Come to NPT’s ‘Country Music’ Premiere Party Sept. 15 at the Opry House

Here at NPT we’ve been gearing up for Country Music, the Ken Burns documentary series coming to Nashville Public Television next month. It just gets better and better: Join NPT for a Country Music Premiere Party Sunday, Sept. 15, at the Grand Ole Opry House. Tickets are $75 and are available at wnpt.org/country-music/opry-event.

Each event ticket includes:

  • A general admission seat in the Grand Ole Opry House to view the two-hour first episode
  • Entry into the Opry’s newly installed immersive Circle Room theater experience
  • A 30-minute performance by Old Crow Medicine Show
  • An advance copy of Old Crow Medicine Show’s latest album, Live at the Ryman (for the first 500 people entering the Grand Ole Opry House that evening)
  • A one-year subscription to NPT Passport (a $60 value) so attendees can binge watch all episodes of Ken Burns’ Country Music beginning Sept. 15
  • Two drink tickets and pre-show hors d’oeuvres
  • Access to special giveaways at the event
  • $20 off any $100 instore purchase in the Opry Shop (including Country Music merchandise)

Country Music is an eight-part, 16-hour series covering the history of the genre from its earliest days to 1996. The series airs 7 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, Sept. 15 through 25 ‒ immediately followed by an encore presentation each night ‒ and in two weekend marathons.

Proceeds from the Country Music Premiere Party support NPT’s cultural, educational and civic programming.

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‘Volunteer Gardener’ August in the Garden: Seed-Starting Tips

By Laura Bigbee-Fott

August is a great time to start seedlings for next year’s blooms. You can start hardy annuals now, as well as perennials and biennials. You can even still plant some hybrid sunflowers that will bloom this fall!

Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus)
There are two varieties, Jua Maya and Cherry Rose, touted as having the fastest maturity ‒ a whopping 45 days from seed to vase! Jua Maya is lovely golden yellow flower with a large dark disc. Cherry Rose is a bicolor sunflower whose pale yellow petal tips deepen quickly to maroon toward the base of the petal. This flower also has a lovely, dark disc in the center. Both varieties are pollen-less hybrids, so they are perfect for cutting and enjoying indoors as well as out.

Hardy annuals
Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus), feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), Canterbury bells (Campanula medium) and bachelor’s button (Centaurea cyanus) ‒ also known as cornflower ‒ are just a few of the lovely flowers you can start now. A good resource that covers hardy annuals in detail is book Cool Flowers, a book by Virginia flower farmer Lisa Mason Ziegler.

Biennials
Here on the farm, I have started several trays of hollyhocks (Alcea rosea). I love their dramatic display in arrangements and nothing says “cottage garden” in quite the same way. Foxgloves (Digitalis) are quite easy to start from seed and they put on a wonderful extended show the following spring and early summer. Just remember: Foxgloves need a bit of afternoon shade here in the South.

Perennials
Starting perennials from seed has become my passion here on the farm, and there are so many to choose from! Perennials are the backbone of any garden, whether it’s a cutting, ornamental, butterfly or native garden. This year, I’m starting columbine (Aquilegia), yarrow (Achillea) and butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa).

Have fun starting next year’s garden! You’ll be saving money while you’re at it because a packet of seeds is much less expensive than a half-gallon plant. You’ll practically have a whole garden for what just you’d otherwise spend on a few fully grown plants. Plus, you get the joy and satisfaction of raising them yourself!

Happy Gardening!

Laura Bigbee-Fott is a Davidson County Master Gardener. She owns Whites Creek Flower Farm and runs a floral event and wedding design business called Everything Blooms.

NPT to air Ray Charles, Ed Temple & the Tigerbelles specials this month


Nashville Public Television will air two special programs of local interest during the month of August: An Opry Salute to Ray Charles premieres Thursday, Aug. 15, at 8 p.m.; and Mr. Temple and the Tigerbelles airs Monday, Aug. 19, at 7 p.m.

NPT is the national presenting station for An Opry Salute to Ray Charles, a celebration of the songs and influence of the iconic recording artist. Hosted by Grand Ole Opry member Darius Rucker, the performance was recorded at the Opry House in the fall of 2018 and features unique collaborations and performances of Charles’ music. Guests include Boyz II Men, Cam, Brett Eldredge, Leela James, Jessie Key, Ronnie Milsap, Lukas Nelson, LeAnn Rimes, Allen Stone, Travis Tritt, Charlie Wilson, Trisha Yearwood and Chris Young.

