 minutes before removing from molds

TO MAKE FILLING: Whip cream with sugar until stiff. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and partially fill cornets with cream. If a pastry bag is not available, cream can be spooned into a resealable plastic bag and one corner cut so that cream can be piped through it into cornets. Place on plate. Add fruit to each and then dust with confectioners' sugar, if using. Garnish with mint leaves. Makes about 8 cornets.

PER CORNET: 251 calories, 52 percent calories from fat, 15 grams total fat, 43 milligrams cholesterol, 9 grams saturated fat, 2 grams protein, 30 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams total fiber, 13 milligrams sodium.

Recipe adapted from Jacques Pepin Celebrates (Knopf, 2001) by Jacques Pepin.


Claudine Pépin Makes French Cooking Fun for Kids, Families

When Claudine Pépin was approached to write a book to inspire children to cook, she turned to the best local ingredients she could find: her family. With a husband who is a professional chef and instructor, a daughter who is a first-class taste tester, a mother who taught her everything she knows about entertaining, and a father who is perhaps the greatest chef in the world, writing a cookbook would be a piece of cake.

The result is Let's Cook French, A Family Cookbook: Cuisinons Francais, Un livre pour toute la famille (Quarry Books), a fun, bilingual, interactive cookbook that introduces families to the art and joy of French cooking. It also gets kids interested in making their own meals and encourages better eating habits, while also teaching the importance of culture.

Named "Woman of the Year" by the Academie Culinaire de France - Filiale des Etas Unis in 2002, Claudine grew up in the kitchen and joined her father, world-renowned chef Jacques Pépin, in preparing delicious meals and sharing cooking techniques on Jacques Pépin's Kitchen: Cooking with Claudine, Jacques Pépin's Kitchen: Encore with Claudine, and Jacques Pépin Celebrates. All three of their series have received the prestigious James Beard Award.

She and her 12-year-old daughter Shorey have also made appearances together on Essential Pépin and Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul. In addition, Claudine has made numerous television appearances including Cooking Live with Sara Moulton, Good Morning America, and Molto Mario with Mario Batali. With an undergraduate degree in political science and philosophy and graduate work in international relations from Boston University, Claudine also spent a great deal of time in the wine industry, with two years as the brand ambassador for Moët & Chandon and Dom Perignon Champagne in New York, while also teaching food and wine pairing for both the French Culinary Institute and the Sommelier Society in New York City.

"We had such fun putting this book together," Claudine says. "My husband Rollie worked with me on every single recipe and he always let me have my way, which is nice. Without him, I don't think we could have done the job that we did."

The illustrations for Let's Cook French were provided by Claudine's daughter and her father. An accomplished artist, Jacques was given a list of illustrations that were needed for the book and he and Shorey, a talented artist in her own right, worked together to add the finishing touches to the book. "We always have a special guest book or menu book and when people come for dinner, we do a little drawing and write the menu and everybody signs it," Claudine explains. "My father has amassed about seven or eight of them. The artwork that's in there is amazing and it's really fun to look through it and remember the dinner parties we had. Plus when you have people over again, you can remember what you served them. Sometimes wine or sauce will spill on it and that just makes it better. So it was perfectly fitting to have my dad and Shorey illustrate the book."

Let's Cook French features classic, simple dishes inspired by French cuisine and each recipe is shown in both English and French. "I'm hoping that the translations will appeal to educators because if you're a French teacher, you're always looking for ways to inspire kids, whether they are little or in high school and I think food is usually a good inspiration. Teachers could have the kids take home the recipes and try one at home for extra credit. I think something like that would be really fun. Following recipes and cooking helps you learn math and science, and, in this case, maybe a bit of French or English, too."

Recently named a finalist for an International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Award, Claudine says her whole concept for this book is to make "classic" French recipes really approachable for everyone, particularly kids. "People can get intimidated by names like vichyssoise, but it's not scary. It's very simple. The heart of the book is just really simple family recipes," she explains. "As a society, we have tried to encourage kids to eat healthy foods by hiding them or disguising them as something else or pouring bad cheese sauce on them, and I think that is a disservice to children. They don't come into the world eating only chicken nuggets, pizza, and French fries. They will eat the food they are given. That's the food that they will become used to and enjoy. So, if we feed them only 'kid' food, those are the tastes they will develop. If, however, we feed them all sorts of foods, they will eat them as well. Growing up, I was always given the same food that my parents and their friends were having, albeit I might have eaten earlier and a smaller portion."

Although many of the recipes in the book may have French names, most of them are very relatable to American recipes--perhaps with an added twist--but Claudine encourages readers to experiment and adapt the recipes to suit their own family's tastes. It's a perfect way to get children to try new things, inspire healthier eating habits, and spark their creativity, and that makes for some very happy cooking.


Legendary chef Pepin helps give people a second chance in food industry

(032618 Boston, MA) Students Mark Picard and Jerome Weeks work in the kitchen of the culinary school at the New England Center For Arts & Technology in Boston on Monday,March 26, 2018. Staff Photo by Nancy Lane

Various Spices like turmeric, cardamom, chili, bayberry, bay leaf, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, star anise on grunge background with space for your text

FAMILY AFFAIR: Jacques Pepin, above with daughter Claudine and son-in-law Rollie Wesen, appears Friday at NECAT, where Mark Picard and Jerome Weeks work, right.

PREP WORK: Joey Cuzzi, above, is executive director of the New England Center for Arts and Technology.

Instructor Tom Nelson, right, gives some knife skill tips to student Gabriel Brown.

(032618 Boston, MA) Students Gabriel Brown and Mark Picard work in the kitchen of the culinary school at the New England Center For Arts & Technology in Boston on Monday,March 26, 2018. Staff Photo by Nancy Lane

(032618 Boston, MA) Student JS Merlain holds up his work, diced potatoes, in the kitchen of the culinary school at the New England Center For Arts & Technology in Boston on Monday,March 26, 2018. Staff Photo by Nancy Lane

(032618 Boston, MA) Students Mark Picard and Jerome Weeks work in the kitchen of the culinary school at the New England Center For Arts & Technology in Boston on Monday,March 26, 2018. Staff Photo by Nancy Lane

(032618 Boston, MA) Students Mark Picard , Jerome Weeks and Gabriel Brown work in the kitchen of the culinary school at the New England Center For Arts & Technology in Boston on Monday,March 26, 2018. Staff Photo by Nancy Lane

FAMILY AFFAIR: Jacques Pepin, above with daughter Claudine and son-in-law Rollie Wesen, appears Friday at NECAT, where Mark Picard and Jerome Weeks work. (photo by Ken Goodman)

As the saying goes: Give a man a fish and you&rsquoll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you&rsquoll feed him for a lifetime. But learn to cook fish from Jacques Pepin, and you&rsquoll feed others for an entire culinary career.

On Friday, Pepin will appear at the New England Center for Arts and Technology for a cooking class and cocktail reception supporting the work of the Boston-based nonprofit, which provides employment training for the food service industry, including hands-on culinary instruction, to adults who are working to overcome barriers such as homelessness, substance abuse and former incarceration.

Culinary education is also the crux of the Jacques Pepin Foundation, a new nonprofit that expands on the life&rsquos work of the legendary French-born toque, star of numerous television shows &mdash including an Emmy-winning collaboration with Julia Child &mdash and author of a library of seminal cookbooks, from 1976&rsquos gourmand gospel &ldquoLa Technique&rdquo to last year&rsquos &ldquoA Grandfather&rsquos Lessons: In the Kitchen With Shorey,&rdquo which saw the chef cooking alongside his teenage granddaughter.

