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February 10, 2023
Nigella on Nigella
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This week, we interview Nigella Lawson. We discuss what’s to love about brown food, what’s to hate about tasting menus and what everyone gets wrong about cooks. For Valentine's Day, we explore the life of chocolatier Milton Hershey, make a decadent Dark Chocolate Terrine with Coffee and Cardamom, and take your baking questions with Cheryl Day. Plus, Dan Pashman gets us ready for the Super Bowl with a definitive guide to eating chicken wings.
Questions in this episode:
"I’m trying to replicate a pastry called a “chocolate melt-away”. Do you know how I might recreate it?"
"I add a chocolate layer to my homemade toffee. Do I need to temper the chocolate in order to keep it firm and snappy?"
"Can you help me with my Jell-O cake recipe so that the gelatin doesn’t sink to the bottom?"
"How do I get a sugary crust on my lemon cakes?"
Christopher Kimball: This is Milk Street Radio from PRX. I'm your host Christopher Kimball. Today it's my interview with Nigella Lawson. We discuss what's to love about brown food, what's to hate about tasting menu’s and what everyone gets wrong about cooks.
Nigella Lawson: That's why we say to people whenever someone says, oh, but your ___ cooks are so nurturing, I don't listen they are but really, we're control freaks.
CK: We'll hear from Nigella later in the show, but first, it's the story of Milton Hershey, the man behind America's favorite chocolate bar.
Newscaster & Milton Hershey: So, Milton S Hershey, the builder of an ideal town continues to build Mr. Hershey how many years you've been in the candy business 60 years, you're still active in the business? Indeed I am. You must use an unbelievable amount of cocoa beans. We use as much cocoa beans as France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain put together.
CK: This radio interview was the only known recording of Milton Hershey's voice. At 80 years old, he was still running his chocolate empire. But his path to fame and fortune had taken many turns along the way. Joining me now to talk about his life is Amy Zeigler. She's the senior director at the Hershey Story Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Amy, welcome to Milk Street.
Amy Zeigler: Thank you happy to be here.
CK: So, this is the story of Milton Hershey, which turns out to be a much more interesting story than I guess I thought at the beginning. So, he didn't start with a ton of success. Right? He he started with a candy shop in Philadelphia. Just give us a summary of some of his early days.
AZ: Sure, yeah, he was not an instant success. His mother was a strict Mennonite and believed in education until you were old enough to get a job and contribute to the family. His father, on the other hand, loved traveling, had lots of get rich quick ideas for business and move them all over the place when Milton was young. So, he really only ever, he said attained the equivalent of a fourth grade education. But he actually apprenticed with a candymaker for four years. When he finished his apprenticeship, he moved to Philadelphia in 1876. And he opened a shop
CK: and that did that store survive, or he I think he sold it at some point, right?
AZ: Well, it didn't survive, actually, his father got Milton involved in a couple of business ideas that didn't pan out very well. And he ended up declaring bankruptcy six years after he got there. So, he traveled around the United States, Chicago, New Orleans, ended up in New York City, and was also unsuccessful there. But he traveled to Denver between his Philadelphia and New York businesses. And that's where he learned how to make caramels. The person he studied with there was actually using fresh milk instead of paraffin wax, which was an unusual thing to do. So, when Milton Hershey came back to Pennsylvania after his New York failure, he really started to focus on caramels. And that was sort of the beginning of him being able to get on his feet again.
CK: So I read that he sold the caramel business for a million bucks, which was a lot of money back then
AZ: In 1900 yeah
CK And that's a huge amount of money. So, he takes that money. And then he spends it in part on figuring out how to make great milk chocolate. And then he has a lineup, you know, a catalogue of over 100 items. (Yes) And some of the stuff. Some of these are pretty cool tennis cigarettes, zuka sticks, little container shaped like male pouches that went into a boxcar. Yeah, so they had a lot of really cool, sort of specialty items, right?
AZ: Yes. And a lot of those items, actually, all of those items were really not milk chocolate, they were dark chocolate, which is what people were doing at the time. So, he was experimenting with making milk chocolate, between 1893 and 1904. And the things that he did to really make chocolate available to the masses, where he used less expensive cocoa beans and roasted them at a higher temperature, which improved the flavor. And he also used mass production techniques. So, when people always compare him to Henry Ford, that's kind of where that comes in. And he also was a pretty good marketer, considering he didn't use national media. He wrapped postcards inside chocolate bars that showed views of the factory and the community that he built around the factory and things like that.
CK: The early Willy Wonka.
CK: Well, you mentioned communities. I think this is an interesting part of the story because some companies built their own model villages. I think actually, the Kohler company out in the Midwest near Milwaukee, they also built a committee. So, the idea of a model community for your workers was something that Hershey was very much behind, right?
