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  Hidden Kitchens on NPR’s Morning Edition  

Hidden Kitchens, the duPont Award wining radio series on NPR's Morning Edition, explores the world of unexpected, below the radar cooking, legendary meals and eating traditions — how communities come together through food. Hidden Kitchens travels the country chronicling American kitchen cultures, past and present.  Produced by The Kitchen Sisters with Jay Allison and mixed by Jim McKee. Made possible by in part by The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The National Endowment for the Arts, Newman's Own Foundation, and contributors to The Kitchen Sisters Productions non-profit 501(c)(3). Press Release»

Hidden Kitchens Texas, a new one hour special, narrated by Willie Nelson, celebrates the many hidden kitchens of the great state of Texas. HKTX is produced in collaboration with KUT Austin and available on public radio stations nationwide this summer. Read more»

Our book, Hidden Kitchens, Stories, Recipes and More with forword by Alice Waters and a 3-CD audio book narrated by actress Frances McDormand are also available.

    The Breadbasket Blues: A Central California Kitchen Story - July 10, 2009
What feeds an epidemic of childhood obesity and diabetes? The Kitchen Sisters travel to California's Central Valley to visit some of the local kitchen visionaries grappling with these issues. Listen
    Stubb Stubblefield: Archangel of BBQ - March 2, 2009
C.B. "Stubb" Stubblefield, namesake of the legendary club in Austin, Texas, had a mission to feed the world, especially the people who sang in it. When he started out in Lubbock, he generously fed and supported both black and white musicians, creating community and breaking barriers. Listen
  rice a roni   The Birth of Rice-A-Roni - July 31, 2008
The worlds of a young Canadian immigrant, an Italian pasta-making family, and a 70-year-old Armenian woman converge in this story of the creation of "The San Francisco Treat." Listen
      More audio clips, recipes, photos from family archives and local San Francisco Armenian women.  
    Garden Allotments: A London Kitchen Vision
June 26, 2008 · London's "allotment" gardens are an unusual and vibrant system of community gardens across the entire city. Tended by immigrants, retirees, chefs and fans of fresh food, the allotments make up a kitchen community like no other.
      More on Allotments»  
    The Sheepherders Ball: Hidden Basque Kitchens - May 29,2008
In the last century, Basque people flocked to America, herding sheep across the West. "Hidden Kitchens" explores the world of Basque sheepherders and their outdoor, below-the-ground, Dutch oven cooking traditions.
» listen
      More audio, images, recipes and notes here »  
    Boudin & Broncos: The Angola Prison Rodeo - April 17,2008
Hidden Kitchens travels to the Louisiana State Penitentiary and the world of unexpected, below-the-radar, down home convict cooking at The Angola Prison Rodeo. The event, held in April and October, draws some seventy thousand people annually to this agricultural prison in a remote corner of the state. Alongside the rodeo, some 43 inmate organizations set up food concessions and sell their delights to the hungry public. Dozens of traditional dishes are prepared and sold by men doing mostly life inside this fertile prison farm. Nearly all the ingredients are grown on the grounds. The Kitchen Sisters and Roman Mars take us inside Angola, amidst the men and the mayhem for a glimpse of these prison hidden kitchens. Web Extras: Photo Gallery, Video » listen
      More on Angola »  
    Sugar in the Milk: A Parsi Kitchen Story - March 20, 2008
Niloufer Ichaporia King is known for her ritual celebrations of 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. » listen
      More recipes and photos »  
    Hercules and Hemings: African American Cooks in the President's Kitchen - Feb. 19, 2008
Hercules, a slave of George Washington, and James Hemings, owned by Thomas Jefferson, began a long connection of presidents and their African-American cooks. Web Extras: White House Recipes and audio clips » listen
      More images, story and notes here »  
    Kibbe at the Crossroads: Lebanese Cooking in the Mississippi Delta
- Jan. 31, 2008