&ldquoSo much of my body of work has to do with technique, which trains your hand,&rdquo Pepin said. That kind of skill-based culinary learning can form the foundation for a long-lasting career.

&ldquoIt may take some time and research, but anyone can learn technique,&rdquo Pepin said. &ldquoThat alone doesn&rsquot make an extraordinary chef, but now you&rsquoll know the trade. And at that point you can run a restaurant. You can kind of redo your life.&rdquo

Pepin, 84, lives in Connecticut and has taught for decades in the culinary arts program at Boston University. In 2016, the BU School of Hospitality Administration named Pepin its first executive-in-residence.

The chef&rsquos support is a big boon to NECAT, which has enrolled about 500 students over the last five years. Over 70 percent moved on to employment in the food services industry, where underemployed communities find open doors as restaurants struggle to fill a national labor shortage that has resulted in more than 650,000 job vacancies, according to Rollie Wesen, Pepin&rsquos son-in-law and foundation co-founder.

They find open hearts and minds, too. &ldquoIt&rsquos a forgiving industry,&rdquo said Joey Cuzzi, executive director of NECAT. &ldquoIt&rsquos willing to look past history and take a chance on graduates who are making a commitment to better their lives.&rdquo

For Pepin, an eponymous foundation focused on technique and training both reaffirms the education-based element of his legacy and engages an important social justice initiative helping those in underemployed communities get back to work regardless of background and barriers.

&ldquoGiving pride back to people who have been disenfranchised is very important,&rdquo Pepin said. &ldquoThe dining table is a great equalizer.&rdquo

&ldquoI&rsquove heard Jacques say many times, &lsquoWe are all equal in the eyes of the stove,&rsquo&rdquo Wesen added.

NECAT is among the growing number of culinary training organizations and community kitchens to which the Jacques Pepin Foundation loans its resources, including the leverage of association with one of world&rsquos most iconic chefs.

The foundation, launched in 2016, is still a fledgling family affair run by Pepin, his daughter Claudine Pepin, whose TV and writing work (including her debut 2015 cookbook, &ldquoLet&rsquos Cook French&rdquo) follow in her famous father&rsquos footsteps, and Wesen, a culinary instructor and assistant professor at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island. Other upcoming events include &ldquoSavor,&rdquo a June 7 gala dinner and fundraiser for the R.I. Food Bank featuring such luminaries as Ming Tsai and Sara Moulton.

Asked about her father&rsquos greatest asset as a teacher, Claudine Pepin is quick to respond. &ldquoHumility,&rdquo she said. &ldquoHe&rsquos extremely humble with people that he meets, and doesn&rsquot really see the reach of his success.&rdquo

What&rsquos the best lesson he ever gave her?

&ldquoDon&rsquot burn the garlic,&rdquo said Claudine. &ldquoAnd don&rsquot take yourself too seriously.&rdquo


Episode Transcript

MARTIE DUNCAN Welcome to Homemade, I&aposm Martie Duncan. I&aposve got such a special show for you today. No matter if you call her Gigi, Mimi, or MawMaw, many of you have fond memories of your grandmother&aposs cooking. And some of you may have been lucky enough to have learned to cook alongside your grandmothers. That is also true for some of my guests on Homemade. Miss Patti Patti Labelle, Rachael Ray, Marcus Samuelsson, and others have shared wonderful memories, recipes, and some really funny stories on previous episodes that I&aposd thought you would enjoy hearing. Let&aposs dive into how and why our grandmothers are so integral to our love and appreciation for home cooking.

First, we&aposll hear from Allrecipes Allstar Jessie Sheehan, the author of Icebox Cakes and The Vintage Bake. She dove deep with me into her grandmother&aposs lemon velvet sheet cake and how she eventually learned that even grandmothers have secrets and sometimes the best things do come straight from a box.

MARTIE I know this lemon velvet sheet cake that you have on the Allrecipes site is one of your favorites. 

JESSIE SHEEHAN It is.

MARTIE And it&aposs got a funny story. 

JESSIE So, the funny thing about me, just a little back story is that I did not grow up baking. I didn&apost have a mom whose apron strings I was holding on to from one year old or climbing on a stool to whisk something with her. I didn&apost really come from the baking family. But my father&aposs mom, my paternal grandmother, did like to bake. However, I wasn&apost interested in kind of learning from her.

So when we went to visit her, I was extremely excited for her. She made these miniature Tollhouse cookies that I loved, and she made chocolate cakes that I loved, and she made challah bread, which was delicious. But what I really loved was her lemon velvet sheet cake.

And that was kind of a departure for me, because I&aposm not really a lemon person. I&aposm very much a chocolate person. But loved this cake. It had this delicious kind of glaze that shattered when you bit into it because it hardens like that. It was just to die. And many years later, after my grandmother passed and I began to be interested in baking, I thought, "Oh, I want to see her old recipes."

So I contacted my cousin, who was older than me and who had always love baking, so she had all my grandmother&aposs recipes. And I said, "Rachel, you&aposve got to send me the lemon velvet cheesecake recipe. I&aposm dying to make it. It&aposs going to be so fun. I have this brand new blog. Can&apost wait to put it up there." You know, "Please help." She sent me the recipe. And the first ingredient is a box of lemon velvet cake mix, which is either Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines, I don&apost know which one. And it was such an amazing aha moment, I have to tell you, because I loved boxed cake mix.

MARTIE Right. 

JESSIE I always have. I always will. On my birthday, I have my sons make me like a Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines chocolate cake with frosting from a can.

MARTIE Well, I don&apost think there&aposs any shame in that. So you have since perfected a different version of your grandma&aposs lemon velvet sheet cake, and you shared that with us for one of your recipes on Allrecipes.

JESSIE A hundred percent. Because, even though I do love a boxed cake mix, I kind of also appreciated the challenge of taking this recipe of my grandmother&aposs that called for one and trying to replicate it. And I joke, but really I&aposm being serious, my goal in every cake I develop is to try to make it taste like a box cake because that&aposs the flavor I love.

MARTIE Former co-host of "The Chew" and "Top Chef" alum Carla Hall peeled back the flaky layers of her approach to biscuits for us and shared a story about her grandmother&aposs cast-iron skillet. 

So let&aposs dive into the biscuit recipe. I know you got a granny that was an amazing cook. Freddie Mae, right? 

CARLA Yes. Freddie Mae Glover, mhm.

MARTIE OK. So is this Freddie Mae&aposs recipe or somebody else&aposs? Or yours or a combination?

CARLA It&aposs a combination. It was taken from Freddie Mae, Granny, and then when I was in London, I grabbed a scone recipe and tweaked it — because it was heavier without buttermilk. And then I&aposve just been tweaking it over the years. It&aposs more my Granny&aposs than anything else, and I&aposve changed the method. The recipe itself is fine. I changed the method to make it more consistent.

MARTIE I had to change my mama&aposs just a little bit, too. The thing I change about my mother&aposs biscuit recipe is that my mother didn&apost laminate it or fold it over and over and over. She basically got it all pulled together, folded over once, and then roll that sucker out and cut it out and throw it in the pan. And, you know, she had four kids. She didn&apost have time to fool with it. But I figured out that, although most people say you don&apost touch a biscuit dough very much, I found out that if you kind of laminate it almost like puff pastry or croissants, you get the flaky layers.

CARLA You do.

MARTIE Yeah.

CARLA That&aposs what I started doing.

MARTIE Me too.

CARLA I laminate my dough. And that&aposs because when the butter is cold, it has water in it. So when you do those layers — so now you have, depending on how many turns, you may have nine layers. I do three turns and then that cold butter creates steam. And then that creates the layers and the tall biscuit. It is delicious. The other thing that I do for consistency is I grate my butter.