AZ: Yes, industrial communities at the time that Milton Hershey was beginning to think about building Hershey, Pennsylvania. They were pretty common. And so places like Bourneville and England which was built by the Cadbury brothers was a really great example of people who took good care of their workers and provided a lot of things for them outside of the workplace. Something like Pullman, Illinois, which was the community started by the man who created sleeper cars was not a great place to live. And there's a good chance that Milton Hershey visited Pullman when he was at the Columbian Exposition in 1893, where he purchased his first chocolate making equipment and so I think he really paid attention to what worked and what he didn't want to do when he was starting his own community.
CK: So let's dig into the details because I think people will find this surprising. A men's club, a gymnasium, a pool, a library, a bowling alley, public meeting rooms. And there was also a newspaper a golf course, a trolley system, a miniature railway, a man-made lake and the zoo was the largest free private zoo in America. So, this wasn't just, you know, some housing and the company store.
Newscaster: Every housing comfort of the 20th century for the workers, and the man behind it all. Milton S. Hershey. He built a model town including this great community building with its library, gymnasium, playroom, solariums, and one of the most beautiful theaters in the land.
CK: So, he goes to Cuba around the First World War and what happens in Cuba?
AZ: It's interesting how we ended up there, his wife passed away in 1915. So, he and his mother decided kind of on a whim to go to Cuba. And he almost immediately fell in love with the island, started buying up sugar plantations, and then eventually built an entire community called Hershey, Cuba, which was very, very similar to Hershey, Pennsylvania.
CK: So, if I went to Cuba today, would I see any of this, does any of it survive?
AZ: As far as I know, the Hershey sign is still hanging at the railroad station. The baseball diamond that was built in the community is still there, and kids still play on it every day. So, it's there. People who live there still call it Hershey, Cuba, even though the name changed years ago. But I will say, two of my favorite days working at the Hershey Story were when two different families who grew up in Hershey, Cuba, came to visit us. One man hadn't taken a vacation in 15 years. And he came to Hershey, Pennsylvania, because he thought we were the only people who would appreciate Milton Hershey as much as he did.
CK: So, what happens to him he's, he's has a huge fortune. And then he, I think he gave it all away to a school or something at the end of his life
AZ: Yes, yes. So, he and his wife were unable to have children. And he always said it was his wife Kitty’s idea that they start a school for orphans. So, he took his holdings in the chocolate company, almost his entire fortune, which was estimated to be $60 million at the time, and he put it into a trust for the school. And he didn't tell anybody, which is always amazing to me. It's one of my favorite Milton Hershey stories.
CK: Do you take away from this anything about the American dream? You know, we were entering the industrial age in the late 19th century. The Rockefellers, Hershey, a lot of people making their fortunes was did he stand out in some way as being different? Or did he sort of show off traits that were consistent with, you know, Pullman and everybody else?
AZ: Some, I mean, obviously, he was very driven and wanted to be successful. But I don't think that for him, money was necessarily success. I think doing something that he loved, that provided a good product to people meant a lot to him. I mean, he built things and did things that operated at huge losses for most of his lifetime. But he still kept funding them because he thought they were important for people to have. And I'm always struck when he was 21 years old. He wrote in someone's autograph book, a quote that basically says, one is only happy in proportion as he makes others happy, and kind of goes on to talk about giving your things away to help other people. And he was really struggling financially at that time. So, for him to be thinking that way at that time of his life, I think is really foretelling about how he was going to be later on.
CK: Amy, thank you so much, the story of Milton Hershey. Thank you so much.
AZ: Sure. You're very welcome.
CK: That was Amy Zeigler, Senior Director at the Hershey Story Museum. Now it's time to answer some of your baking questions with Cheryl Day. Cheryl is of course the owner of Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, Georgia. She's also the author of Cheryl Days Treasury of Southern Baking. So, Cheryl, I used to know or thought I used to know what to do for Valentine's Day. I don't know what to do anymore. And I know I've been maybe I've been married, you know, too long and too many kids. But I need advice here. What is it you would like Griff to do for you on Valentine's Day?
Cheryl Day: Well, that's interesting. Normally, I want him to cook something delicious. And I'm happy with that. But for the first time, gosh, maybe ever, we're actually going to our favorite neighborhood restaurant. And I've told a lot of friends to go, I think it's going to be one big party.
CK: That sounds great. And,
CD: You know, with a group of couples that won't be necessarily at my table, and I don't have to do the dishes. But yeah, I'm kind of like a little group of folks are going to be hanging out at this one restaurant, and that's what we're doing this year.
CK: So instead of the two lovebirds at the dark table with the candle and flowers, it's a party. It's like it’s going be a party. Right? Okay. Let's take a call.
CD: Yeah. Welcome to Milk Street who's calling?
Caller: Hi, Cheryl this is Louise Allen.
CD: Hi, Louise. Where are you calling from?
Caller: Well, I'm actually down the street. I live in South Florida. But I started today, a Pastry Arts program at Boston University.
v Wow, that is exciting. Well, how can we help you today?
Caller: Growing up, there was a bakery in Coral Gables that we all loved with called Andalusia. And one of the things they made was called a chocolate melt away. It was a round ring Danish. And it had pockets of pastry cream and pockets of some kind of a chocolate. And I tried to find the recipe online, and I haven’t, and I've tried to recreate it without much success. But I'd love to know if you have any ideas
CD: Well, first of all, it sounds absolutely delicious. Is it a traditional Danish recipe and then it has like a vanilla or chocolate pastry cream.