Lebanese immigrants began arriving in the Mississippi Delta in the 1870s, working as peddlers, then grocers and restaurateurs. Kibbe, a traditional food, continues to hold the Lebanese family culture together. Web Extras: Recipes, Crossroads Stories and audio clips » listen
      More Kibbe - Archival photos and Kahlil Gibran »  
    Weenie Royale: The impact of the Internment on Japanese American Cooking - Dec. 20, 2007
This historical Hidden Kitchen comes from the memories and kitchens of the Japanese Americans uprooted from the west coast and forcibly relocated inland after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In camps like Manzanar, Topaz, Tule Lake some 120,000 internees lived for four years in remote and desolate locations -- their traditional food replaced by US government commodities and war surplus -- hotdogs, ketchup, spam, potatoes -- erasing the traditional Japanese diet and family table. Web Extra: Recipes, Internment Camp Remembrances » listen
      More Weenie Royale »  
    Olive Oil Season: A West Bank Kitchen Story - Nov. 22, 2007
Every year, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from towns and villages across the West Bank bring their ladders and tarps to the olive groves that blanket their homeland. Sandy Tolan, award-winning journalist, producer and author of The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East, has been reporting from the region for years. Tolan brings us this hidden kitchen story from the West Bank. Web Extra: Olive Harvest Recipes » listen
    The Birth of the Frito - October 18, 2007
The Kitchen Sisters explore the secret saga of a Texas corn chip and C.E. Doolin, the can-do kitchen visionary behind it.
Web Extra: Frito Recipes » listen
    Beyond Tang: Space Food -June 7, 2007
NASA's Johnson Space Center invited The Kitchen Sisters to visit its "hidden kitchen." On the eve of NASA's scheduled launch of space shuttle Atlantis, The Kitchen Sisters present a brief history of space food.
Web Extra: NASA Recipes, Gardening in Space. » listen
  mozart   Mozart's Hidden Kitchen & The Tables of New Crowned Hope
- Jan. 26, 2007
On the eve of Mozart's 251st birthday, The Kitchen Sisters take us to Vienna,
to "Mozart's Hidden Kitchen and the Tables of New Crowned Hope."
Web exclusive audio and Recipes and Photos. » listen
    Farm Aid: Saving the Family Farm - November 23, 2006
The Kitchen Sisters visit the 21st annual Farm Aid benefit concert in Camden, N.J., for some turkey-stuffin', potato-mashin' music and some deep stories of an endangered tradition -- the American family farm.
Web exclusive audio and Recipes from the Farm » listen
      Farm Aid Press conference photos and interview clips »  
    Deep Fried Fuel: A Biodiesel Kitchen Vision - August 24 , 2006
Carl’s Corner,Texas. A truck stop between Dallas and Waco, where a little revolution has begun. Where truckers fill up on BioWillie. Biodiesel. American fuel made from farm crops and recycled restaurant grease. Houston. A bio-diesel homebrew class, where recipes are shared on how to make your own, even in a blender, the kitchen way. Willie Nelson, Kinky Friedman, Carl Cornelius, Joe Nick Potaski, truckers and biodiesel disciples weigh in on this new highway Hidden Kitchen. Web exclusive audio and images » listen

    Texas Icehouses - June 30, 2006
Part town hall, part tavern, icehouses have been a South Texas tradition since the 1920s. Once a cornerstone of every neighborhood in San Antonio and Houston, they are a rapidly diminishing, an endangered species.
Web exclusive audio, recipes and images » listen

      Icehouse photo gallery»  
    Hidden Kitchen Mama - May 12, 2006
In honor of Mother's Day, The Kitchen Sisters linger in the kitchen -- the room in the house that counts the most, that smells the best, where families gather and children are fed, where all good parties begin and end. »listen

    The Cab Yard Kitchen - March 10, 2006
A lot of Kitchen Sisters stories are born in taxi cabs. Hidden Kitchens was conceived in the back of a Yellow. Each time The Kitchen Sisters took a Yellow Cab in San Francisco they noticed the driver was from Brazil. And not just from Brazil, but the same town in Brazil, Goiânia. Cab ride conversations led to talk of music and food. That’s when the story of Janete emerged, a woman from their same hometown who came every day after dark to the empty industrial street outside the cab yard and set up a makeshift, rolling, Brazilian night kitchen. One night we went in search of Janete's kitchen have been chronicling the saga of her street cooking for the past two years.
Web exclusive audio, recipes and images »listen

    King’s Candy: A New Orleans Kitchen Vision - November 4, 2005
One of the most clandestine kitchens The Kitchen Sisters have heard about was created by a man in the Louisiana State Penitentiary in solitary confinement.  Over three decades Robert King Wilkerson perfected a recipe for pralines, which he made in a hidden kitchen in his 6x9 cell.  King's Candy: A New Orleans Kitchen Vision is his story. »listen
    Georgia Gilmore and the Club from Nowhere: A Secret Civil Rights Kitchen. - March 4, 2005
In the '50s, a group of Montgomery, Ala., women baked goods to help fund the Montgomery bus boycott. Known as The Club from Nowhere, the group was led by Georgia Gilmore, one of the unsung heroes of the civil rights era. »listen


  The Fellowship of Food - December 24, 2004
The Hidden Kitchens hotline received hundreds of messages from across America.  We end the year by sharing some of the stories about food and the fellowship it fosters. »listen

  Milk Cow Blues - December 17, 2004
Tucked away in the vanishing farm country on the outskirts of ever-spreading Indianapolis, the Apple family and their neighbors have created a kind of fellowship of milking. This is the story of the Apples’ efforts to bring raw milk to their community. »listen

    Freighter Food:From the Galleys of the Great Lakes -
December 10, 2004

Freighters ply the Great Lakes, hauling iron ore, coal, stone and a crew of hard-working men who consider the skill of the cook before signing up for duty. Hidden Kitchens explores life and food aboard these giant ships. » listen

    The Forager; Hunting and Gathering with Angelo Garro
- December 3, 2004
Sometimes it's the kitchen that's hidden. Sometimes, it's the food itself. Blacksmith, Angelo Garro forges and forages, recreating in wrought iron and in cooking the life he left behind in Sicily. The Kitchen Sisters join Garro along the coast of Northern California as he follows the seasons, harvesting the wild for his kitchen and his friends. » listen

    America Eats: A Hidden Archive - November 26, 2004
Lying patiently in the archives of the Library of Congress for over 50 years, the America Eats archive waited to be discovered and presented to the nation.  This little-known WPA project has never been published, and this Hidden Kitchens program was one of the first times a larger public has had a chance to explore this remarkable chronicle of American foodways from the 1930’s.