An Opry Salute to Ray Charles will be available to public television stations across the country in September when Ken Burns’ Country Music documentary series airs on PBS stations nationwide.

Mr. Temple and the Tigerbelles is about the symbiotic relationship between legendary Tennessee State University track and field coach Ed Temple and his equally storied athletes. Under Temple’s leadership, the Tigerbelles team produced 40 Olympians who won 23 medals, 16 of them gold, during the Jim Crow era. This elite group not only excelled in sports, 100 percent of them graduated, many going on to receive advanced degrees. As the film shows, Temple’s program lives on in a new generation of athletes coached by Tigerbelle Olympic gold medalist Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice.

The Aug. 19 broadcast of Mr. Temple and the Tigerbelles will be a live pledge event with filmmaker Tom Neff and TSU track and field coach Cheeseborough-Guice appearing on-air from NPT’s studio. TSU and MTSU supporters will staff the phone bank during this pledge event.

“This documentary is a love letter to Nashville,” said Neff, a professor in Media Arts at MTSU. “The Tigerbelles film is uniquely Nashvillian; it was created, financed, and produced entirely by Nashvillians and Nashville organizations in celebration of an unknown Nashville story.”

“Coach Temple was given $300 and two station wagons and told to go compete against the world,” retired Tennessean columnist Dwight Lewis says in the documentary. Temple is now immortalized with a statue next to the Nashville Sounds First Tennessee Park.

The Tigerbelles burst onto the scene at the 1956 Summer Games in Melbourne, Australia, when they won several bronze medals. They continued that domination at the 1960 Rome Games where Wilma Rudolph became the first American to win three gold medals at a single Olympics. The 1960 gold medal Olympic team included Barbara Jones Slater (the youngest woman to win gold in track and field), Lucinda Williams Adams, Martha Hudson Pennyman, and Wilma Rudolph. Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) won gold as light heavyweight. They all remained good friends.

Other medal-winning Tigerbelles include: Mae Faggs (called the Mother of the Tigerbelles), Madeline Manning Mims, Edith McGuire, Wyomia Tyus (the first male or female to win back-to-back gold in consecutive 100-meter Olympic events), Martha Hudson, Willye White, Kathy McMillan, Margaret Matthews Wilburn, Isabelle Daniels, and Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice, who still holds the Olympic trial record in the 400-meter race.

Tasty tomato-themed menu for NPT’s Volunteer Gardener Homegrown Dinner!


This just in: The menu for NPT’s Volunteer Gardener Homegrown Dinner has just been announced! A limited number of tickets remain for the Thursday, Aug. 8, event at The Old School (5022 Old Hydes Ferry Pike, Nashville, TN 37218). Tickets are $75 per person and are available at bit.ly/homegrown-dinner-npt.Proceeds support NPT’s educational, cultural and civic programming.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and includes a tour of the farm and casual conversation with Volunteer Gardener hosts Tammy Algood, Julie Berbiglia, Sheri Gramer, Matt Kerske, Troy Marden, and Annette Shrader.

Each of the evening’s three courses prepared by Bacon & Caviar Gourmet Catering will highlight the tomato, Nashville’s favorite fruit.

Specialty Drink: Michelada, made with beer, lime juice, spices and tomato juice.

Appetizers: BLT bites with candied bacon; Caprese crostini; mini tomato frittata.

Salad: Summer greens with heirloom tomatoes, red onion and crunchy tomato croutons topped with balsamic vinaigrette.

Main course: Grilled chicken breast with mashed tomato salsa fresca; family-style sides of grilled corn salad with cherry tomato and avocado, and Old School garden harvest pasta with olive oil and Parmesan; grilled panini bread with tomato butter.

Dessert: “Tomato Soup” cake with mocha buttercream icing.

The historic Old School is a now a culinary destination featuring a spacious event barn, a restored schoolhouse dating from 1936 and a speakeasy-style music room. The aptly named Old School Farm to Table restaurant is supplied by the property’s Old School Farm, which employs people of all abilities.

 

 

 

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Enter NPT’s AWOW Giveaway through Aug. 2!

Hey, NPT book lovers, we’re giving away a set of books by authors featured on NPT’s Emmy-winning A WORD ON WORDS series. The show features interviews with authors, poets and others filmed in sites around Middle Tennessee.

