Food And Drink

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Let's be clear, pierogi is not a Thanksgiving food. But you may notice that in some spellings of the word (like the one used in the previous sentence), it has the word 'pie' in it.

That's not a sorry joke. The Slavic origins of the word pierogi, or pirogi (as it is also commonly spelled) yields the translation "pie." Really, they're dumplings but consider them little Slavic pies, too, and they become an eminently appropriate Thanksgiving dish. 

I wasn't introduced to green bean casserole until I was in my twenties. 

The dish won me over immediately, and I wanted to make it for my family one Thanksgiving. But dumping canned soup, canned green beans and a tin of crunchy fried onions into a casserole dish felt like cheating — as far as "cooking" goes. Particularly on a holiday that's about celebrating the season's bounty.

So I made a from-scratch version.

What Is The Carbon Footprint Of A Typical Thanksgiving Dinner?

Nov 24, 2015
Jack Amick / Flickr -- CC

Mike Berners-Lee may not be an expert on the American Thanksgiving. A native of the UK, he’s never actually had the pleasure of experiencing one. But as one of the world’s leading researchers on the carbon footprint of—well—everything (he even wrote a book subtitled “The Carbon Footprint of Everything”), he’s plenty familiar with the impacts of the foods that star in the traditional Thanksgiving Day spread.

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

It's a well-known saying that America is a melting pot, and with each wave of immigrants, more tradition, foods and other things made their way into the mix.

On this edition of Up to Date, we talk about how different wines, ciders and ales made their way to our shores and which ones you might like to put on your Thanksgiving table.


  • Doug Frost, master sommelier and master of wine

The wines and ciders we tasted on the air are:

Green bean casserole is specifically a staple of the rural Midwest. What characterizes Midwestern cuisine, and how did it come about that a food-producing region celebrates the season's bounty with a recipe based entirely on canned foods?


  • Lucy Long, director, Center for Food and Culture
  • Judith Fertig, local cookbook author and "foodista"
Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

If you’ve ever wondered what food tasted like 100 years ago, Dixon’s Famous Chili on Highway 40 is like a culinary time capsule.

With its red décor, bar stools and historic photos, it looks like a 1960s-style diner, and that’s when this particular restaurant opened near the stadiums on U.S. Highway 40.

In 1919, Vergne Dixon opened the original location at 15th and Olive streets just east of downtown, which makes it one of the oldest family-run establishments in the Kansas City metro; Dixon’s Chili eventually became a chain of 13 restaurants, including one in Minnesota. 

Jeffreyw/Flickr --CC

Cold weather and chili go hand-in-hand.

Hot and hearty, and eminently customizable, it’s an American classic and a perfect winter meal.

But what is chili? There are many recipes that vary by region, including a Kansas City loose-meat assemble-it-yourself style of chili.

“I think it’s chili if you think it’s chili,” Food Critic Jill Silva told guest host Sylvia Maria Gross Friday on KCUR's Central Standard.

We visit Dixon's Famous Chili, a KC institution since 1919; a hot sauce expert recommends the best way to add heat to chili; then KCUR's Food Critics search out the best chili dishes in and around Kansas City.


Flesh And Bone

Nov 6, 2015
Paul Andrews

Lee Meisel, the owner of Leeway Franks in Lawrence, discusses his approach to butchering — and how his time working at an old-school butcher shop and going to Haskell University helped him find his direction in life.


Oct 30, 2015
Jen Chen/KCUR

Crunchy vegetables, tangy dressing, melted cheese, warm and tender meat (or not), encompassed in soft, chewy bread ... sandwiches have it all.

A grilled cheese expert shows demonstrates the art of cooking them low and slow; we visit a kitchen that pickles all sorts of things in-house; then KCUR's Food Critics search for the best sandwiches in and around Kansas City.


Jen Chen/KCUR

Sandwiches — they’re portable, and practically anything can go between two slices of bread (or even atop just one piece of bread).

From banh mi to Cubans to Reubens, local restaurants are offering traditional versions and riffs of the good ol’ hand-held.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Pickling is a trend picking up all over the country, and Elise Landry, sous chef at Ça Va in Kansas City's Westport neighborhood, is pickling everything. Turnips, husk cherries, shallots … you name it, she’s pickled it.

“The other day I was called a pickled petunia by a customer, which I’ll always remember,” she laughs.

Initially, Landry started pickling to keep the seasonal produce she got from the Brookside Farmer’s Market fresh. But it’s gone far beyond practicalities.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Hot peppers, tomato wedges, onions and a pickle spear. That's a Chicago dog.

Mustard, kraut and onion — that's New York.

But what's on a Kansas City hot dog? Is it tangy barbeque sauce or simply a Boulevard beer to wash it down? As of now, there isn't a universal version of a KC-style dog. So we asked three local eateries to invent their signature Kansas City dogs. Here's what they created:

Alex Pope, The Local Pig, 2618 Guinotte Ave., Kansas City, Missouri. 

Audiofiles: Podcasts We Love — Fall 2015

Oct 20, 2015
Photo Credit: Sascha Kohlmann

Central Standard’s podcast connoisseurs take to the mic to share what podcasts deserve your time and attention. Here’s what they recommend:


Jeremy Bernfeld, editor of KCUR's Harvest Public Media

Amy/Flickr - -CC

They can’t be greasy, they should be fresh and fluffy, and they taste best when they’re fresh out of the oven or fryer.