Caller: I would say it is a typical traditional Danish, but it is in a ring not in individual servings. So it would serve maybe 5-6-7 people. Oh, when it had, I would say looking back that it was probably a traditional pastry cream. And some kind of a chocolate custard maybe or maybe even now that you say that maybe even a chocolate pastry cream. Yeah,
CD: Yeah, it's a custard. It would be a chocolate.
Caller: I'm just not sure how to get it like into the pockets.
CD: Yeah, I'm not familiar with this particular recipe, Chris, is that something you've heard of?
CK: The reason I've been so quiet is I have never had this. And I I mean; I can imagine how you could make it.
Caller: But let me just ask if you think to a pastry ring that maybe has pocket of strawberry jelly and maybe a pocket of an apricot jelly. It's kind of a net muddled but this one had pastry cream.
CK: What is it like is sort of a croissant like interior? That's very airy. Or what's the inside like?
Caller: Like a cheese Danish. It's that kind of a Danish
CK: Well, I assume they just take the pastry cream and a big icing bag with the nozzle and shove it into the side of the thing and fill it. But I love the idea of different flavors in different places in the ring. That sounds great. Is the outside covered with something or is it just plain pastry on the outside?
Caller: The whole thing is the outside don't think about like a Danish. That's a Royal Danish. Right? It's a ring. And then it has these different pockets if that makes sense. Would you cook it with the pastry cream in it or would you add the face to cream afterwards?
CK: After it's baked, you'd add the pastry cream with a big you know a nozzle and pastry bag
CD: Yeah, with a big ring like that. Yeah, almost like how you would fill a doughnut. afterwards. It sounds like
Caller: But it's not filled. It's on the top. (Oh oh) so when you look at it, it's like the size of a cake. It feeds like 6-7-8 people probably eight to 10 inches across. And then it has these circles maybe three inches around of all the different fillings. Either the fruit one for this was a chocolate melt away. Probably a chocolate pastry cream and and a regular pastry cream and then whistles of chocolate across the top.
CK: You said Andalusia bakery but when I was in Madrid a couple years ago, years ago, they do have like a Christmas cake is like a king cake. It's round. They do have a filling inside they slice it and fill it but the top is full of stuff. It feels a little like it's based on that Spanish cake that Kings cake. I wonder if it's related to that recipe because in all the bakeries in Madrid, I was there in December were just full of those cakes.
Caller: I did find one bakery in the United States that advertises it but they don't give out the recipe.
CD: But Louise, now that you're in pastry school, I wonder if you'll have opportunity to crack this code?
Caller: Well, I'm going to work on it, we will be making puff pastry. I know that so maybe I'll convince the class to give it a try.
CD: When you described it, I was going to say that you could, you know, use a basic Danish dough and make it into any all kinds of shapes, and then bake it and fill it. But this is sounding like something different entirely. I've got to look this up.
CK: Louise, thank you so much. This is I hate to say it but food for thought. Thank you.
Caller: Thank you both really appreciate it. Love your show
CK: Take care. This is Milk Street Radio. If your cheesecake is cracked, or your cookies just won’t snap, give us a call anytime. That number is 855-426-9843. That's 855-426-9843. Or simply email us at questions at Milk Street. radio.com.
CD: Welcome to Milk Street who’s calling.
Caller: Oh, hi. This is Lindsay out of Waco, Texas.
CD: Hi, Lindsay, how are you?
Caller: I'm excited to be here.
CD: So how can we help you today?
Caller: Well, this past holiday season, my husband and I, we came across a toffee recipe. And of course, we wanted to try it out at home for ourselves. And we had never made a toffee before so that experience went really well. But one of the last steps in the recipe was when the toffee was still hot, was just sprinkle chocolate chips on top to let it melt and then kind of have that chocolate covering. And while it's tasty and great one wherever holding like the coffee, the chocolate starts to melt on our fingers. And if I want to elevate the recipe and try to make it something that we can kind of pass around for kind of years to come that we're wondering what recommendations y'all had for that chocolate. Right now, we were just using like chocolate chips. But I think there's something to do with tempering. I just wasn't exactly sure what that might be.
CD: You're using chocolate chips for the chocolate portion. Is that correct?
Caller: Yes, we pour that toffee onto the pan. And then when it's so hot that chocolate chips, go on, let it melt a little bit, and then we spread it out to kind of create that covering.
CD: Yeah. Do you make toffee Chris?
CK: No, I eat toffee. But I don't make toffee.
CD: Chocolate chips usually don't melt, they hold their shape. I wonder if you could do a simple chocolate drizzle on top with melted chocolate. And you definitely want to make sure that you don't use chocolate chips for that you want to use a nice quality chocolate to melt it. But what do you think, Chris?
CK: Well, if you temper chocolate, it will remain solid and glossy at a higher temperature. I've tried tempering chocolate twice. And I can't say I had a lot of success with that. Can you buy tempered chocolate?