Register at wnpt.org/books for a chance to win the following books chosen with beach reading in mind.

Sunset Beach: Mary Kay Andrews
The Sleepwalker: Chris Bohjalian
The Secret Cloud: Geraldine Brooks
Heating & Cooling: Beth Ann Fennelly
Where the Crawdads Sing: Delia Owens
Modern Lovers: Emma Straub
Perfect Little World: Kevin Wilson

See A WORD ON WORDS episodes featuring the authors on the NPT Arts YouTube channel.

The contest ends Friday, Aug. 2 and the winner will be notified by Monday, Aug. 5.

Limit one entry per person. Keep Reading!

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‘Molly of Denali’ joins PBS Kids lineup July 15

Molly of Denali, a new PBS Kids series, premieres Monday, July 15, on NPT with a one-hour special airing at 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. This animated series is the first nationally distributed children’s series to feature a Native American lead character in 10-year-old Molly Mabray, who lives in Qyah, Alaska. Molly’s village is fictional, but the series was developed with significant input from Alaskan Native voices as consultants and producers, as well as voice talent.

Molly of Denali will air weekdays at 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on NPT; the premiere episode re-airs at those times on Friday, July 19. Watch Molly and her friends on NPT3 PBS Kids at 6:30 p.m. Monday – Thursday and 2:30 a.m. Tuesday – Friday. The Molly of Denali podcast is available at mollyofdenalipodcast.org.

In the series, Molly helps her parents run the Denali Trading Post. Here, she helps tourists, trekkers and scientists who stop by the family’s business ‒ a combination of general store, bunkhouse and transport hub. Molly’s adventures include making deliveries by dog-sled or bush plane. She spends time with elders who teach her about her heritage (one episode explains the traditions and significance of Native names) and about growing up. Of course Molly also hangs out with her own crowd, including friends Trini and Tooey and her dog Suki.



Molly of Denali
is designed to help children ages 4 to 8 develop knowledge and skills for interacting with informational texts, including books, online resources, field guides, historical archives, maps, charts and more.

Children’s programming is available around the clock on NPT3, our 24-hour PBS Kids Channel, available over-the-air at 8.3, on Comcast 242 and Charter 189 (or 192, depending on your viewing area). NPT3 PBS Kids is available for streaming at wnpt.org/npt3.

NPT’s weekday schedule of children’s program beginning July 15, 2019:

6:00 a.m.     Ready Jet Go!

6:30             Nature Cat

7:00             Wild Kratts

7:30             Molly of Denali

8:00             Curious George

8:30             Let’s Go Luna!

9:00             Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

9:30             Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

10:00           Sesame Street

10:30           Pinkalicious & Peterrific

11:00           Dinosaur Train

11:30           Cat in the Hat

noon            Sesame Street

12:30 p.m.   Splash and Bubbles

1:00             Pinkalicious & Peterrific

1:30             Let’s Go Luna!

2:00             Nature Cat

2:30             Wild Kratts

3:00             Molly of Denali

3:30             Odd Squad

4:00             Odd Squad

4:30             Arthur

 

As of July 20, our weekend schedule of children’s lineup will be:

5:00 a.m.     Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

5:30             Splash and Bubbles

6:00             Sesame Street

6:30             Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

7:00             Pinkalicious & Peterrific

7:30             Molly of Denali

8:00             Let’s Go Luna!

8:30             Nature Cat

‘Volunteer Gardener’ Summer in the Garden: How to Mend a Garden Hose

Volunteer Gardener NPT

By Laura Bigbee-Fott

The summer my son learned to use our big riding lawn mower, we began having to replace hoses on an almost weekly basis. Having mowing help was great, but it was starting to become expensive! We have almost an acre cultivated in cut flowers and every 5,000 square-foot bed is irrigated with city water, so we have hundreds of feet of well-placed garden hoses reaching out in every direction. I finally realized that I needed to learn to repair rather than replace those hoses.

We have all three learned not to mow directly over the irrigation lines, but it still happens (and I’m as guilty as anyone!). Now we keep hardware on hand for quick fixes. It’s actually quite simple and has saved us a lot of money. I’ve also changed brass ends that have come damaged or leaky ‒ and securing connections between faucets and hoses to stop leaks saves money on water bills.

