Tuning in to VPR Cooks
If you think Vermont Public Radio is all about classical music, news and pledge drives, think again - the station is way into food, too. "We're lucky around here," the VPR Cooks webpage trumpets. "Quite a few VPR staffers are terrific cooks."
That goes for listeners, too. "VPR listeners love to cook and love good food," says producer Leah Hollenberger, who notes that during pledge drives, volunteers often talk food. Sharing recipes is also "a great way for listeners to get to know VPR staffers."
The page is a repository for almost 50 recipes, which were originally published in "Preview," the e-newsletter the station sends out to 11,000 subscribers each week. Offerings run the gamut from "Cranberry-Almond Granola" to "Localvore Indian Vegetable Stew." True to public radio form, each recipe is accompanied by an anecdote in which the author explains the recipe's history and why he or she thought it ought to be shared.
Cheryl Willoughby, who hosts VPR Classical's morning program, says this of her pumpkin soup: "Like any true Taurus, I have a deep, undoubtedly over-developed appreciation for creature comforts . . ." The accompanying recipe looks comforting indeed. It blends pumpkin with butter, leeks, broth, green apple, spices, heavy cream and sour cream.
The prize for weirdest recipe title goes to Mitch Wertlieb, local host of "Morning Edition." He calls his offering "Grendel's guilty-gobbling ginger bears." Why such a complex title for simple spice cookies? Last Christmas the Wertliebs' black Lab mix, Grendel, scarfed a whole bunch of them and "then looked really guilty about it," Wertlieb writes.
The station doesn't have a test kitchen, but Hollenberger can vouch for the recipes she's tried. Long-time volunteer Barrett Grimm's curried lentil stew was a winner, as was Jody Evans' cranberry-almond granola, which the station manager gave away for Christmas. Executive assistant Jean Stilley's peach soup wowed Hollenberger's 10-year-old son, who said it was "like eating dessert for dinner."