CD: No. I mean, I think the main thing when you're tempering it, and I'm actually no expert at tempering it, I do know that I want my chocolate to be nice and shiny and not grainy. So, the way that I achieve that is just making sure that I don't overheat it and you're making sure that it's cooling down properly. Are you sprinkling the chips on top or are you melting those chocolate chips,
Caller: Essentially like the heat from the toffees, what melt the chocolate and it kind of gives you that covering. I'm wondering when you're saying like the temperature. If the toffee like the sugar, if that's too hot that it kind of messes it,
CD: Absolutely, yes. Absolutely what I would do is let the toffee, rest and set up and then do a drizzle, you know like a striped drizzle on top and then I think that would really elevate the look of it. And then you could choose a nice quality chocolate and melt it either in a skillet with some water underneath your bowl or over a double boiler and then make sure it doesn't get too hot, it stays shiny, and then you can just kind of drizzle it on top either putting it in a pastry bag, or just even you know, taking a fork and just kind of striping the top just depends on how elevated you want to take this.
CK: You don't want that chocolate to get really hot if you melt it.
CD: Yeah, and you can visually look at it too Lindsay, you know you don't want it to break on you or to look grainy at all. Sometimes I make my own toppings for cakes and things and what I do is I melt the chocolate either spread it out on a sheet pan and put it in the freezer or the refrigerator for a little bit of time and then it sets up so I know that would work for sure. (Okay) does that make sense?
Caller: It makes sense then why it starts melting in my hands.
CK: I think the drizzle is a great idea.
CD: I could go for a piece of that toffee right now,
Caller: my husband and I, we love your show and we have always waited to have a question that call and ask and now I finally could call Milk Street
CK: I'll leave you with one last thought I just remembered that you can temper chocolate with a sous vide
CD: But who has that at home?
CK: Well, you can buy them for 80 or 90 bucks. I mean, some are 50 or 60 bucks I mean, that's not nothing but they're not four hundred dollars.
CD: You'll be going in business then Lindsey with this sous vide
CK: A sous vide will perfectly maintain the right temperature. So anyway, that's just oh man. Cheryl does not like obviously. What are you doing, man? Cheating. Well, thanks so much for calling and good luck.
CD: Thanks for calling Lindsey. T
Caller: Thank you guys so much. Take care.
CK: You're listening to Milk Street Radio. Coming up the world according to Nigella Lawson that's right after the break. This is Milk Street Radio. I'm your host Christopher Kimball. Right now, I'm joined by food writer and TV cook Nigella Lawson. Her latest book published in the US in 2021 is called Cook, Eat Repeat Ingredients, Recipes and Stories. That Nigella welcome back to Milk Street.
Nigella Lawson: Thank you so much. It's lovely to be here.
CK: So, we're going to talk a bit about your most recent book, Cook, Eat, Repeat. We have talked about it before on the show. And I told you how much I really love it. But you said something interesting. In that book, you said a recipe much like a novel is the living collaboration between writer and reader. And in both cases, it is the reader who keeps it alive. I just love that notion of the reader keeping your work or my work alive.
NL: But don't you think that I mean, a recipe can be written the recipe can be printed, but it's really the recipes that are cooked and that are passed from family members or family member or just become part of people's lives. That is what keeps the recipe alive.
CK: A couple things also from your book. You don't apologize for brown food. I totally agree with it.
NL: Oh contraire. Yeah. I love that. Yeah, I love it. I feel Instagram. While it's so many good things, or has somewhat prioritized the pretty, or the boldly colorful, and pretty food as uplifting as his color. But it doesn't, it can't take the place of taste.
CK: You say as a kid, you were a big reader, and that you're still a big reader. Very few people, you know, read a lot of books these days. So, do you find that you select friends who are big readers too?
NL: Well, I think not on purpose, but I have and that because I you know years ago, you know, I was a book reviewer and and so in a way that's where I come from. I think some people read I tend to guard my reading jealously. I mean I people I often feel that I don't watch enough TV. But you can't do everything. And I so love silence. Like I have a couple of friends I watch TV with or my kids. But if I know the option of silence is not possible, then I'm happy to watch TV. But if I'm by myself and therefore silence is on offer, I wouldn't turn on the television. Not because I don't think television can be wonderful. However, I have a problem with noise. So, reading silently, is something I need I feel it's like eating for me. I've always said for me reaching, reading, I'm now actually forming new words. For me, you know, eating and reading is similar and writing and cooking also, are analogous.
CK: Well, cooking, you cook, serve, eat, it's done. Unfortunately, writing, you have to keep going back to it and, and burnishing it and making it better so
NL: But you do that all the time when you cook over a smaller, you know, a more condensed timeframe, it's less painful, that's for sure. But on the other hand, all the cooking you do comes out of the cooking you’ve done previously and the eating you've done previously. So, I suppose you edit without noticing it because you don't edit. And this is what really interests me about cooking. While I think food is very worthy of intellectual study, I think what is interesting is when you cook, you're, you're not having thoughts, you know, you have sensation, instead, you have the feel of the dough in your fingers, or the smell of a cake in the oven, or the noise onions makers, they fry, which is a different noise, the more cooked they become. So, you're having to live in a very different world. It's the realm of the senses. And I find that so much on modern life. There's so much fizzing and popping in your mind. And there's so much that takes place from the neck up that I think it's very good just to be a person in your body in your kitchen.