Below are a few important repair tips I learned by trial and error:

Heavy metals
Use ONLY brass and metal fittings made by Gilmore (no, I do not receive any compensation from this company, but their products are first-rate). Don’t use plastic fittings or the repair kits that have perforated wire mesh that you tighten down onto the hose; these always leak in my experience. The heavy metal fittings might be a tad more expensive, but this is definitely a case of getting what you pay for.

In the wash(er)
Before you replace a leaky connection, try using rubber washers and a spool of plumber’s tape before cutting off and replacing the hose end. Sometimes you can salvage an old connection with just these two inexpensive items. The best rubber washers are the reddish-brown ones, not the black small “o” rings that often come with hose repair kits. The former will only run you a couple dollars more and they are worth it. Use a flat head screwdriver to help “seat” them into place inside the nozzle.

Sharp objects
Use a pair of sharp pruners or heavy-duty kitchen shears rather than a utility knife to cut the hose to make repairs. I can tell you from experience that using a utility knife is a great way to cut and injure hands and fingers. Hoses are made to be tough, thus they have many layers. They also tend to roll and move while you’re cutting them ‒ it’s much better to firmly grip the handle of pruners or shears.

In hot water
Boiling water is your friend. I boil a kettle of water, then transfer it to a thermos. I dunk the freshly cut hose end into the water to make the hose more pliable. The fittings must be tight, so if you skip this step, you might not be able to insert the hardware far enough into the hose to keep it from leaking or even blowing off once carrying a full load of water. As the hot end of the hose cools onto the hardware, it will form a seal that should keep the fitting from leaking for a long time to come.

Happy Gardening!

Laura Bigbee-Fott is a Davidson County Master Gardener. She owns Whites Creek Flower Farm and runs a floral event and wedding design business called Everything Blooms.

Mission manual to Summer of Space on NPT


In a summer full of significant anniversaries, we’re particularly excited about the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and the first moon landing. To celebrate, we’ve launched #SpaceNPT, part of PBS’ Summer of Space, which includes special programming, a dedicated website (wnpt.org/space), and a free screening event highlighting Chasing the Moon, a six-hour American Experience series chronicling the moon shot.

Join NPT and the Tennessee State Museum on Saturday, July 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a free Space Day featuring space-themed activities and giveaways and a 2 p.m. preview of Chasing the Moon.

 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to space-themed shows to enjoy this month.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019
Secrets of the Dead: Galileo’s Moon at 7 p.m.
When a copy of Galileo’s of Sidereus Nuncius (also known as the Starry Messenger) was discovered, scientists and antiquarians were blown away, particularly by the astronomer’s watercolor notations of the phases of the moon. Was it too good to be true?

Space Chase U.S.A. at 8 p.m.
Interviews and archival footage show the space race changed Cocoa Beach, Florida, from a sleepy beach town into an astro-boomtown.

Wednesday, July 3
NOVA: Black Hole Apocalypse at 8 p.m.; Black Hole Universe at 9 p.m.
Earlier this year, the first photo of a black hole was taken, a feat that will expand our knowledge of these mysterious phenomena. In this two-part NOVA program, astrophysicist Janna Levin takes viewers on a mind-bending journey to the frontiers of black hole research.

Monday, July 8
Antiques Roadshow: Out of This World at 7 p.m.
Find out whether space-themed items ranging from a 1737 celestial & terrestrial atlas to autographed NASA photos to Star Trek memorabilia are worth astronomical amounts of money.

Chasing the Moon: American Experience at 8 p.m.
PBS’ signature space program of the summer premieres tonight! Chasing the Moon is a six-hour look at the space race that adds to the familiar story by using archival footage ‒ much of it hitherto unseen ‒ and new interviews. New themes explored in director Robert Stone’s treatment include the role of women, the toll taken on astronaut families and minority involvement in the space program.

Part 1: A Place Beyond the Sky tells the backstory of the space race, born out of the cold war of the 1950s, and how the U.S. struggled to catch up with the Soviet Union.

Tuesday, July 9
Space Men: American Experience at 7 p.m.
An encore presentation of a documentary about Project Excelsior, the Air Force program that led to important discoveries about human’s ability to withstand gravitational forces.

Chasing the Moon: American Experience at 8 p.m.
Part 2: Earthrise covers the 1960s Apollo program, from the tragedy of Apollo 1 in late January 1967 to the triumphant comeback of Apollo 8 in December 1968.

Wednesday, July 10
NOVA: Back to the Moon at 7 p.m.
A new program explores efforts to return to the moon by 2024 ‒ and the lunar minerals providing the impetus for the return.



