- Great Taste - 20140702

Done.-front coverI admit to feeling a bit intimidated before I picked up the studio phone to call James Peterson.  The first of his fifteen books, Sauces, has a permanent spot on the bookshelf in my office.  He's won seven James Beard awards-the highest official honor for food professionals in North America; tying him with Jacques Pépin for top honors in awards earned.  And I had to tell him the interview wouldn't start on time because someone was still in the studio with the red "Recording" light ablaze.

His warm voice and reply of "That's ok," to my predicament melted my nervousness. We finished recording 35 minutes later, but it took me several hours to come down from the thrill of that discussion.  I hope you enjoy our talk, and it inspires you to cook at home a bit more.

Click "Read More" for additional information on my interview with James Peterson.


Mr. Peterson's new book, Done.  A Cook's Guide to knowing when Food is Perfectly Cooked, is a friendly companion to inspire confidence in the home cook.  After all, knowing when a particular ingredient is ready to make its way to the table has been a cause of apprehension, at times, for even the most experienced culinary professionals.  

Peterson's book includes chapters on sauces, eggs, roots, vegetables, rice, and beans, seafood, pork and lamb, beef, and more.  Each entry is accompanied by instructive photos taken by the author.

Peterson's love of food was not inspired by his parents, but developed during his childhood visits to an aunt and uncle and great aunt.  His food epiphany occurred a number of years later while working in the south of France picking grapes.  He lived with a French family, and, said Peterson, "The way they ate and the way they drank and the way they lived around food was so impressive to me.  It just changed me. It was at that point where the shift started to happen where I was thinking about it as a professional career."

A cornerstone of his advice to home cooks is an observation validated by many members of Peterson's profession. "The central insight to me that I have is to respect the food… let it be itself.  That’s a little bit abstract, but if you apply that to your everyday cooking you’ll cook better."

In the first part of the show, Kathy DuBois, who has been visiting us this past week, joins me in the studio.  Kathy was my co-host for several years, and I treasure her culinary sensibilities.  We've been having some fun and engaging food talks, and I hope some of our ideas will create a bit of excitement in your own food psyche.

GREAT TASTE, 60 minutes of delicious radio, on KRUU, is accessible to anyone, anywhere by clicking on "Listen Live" at www.kruufm.com.  The show streams weekly at 7:00 pm CT on Wednesdays, and 7:00 am CT on Friday.  Archived shows are available here.