CK: Yeah, it's really, you know, we don't fix our cars anymore. Most people don't go hunting anymore. But cooking is the one thing that's sort of left, and that's why I'm quite protective of it.
NL: Yes. And also, I'm very urban. So, it's really, you know, apart from a walk in the park. Yeah, it's really the way I connect with nature. It makes me feel grounded in that way.
CK: You also said you talked about loss and suffering. And everybody's had that you said, it's taught me that the universe is random and cruel, chaotic also. So how, if that's your outlook, and I don't disagree at all with that, how do you find happiness in a random, cruel, chaotic universe?
NL: You see, I don't regard that as a negative thing to say, by which I mean, you cannot control the world. Everything that matters is largely beyond your control. So, you have to be in it and enjoy what's there. And that that does, I'm afraid, also consist of a lot of misery. But life is precious. And maybe I, the older I get, the more I'm aware of it, because I don't want to waste the time I have left, you know, going into the past about what went wrong, or, you know, all the things that aren't great, or what could be better, because it seems to me such a self-defeating way of being.
CK: I totally agree. As someone said, you woke up this morning, lots of people didn't. So, enjoy the day. You talk about plain cake. And I think this says a lot about you. There's a modesty about a plain cake, it doesn't draw attention to itself or seek to impress, it’s there to be sliced as needed, always delivering more than it promises. For me that that sort of sums up your approach to cooking.
NL: Well, that's a lovely thing of you to say. I do think again, it goes back to that thing, which is things can look showy, and they can be spectacular as well from a technical point of view, but there's a comfort in plainness. And I think people might misunderstand an awful lot about plainness, because they think plainness equates with blandness, and that isn't the case. There's a certain uncluttered palette that you need to appeal to, I suppose. And it sort of goes back to what I was saying in my brown food chapter, saying that, you know, everything's meant to make a statement these days, including you. And sometimes you don't want to make a statement. You're not there to shout or to have people put a spotlight on you. You just want to be quietly and comfortably in a room and food is like that, too.
CK: So, have you eaten at Hester Blumenthal's, I mean we're talking about a themed dinner around the summer seaside
NL: I have eaten his food. If I had to say what phrase instills terror in you, and makes you want to do a runner for me, it's tasting menu. Oh, yeah, I mean, I just can't. And I think it may well be to do with the fact that I wasn't a good eater as a child when I was forced to eat. So, for me, it makes me feel slightly annihilated having choice taken away. It's it's no coincidence that I started loving food when I began being in charge of what I ate myself. And my mother was a wonderful cook, and I loved her food. I just prefer I just prefer being in charge. That's why I always say to people whenever someone says oh, but you're a cook and cooks are so nurturing I don't listen they are but really, we're control freaks. Nurturing though we might be, I would find it very difficult if I couldn't say what I was going to eat.
CK: Now. Okay, so let's we're going to do something now, which may be a failure but
NL: oh no we're not going to zoom Rorschach tests as it were.
CK: It depends if you want to do it
NL: No, I’ll try it’s just because it's meant to be quick. And I’ll be quick, I'm normally quite quick, but when I'm forced to be quick, I become pondering.
CK: Okay, here we go. A few questions answered quickly or not. cocktail sausages.
CK: Nouvelle cuisine.
NL: Actually, it was wonderful when the top people did it. And then it became you know, people misunderstood it. But yes, interesting but bring me the butter.
CK: Here's a hard one, Charles Dickens or Henry James.
NL: Oh, that's I don't do those choices. I'm I don't I want both. However, I think I may have lost the gift of reading Henry James.
CK: Yeah, I never got through The Golden Bowl. But Dickens is certainly easier to read.
NL: I and I read David Copperfield is a book I do return to regularly. And every time I read it, and that's plenty of times now. It's fresh. It's an extraordinary novel. I mean, it doesn't surprise me that it was Freud's favorite novel.
CK: This is a question everyone asks person from history you'd most like to sit down and have dinner with?
NL: Oh, It's very difficult. I can't really imagine. I'm more interested in the living than the dead. Vivian Gornick. I would love to have dinner with.
CK: Okay, now you got me who's Vivian Gornick?
NL: She's a wonderful writer. She's an extraordinarily good writer. You must read Fierce Attachments. But she's a bit she's really an excellent critic as well. I love her. I love being allowed into her mind. She writes very crisp sentences. She always chooses the word that tastes right.
CK: And the typical last question, which is last words, what would yours be?