Chasing the Moon: American Experience at 8 p.m.
Part 3: Magnificent Desolation, the conclusion of the series, ends with Apollo 11 and the first successful landing on the moon. This episode includes various perspectives about what the U.S. space program and the lunar milestone meant for society. The series repeats Tuesdays at 7 p.m., beginning July 16.

Sunday, July 14
POV Shorts: Earthrise at 10 p.m.
The iconic image of beautiful, blue Earth suspended in the black void of space over the ashen surface of the moon is another gift from 1968’s Apollo 8. It wasn’t the first image of the Earth taken from space, but it was the first color image. This 30-minute show re-airs Wednesday, July 17, at 9:30 p.m.

When We Were Apollo at 10:30 p.m.
An exploration of the Apollo program through the experiences of engineers, technicians builders and contractors.

Tuesday, July 16
Chasing the Moon: Part 1 at 7 p.m.

NOVA: Apollo’s Daring Mission at 9 p.m.
After the devastating Apollo 1 fire, the U.S. space program scrambled to get back on track to beat President Kennedy’s end-of-decade challenge to reach the moon. Apollo 8 provided crucial momentum.

Wednesday, July 17
A Year in Space at 7 p.m.
Astronaut Scott Kelly’s year-long mission aboard the International Space Station. Encore Tuesday, July 23, at 9 p.m.

8 Days: To the Moon and Back at 8 p.m.
This new documentary was co-produced by BBC Studios and combines authentic Apollo 11 mission audio, archival footage from NASA and news organizations and new dramatizations. Stunning CGI video takes viewers along for the journey from the Earth to the moon. Earthrise follows at 9:30 p.m.



Tuesday, July 23
Chasing the Moon: Part 2 at 7 p.m.

A Year in Space at 9 p.m.

Wednesday, July 24
Ancient Skies at 7 p.m.
Gods and Monsters. This new series explores what happened when mythology and astronomy collided to expand our understanding of the universe.



NOVA: The Planets at 8 and 9 p.m.
A new NOVA miniseries traverses our Solar System; the journey begins with back-to-back episodes tonight. Inner Worlds focuses on the four planets nearest to the sun (Mercury, Venus, Mars and Earth); next, Mars is all about the red planet.

Tuesday, July 30
Chasing the Moon: Part 3 at 7 p.m.

Beyond A Year in Space at 9 p.m.
Find out what returning to Earth after a year on the International Space Station felt like to Scott Kelly.

Wednesday, July 31
Ancient Skies at 7 p.m.
Finding the Center. Flat Earth theories give way in light of Galileo’s telescope and other developments. Ancient Skies concludes Aug. 7.

NOVA: The Planets at 8 p.m.
Our Solar System’s largest planet is featured in Jupiter. The remaining three episodes of The Planets air Wednesdays through Aug. 14.

The Farthest Voyager in Space at 9 p.m.
An encore broadcast of the thought-provoking look at the ambitious Voyager missions, first launched in the 1970s, and the astronomical amount of information they have yielded.

NPT’s ‘Aging Matters: Opioids & Addiction’ premieres June 20

The opioid crisis has dominated news reports in recent years, from stories on communities and families ravaged by addiction to states suing pharmaceutical companies for their role in the spread of the drugs. You might think opioid misuse is a problem of youth, but in Tennessee, adults ages 55 to 64 have the highest death rate from opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That age group is also seeing a spike in other substance abuse ‒ including alcohol ‒ as reported in a recent national survey. Aging Matters: Opioids & Addiction, the 15th documentary in Nashville Public Television’s NPT Reports: Aging Matters series, explores how older adults and their families deal with the medical, social and economic challenges of this public health crisis.

Aging Matters: Opioids & Addiction premieres Thursday, June 20, at 8 p.m. on NPT.

The documentary includes input from people now in recovery, physicians, caregivers, and patients seeking alternative pain management. Representatives from Family & Children’s Services, JourneyPure, Meharry Medical College, National Council on Aging, Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center appear in the documentary.

By 1990, pain was being assessed in a way that shifted medical culture. “It was added as a vital sign,” says Dr. Allison Bollinger, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Nashville’s Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital, in Aging Matters: Opioids & Addiction. “The doctors started to be judged on their ability to manage pain, which put pressure on physicians to prescribe those medications that could then relieve pain,” adds Dr. Lyle Cooper, assistant professor of Family and Community Medicine at Meharry Medical College.

