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Hidden Kitchens: Stories, Recipes, and More from NPR's the Kitchen Sisters

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  149 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
"The Kitchen Sisters off-beat kitchen stories make me want to walk through my neighborhood, go on a road trip and eat the food of family -- they have heart."
Francis Ford Coppola

Hidden Kitchens, the popular and highly acclaimed radio series on NPR's Morning Edition, is the inspiration for a new book by the Peabody Award-winning producers, The Kitchen Sisters, Davia Nelson &
Hardcover, 278 pages
Published October 21st 2005 by Rodale Books
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Feb 07, 2008 Jessie rated it really liked it
loved loved loved the stories. hated the format- gives one ADD.
This was an enjoyable read for sure--so why 3 stars? Although I love the concept of this book, and some of the stories are truly amazing, the layout and some of the writing got on my nerves.

The layout and design are very coffee-table-book-esque (not a bad thing in and of itself). Phrases on each page are printed in red instead of black; there are plenty of pictures; and each chapter is broken into parts (there's a main story that's the focus of each chapter, then some recipes, followed by a sect
Katie Garcia
Jul 04, 2008 Katie Garcia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"In a strange and simple way, food can cross a line; it can cut through politics, race, religion. Civil rights activist Georgia Gilmore looked at a pie and saw a weapon for social change. So many other people around the country see the same power in kolaches, clams, ramps, burgoo---a way to raise money to build a library, fun a fire department, feed the hungry, take care of our elders and our children. In the right hands, in the right region, even a barbecued muskrat has earning potential for so ...more
Rogue Reader
Delightful exploration of kitchens and cooking, in the strangest settings! Love the NASCAR kitchen chapter (makes sense, but who'd a thought?), Kentucky's obsession with burgoo, how Minnesota wild rice centers a native people's tribe on sustainability and economic growth, how Georgia Gilmore's cooking fueled the civil rights movement in Montgomery, Alabama and San Francisco's urban forager, Angelo Garro.

Written from the archives of the authors' radio show, the book is a series of marvelous vigne
May 11, 2009 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food, san-antonio
Loved it!!! There is no narrative here, just transcriptions of voicemails left by listeners, alerting the Kitchen Sisters to the hidden kitchens they had to go see, then little snipets of the underground food traditions they encounter. More than anything this book celebrates the importance of these informal food gatherings in building community. There are a lot of pictures and a heavy emphasis on history and interviews with the old folks who remember how it was. There's a whole chapter on the Sa ...more
Jan 29, 2009 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was so excited when I found this book at the library, since Hidden Kitchens is one of my favorite NPR series. Food is such an important part of our social being, and these stories of kitchens formed in all sorts of situations just brings that home. From homeless soup kitchens, to the illegally "integrated" kitchen in Montgomery, AL, to the foragers of San is the connector for all. It is so much more than a means to sustain life. Many of these stories brought tears to my eyes, ...more
May 19, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this as a gift some years ago and have read it in bits and pieces. I'd never heard of this NPR show about community cooks but I like learning about regional foods and culinary traditions. I particularly enjoyed the chapter about the woman who baked pies for Dr. Martin Luther King and his followers and sold food to raise money for the civil rights cause. One of the chapters discusses the wild rice harvest in Minnesota, about which I knew very little. Recommended for food lovers. Recipe ...more
Mar 16, 2010 Erika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was amazing, and I know it appealed to me more because it was an audiobook and I could listen to real people. The stories were personal, with they themselves telling each one the way they wanted along with sounds and music of the area or era. It was a wonderful collection of stories, and a good way to show how this generation is starting to miss out on the way food brings us together - homemade, with our families, and how it brings about kinship and belonging, and maybe most importantly the ...more
Sep 04, 2016 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great and quality audio presentation. If you are a frequent NPR listener, you know the kind of material you're going to get. My only gripe is that it doesn't spend enough time finding these kitchens and people, and too much listening to the phone messages. At some point there's a six-minute example of a bad message left on their machine...that was painful.
But the stories, kitchens and communities they do visit and go into real depth with are outstanding.
Mar 03, 2008 Brandee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hungry people.
Recommended to Brandee by: Bill & Barb Paterson
Fun book, the Kitchen Sisters travel country-wide giving insider looks into kitchens that are known only by word-of-mouth or reputation. You don't find reviews of fancy restaurants in here, it is pancake breakfasts at the senior's center, campfire cooked meals in kentucky, marina club lunches cooked in san fran and civil rights kitchens that are no longer. You meet all sorts of people in this book.
Aug 19, 2008 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first heard about the Kitchen Sisters listening to their stories on the radio. I heard about how the George Forman grill is transforming the lives of inner city poor and of a mysterious soup called Burgoo. Here they continue to share their stories of food, family, community. I am reminded a little of Oranges by John McPhee and Cod by Mark Kurlansky. Food is more than just food.
Sep 05, 2015 Kati rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not quite what I thought it would be. I thought we'd see more individual stories, but there were a hand-full of very long segments with a ton of very small, almost non-existent, snippets. The recipes are intriguing however!
Sep 11, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a series of fascinating stories of about how people relate to food. The scope is quite varied and always engaging. How can you not like a book with a line like, "I've been to sorrow's kitchen and licked out all the pots."
Oct 03, 2010 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: folklore, food
transcripts and additional materials on the Kitchen Sisters popular radio series on "Hidden Kitchens." Of particular interest (esp. for my thesis) is Georgia Gilmore's "Club From Nowhere," which helped to fund the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Civil Right Movement.
Susan Mazur Stommen
Love the asphalt workers who steam foil packets under hot tar and then come back to retrieve them later!

(Foil packet cooking kicks ass, go to the Better Homes and Gardens website for great ideas).
May 14, 2014 Christen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As an audio book, I expected this collection of stories from NPR to be amazing. But I kept waiting for the cohesive thread to take hold and it never did.
The stories that seemed interesting didn't go deep enough to get there. In the end, it's a short audio book, but I was left wanting more.
Sep 19, 2009 Jaime rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far, I've learned about how much the homeless rely on the George Foreman Grill and about the Chili Queens of San Antonio. Interesting stuff.
Need to listen to final disk
Mar 30, 2007 Shaheda is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
just delicious...
Addie Cole
I am a sucker for anything to do with NPR. its kind of unfortunate, really.
The audio book is the way to go.
May 15, 2010 Marshaferz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-and-cooking
I loved the series on NPR, so it was fun to read this - photos and recipes to go with the stories really made this come to life.
May 25, 2009 Gia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book! Wonderful background stories to hidden kitchens all over the U.S. I met them at Book People-great personalities.
Dec 13, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
For a foodie like me, this was a great read!
Jul 16, 2009 Daniel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Some great stories - but I thought a number of them digressed from the theme. Likely better off listening to the radio series.
Of course I love to read about food, and this book by NPR hosts did not disappoint. A very very interesting read about hidden restaurants and unique food ways.
Dec 07, 2007 MBC rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: foodiebooks
I love food memoirs and this one is beautifully illustrated and discusses food traditions and cultures that I found fascinating.
Nov 16, 2008 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This sounds like so much fun to me,traveling the US and discovering "hidden Kitchens" tying together social,political and cultural relevance to eating.
Sep 19, 2010 Steve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Some chapters were better than others (I especially liked the chapter about cooking in prison), and I will probably try at least a couple of the recipes, but overall it just didn't do it for me.
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