NL: I don't know. But I was taught this one thing. These are true last words that Kim Wetherspoon. You know, the one of the agents, she was Tony Bourdain's agent. And that's how I know her. And she said something to me once because it was obviously fizzing and popping and worrying about something. And she had gone into hospital to see the mother an elderly. You know, I think she must have been about 90, a mother of a friend of hers and she was dying. And the very last thing she kind of put her hands up and said, all that worry, and then died. And I think I say that to myself a lot. Because, yes, don't make it all about the worry. In the end things happen. They don't happen. Now. It's very hard to be that person and not to worry, I worry about everything. A bit of worry is good. And things I feel that most things worth doing are frightening however, those are the last words I find the most valuable. There's wisdom in those words.
CK: Yeah, I guess the problem is knowing something and then acting on it are two different things
NL: Yeah, but I think you probably only really find out as she did on your deathbed. So, you may as well just say, I'm just going to ___along as I am. I won't get it. I won’t understand it. I'm getting nearer and then in my last second, I'll go oh, that's what it was about.
CK: We all have that to look forward to a revelation at the very last second. Nigella it's always a pleasure having you here at Milk Street. Thanks so much.
NL: I always adore talking to you, Chris. Here's to the next time
CK: That was Nigella Lawson. Her most recent book is Cook Eat Repeat Ingredients, Recipes and Stories. You can hear an extended version of our interview at Milk Street Radio.com. Nigella reminded me that food is gone from the humble dining room table to star status on social media. Much like a good book being adapted to the screen. Everyday brown food just doesn't stand a chance. And this preference for colorful entertainment is also true of Hollywood. According to critics, the top three movies of all time are the Godfather, Citizen Kane and Rear Window. But modern media chooses three very different movies, The Wolf of Wall Street, the Karate Kid, and Mad Max Fury Road. So, I call this the Citizen Kane conundrum, great art demands an commitment of both attention and thought. Unfortunately, modern culture demands neither. I'm Christopher Kimball and you're listening to Milk Street Radio. Now let's chat with Lynn Clark about this week's recipe. Dark chocolate terrine with coffee and cardamom. Lynn, how are you?
Lynn Clark: I'm doing well, Chris.
CK: You know, I remember one of my first French dishes back I don't know, early 70s was, of course, chocolate mousse. A very popular dish for a long time. But of course, I don't know why everything gets more complicated, more interesting. In the culinary world. You can't leave good enough alone. So, chocolate terrine with coffee and cardamom, similar to mousse. But fancier right and better, I would hope.
LC: Well, you know, this is what I call a dirty little secret recipe because it's absolutely beautiful, so elegant. It looks like something that's kind of restaurant worthy. And it has a fancy French name. It's called _____ chocolate but the truth is, it's dead easy to bake, you can bake it ahead. And you probably already have everything in your house to make this right now,
CK: That almost sounds too good to be true. It does.
LC: But luckily, it's not. So, it's just like a chocolate mousse, you would make a chocolate mousse, which we'll talk about a little bit in a second. And then you pour that into a loaf pan that's lined with plastic, put it in the fridge for several hours, then unmolded and then slice it. It's kind of a contrast in that obviously, it's dense enough to hold that shape. But when you take a bite of it, it's that light and airy texture of like the best chocolate mousse you've ever had.
CK: Yeah, the first time I tasted it in the kitchen, I was going like, oh, this is going to be you know, heavy. And it's going to be overwhelmingly chocolatey. And it was surprisingly light. Actually,
LC: It's really nice and light, we're using 70% Cocoa ___, bittersweet chocolate, you melt that with a little bit of butter. And our version has a bit of a more modern twist. So, we're kind of drawing on the flavors of Turkish coffee. So, we add a little bit of ground cardamom to this. And those kind of floral notes really balanced the bitterness of the chocolate. And then we whisk together some sugar and egg yolks over a pot of water on the stovetop. And to that we add half a cup of strong coffee. So, coffee and chocolate are best friends already but this version, we have even just a little more coffee flavor to it. So again, kind of drying off those really kind of more modern flavors of Turkish coffee.
CK: So, this has to sit overnight to set up for just a couple hours it can you make it on the same day,
LC: You can make it on the same day it has to sit for six hours. But what's really great about this is that typically you would use egg whites to lighten a chocolate mousse, but instead we're using whipped cream. So, we whip the cream and fold that into that base mixture of eggs and chocolate. And what that does is it's significantly more stable so it can sit for up to three days. So, you can make this three days ahead. Bring it out to the table, dust it with some cocoa powder, some chocolate shavings on top, slice it for your company. And you look like this superhero who made this really fancy French dessert, but the truth is it was super easy to put together.
CK: Yeah, my household the next day I go looking for it. It would be gone. And no one will admit they got up at two in the morning to finish it off. Lynn thank you, an upgrade to chocolate mousse dark chocolate Tareen with coffee and cardamom. Not hard to make. Make it ahead and it's super light and delicious. Thank you.
LC: You're welcome. You can get the recipe for dark chocolate Tareen with coffee and cardamom at Milk Street Radio.com.
