Bread And Butter: A Culinary Chronicle

  • Local Host Lael Gilbert, Jenn Ashton and Tawnya Gibson

Join us every Sunday before The Splendid Table for Bread and Butter: A Culinary Chronicle with food writers Lael Gilbert, Jenn Ashton and Tawnya Gibson. 

Learn about our distinctive approach to food, cooking and eating in the West. We’ll explore a variety of topics from food waste to kitchen psychology, locally grown foods to quinoa being the new “Big Mac.”

Bread And Butter: Gather Tomatoes While Ye May

Sep 14, 2020

A few years ago I was dejectedly strolling a salad bar on the campus, despairing at the mini-bucket of flavorless, waxy tomato slices on offer. It was October, just past garden season, and I was still experiencing severe harvest withdrawal. As you’ve probably tasted, store-bought hydroponic winter tomatoes are only a distant cousin to the garden variety.

Bread And Butter: Notes On A Garden

Sep 4, 2020
green and red tomatoes on a vine

I’ve helped my son grow a garden all summer. While I don’t have a particularly green thumb, it’s more of a light shade of chartreuse, bumped up from the deathly shade of black from when I was younger, I can experiment enough to get a taste of fresh through the dog days that linger.

Bread and Butter: Baking Powder Vs. Baking Soda

Aug 31, 2020

Baking powder vs. baking soda. Even experienced cooks sometimes get confused. I’ve had a few bumbles. They look the same. And they’re both leavening agents, used to help baked food rise. Leaveners are a foundation of baking. Without the puff, a loaf of bread is a brick and a pancake turns into a tortilla. We require gases to be incorporated into dough or batter to give things a soft texture and make them fluffy and appealing. (it’s not always air, by the way, more often it’s CO2)

Bread And Butter: Preserving Food

Aug 25, 2020

When the bounty of summer comes, you put some aside for winter. It’s a concept and truth that has been instilled in my cells from birth. But I often didn’t see the purpose of making yourself miserable in those last sun stroked days of summer just to bottle the same green beans that grocery stores would often sell well under a dollar. I didn’t see the purpose of good reading or TV time being used sweating over boiling jams, jellies and relishes. It was so much work – thankless work, actually – and the rewards seemed slim.

The other day I plugged in my cell phone to recharge and felt a surprising rush of gratitude. What if this was how we gained energy, too?  Sitting for hours, tethered to an outlet? We’d probably twiddle our thumbs and hum 80’s billboard hits just to keep boredom at bay.

Farmers Markets On Bread And Butter

Aug 10, 2020

Here in Utah, we’re fortunate enough to live in an area rich in agriculture. One list puts a farmer’s market on the upside of 50 throughout the state, making fresh and local a possibility for many. Where I am locally, and especially during the summer months, you can buy any amount of local foodstuffs: produce, meat, eggs, cheese. It’s nearly an embarrassment of riches, really, and in the decade-plus of living here, I’ve built up a lovely community of local people who feed my family day in and day out, season to season. 


Last summer, lurking in a corner in the dark of my basement was a vat of tiny warty cucumbers from our garden, now drowning in a salty brine of peppercorn, dill, garlic and grape leaves. It was my first ever experiment in fermentation. I faithfully checked the vat daily, ensuring the vegetables stayed submerged below the brine-line and to skim any scum from the surface where the saline content wasn’t high enough to prevent undesirable microbial growth.

Bread And Butter: The Power Of The Drizzle

Jul 31, 2020

You know me as a no-frills home cook. Just listen to me rave about left-overs or two-ingredient dishes. So, this may come as a curveball: In the last few months, I have come to respect the Power of the Drizzle.


We’ve discussed before writing down recipes as a form of familial oral history. We keep close those things that tie us to those before and those things we want to share with those after. We have stories and memories around certain foods.

Caramelizing Onions On Bread Butter

Jul 14, 2020


They are all liars … well, most of them are, anyway. Almost all the recipes stuffed in my grease-splattered binder at home that call for cooked onions indicate that it’s somehow possible to caramelize them in five minutes or under. Pshaw. It’s not possible.

What Are Your 'Kitchen Essentials?' On Bread and Butter

Jul 7, 2020

Jenn- So Lael, recently you shared with us your top 10 essential items for the kitchen.

Lael- I did

Jenn- It was a great list. I got to thinking, we have some sophisticated listeners on Utah Public Radio, and maybe they have a lot of those items.  So what about a list, maybe just a top 5, of some essential tools that you may not have in your kitchen.  Well let’s jump in and see.

Summer Lemonade On Bread And Butter

Jul 7, 2020

Do you have strong feelings about lemonade and lemonade flavors? The drink, nearly synonymous with summer doesn’t often solicit strong opinions. It’s one thing that appears to be nearly universally loved (or at least universally acknowledged that it is here to stay) and almost always skipped over in any sort of food debate or strong feeling discussion. And I didn’t think I had strong feelings about it, either. It’s always been there. A staple of life and I love it. That should be the end, right? Right. Until …

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Jun 21, 2020

My best cooking is usually born of not following a recipe.  In other words, I tend to make things up. I come by this honestly, really. My mother often didn’t follow recipes, either. The few recipes I have from her are a hodgepodge of guesses and tips from what I can remember or gleaned from questions asked, years later for clarification. 

Wikimedia Commons

This is a rebroadcast from July 19, 2019.

Lael - So Jenn, last week I was thinning out my kitchen cupboards.  They are full of stuff, but if I could only have 10 essential tools in my kitchen, what would I choose? It's kind of the desert island question, if you had a kitchen on the desert island.  Here they are, you tell me what you think.  I’m going to start at the end.