MARTIE I do, too.

CARLA Right? Oh, my God. Martie.

MARTIE We are soul mates!

CARLA Why aren&apost we making biscuits right now?

MARTIE I know. Oh, girl. Let&aposs do a big biscuit party. Come on.

CARLA Oh, my God. Are you kidding me?

MARTIE Let&aposs find a place and do one.

CARLA I mean, we even have — What time is it? It&aposs biscuit time! What time is it? It&aposs biscuit time!

MARTIE It&aposs biscuit time. What time is it? It&aposs biscuit time.

CARLA It&aposs biscuit time. That&aposs what&aposs up!

MARTIE I&aposm ready. I&aposm so ready.

CARLA I had my grandmother&aposs cast iron skillet.

MARTIE How wonderful.

CARLA I remember this like it was yesterday. I was in New York. I was making a dish that Michael Simon had done on "The Chew" and it was this warm mushroom vinaigrette. So, I had sauteed the mushrooms, and I was putting the olive oil and vinegar in the pan. And I was like, where&aposs the liquid going? And the pan cracked.

MARTIE Cracked. Oh, I&aposve heard of that recently. Only in, like, the last month have I even heard of that ever happening. I wonder why!

CARLA I think it&aposs because the pan was so hot for the mushrooms and then I put in the vinegar and not the oil first, right? And I was starving. When I started doing this I was starving. And I sat there, and I looked at the pan. And when I realized what was happening, I was like, "Nooo!"

And the tears just flowed. Because it was almost like I was just losing this thing of my grandmother&aposs, and I can&apost cook in it anymore. I still have it. But it was so emotional because so when you talk about your mother&aposs meatloaf pan and the rolling pin it and the connection that we have and what is almost like this talisman of making that dish. Right?

MARTIE True.

CARLA And when you don&apost have it, you&aposre like, oh, my God, can I.

MARTIE Can I still cook? It&aposs like my magic.

CARLA Right, right. Exactly.

MARTIE Host of the PBS program "No Passport Required," Marcus Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia, but he grew up in Sweden. He told me all about the sounds, smells, and sights he remembers from his Swedish grandmother&aposs kitchen.

MARCUS SAMUELSSON You walk into my grandparents&apos house, to the left my grandfather was sitting by the radio listening to things. Not really watching TV, always to the radio, commenting back to the radio, screaming at the radio if he was upset. And then you walk into the grandmother&aposs place, which was really the kitchen, which really, 70 percent of the house, where it was always a stock or broth cooking, smelling in the back. There was always a bread to be made. So there was dough somewhere. 

MARTIE Right.

MARCUS She was cleaning something, whether it was chicken or fish. Vegetables were everywhere. Fruits were everywhere. We either had to go out and pick it or we had to clean it. Or we have to go foraging for lingonberries or mushrooms, depending on what season it was. And then, of course, in the basement, it was the labeling of all the jars. And it could read something like, "Lingonberries, October 1981." "Pickled mushrooms, September 1982." And when you had the job to could bring those jobs back up, you better bring the right season. And in Sweden at that time, you know, it&aposs different. This food, this basement, was kept in — if the Russians would come, which was really real.

MARTIE Yes. 

MARCUS Right, this was real. It was not something that, you know, you can almost laugh at today. But no, this was happening. This real Cold War fear. 

MARTIE Yes. 

MARCUS So, that&aposs how I grew up, with fresh food. Our steak was cod or halibut. Our second day meal was very often a fish soup or fish with fish dumplings. The meat that we had was meatballs was grounded meat. And if we ever had steak, it was pork.

MARTIE I want to know about fish dumplings. 

MARCUS Mhm. 

MARTIE What was that like? Tell me about that.

MARCUS Oh, fabulous. So it was really scraps of cod or halibut or whatever fish that we had back. You had to have to clean the cod. You scrape it, you get all that — you get this bucket of beautiful fish meat that in a restaurant today would be used to for tartars or used for other treatments. And that, with a little bit of butter or some type of fat, get mixed up, very often filled with breadcrumbs. So eventually the way someone makes meatballs, it&aposs the same type of structure — a little bit onion, a little bit of breadcrumbs, a little bit of that first meat. And you roll it, and you could either boil them.

MARCUS Or you fry them.

MARTIE Like, so, dumplings, essentially. 

MARCUS Dumplings, exactly. And then they were served with, we always had potatoes. They very often get sweetened with an apple or a pear, and then get mashed. 

MARTIE Right. 

MARCUS My grandmother maybe had carrots ready or horseradish that we grinded in. 

MARTIE And that would go in the mashed potatoes?

MARCUS That goes in the mash. Right? 

MARTIE Ooh, that sounds good.

MARCUS Oh, it was delicious. And then she made the gravy from where we seared the fish, the dumplings. Very often with pickle juice. From the cucumbers, she took the pickle juice. Milk or cream, whatever she had, thicken that up with a little bit of flour. In her later days, when she got hip, she even added soy into that. I can&apost believe it.

MARTIE Really?

MARCUS Yeah, yeah. She did what she&aposd seen on TV. 

MARTIE Yeah. She was doing fusion cooking before there was fusion cooking. 

MARCUS Way before. Way before.

MARTIE I think all of our ancestors, you know, they did what they had to do. And, you know, wanted to be creative, too, in the kitchen just like we are, where they wanted to try something a little bit different, a little bit unique.

MARCUS My grandmother was completely in favor of child labor. I have to say that, first off. So, like, if, you, you know, when you&aposre seven or eight or 10 or whatever — if me and my sister went to my grandmother, it was full with awareness that we&aposre working. I never remember playing with my grandmother. Or my grandfather. It was full-on work. I set the bike. I ran up the 15 stairs. And I was sweaty because I was probably bike racing with my sisters. But once you enter, you were actively working. So it wasn&apost a place where I brought my friends, necessarily. But I also was there because you always got great food. 

MARTIE I was so thrilled to speak with Grammy-winning music and culinary icon Miss Patti LaBelle, who as a grandmother herself, told me about her famous pies and what she loves to cook for her grandkids. 

Tell me a little bit about, like, secrets to that. Your piecrust, for example, was this something that you had just teach yourself? Your grandmother, your momma, daddy taught you? 

PATTI LABELLE My mother and grandmother, they made the ones with the, uh, crust crust. Sometimes, you don&apost have time to make a crust, you buy a crust. And you can add anything to your crust, more butter, or whatever. So I do it both ways. And every time you make a sweet potato pie, you add a little something, and sometimes you don&apost. It&aposs like an experiment every time I do pie.

MARTIE If I was hanging out at your house with you and your kids and your grandkids, what are they asking for? What is the number one thing that they want every day?

PATTI My little babies, they love my macaroni and cheese. They eat macaroni for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And my son and his wife, they eat whatever I cook because my son has a great skill of cooking also. So he&aposs been doing a lot of the cooking. Like, he&aposll take my recipes and say, "Oh no, Ma, this is the way you make it." Yeah, right. He steals my recipes, but he does it well and respectfully.

MARTIE And then didn&apost you use some your grandmother&aposs recipes like the pie recipes? 

PATTI Oh, you got that right. 

MARTIE I mean, that&aposs how you do it. You pass it down. 

MARTIE That&aposs why I really wanted to have you on this show because, for me, the stories, the back stories, It&aposs like music, isn&apost it?

PATTI Yeah.

MARTIE Because when you eat something it takes you to a place and time. It&aposs an ingrained memory of something. And I feel like it&aposs so important for us to pass these things down to our kids and our grandkids and make sure these family traditions continue. 

PATTI Stay in the family forever and always pass it on.