CK: You're listening to Milk Street Radio after the break Dan Pashman, and I strategize on the very best way to eat wings. That's coming right u. Hey, Milk Street listeners this is Chris Kimball and I need a little bit of help. We're working on a story about the foods people eat around the world when they experienced the loss of loved ones. So, if there are dishes or food traditions that you would like to share, you can leave us a voicemail at 617-249-3167 or send us a voice memo at Radio tips at 177 Milk Street.com One more time, call us at 617-249-3167 or email a voice memo to radio tips at 177 Milk Street.com Please say your name and where you're calling from and thanks. You're listening to Milk Street Radio right now Cheryl Day and I will be answering a few more of your baking questions.
CD: Welcome to milk street who's calling?
Caller: Hi, this is Chelsea B___ from Hamilton, Ohio.
CD: Hi, Chelsea. How can we help you today?
Caller: My dad's favorite cake for his birthday is Jell-O cake. And my aunt used to make it for him but since she has stopped doing that, and so I just took it upon myself to you know, give him something that he really enjoys. But I've tried several times and I just cannot get the gelatin to stay suspended in the cake. It usually just winds up pooling at the bottom of the cake and disqualifying him to drink. Oh, I've tried it with water hose I try it was just a few holes. It all just ends up you can barely see anything in the column, and it just falls all to the bottom
CD: Wow. So, we call them poke cakes in the south. And what I do is I just take the back of a wooden spoon and I poke holes with that. What do you use?
Caller: I've used forks I've used the back of a spoon I've used shish kabob; I’ve used all kinds of different things.
CD: And you're making a cake from scratch or a box cake?
Caller: I'm using a box cake that's what my aunt used to use, she just use like regular gelatin like regular box cake. And that's what she used to use.
CD: Usually box cakes, kind of get that extra you know, domey top
Caller: It kind of does but I tried to slowly pour over it so at least it seeps into the bottom half.
CD: Well, I don't know if this would make a difference. But my cakes you know if I'm making them from scratch or like I said a box cake usually has that dome top. But maybe if you tried making it least level. Yeah, that would help. So, when you're pouring it in, and I have never seen it go all the way to the bottom though. It should be in all of the spheres. I wonder if your Jell-O is too runny when you're pouring it in. Maybe you need to let it set up a little bit.
CK: I have a question. You said that the gelatin ends up at the bottom in a layer. (Yeah)
CK: It sounds to me like it's running off around the sides of the cake down to the bottom.
Caller: It'll go through the entire cake on the bottom.
CK: Well, then it sounds to me like it's too hot or the gelatin needs to be cool.
CD: And you're not poking the holes all the way down to the bottom, right?
Caller: I tried to go all the way and then halfway.
CD: Yeah, I wouldn't do all the way down.
CK: I think the gelatin needs to be cooler
CD: It needs to be cooled down a little bit. Yeah, I mean, you know, it's going to take a while for it to set up. So, you just want it where it's still portable, though, but not too thin. I mean, even if you could spread it on the top word and kind of go down because that's what I do with my pudding cakes. I just kind of, you know, glop it and pour it, but I think a little bit thicker is what I would say thicker and then not poke it all the way to the bottom. Yeah, I would try that. You have any other ideas, Chris?
c Well, the other thing to do is to make your own Jell-O I mean, take fruit juice and gelatin, and make your own would actually add a lot of interest to the dessert anyway.
CD: And then you could make whatever flavor you can make whatever flavor you want.
Caller: The idea of all kinds of different flavors now oh, you've got me in trouble now.
CK: There you go, all right
CD: That was the goal.
Caller: Okay. Well, great. Thank you, guys for your suggestions
CD: Thanks for calling.
CK: Thanks for calling.
Caller: Bye bye.
CK: This is Milk Street Radio. Cheryl and I are here to save you from baking disasters. Give us a call anytime. 855-426-9843 one more time 855-426-9843 or just email us at questions at Milk Street Radio.com Welcome to Milk Street who's calling?
Caller: Hi, this is Josh Mandel and Albany, New York.
CD: Hi, Josh. How can we help you today?
Caller: I have occasionally purchased lemon cakes and they have a kind of a crust on them, a sugary, flaky crust. And I haven't been able to duplicate that at home. I'm wondering if you know how I might be able to do that.
CK: I would use confectioner sugar and lemon juice and maybe a little lemon zest and a two and glaze. You know put that on when it comes out of the oven would work. You can also use melted butter and granulated sugar. You get sort of a crunchier layer on the outside of a cake that way. Cheryl thoughts?
CD: Yeah, I mean you definitely is that kind of the texture you're going forth in it. What Chris is saying is when you're preparing the pan and you're baking it, you could prepare it with a little sugar in the pan or when you bring it out you can do that little sugar glaze on top a really thin glaze though and it just kind of does that crackly delicious is that kind of what yeah, that's what I mean. Oh, yeah, yeah, exactly.
Caller: I had tried sprinkling sugar in the bottom of the pan. But that just gave me sort of a sandy texture on the top.
CD: But that confectioner's sugar it’s not like a thick glaze, but just a really thin glaze and then it just creates this little crackly top that is so delicious. That's definitely a bakery secret.
