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Why We Cook


Chef Wides, along with esteemed guests from the culinary world, dissect topics that range from the complex (the nature of cooking itself) to the deceptively simple (eggplants!). Combining classic culinary know-how, personal experiences, and the occasional victual history lesson, Why We Cook is a great listen for culinary vets and rookies alike.

Chef Wides, along with esteemed guests from the culinary world, dissect topics that range from the complex (the nature of cooking itself) to the deceptively simple (eggplants!). Combining classic culinary know-how, personal experiences, and the occasional victual history lesson, Why We Cook is a great listen for culinary vets and rookies alike.


New York, NY


Chef Wides, along with esteemed guests from the culinary world, dissect topics that range from the complex (the nature of cooking itself) to the deceptively simple (eggplants!). Combining classic culinary know-how, personal experiences, and the occasional victual history lesson, Why We Cook is a great listen for culinary vets and rookies alike.




Episode 164: Color Me Freaked Out...

There’s nothing left to say. I’ve read every editorial, every FaceBook post, every HuffPo screaming front page rant. I’m done. I’m done with the election, and I’m done even discussing it, or him. He who shall not be named. I had been calling him the apricot barbarian, but you know what? I love apricots, they’re delicious and pretty and when they’re ripe, they smell how I imagine Eden might have smelled, if Eden had been a real place and not just a setting for a fairy tale. Apricots are an...


Episode 163: Scary Clowns, Apricot-Faced Barbarians, and Gluten; Who Ya Gonna Call?

We're all really, really scared these days. Scared for the future, scared for the planet (well, some of us), scared of scary scaring clowns scaring kids, scared of scary clowns pretending to be legit candidates...OMG, so much scariness! And it's not even Halloween yet! But even worse than all that scary stuff...is GLUTEN! Oh no, GLUTEN! The big scary monster lurking in all our most delicious foods, like bread! Well, you all know how I feel about this, that unless you are straight-up...


Episode 161: This Foodiness Was Made For Walking!

@KarlMeltzer just broke the world record for the being fastest ever finisher of the entire Appalachian Trail, you know the Appalachian train, right? It’s a 2,190 mile hiking trail that runs along the East coast of the US, from Georgia to Maine. Now, I hike, and I’ve done little bitty bits of it, 4-5 miles here and there, on DAY hikes. I see people on the trail, with their huge packs and gaunt faces, and their lingering clouds of BO trailing behind them…and I give them major respect for...


Episode 160: Welcome back to the Fallout Shelter, now climate controlled by Foodiness!

Today, on the season premiere of Let's Get Real!!! Ok, so a couple of changes are afoot here in the Foodiness Fallout Shelter. Well, no, actually the shelter is the same, I barely touched the place over the summer. It looks really great, and the biomass fuel HVAC system I built last winter is working great, too. Biomass is awesome, you guys know about biomass right? It’s using stuff like agricultural waste products to create energy? Like threshed wheat stalks and orange peels and broccoli...


Episode 159: Cod Worms and Devil Dogs – extended edition

Today, on Let's Get Real... It's the extended live version of "Cod Worms and Devil Dogs"! Can't remember what that is? It's the live theater piece I did back in March. This is the extended version, that I performed on Saturday. I worked so hard on this as a live show, that I'm not ready to put it to bed yet. So all you lucky listeners get to hear it today, instead of a regular episode. Live at 1:00 p.m. on www.heritageradionetwork.org as always, and later on letsgetrealshow.com, iTunes...


Episode 158: Pollen-Whacked? Maybe You Need a Shot of Lawn-Grass Juice!

I’m hiding out down here in the fallout shelter this week. I’m safe here, since we’re so deep underground and we filter our air. I can’t go outside anymore, since I seem to have developed terrible seasonal allergies, all of a sudden. Twice this spring I’ve been hit with weeks of a sore throat, major congestion, coughing. It’s not a cold, I feel fine underneath it all, and I’m convinced that it’s related to climate change. I never had any allergies before, so why now? I think there are...


Episode 157: Today's Drink Special, is the Saddam Slam!

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, in a very dark, grim place in my past... I waited tables at TGI Friday's. Yes, really. Hard to believe, I know, but I needed a job, I couldn't get hired anywhere else, and a friend got me the job. It was the early 90's, we were in a recession, I was depressed and dumpy looking, and no higher-end restaurant would give me the time of day, so I went the corporate route. For a few months... Suffice it to say, TGI and me...we didn't really, uh,...


Episode 156: We Hold These Foodiness Truths to be Self-Evident...

Here, in corporate Big Food America, we apparently hold certain Foodiness truths to be self-evident, which is that all industrially produced foods are created Equal, that they are endowed by their corporate Creators with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are potentially destroying Life, crushing the Liberty of the small farmer and the pursuit of profitable Happiness for those running the corporations.- Sorry, I’ve been thinking about American holidays, and the 4th is right...


Episode 155: Babies & Cake

So I’ve got babies on the brain. Everywhere I go, everyone I know and see is breeding, birthing, being fruitful and multiplying as if babies were going out of style or were about to be banned or rationed by the government. Brooklyn is baby-breeding central. I miss the old NYC where once you had kids you moved out, fearing for their lives. Not me, of course, I’m too old, that ship has sailed and there’s no turning back into the wind now. Oh sure, so-called well-meaning people say to me,...


