Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Splendid Table: Lynne Rossetto Kasper at Room & Board

When you've grown accustomed to hearing a voice stream out of the radio week after week, it's a pleasant surprise to hear that same familiar voice coming out of the mouth of someone standing in front of you.

Denver-area Splendid Table listeners were treated to this experience on Thursday evening, when Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift visited Room & Board in North Cherry Creek to promote their new cookbook, The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper.

Perhaps because the event took place in a furniture store, Lynne Rossetto Kasper focused her remarks on the "table" aspect of the Splendid Table. Observing that one of the few times that people look each other in the eye is when they sit across the table, Ms. Rossetto Kasper talked about using seating arrangements, lighting and decor to create atmosphere and build relationships over food. After her talk, she answered questions ranging from food writing (it's improving, as a recent Pulitzer Prize to food critic Jonathan Gold demonstrates) to popular television cooking shows (she likes them because they get people thinking about cooking and food) to tips for preparing leeks (bake the cleaned leeks in broth with herbs!). In an emotional moment, Ms. Rossetto Kasper recognized former students, who attended cooking classes that she taught while living in Denver during the early 1980's, in the audience, and gave a brief account of her career path prior to the Splendid Table.

I bought How to Eat Supper prior to Ms. Rossetto Kasper's talk, thinking that it would make a good Mother's Day gift. However, after giving it a closer look, I'm really tempted to keep it for myself. Intriguing veg recipes are scattered throughout the cookbook, including:

Simple Garden-in-a-Pot Soup
Cambodian Noodle Soup with Pineapple and Tomato
Cabbage Slaw with Orange-Pumpkin Seed Dressing
Thai Cantalope Salad with Chile
Ripe Tomato Stack with Pine Nuts and Mozzarella
Supper Tart of Red Onions, Greens and Grapes
Green Apple, Cheese and Chard Oven Omelet
Warm White Bean Salad with Fragrant Garlic and Rosemary
Three Pea Toss
Carrots with Curry and Coconut Milk
Sweet Yams in Ginger Stick Curry
Almond-Turmeric Potatoes
Pasta with Chopping Board Pistachio Pesto
Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash and Greens Over Bow-Tie Pasta
Rosemary Figs with Honeyed Fresh Cheese

In a section devoted to "Vegetable Main Events," Ms. Rossetto Kasper and Ms. Swift not only provide vegetarian recipes, but also recommend other vegetarian cookbooks, share favorite quotes, and provide advice on visiting Indian grocery stores.

How to Eat Supper is packed with information, including shopping and cooking tips, suggestions for building a culinary library, recipe variations, quotes about food and cooking, and stories from the show. Menu suggestions are listed on the inside front and back covers.

While it will be difficult to give this cookbook away, the upside is that my mom will have a veg-friendly book on hand that we can cook from when I visit.

Photo courtesy of DebinDenver.


Kitt said...

Sometimes the best gift is one you really want to keep yourself. I'll bet your mom will love it. The recipes sound great.

Wish I could've attended that talk, but I had to work. Oh well!

Beatrice said...

I thought of your blog during her talk, Kitt, because she mentioned the Vietnamese restaurants on Federal Boulevard. She especially likes the pork chops at one of the restaurants - unfortunately, the name of the restaurant evades me. Sorry!


ClaireWalter said...

I had previous plans and couldn't attend, so thanks for the report.

Claire @