Writers Nelson Algren, Saul Bellow, Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, photographer Stetson Kennedy and dozens of other writers and photographers were sent throughout the country for a national program called “America Eats”—a series writings showing the impact of immigration and customs on the food traditions of each region. Part of the Illinois Writers Project, Algren’s assignment was to document the Midwest. Stetson Kennedy’s was Florida.

Another writer told of Hopi baptismal corn rituals in Arizona, another wrote of foot washing breakfasts in Mississippi. They wrote short essays on what they called "community eating events."  The writing is deep, the photographs memorable. America Eats was never completed or published because of America's entry into World War II.  Our story picks up where the America Eats project left off. » listen
    Harvest on Big Rice Lake - November 12, 2004
A harvest journey through the lakes of the Anishinabe Ojibwe tribe of Minnesota.   The wild rice harvest brings families to the lakes where the rice is poled and gently knocked into the bed of canoes. How one tribe is supporting itself through its harvest kitchen and changing the diet of its people through their community kitchen projects. » listen

    Burgoo: Mopping the Mutton - November 5, 2004
What is it about men and meat and midnight and a pit?  We travel to the fire pits, churchyards, cake stands and bingo games of Owensboro, Ky., to investigate the communal roasting ritual known as burgoo. This is about the primal urge to gather, cook, drink, and talk. »listen

    Campaign Cooking - October 29, 2004
Fish fries, clambakes, pancake breakfasts, shad plank dinners in Maryland, boucheries in Louisiana.  To know the people's mood you must eat the people's food.  This story shows how what we eat reflects how we vote.  We’ll meet politicians, volunteers and community cooks; reporters on campaign buses and the food and stories that are fed to them. »listen

    NASCAR Kitchens: Feed the Speed - October 22, 2004
Behind every car race is a kitchen—hidden in the crew pit, or tucked between the hauler and the trailer of the trucks that transport NASCAR and Indy cars from city to city. Public radio listener Jon Wheeler cooks for the drivers, haulers, pit crews, sponsors and owners on the racing circuit. He called the Hidden Kitchens hotline line to tell us about his world. This story travels America, chronicling NASCAR food and the people who make and eat it. »listen

    The Chili Queens of San Antonio. - October 15, 2004
Some kitchens are hidden by place, some by time—like the saga of the chili queens.  For over 100 years, young women came at twilight to the Alamo and the plazas of San Antonio with makeshift tables and big pots of chili to cook over open fires.  The plazas teemed with people—soldiers, tourists, cattlemen and the troubadours who roamed the tables, filling the night with music. »listen

    An Unexpected Kitchen: The George Foreman Grill. - October 8, 2004
Sometimes life without a kitchen leads to the most unexpected hidden kitchen of all.  A story of life without a kitchen, how immigrants and homeless people without official kitchens use The George Foreman Grill, hidden crock pots, and secret hot plates to make a meal and a home. Featuring an interview with boxing champion and grill-master, George Foreman. »listen

    Hidden Kitchens Calling. - October 1, 2004
Jay collects and presents the most intriguing of the hundreds of wild tales and soulful kitchen stories that have come in so far.  Many of the pieces in the Hidden Kitchen series were shaped by the messages and story suggestions gathered in this nationwide call-in.  Hundreds of listeners shared their kitchen stories: tales of NASCAR kitchens, prison kitchens, headstart kitchens, all men’s, all night buffalo roasts, a 100 year old tradition in North Dakota, workplace kitchens in metal foundries, Head Start kitchens, people who glean the harvest and feed the hungry, people who tend and feed their communities in backyards, community halls, around big pits, and more, as they shared meals together. »listen

    The Call. - July 2, 2004  — Curator Jay Allison opens the Quest for Kitchens phone line on Morning Edition with a sonic sampler of interviews, intriguing sounds and music, inviting listeners to call and write and tell us about the unusual and significant kitchens in their communities, about their family food traditions, community ceremonies and recipes. 

He asks, “Tell us what hidden and significant kitchens we should know about. Who are the kitchen pioneers and visionaries?  What food tradition is vanishing from your life, from your  neighborhood, the planet? Who glues your community together through food?  Tell us about your annual clambakes, pancake breakfasts, your church suppers.  What do we need to capture, document and chronicle before it disappears? »listen
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