MARTIE Stay tuned for more from Rachael Ray, Jet Tila, Angela Sackett, and Claudine and Jacques Pépin. We&aposll be right back after the break.

Welcome back to Homemade. Like Patti LaBelle, who we heard before the break, chef Jacques Pépin is also a grandparent. We discussed how he&aposs passing on what he knows to his granddaughter Shorey. Plus, Jacques&apos daughter Claudine shared some memories of spending summers in France with her grandmother.

Claudine, do you remember your grandmother? Do you remember cooking with your grandmother?

CLAUDINE Oh, my gosh. Absolutely. Starting at the age of, I don&apost know, three or four, I basically would summer in France with my grandmother. And we would do stuff together. We&aposd go to the market together. We would cook together. We would do the dishes together. We would do everything together. She had this really cool garden. So you&aposd walk out the back door and there was a ground level patio and you&aposd walk upstairs and there were two sides to the garden and then a really pretty lawn and stuff. And it was really fun.

And she would have a garden up here. And if it was the right time of year, we would go and dig potatoes and she would just like rub the skin off and put it in a skillet with butter, and I promise you, you have never had anything better in your whole life. Just right out of the garden, little potato that&aposs this big. Saut just right in butter. And, ugh, it was so good. And a steak, like a super, super thin steak. And my grandmother liked her steak rare, but like rare like you might still need a fork to catch the steak, because it was still moving. 

MARTIE Right. 

CLAUDINE So we would have a super rare steak and these potatoes and a green salad. And it waas just — it&aposs still like one of the best meals ever.

MARTIE And now, Chef, you do the same thing with Shorey, your granddaughter. You take her to your garden, you cook with her. You have her in your kitchen.

JACQUES Yes. I mean, certainly when she was small, but I did something with Claudine when she was a couple of years old. I hold her in my arm and she stirred the pot. After a while she stirred the pot, she could made it. So she was going to eat it. So you have to get the kid involved. So once Shorey was small, I had that little stool next to me at the counter in the kitchen. Not now, because now she is taller than me.

But at that time, she stood there and I said, "OK, give me a spoon. OK, give me that. Help me wash the salad. OK." Take her out to the garden. I say, "Get me some parsley. No, that&aposs chive. Taste it. No, that&aposs parsley. That&aposs chive. That&aposs tarragon." And then take her to the market. And in the market they get me some pear. "Make sure they are ripe. Did you smell them? You think they ripe? Those tomatoes, you think they are ripe?" Come back to the house, then she helped me in the kitchen.

So you know that create a background against which we start talking not only about the food, but then, of course, when we enjoy the food sitting down together and that create a conversation. Because very often, what do you talk to a teenager who has, you know, an iPhone in their hand and so forth. For us, cooking and the kitchen itself has been a canvas unto which we can develop conversation and talk about — so the structure of the family is a very, very important for us. and this is done very often in the context of cooking the kitchen and so forth.

MARTIE You know, I garden also and my father and my mom did. And I always feel like kids were more likely to eat the food if they had a hand in either growing it or cooking it.

JACQUES Yes. You know, I have given the classes in part of the country where the kids think that a chicken is rectangular with plastic on top. It doesn&apost have any feet, doesn&apost have any head or anything like that. So, you know, it&aposs good to go back a bit to mother nature.

MARTIE Allrecipes Allstar Angela Sackett had distinctly different grandmothers growing up. And in this clip, she says that of the two, you might be surprised whose cooking she remembers most.

ANGELA SACKETT I was primarily raised by a single mom and then I had, I&aposll really say, three grandparents who had a ton of influence on me in the area of food. The southern grandma Kentucky, Tennessee, pot roast, fried pecan pies, you name it. And that was there was always 10 times more than the family could eat on the table. A little bit of stress associated with it, though, cause she did it all by herself and nobody was allowed to help. And another grandma that was more a gourmet, chef, cook, oh, she was glamorous. Had her own TV show.

MARTIE What?!

ANGELA And all those good things.

MARTIE You had a grandma with a cooking show?

ANGELA Oh, girl. It was like a variety show from what I understand. Musicians, she was friends at Bob Hope. You name it. What a life, right?

MARTIE Well how exciting and glamorous is that? So you were influenced by your southern granny who probably did the full Southern — I see where she would cook you a full Southern breakfast.

ANGELA Oh, you know it.

MARTIE So what was it? Like eggs and pancakes and bacon and sausage?

ANGELA Plus the grits, or the cream of wheat and the gravy. And we always had on the table.

MARTIE Love cream of wheat!

ANGELA Oh yeah. Oh yeah. And then either — well, usually both — sliced tomatoes and whole green onions that you would just eat, hold &aposem in your hand and eat them with your breakfast. Did you do that?

MARTIE Yeah, I was just talking about that yesterday to my nephew, I made lunch for my nephew yesterday. And I was just saying, you know, when my mother would set the table, if there were tomatoes, there were also green onions.

MARTIEShe&aposd call them spring onions.

ANGELA Oh yeah.

MARTIE So I was dicing up a couple yesterday to put on some chili, and I was telling my nephew that story, and I need to research that and find out where that comes from. Because if there were sliced tomatoes, which often was a vegetable for us, then there was absolutely spring onions on the table with it.

ANGELA Huh! That&aposs a thing. We gotta find out the roots of that. 

MARTIE Yeah, we sure do. So you had this glamorous granny who had a variety show, and then you had a Southern Granny who was making you grits and biscuits. Well, how wonderful!

Of that, tell me your favorite memory of one dish that you remember from your grandmother. What did she cook for you that was your favorite thing that you look forward to more than anything?

ANGELA You&aposre going to laugh. But actually, it&aposs the glamorous grandma that comes to mind first. And that is she used to make this dish called rumaki — have you ever made rumaki?

MARTIE Yeah.

ANGELA It was chestnuts, I think.

MARTIE Yes.

ANGELA Wrapped in bacon.

MARTIE Bacon.

ANGELA And that was Christmas Eve, every year. The whole family would come on Christmas Eve to that grandma&aposs house. And she had all the little fancy things. That&aposs the first time I ever had hearts of palm. Those would come straight out the can and onto the plate. That was the big life, we thought.

MARTIE So this was in that late &apos60s, early &apos70s, I&aposm guessing? &aposCause those kinds of things.

ANGELA More like late &apos70s. But that was, that had held over. Yep. 

Martie Yeah. Those kind of dishes were big in the.

ANGELA Oh yeah.

MARTIE I would say late &apos60s through the &apos70s, those little pickup, you know, cocktail-y things where you substitute for cooking sometimes. Well, that&aposs funny rumaki would be the thing that came to mind. 

ANGELA Isn&apost that hilarious? I will say this to that same grandma also made — she called it a seven-cheese macaroni, but it really just depended on how many different cheeses struck her fancy when she went to the grocery store and she would cut them all up in cubes and shake &aposem in corn starch. Layer it and poured milk in. And to this day, that is the dish that my kids will ask for when they really want to splurge on a holiday, is Grandma Rose&aposs seven cheese macaroni, which might have 12, it might have five…

MARTIE Or two.

ANGELA Yeah, or two!

MARTIE In this clip, Los Angeles-based chef, cookbook author, and Food Network personality Jet Tila grew up in a restaurant family. He explains how his grandmother was his primary caregiver and practically raised him in the kitchen.

MARTIE Tell me about cooking in the kitchen with your grandmother. 

JET Yeah. And I&aposm going to give you the real answer, you know, and not the romanticized answer. Although, she absolutely was the most formidable influence in my cooking life, for sure. So at about the age of three, I had a lot of attention issues as a child. I was a very difficult child. And she, I think, understood that I&aposm not going to learn much from books and math and reading. So she stuck me in the kitchen with her, right next to her hip at three years old, and just focused all that crazy energy I had into tasks.