Episode 154: I’m Not Licking MY Fingers…

Today, an ALL-NEW episode of Let's Get Real! Yes, it's a new show, after a long break to develop the new weekly Heritage Radio Network News show, of which I'm the co-anchor! But I'm back, this week with tales of finger-lickin' weirdness. On today's show I revisit my invitation to the BIG Kentucky Fried Chicken event where I was taken way, way down the Foodiness rabbit hole, to the place where the chicken is fried, the slaw is sweet, and @RachelDratch gets hired to demo breading. Yes,...


Episode 153: Cod Worms

I like to write, and I like to talk into a microphone. And I also like to talk in front of a live audience, I’ve discovered. Teaching all those years gave me the confidence to stand up in front of a group and tell a story, even if that story was about kitchen sanitation or pork butchering. I have a lot of stories, after being in this crazy industry for over 20 years, and I wanted to turn them into something entertaining and live, much like this very show, but in front of a live audience....


Episode 152: To Everything There Is a Season, and a Dry, Crumbly Cookie to Match

On this week's episode of Let's Get Real, Erica celebrates the eve of the joyous holiday of Purim, aka "The Jewish Halloween." Among many other reasons, this holiday is exciting because it heralds the coming of spring! Also this week was National Slurpee Day, when 7-Eleven invited customers to bring in their container of choice for a free fill-up – whether it was a cup, an oil drum, or even an inflatable kiddie pool.


Episode 151: Go West, Young Man, But Don't Forget to Bring Your Insulin

On this week's episode of Let's Get Real, Erica waxes nostalgic about the classic film Annie Hall, and its derisive depiction of California health food restaurants in the 1970s. Before arugula and Whole Foods were invented, California pioneered the health and organic food craze, which has become ubiquitous in today's society. However, it seems the glimmering, shimmering bubble of The Golden State may have burst, according to some new statistics which indicate that 55% of the adult...


Episode 150: We’re 150, But We Don’t Look a Day Over 100!

On this 15oth episode of Let’s Get Real, host Erica Wides opens with a revelation she had about cooking while swimming, before diving into the problem of fish ingesting plastic refuse such as microbeads while feeding, and the merits of sunblock versus face wash. Finally, she lays out the three “planks of her platform” that have sustained the show through 150 episodes. “You know, life is just full of conundrums and hypocrisy, and we all just have to learn to deal with it. That’s part of...


Episode 149: One of These Things Does Not Belong

On this week’s Let’s Get Real, the theme is “one of these things does not belong.” Chef Erica Wides reminisces about the darker, grittier days of Sesame Street, expresses bewilderment at the new McDonald’s chicken-and-pancake sandwich, and reveals her current favorite food item: the Okinowan sweet potato. “Once Guiliani and Elmo took over Sesame Street, the whole scene changed.” [8:20] – Erica Wides


Episode 148: In Space, No One Can Hear You Pickling

Can you make make pickles in space? Can you rely on your dreams to write your shows? Do you get gloomy in February? All this and more this week on Lets Get Real. Chef Erica Wides discusses growing vegetables in The Martian, literally dreaming of future shows, and the possibility of pickling on foreign planets. “If Matt Damon had grown a lot of vegetables, he would have had to preserve them… maybe he could have made pickles on Mars.” [20:00] – Erica Wides


Episode 147: A Holiday Card Against Humanity

Today is February 9, 2016. We are now 39 days into the year. At the end of this week, on the 14th of February, the “holiday” season, will be officially over. The end, Done. Until…of course, Easter rolls around. Then we begin the next round of sugar-gorging, present shopping, holiday madness. Because people buy Easter presents now, apparently! It’s a thing. Hey! Let’s celebrate the crucifixion and mythological resurrecting of a Jew, by buying each other new X-boxes or pink Uggs! I know, let’s...


Episode 146: What’s On Your Plate?

Erica Wides is back for a brand new episode of _ Let’s Get Real _ with her good friend Kristin Wartman; Let’s Get Real’s resident nutrition guru and food policy wonk! She has her own little office down here in the ‪#‎Foodiness‬ Fallout Shelter, where she sits and works on her forthcoming book “Formerly Known as Food”, and then her and Erica hang out and eat grass-fed burgers. Today they are “discussing” the new ‪#‎USDA‬ food guide “ ‪#‎MyPlate‬” recommendations. “The idea we can eat 12...


Episode 145: You Can’t Make Soup Dumplings with Blue Raspberry Flavored Jello…

From Erica Wides: So I had to go to Whole Foods a few days ago, to buy unflavored gelatin. You know, like Knox gelatin in the little packets? I needed it for a private cooking class I was teaching, the clients wanted to make soup dumplings, those Chinese dumplings that are filled with ground pork and cabbage and also scalding hot soup stock. To make the soupy filling you make a strong chicken stock and add gelatin to it, or use a lot of extra bones to get the gelatin out that way, but we...


Episode 144: These Foolish Things…Remind Me of U..tah.

From Erica Wides herself: Speaking of soda, and Mormons, (we are, in today’s show) in yesterday’s edition of the paper of record there was an article about a lawsuit that is raging between two Utah drink companies, Swig v. Sodalicious. Have you heard of either of these chains? No, you wouldn’t unless you lived in the Mormon enclaves of Utah. Swig and Sodalicous are drinks stores, much like Starbucks, but they sell giant cups of soda, mega-slushies, so-called “energy” drinks, and giant...