You can get them topped with frosting, icing, sprinkles, nuts and more. Then, there’s glaze.

“Glaze is practically natural, like herbs!” Food Critic Charles Ferruzza told Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

The Roast

Oct 16, 2015
Esther Honig/KCUR

The coffee scene in Kansas City has really grown over the past few years, especially with more shops roasting their own beans. We visit the in-house coffee roaster at Thou Mayest, then the author of a local coffee blog talks about what's new.


Steve Agocs, KC Coffee Geek blog

Martin Abbeglen / Flickr

Organic, free-range, pasture-raised, paleo, vegetarian. Those words have become big — and big money-makers — in the food industry. But what are the actual environmental impacts of our food choices? And what are some of the challenges of eating local?


Esther Honig/KCUR

Kansas City's food truck scene has exploded over the past few years.

If you crave international fare, like Australian meat pies, Cuban sandwiches or Spanish tapas — or more down-home grub, like barbecue, tacos or waffles — you can get it from one of our local food trucks.

Arnold Gatilao/Flickr -- CC

Arepas, pupusas, pão de queijo … there’s more to Latin American food than massive burritos and hard-shell tacos.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

What’s not to love about fried chicken? There’s the crispy, crackling exterior and a juicy interior. It’s portable and best eaten with your hands, making it the perfect picnic fare — especially for this holiday weekend.

It can be served hot or cold, and don’t forget the sides: Mashed potatoes, green beans, pasta salad, fresh corn and tomatoes, biscuits and so much more (cinnamon rolls, anyone?).

“It’s the ultimate comfort food,” Food Critic Charles Ferruzza told Gina Kaufmann on Central Standard.

And don’t worry the health factor, despite what Ferruzza says —“It’s a guilty pleasure because you should feel guilty eating it!”

On Friday’s Central Standard, chef Derek Nacey from Blvd Tavern told us about his Korean fried chicken dish, then the Food Critics searched out the best fried chicken in and around Kansas City — here's what they came up with.

Sylvia Maria Gross/KCUR

Sweet tomatoes served with soft mozzarella cheese, an arugula salad with a watermelon vinaigrette, even an ice cream made with sweet corn ... the best of summer's bounty is ripe for harvesting.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Martin Heuser, an eighth generation chef, grew up in Bonn, Germany, where corn is eaten, but not a traditional part of the cuisine. He grew to appreciate fresh, local corn as an ingredient when he lived in Canada. 

"For me, corn is summertime," Heuser said it adds another component and flavor to a dish.

At his restaurant Affäre in the Crossroads, he features it in special recipes when it's in season.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

If you've been to Macken Park in North Kansas City recently you may have found yourself suddenly surrounded by food trucks. That's because of a of trial food truck "pod" program the city hopes will bring new tastes and visitors to North Kansas City.

The Northland News reported last week that not everyone from North Kansas City is excited about this new gathering spot.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

Quantity over quality used to be the mantra for brunch spreads in the past. And who can forget the decorative ice sculptures that presided over a seemingly endless row of buffet tables?

Not anymore.

From chilaquiles to chicken confit hash (along with coffee and cocktails) — that leisurely, mid-morning meal gets a makeover on local menus.

On Friday’s Central Standard, our Food Critics Charles Ferruzza, Mary Bloch and Emily Farris uncover the best brunch dishes in Kansas City.

Long and leisurely and sometimes boozy, brunch is a delicious mid-morning ritual. A food historian talks about how the egg became an American breakfast staple, and our Food Critics search out the best brunch dishes in Kansas City.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Everything Bryce Schaffter needed to brew beer commercially, North Kansas City had.

“Mostly industrial buildings work the best, along with the utilities that come to the building,” says Schaffter, Cinder Block Brewery founder. “You need a lot of gas power, electrical and obviously, water.”

North Kansas City has what Schaffter calls “flat” water. He got used to working with it back when he was a homebrewer who lived north of the river.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

Back in the 19th century, Missouri winemakers were experiencing success while today's domestic wine behemoths, like California, were struggling. After prohibition however, the state was slow to recover. 

As the wine landscape changes and Missouri begins to again come into its own, we compare how the Show-Me State compares to the rest of the world. 

Master Sommelier and Master of Wine Doug Frost brought some selections to taste. Each of these is available locally, though you may have to search :

Courtesy photo / Snow and Co.

If your stomach is grumbling in the Kansas City area, the Missouri River plays a big role on how to satisfy those hunger pangs.

“It’s very much a psychological thing, you think you’re crossing into another country (when you cross the Missouri River),” said Jerry Nevins, co-owner of Snow & Co., an upscale frozen cocktail bar that started in the Crossroads Arts District. “Most everybody goes south.”

Just south of the river, you’ll find a plethora of dining options at independent restaurants in Kansas City on both sides of the state line.

A KU professor discusses the history of Japanese desserts, and how they contain less sugar than their Western counterparts.

A food historian discusses why we prefer bold, dry wines like Cabernet and Chardonnay — and how Missouri grapes saved the French wine industry.