So, peel this. Cut this. Taste this. And then that becomes peeling becomes cutting. Cut this. And that becomes cooking this. And we had field trips every day. She was my primary caregiver for a long time. And we&aposd get on the bus to Chinatown, and we&aposd eat dim sum. We&aposd go to grocery shopping. And she played mahjong for a few hours. And then we&aposd come home and we&aposd cook dinner together.

MARTIE Wonderful. 

JET And over the course of thousands of meals and thousands of lessons — she was also a natural teacher. She was mean as heck, by the way, which all the things I really needed. I needed focus. I needed to learn a trade because I wasn&apost a book learner. And I also needed discipline. And she gave me all these three things, but man, she was one of the meanest women I&aposve ever known. And that&aposs what I needed at the time. So I have a very fond place in my heart for her.

MARTIE Absolutely. I can see absolutely why. And I think all of us need that. 

JET Did you ever watch the Disney short, Bao? You should really watch it. It&aposs about this kid who goes with his mom. But it wasn&apost that touchy feely, soft version. It was the tough, what I needed version. 

MARTIE Tough love is the most important love sometimes. 

JET I agree. 

MARTIE So what would you make with her? Like is there something you make now that is something inspired by those days in the kitchen with your grandma?

JET My grandmother was Cantonese. And what people don&apost know, that Cantonese Chinese people eat soup with every meal. It&aposs a tradition, where you would make a soup, And you&aposd probably make like a stock, like either pork stock or chicken stock, primarily. And she was a master of making soups. So she would roast the bones and roast, you know, the — well, I didn&apost know what aromatics were, of course, until I went to culinary school. So she would take daikon radish and ginger and all these things. And so I made a very simple pork and winter melon soup just a few weeks ago. Because, you know, COVID, this lockdown, gives us a lot of anxiety. And I think I just needed a little piece of Gramma&aposs soup. 

MARTIE I can get you and everybody else that bought up all the yeast during the pandemic. Everybody was looking for that. Everybody was looking for that, Jet. Everybody wanted that touch of home and that sense that, hey, it&aposs gonna be OK.

MARTIE So tell me what it was again. It was.

JET Basically a lot of Chinese stocks are pork stock-based. 

JET So rib bones or neck bones, you roast those off to make a dark stock, a brown stock. Add some daikon radish, which is an aromatic. Some ginger and garlic, which is an aromatic. You cook that down for a few hours and then you finish soup with that final flavoring, and it&aposs usually a vegetable. And I used winter melon. You ever used a winter melon? It&aposs a gourd.

MARTIE Never heard of it. 

JET Imagine the sweetness of zucchini multiplied by 10. 

JET It&aposs got that earthy sweetness. So you basically the final product is just a bowl of soup with riblets and winter melon. And it&aposs a very simple soup. You eat it with rice. Like, yesterday&aposs rice put into soup makes a rice porridge of some sort. So.

MARTIE I love that. I always put rice in my soup. I always do. And you know, I always wondered why in every single Chinese restaurant you ever saw, there was always two or three soups. And so now I know. 

JET That&aposs it. Cantonese Chinese. We eat soup with every meal.

MARTIE Finally, to wrap up today&aposs show, Rachael Ray told us her grandfather was actually a gigantic influence on her love of food. She also described the life lessons she learned from him about appreciating everyday blessings.

All right. So, Rachael, you&aposve talked a lot about growing up in food and one of your first memories, watching your mom in a restaurant kitchen. Our listeners would love to hear more about growing up in a family with so many good cooks in the kitchen.

RACHAEL Well, my mom&aposs 85, and she worked in restaurants for 60 years. 

MARTIE Wow. 

RACHAEL And when I was a little girl, my first memory was being on her hip and she had turned on the flat top, the griddle. And she was fighting with one of the purveyors and phones had cords then. So the part you&aposre talking to was attached to that was on the wall. 

MARTIE Right.

RACHAEL She had gotten so whipped up, she was spinning around and around in a circle. And so she had to unwind and put me down because I was on her hip. 

MARTIE Right. 

RACHAEL She went to hang up the phone. I reached up to grab at a spatula, to mimic her because she&aposs always in the kitchen, and I grilled my thumb to the griddle.

MARTIE Oooh. 

RACHAEL And that&aposs my first memory in life, is that. People, of course, can&apost see it, &aposcause this is audio, but the scar on my thumb is kind of like my Harry Potter stamp for what would come.

And when I was even younger than that, when I was at home, my first caretaker was my grandfather. And my grandpa had 10 children. My mom was the firstborn, the eldest child. And her responsibility was to help Grandpa. And his primary responsibility was growing the food. And he was the cook of the family. My grandmother was the seamstress and the baker. And Grandpa also worked 80 to 100 hours a week as a stonemason. 

MARTIE Really? 

RACHAEL So he would tend his gardens literally by moonlight. And he would process and make all the food and then put it into his big wood-burning oven when he&aposd go to work and pull it out when he&aposd come home to check on the kids. And then he&aposd go back to work. I mean, he was an amazing man and he was my best friend when I was little. He was my nanny, really. He was the child caregiver, you know?

MARTIE Isn&apost that amazing? I never got to meet any grandparents. It&aposs so amazing that you have that legacy and that memory. What is one of your favorite dishes that your grandfather would make that you still make?

RACHAEL Everything with fish that I make. I&aposs very funny because my mother, she doesn&apost mind anchovies melted into oil, but she really doesn&apost like fish the way I like seafood. Grandpa would play cards with the Runzo boys, and I would sit on his lap and they played Tressette, three sevens, or Scopa, which mean "to sweep". It&aposs a card game too.

I&aposd sit on his lap and he&aposd play cards with the Runzo boys, and we&aposd have sardine sandwiches with onions. And I loved sardine sandwiches with onions, and I love spaghetti aglio e olio with tons of anchovies melted into spaghetti. I love sardine spaghetti. I love puttanesca sauce, of course. All of those dishes remind me of him, because that&aposs part of the time that we shared together. And I write about that in my last book. I wrote a book when I turned 50 and there&aposs a.

MARTIE Yeah, I have it. It&aposs a great book. 

RACHAEL Thank you. There&aposs a chapter called "Sardine Sandwiches Don&apost Make You Friends." So my first day at school, I took a book. The teacher took it away because the other children didn&apost know how to read yet. And they took away my sardine sandwich.

MARTIE What?

RACHAEL It was in a bag at lunch and I took it out of the bag and everybody made fun of me because it smelled. I went home hysterical crying. And my grandfather basically made fun of me and said, "You have 10 fingers, 10 toes, and a brain." He made me count my fingers, count my toes. He knocked on my head and said, "What&aposs in there?" I said, "My brain." He said, "Well, you have 10 fingers, 10 toes, and a brain. What are you crying about?" And that&aposs an important lesson to learn in life. To, you know, save your tears for when times truly deserve it. 

MARTIE When you really need them. That&aposs right. Like now, so many people are upset about having to be at home. And I mean, I can see why if, especially, if they&aposve lost their jobs. That makes a lot of sense to me. But I hear a lot of people kind of whining about having to be at home. And to me, I think it&aposs almost a little bit of a blessing because I&aposm doing so many things that I never get to do.

RACHAEL You have to try and make it into a blessing. I think blessings don&apost just happen. I&aposm sure some do by fortune or divinity or good juju in the universe or karma or whatever. 

But I think a lot of blessings — you can also kind of make a fertile environment for them. Wake up with a positive attitude, challenge yourself to do something that you&aposve never done before. Look at things in a slightly different way, and try and find something to be grateful for as early as you can in your day, every day.