This shift in how doctors and patients thought about pain management ‒ coupled with questionable science and aggressive sales strategies ‒ were part of a perfect storm that has led to what we now call the opioid crisis. The market and use of opioids grew as people seeking to alleviate pain turned to drugs touted as being non-addictive. For older adults, opioid use is further complicated by changes in metabolism and other factors that affect how drugs are processed. There may also a greater likelihood of interaction with other drugs, prescription or otherwise.

The June 20 broadcast of Aging Matters: Opioids & Addiction will be followed at 8:30 p.m. by a discussion focusing on aspects of addiction as a family disease. Participating in the program are Grace Sutherland Smith, executive director, Council on Aging of Middle Tennessee; Kate Daniels, author and professor of English, Vanderbilt University; and author Trish Healy Luna (Timbi Talks About Addiction).

Additional broadcast times for Aging Matters: Opioids & Addiction are below; the documentary will also be available for online viewing at wnpt.org/agingmatters/.

  • Monday, June 24, at 8 a.m. on NPT2
  • Tuesday, June 25, at 1 p.m. on NPT2
  • Monday, July 1, at 12 a.m. on NPT2
  • Monday, July 29, at 11:30 p.m. on NPT

 

Aging Matters: Opioids & Addiction was produced by LaTonya Turner, whose previous Aging Matters documentaries include Hospitals & Health Risks, Loneliness & Isolation, and Caregiving, winner of a Midsouth Regional Emmy Award. Turner also produced NPT’s Emmy Award-winning documentary, The Early Black Press: Tennessee Voices United.

The NPT Reports: Aging Matters series is hosted by Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Kathy Mattea. Aging Matters: Opioids & Addiction is made possible by the generous support of the West End Home Foundation, the Jeanette Travis Foundation, The HCA Foundation and Cigna-HealthSpring. Additional support was provided by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and Jackson National Life Insurance Company.

Tuesday Nights with Christopher Kimball of ‘Milk Street Television’

Today (June 5) is Christopher Kimball’s birthday. Here’s a slice of an interview we did earlier this year when the host of the eponymous Milk Street Television stopped by NPT earlier this year. KImball was in Nashville to promote Tuesday Nights at Milk Street, a 786-page cookbook featuring hearty peasant dishes. (Yes, he was wearing a bowtie.)

What with Tuesday nights?
It was a column in the magazine, “Tuesday Nights.” The question was how to get dinner on the table in 45 minutes or less. It forces our kitchen to understand the fundamental point of a recipe. If you’re going to have 25 ingredients, anybody can be brilliant. But if you’ve got eight ingredients, you’ve really got to work harder to understand what makes the recipe good. That’s how most of us cook anyway.

What’s coming up in Season 3?
Oaxaca, Mexico; Beirut (kabobs, tabouleh, hadra [lentils and rice with fried onions on top], which is sort of a comfort food in the Middle East. Paris, which covers baking and gnocchi from a French chef. Spain, Greece. Italy, where we found out the right way to do polenta and the right way to do pesto, which is very different than what I thought.

Is that a recurring thing, the “right” way to do something?
Well, for recipes that American cooks are familiar with, it’s just to go back and find out how people really cook it somewhere else. I found that interesting because how many stories have been done on pesto? Thousands and there should be nothing new to learn at this point. But if you go to Genoa, they … make a really dry mixture, then they’ll add a little bit of olive oil. When they use it on pasta, they’ll add starchy cooking water to thin out the pesto. So, it’s not overwhelming and you’re really getting the taste of the basil.

Any tips for the new or hesitant cook?
Everybody will give you the same answer, and that is salt. Most home cooks who are not cooking a lot under-salt their food. We need salt ‒ it’s not a bad thing.

That last 30 seconds before you serve the food is crucial. Good cooks have secret things they put in at the end, a little bit of vinegar or lemon juice is nice. A little bit of fresh garlic or ginger added at the end just punches up flavor. One of the best ingredients to keep around, which you can get now in supermarket, is pomegranate molasses, which is just pomegranate juice boiled down like cane juice or maple sap. It has a sweet-sour taste: add a teaspoon or two in a stew at the end. Taste, adjust and serve.


Look for the new season of Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Television  in the fall; in the meantime, Season 2 episodes continue on NPT and NPT2. (Please check our full schedule at https://www.wnpt.org/schedule).