Today, NHPR and the music hall present Writers on a New England Stage with Mario Batali recorded live at the Music Hall in Portsmouth. Batali is a celebrity chef, entrepreneur, restaurateur, television star and passionate advocate for simple, regional food. He is author, or co-author, of 7 cookbooks on Italian food, wine and culture, one on Spanish specialties, and three of American recipes, including his most recent Big American Cookbook.
While many cookbooks now hone in on specific localities or dishes, Big American Cookbook scours the country for authentic, time-honored regional recipes. From Indian pudding to potato crusted walleye to tortilla soup, they are un-fussy dishes you’d likely find at church picnic, rotary club potluck, or mom and pop joint. As we’ll hear, Batali sought out cooking traditions that evolved from climate, available ingredients, and wave upon wave of American immigrants.