MARTIE Thanks so much for tuning in to our special grandmother&aposs episode of Homemade. I hope it helped you recall some of your memories in grandma&aposs kitchen, and I hope it will encourage you to write down those cherished family recipes and stories. You&aposll be so glad you did. 

Coming up on the next episode of Homemade, actor and five-time Emmy Award nominee Jesse Tyler Ferguson from "Modern Family" joins me to talk about his new cookbook, growing up in New Mexico, and how he discovered his love of cooking.

JESSE TYLER FERGUSON I remember wanting to tackle my first Thanksgiving dinner after I moved to L.A. and getting in way over my head and really wanting to do everything. I did not want anyone bringing anything.

MARTIE We&aposve all done it. We&aposve all done it.

JESSE We&aposve done it. You do it once and then you realize that doesn&apost ever need to be done again. I do love entertaining and it&aposs been a joy to feed my family, feed my friends. It&aposs how I show my love to people. 

MARTIE I had such a good time talking to Jesse. Didn&apost you just love his character on "Modern Family"? Subscribe to the podcast now so you don&apost miss it. And if you could, rate Homemade and leave us a review. I&aposd really appreciate it.

And don&apost forget, you can find thousands of recipes, meal ideas, and cooking how-tos from the world&aposs largest community of cooks at Allrecipes.com. 

This podcast was recorded in Birmingham, edited in Atlanta, and can be found wherever you get your podcasts. 

Homemade is produced by Allrecipes with Digital Content Director Jason Burnett. Thanks to our Pod People production team Rachael King, Matt Sav, Danielle Roth, Jim Hanke, Maya Kroth, and Erica Huang.


About Claudine Pépin

Claudine Pépin studied political science and international relations at Boston University. With restaurants in her blood, however, Claudine found jobs in wine and food. When Jacques Pépin asked his only daughter to appear with him on a PBS series, she agreed. "Cooking with Claudine" marked her television debut and the first time her work intersected with her father&aposs. The two went on to film "Encore with Claudine" and "Jacques Pépin Celebrates." All three series won James Beard Foundation Awards. Claudine also appeared on "Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in The Kitchen" in 2015. That same year, she published a cookbook, Let&aposs Cook French, A Family Cookbook, complete with illustrations from Jacques and her daughter, Shorey. Claudine and her husband, Chef Rollie Wesen, lead the Jacques Pépin Foundation. They live in Rhode Island.

Follow the Jacques Pépin Foundation on Facebook and Instagram, and check out its website.


Saint Martin's University announces celebrity chef Jacques Pépin as host of Gala 2020

LACEY, Wash. &ndash Saint Martin&rsquos University has announced that the 2020 Saint Martin&rsquos Gala will feature celebrity chef Jacques Pépin, world-renowned host of several acclaimed and popular cooking programs on public television, including his series with Julia Child, &ldquoJulia and Jacques Cooking at Home.&rdquo He will be joined by Claudine Pépin, his daughter and co-host for the series &ldquoJacques Pépin&rsquos Kitchen: Encore with Claudine&rdquo and &ldquoJacques Pépin&rsquos Kitchen: Cooking with Claudine.&rdquo

The Saint Martin's Gala, which will be on Saturday, Nov. 7, currently planned to be held in the Marcus Pavilion on Saint Martin&rsquos main campus in Lacey, is the University&rsquos major fundraising event for student scholarships. Last year&rsquos Gala raised $1.4 million for scholarships. Over the years, the black-tie affair has grown to be the premier culinary event in the South Sound region, featuring a live auction, a five-course gourmet dinner and on-stage cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs. Previous featured chefs have included Carla Hall, Roy Yamaguchi, Ming Tsai, Andrew Zimmern, Lidia Bastianich and Michael Symon.

This year, 2020, also marks Saint Martin&rsquos University&rsquos 125th anniversary as an institution of higher learning. As part of its 125th anniversary, the University will honor its namesake, Saint Martin of Tours, with a French-themed menu and recipes from Pépin, a James Beard Award-winning chef and dean of special programs of the International Culinary Center (formerly The French Culinary Institute).

Saint Martin&rsquos University President Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D., said, &ldquoWe are so blessed to welcome celebrated chef, author, educator and culinary legend Jacques Pépin as the host of Gala 2020. His lifelong passion for food and cooking as well as his commitment to education and nonprofits make him the perfect host for the Saint Martin&rsquos University Gala during our 125th anniversary year.&rdquo

Pépin was born in Bourg-en-Bresse, near Lyon, France. His first began cooking as a child in his parents' restaurant, Le Pelican. At age thirteen, he started his formal apprenticeship at the distinguished Grand Hotel de L&rsquoEurope. He then worked in Paris, training under Lucien Diat at the Plaza Athénée. From 1956 to 1958, Pépin was the personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle.

In 1959, he moved to the United States and worked first at New York's historic Le Pavillon restaurant, then served for ten years as director of research and new development for the Howard Johnson Company. He studied at Columbia University, earning an M.A. degree in 18th-century French literature in 1972.

Pépin has been honored with 16 James Beard Foundation Awards, the American Public Television&rsquos lifetime achievement award, and the Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement. He is the recipient of three of the French government&rsquos highest honors: he is a Chevalier de L&rsquoOrdre National de la Legion d&rsquoHonneur, Chevalier de L&rsquoOrdre des Arts et des Lettres (1997) and a Chevalier de L&rsquoOrdre du Mérite Agricole (1992). He is a founder of The American Institute of Wine and Food, a member of the International Association of Cooking Professionals, and is on the board of trustees of James Beard Foundation.

Saint Martin&rsquos Vice President of Institutional Advancement Cecelia Loveless shared, &ldquoIn these uncertain times, I want to say thank you for the generosity of our donors throughout the years who have assisted thousands of our students with scholarship support. As we look to this year&rsquos Gala, we must continue to be courageous in our giving, as our students need our support more than ever.&rdquo

For more information about table reservations and ticket sales to the event, visit www.stmartin.edu/gala. Individuals or organizations interested in sponsoring Saint Martin&rsquos Gala can contact Renee Oram, director for development, corporate and athletic sponsorships, at [email protected]

Saint Martin&rsquos University is an independent, four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 13 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin&rsquos University prepares students for successful lives through its 29 majors, 11 master&rsquos programs, one doctorate program and five certificate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin&rsquos welcomes more than 1,300 undergraduate students and 250 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and more students to its extended campus located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.


The Artistry of Jacques Pépin

Jacques Pépin has a confession: “I am not a morning person,” he says. “I get up at the crack of 9 a.m. When you’re a restaurant person you never go to bed before 12 o’clock.” Still, it’s hard to believe the French master chef, who will be 85 this December, allows himself any downtime, even for sleep. How else would he have accomplished such a monumental amount in his life to date?

Family plays a huge role in Pépin’s life. He has written books with his daughter and his granddaughter.

Pépin, born in Bourg-en-Bresse, near Lyon, France, began his career working as an apprentice in his hometown, then eventually went on to Paris’s famed Plaza Athenee and New York’s historic Le Pavillon. He has authored more than 30 cookbooks he’s been honored with 24 James Beard Foundation Awards and he’s hosted 13 public television series. He’s been the personal chef to three French heads of state, written for publications including The New York Times and Food & Wine, has taught for 35 years in the Culinary Arts Program at Boston University, and served for 30 years as dean of special programs at the International Culinary Center in New York City. He has even toured and taught on cruise ships and was named the executive culinary director of Oceania Cruises. “If I stopped doing things, I’d get depressed and unhappy,” Pépin says.