Caller: That's what I'm going for.
CD: Oh, good.
Caller: All right,
CK: That’s the answer powdered sugar, lemon juice, make it a thin glaze. It'll work.
Caller: Great. Thank you so much.
CK: Yeah, thanks for calling. Oh, boy. You're listening to Milk Street Radio. Next up, let's hear from our friend Dan Pashman. Dan, how are you?
Dan Pashman: I'm doing well, Chris, I'm getting psyched up for the Super Bowl. Are you psyched?
CK: No. I'll probably check in like just before halftime just to see what's going on. No, no, if the Patriots playing, I would definitely watch.
DP: Well, look, I think it's a great day. It's a fun day to gather together. Even though you don't like football. The commercials are fun. And the food is good. Okay. Let me tell you something, Chris. Do you know, go ahead and guess how many wings do you think Americans will consume on Superbowl Sunday?
CK: 42 million
DP: Not even close.
CK: More? Really?
CK: How many?
DP: 1.6 billion?
DP: 1.6 billion wings. But I don't think most of those wings will be eaten correctly
CK: Oh, no, here we go
DP: First of all, people need to understand that wings are a sort of distant cousin in the fried chicken family. (I agree). And that means that when it comes out of the fryer, it's crispy. And when you cover it and sauce and then let the wings sit. You are destroying that crisp. Which to me is a cardinal culinary sin to destroy crisp.
CK: I totally agree with you. I mean, okay, the skin gets soft. Yeah, you're right.
DP: Yeah, it does. So, I recommend getting your wings with the sauces on the side. And I'll give you another reason why I think it's preferable, not just as we discussed, it preserves the crisp to the last second. But also, it's hard when you're ordering for people coming over to watch the game. And it's like, do I get three dozen hot and two dozen mild? Or three dozen mild and two dozen hot? How many teriyaki how many barbecue? And once the sauce is on them, they're done.
CK: Waiting. Can I ask you a question? (Yeah) If you go in order them and say look, could you put the sauce on the side? Are people going to look at you funny.
DP: You may get some funny looks. Yes. But you know that has never stopped me Chris
CK: Good point. Excellent point
DP: Look, if you're going to make your own wings, and you're going to toss them in the pan and serve them immediately. Then I'm okay with saucing. But I don't think it's a great way to enjoy a Super Bowl party.
CK: Can I just ask the question. So, most people for the Super Bowl have bet some money. They're actually interested in the outcome of the game. Are you focused on on the wing issue here or did you get over that?
DP: Depends a little bit on who's playing. I'm a New York Giants fan. So, if the giants are playing, I wouldn't be thinking at all about the food, but I will They say that I don't eat wings that often. And so when I eat them, I want them to be very delicious. One more question for you, Chris. Yep. When you make wings or order wings, there's two options. There’re the little mini drumsticks. Then there's the piece that's called the flat. That's the one with the two parallel bones inside. Which do you prefer?
CK: Because the problem with with the two bones is the meat in between the bones. I mean, you have to kind of like stick your tongue through it or something. It's kind of hard to get that out sometimes. I mean, they have good meat on them, though but
DP: Chris, we were so close to getting through this thing and full agreement. What a shame
CK: Because you because it's meatier, right? Is that why you like it?
DP: The flat has a higher meat to bone ratio and a higher fat to meat ratio, which means not only is there more meat but it's more tender meat. The key is to go to the top of the flat where the two bones meet, dig your thumb in between and pull the skinny bone out. Oh, and then you have one bone that is effectively like a mini rib. It's one bone with all of the most tender, most juicy meat around it. It's it is a little bit more work, but I think well worth it.
CK: Dan Pashman, I think you've finally changed my life.
DP: Wow, did we end this segment in total agreement, Chris? Did I win you over?
CK: No, I'm just expressing gratitude for the fact that my culinary world has now been turned upside down.
DP: Well, thanks. I appreciate it.
CK: Dan Pashman on the Super Bowl and Super Wings. Thank you.
DP: Enjoy your wings, Chris.
CK: That was Dan Pashman. He's the host of the Sportful podcast and also inventor of the pasta shape cascatelli. That's it for today. You can find all of our episodes on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. You can learn more about Milk Street at 177 Milk Street.com. There you can become a member and get every recipe access to all live stream cooking classes and free standard shipping from the Milk Street store and more. You can also find us on Facebook at Christopher Kimball's Milk Street on Instagram and Twitter at 177 Milk Street. We'll be back next week with more food stories and kitchen questions. And thanks as always for listening.
Christopher Kimball's Milk Street Radio is produced by Milk Street in association with GBH co-founder Melissa Baldino, executive producer Andy Sensabaugh. Senior Editor Melissa Allison, producer Sarah Clapp, Associate Producer Caroline Davis with production help from Debby Paddock. Additional editing by Sidney Lewis audio mixing by Jay Allison and Atlantic Public Media in Woods Hole Massachusetts. Theme music by Toubab Krewe, additional music by George Brandl Egloff Christopher Kimball's Milk Street Radio is distributed by PRX.