Throughout his jam-packed career, Pépin has been a visionary while remaining rooted in tradition. His cooking shows became models for culinary television long before Top Chef and Chopped were a thing: He is perhaps best known for his PBS series with his longtime friend Julia Child, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, for which he won a Daytime Emmy. And his landmark books on culinary craft, La Technique and La Meth- ode, have served as textbooks for countless chefs. “Technique is very important for me,” Pépin says. “[You create] manual dexterity by doing things over and over. As a professional chef it has to become part of your DNA. That’s why when I’m on TV I can talk to people and my hands are moving. I don’t have to concentrate on what I do—it’s automatic. You can do something 1,000 times and still learn something.”

His latest book, Quick and Simple, out in October, contains more than 200 recipes, all with the goal of making cooking at home easier. In it, Pépin suggests quality convenience foods and how to use them, supplies for your pantry and your freezer, and even the go-to utensils and equipment you should have in your kitchen. The philosophy: “Selectively mixing fresh with canned, bottled, or frozen foods can result in great dishes,” writes Pépin.

“You cook for your lover friends, kids…Cooking is maybe the purest expression of love.”

SHARING WITH OTHERS

While many people struggled to adjust to a new normal during the pandemic, Pépin adapted easily. He harnessed his end- less productivity by creating instructional cooking videos from his Madison, CT, kitchen. Nearly every day, he shares them on his Facebook page with his followers. “People look at [the videos] and thank me for helping them, and that’s very rewarding in many ways,” he says. “Many said they didn’t use to cook and now have gotten more into it. I think people are getting closer to nature and their family and cooking, and [there’s] the sitting down and sharing of food and discussion, which is the most important.”

Often, Pépin tells his viewers, “Be well” or “I hope you share it with your family and spend time together at the table.” These sentiments, and his sign off, “Happy cooking!,” capture the essence of Pépin. In chef circles he’s known for meticulousness and craft, while he also exudes warmth, joyfulness and a love of family. He’s been married to his wife, Gloria—who he affectionately calls “Little One”—for more than 54 years. He has cooked alongside his daughter Claudine on television and has written books with her (Jacques Pépin’s Kitchen: Cooking with Claudine and Encore With Claudine). He’s written a book with his granddaughter Shorey Wesen (A Grandfather’s Lessons: In the Kitchen With Shorey). And he has directed much of his focus to giving back through the creation of the Jacques Pépin Foundation, the brainchild of his son-in-law, chef Rollie Wesen.

The foundation, founded in 2016, supports community kitchens and helps them provide culinary training to those with barriers to employment, such as low income, low skills or homelessness. “We wanted to teach people who are disenfranchised by life so they can learn the basics of cooking and work in restaurants,” Pépin says. The Foundation has partnered with more than 100 community kitchens, offering grants, educational tools, equipment and culinary skills and technique training— ultimately helping people gain access to jobs and better health.

When reflecting on which chapter of his life he’s cherished the most so far, Pépin can’t seem to choose. “I’ve enjoyed it all, especially the diversity of it,” he says. For now, he looks forward to creating content for his legion of Facebook followers and, of course, spending time around the table with his family. “I don’t want to cook and eat by myself,” he says. “You cook for your lover, friends, kids. Cooking is maybe the purest expression of love.”

FOR THE LOVE OF PAINTING

The multitalented chef’s love of painting began in the 1960s, when he was pursuing classes toward a bachelor of arts degree and master’s degree at Columbia University in NYC. “There were a couple elective credits I could take, so I took a class in sculpture and one in drawing,” Pépin says. “That kind of gave me a bug.” These days, his paintings—punctuated by cheery, lighthearted subjects—have garnered so much attention that he sells original artwork and prints on his website, jacquespepinart.com. “I have like 100 paintings of chickens,” he says, referencing his favorite subject. “I also paint a lot of abstracts and flowers.” As it turns out, painting is quite similar to cooking: “When you cook, you taste and you adjust until you like it and it’s just right,” he says. “When you paint, it’s the same way. [But] I have much more control in the kitchen than on the canvas.”

  • Pépin with the Jaces Pépin Foundation Board at the foundation’s first annual benefit in 2018
  • Pépin teaching at Forge City Works
  • Pépin gives a class at Community Kitchen partner Forge City Works in Hartford, CT

What is Matzo and What Is It Made Of?

Matzo, also sometimes spelled matzah or matza, is an unleavened bread made from flour and water. It’s crunchy, very mildly flavored, and resembles a giant water cracker. The matzo we see in America is of the Ashkenazic tradition Sephardic matzo is softer and thicker. After the ingredients are mixed, no more than 18 minutes can pass before the dough is formed and baked. If the dough sits any longer, the matzo is not considered kosher for Passover. You may see flavored matzo, such as onion and everything bagel, at the market, but they aren’t appropriate for Passover. The Torah specifies that only matzo consisting of wheat, barley, oat, rye, or spelt flour and water should be used at a Seder, the ceremonial meal held at the beginning of Passover.


11 new books for foodie kids (and their adults)

Meatballs rain down in the silly town of Chewandswallow. And then there's poor finicky Frances who's offered only bread and jam.

Food is often at play in children's literature. And the titles give you a taste of what's to come &mdash "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," "Bread and Jam for Frances," "Green Eggs and Ham" and "Pete's A Pizza," to rattle off just a few classics.

Today, foodies young and old &mdash as in grandkids and their doting grandparents &mdash can delight in a new batch of food-themed books, which provide laughs and life lessons in equal measure.

"Food has always been a part of children's literature," said Kaushalya Iyengar, a children's librarian at Waukesha Public Library. "Everyone likes to eat, so it's a fun way to draw children into reading."

One trend she's noticed is that "nowadays there are more and more children's books that include recipes."

A recently published example is "A Fine Dessert" by Emily Jenkins and Sophie Blackall, which follows the same blackberry fool recipe through four centuries.

And Iyengar also pointed to several chapter books that have simple recipes such as the "Cupcake Diaries" series by Coco Simon and "The Year of the Fortune Cookie" by Andrea Cheng.

But her all-time favorite is "Cook-A-Doodle Doo!" by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel, first published in 1999. In this recipe-for-disaster book, befuddled animals &mdash you beat eggs with a baseball bat, right? &mdash help Rooster with his baking.

The ending is happy, of course, and includes a recipe for strawberry shortcake.

At Rainbow Booksellers, 5704 W. Vliet St., a Milwaukee children's bookstore open Wednesdays and Saturdays, shoppers will find plenty of delectable titles.

"Food books have always been popular. Food topics are terrific, particularly for toddlers," said Marye Beth Dugan, who owns the shop with her husband, Joe Croze.

According to Dugan, "the really hot topic is food-related baby showers" where shower givers serve food that's matched with the books.

"It's a trend that got started about a year ago," she said, noting that it's especially popular with grandparents and their friends.

As she explains it, each of the hosts chooses a children's book as a gift and then brings a dish for the buffet &mdash lunch or brunch, usually &mdash that relates to the book.

So it might be veggie soup for "Growing Vegetable Soup" by local author Lois Ehlert, blueberry muffins to go with Robert McCloskey's "Blueberries for Sal" and sweet-and-sour meatballs for you-know-which-book.

Whether you're planning a baby shower or looking for a sugar-free addition to an Easter basket, here's a rundown of nine recently published food-themed picture books:

Lidia's Egg-Citing Farm Adventure by Lidia Bastianich, illustrated by Renee Graef (Running Press Kids, 2014, $16.95). Ages 4 and up.

This is the third children's book by Lidia Bastianich, television chef, cookbook author and restaurateur. And in this one the grandmother &mdash aka Nonna Lidia &mdash tells an "eggs-traordinary" story about chickens and eggs.

The watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations here, as well as in the second of these books, are by Milwaukee-native Renee Graef, who now splits her time between Milwaukee and Los Angeles. During an interview, Graef said she drew the people in these pages from photographs, taken years ago, of Bastianich and her family.

And as for the wonderfully vivid chickens, Graef noted that from 1980 to 1984 she was in-house illustrator for University of Wisconsin Extension publications.

"I drew lots of chickens," she said with a laugh.

In the book, grandma and grandkids help make a breakfast frittata and then visit an organic poultry farm where the farmer hands over a bag packed with fresh chicken parts to take home for a family supper.

There are several recipes included such as Sausage, Egg and Peppers Sandwich and Chicken Parmigiana. The recipes are geared toward adults, but Bastianich indicates which cooking tasks that kids can do.

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins & Sophie Blackall (Schwartz & Wade Books, 2015, $17.99). Ages 4 to 8.

The delicious treat in these beautifully detailed pages is blackberry fool, a dessert that readers follow from 1710 in Lyme, England, to 1810 in South Carolina, 1910 in Boston and just "a couple of years ago" in San Diego.

The dessert stays the same &mdash whipped cream and berries &mdash but history marches on.

"A bit more than three hundred years ago," a girl and her mother pick berries, the girl milks the cow, and the mother beats the cream with "a bundle of clean, soft twigs."

In today's world, a father and son go to the grocery store, the recipe is from the Internet, and cream is whipped with an electric mixer. At the conclusion, the dessert is served to a diverse gathering of friends and family.

The 1810 episode takes place on a plantation outside Charleston, S.C. A mother and daughter who are slaves &mdash although they are not described as such &mdash make the dessert for the master and his family.

Brooklyn-based author Jenkins said in an interview that she wanted to treat the topic of slavery truthfully but "gently."

Jenkins said her primary hope is that "families have fun reading the story," and yes, she includes a recipe for blackberry fool at the end.

Gingerbread for Liberty! How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution by Mara Rockliff, pictures by Vincent X. Kirsch (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015, $17.99). Ages 5 to 9.

Set in Philadelphia, this is the story of a kindhearted German-born baker who helps George Washington by baking for the hungry troops. Then, when a flotilla of German ships, hired by the British, sails into sight, the baker rows out to see if he can win the soldiers over to the American cause. His delicious description of gingerbread and his assurances that there's plenty to eat in America persuaded the German soldiers to defect.

The story is based on the life of Christopher Ludwick, a forgotten hero of the American Revolution. In the author's note at the end of the book, there's a brief account of this jovial baker's lifetime of good deeds.

The book's warm-hued, paper-cut illustrations resemble gingerbread cookies.

Foods Trucks! by Mark Todd (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014, $16.96). Ages 4 to 8.

Breakfast truck, waffle truck, taco truck, even a sushi truck &mdash this fleet hits the road with zany illustrations and silly, rhymed descriptions of each truck.

There's a big helping of food facts. Did you know that pretzels are believed to be the world's oldest snacks? Or that the average number of licks to finish a single-scoop ice cream cone is 50.

This California-based author-illustrator has come up with a book that will amuse both kids and grown-ups.

Nelly Nitpick, Kid Food Critic (Candlewick Entertainment, 2015, $5.99). Ages 6 to 9.

This is brought to you by Fizzy's Lunch Lab &mdash "Where laughter is our favorite ingredient." It's a series from PBS Kids that educates about good nutrition and physical activity.

In this little paperback, Nelly Nitpick, who thinks veggies are yucky, gives a black bean burger and sweet potato fries a try. And, yes, she learns that vegetables can be delicious.

Included are vegetable-based kid-friendly recipes that are rated for difficulty from easy Baby Carrots and Confetti dip to more difficult Very Veggie Frittata.

Green is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, Illustrated by John Parra (Chronicle Books, 2014, $16.99). Ages 3 to 5.

In this rhymed foray into colorful Mexican culture, which follows "Round is a Tortilla" (2013), many of the colors are linked to food:

Spanish words are found on nearly every page, and there's a glossary, with lots of food words, at the end.

Half the fun comes by way of John Parra's bright, bold pictures.

Here's what he emailed about his work: "I use acrylic paint on illustration board. My style is based on a combination of Mexican (Latino) and American Folk Art styles."

Maddi's Fridge written by Lois Brandt, illustrated by Vin Vogel (Flashlight Press, 2014, $17.95). Ages 4 to 8.

After playing in the park, Sofia and Maddi go to Maddi's apartment for a snack. But the fridge is empty because, as the embarrassed Maddi admits, they don't have enough money.

From that point, Sofia discovers, through trial and error, how best to help her friend. As it turns out, it's not a good idea to pack raw eggs in a backpack, but it is smart to ask your mom for help.

The digital pen and ink drawings are irresistible, and the silly details help keep things lighthearted.

Peanut Butter & Cupcake, written and illustrated by Terry Border (Philomel Books, 2014, $17.99). Ages 3 to 7.

Terry Border's humorous photographic images alone make this endearing book about friendship a real treat.

Border attaches wire to ordinary objects and then poses them so they look like living beings. So, for instance, a slice of bread with peanut butter becomes a lonely kid with a soccer ball.

Anna Banana and the Chocolate Explosion! by Dominique Roques, Illustrated by Alexis Dormal (First Second, to released in June 2015, $15.99). Ages 5 to 7.

Anna Banana, previously seen in "Sleep Tight, Anna Banana!" commands her animal friends as they make a big mess &mdash and ultimately, a chocolate cake. The cheating little bear gets caught going to the bakeshop to buy a cake, but all is forgiven in the end.

Originally published in French (2012), it's patterned after a comic strip with word bubbles.

Cookbooks for kids

If ordering pizza is your idea of dinner with the kids, then don't bother with either of these two new cookbooks because they put you and your children right in front of the stove.

In Claudine Pepin's "Kids Cook French," written in French and English, Pepin observes that children "don't come into the world eating only chicken nuggets, pizza, and french fries."

Children learn healthier, less picky food habits in the long run, she believes, by being served the same food as the grown-ups. (Although she does say that you might want to make food for children a little simpler or less spicy.)

It's easy for the daughter of famed chef Jacques Pepin to say we should all be eating freshly prepared food. And in this elegant cookbook, illustrated by her father, she takes you and your youngsters in that direction with a selection of French-influenced recipes such as Whole Roasted Chicken with Herbs de Provence and Crème Brulee.

These classic recipes are not simplified for children and it's a collection of dishes that any beginning cook would be happy with.

Quite a different approach is on the table in Deanna Cook's "Cooking Class." In this spiral-bound cookbook, kids are inspired and educated by way of zany activities and beloved kid food.

Sandwiches are given funny faces, and there are directions for a mix-and-match homemade pizza party. But you'll also find more grown-up recipes such as those for pesto or fish tacos.

How to boil an egg, how to cook pasta, how to make your own microwave popcorn &mdash the basics are all here and always with step-by-step photographs. Kids also learn to make tortilla chips from scratch and find out how to roll sushi.

Recipes are rated for difficulty: one spoon equals no hot stove, no knife two spoons indicates some prep work such as chopping three spoons means sharp knives and stove or oven time &mdash plus adult supervision.

There's a list of eight basic kitchen rules that includes hand washing, reading the recipe before beginning, using pot holders for hot pans and dishes, and cleaning up afterward.

Cook is content director for Kidstir, a company that sells monthly "hand-on kits" for children. The monthly subscription is $19.95 and includes a box with the likes of step-by-step recipes, two kid-size cooking tools, a specialty ingredient, and ideas for games and activities.


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