Pounds Of Anxiety

Jun 8, 2020


Has your weight crept up the past few months? It seems to be a topic of great conversation lately. I know my circle of friends have not been immune to wondering about or noticing a few extra pounds since the start of spring.  One quick internet search brings up a host of articles on the subject with varying themes: stop worrying about the weight you are gaining, sudden cooking at home will of course make you gain weight, tips to prevent, tips to rid yourself of the ones that crept on, emotional eating, etc. And if we’re not reading about it, we’re thinking about it. Are our leggings (and let’s be honest, it’s leggings. Bi-monthly grocery trips upgrade to my signature overalls, but leggings are my everyday not leaving the house go to, pandemic or not) feeling tight or is that a figment of our stuck at home imaginations? It’s been a hot topic for sure.

A Radio Quiz: Can You Name The Utah Cities With Food Names?

Jun 3, 2020

On this week's bread and butter, join Jenn Ashton and Lael Gilbert for a quiz about Utah cities with food names. Take a listen and play along.

This episode of Bread and Butter is a rebroadcast from Sept. 26, 2019.


Do I Hafta??

May 28, 2020

This Bread and Butter episode is a repeat from Nov. 15, 2019. 

I’ve realized, by hanging out with people who don’t know how to cook, that I really can competently make my way around the kitchen. I’m a home chef, not a pro. But I’ve realized, by watching the way my teenagers slaughter apples with a chef’s knife and massacre a brownie mix… a brownie mix! How hard could it be? … that over the years I’ve actually become pretty handy to have around, culinarily speaking.

Post-Coronavirus Table Manners

May 21, 2020

My kids have terrible table manners. I’m sorry to rat them out on a radio program broadcasted across the entire state of Utah and southern Idaho, but there it is. Some days, I wonder if my son imagines he is at boot camp with only a few seconds to shovel in every last bite before a drill sergeant bellows, “Get up and give me 10!”

A Cast Iron Home

May 11, 2020

My husband has been home for the past few weeks, his business being deemed as non-essential for the time being.  We’ve started ticking things off that long term to do list all households seem to have, the one that adds on and changes as the months turn into years but rarely dwindles until a pandemic rears and you become bored and sit and sift and cull and realize that setting up those motion sensor lights really aren’t the priority or want you assumed and mark it off for good.  One of the tick boxes, however, that made the cut was attention paid to our cast iron pans.

Cook-Along Experiment

May 5, 2020
chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles

During a normal Spring season, my extended family would have gathered to celebrate birthdays, holidays, the monthly Sunday night dinner and even a sisters’ night. As it is currently the Coronavirus Stay Safe, Stay Home Spring of 2020, we have done none of those things; at least, we’ve done none of those things in person.

Food And Emotion

Apr 17, 2020


Food is emotional.  I’m not talking about the emotional eating of ice cream while crying over a break up, really, but the guttural emotions surrounding what we feel while thinking about, preparing and consuming the morsels that make up our cells and our lives.  And no one is immune from feeling things about food, be it from a place of absence or abundance, fondness or regret.  Even the void of feeling is a feeling itself.  For better or for worse, we all have emotions associated with food as we grow, or have grown; physically, mentally and emotionally.

One-pan Meals

Apr 17, 2020

A conversation on one-pan meals with Jenn Ashton and Lael Gilbert.

A Utahn At CookieCon

Apr 17, 2020


Several years ago a new conference popped up in Salt Lake City. CookieCon. A conference for cookie makers. And not just any cookie makers, artists of royal icing, who create edible works of art in an endless array of shapes and sizes.

Food Couples

Apr 17, 2020

A conversation on food couples with Jenn Ashton and Lael Gilbert. 

Why Picture-Perfect Decorating Is Not The Point

Apr 17, 2020



I remember the anticipation, banished from the kitchen so my mom could bake and decorate a birthday cake. Just  for me. My sisters would visit the kitchen and saunter by me saying, “Oooo. You’re gonna love it! Just wait until your party!”

Baking Powder Vs. Baking Soda

Mar 18, 2020
a glass jar containing baking soda


Baking powder vs. baking soda. Even experienced cooks sometimes get confused … I’ve had a few bumbles. They look the same. And they’re both leavening agents, used to help baked food rise. Leaveners are a foundation of baking … without the puff, a loaf of bread is a brick and a pancake turns into a tortilla. We require gases to be incorporated into dough or batter to give things a soft texture and make them fluffy and appealing. (it’s not always air, by the way, more often it’s CO2)


Green Chile - Do You Love It?

Mar 18, 2020
Enchilada pie recipe with green chile highlighted
Tawnya Gibson

Green Chile Green chile (that’s chile with an ‘e’ on the end. Never an ‘i’.). Do you love it? Do you hate it? Are you completely indifferent or are you not even sure, exactly, what it is? Do you have a moments pause when you wonder if people are just talking about green bell peppers and why are they so special? Completely understandable.

Food Tracking

Mar 5, 2020


I track things.  In various ways, through planners, notebooks and journals I track anything and everything in my life and the life of my family.  I have notebooks filled with dates and book lists, TV shows to keep track of and weight over time. Appointments and travel and my innermost thoughts are all represented in my stack of notebooks. 

To Haggis Or Not To Haggis

Feb 5, 2020
Christopher Pelletier

This program is a reboradcast from May 6, 2019.

Haggis. You’ve heard of it, though, if you’re like me, that’s about as far as it goes.

A Meditation on Bread Making

Jan 30, 2020


If there was one smell my son could bottle and then marinate in for the rest of his life, it would most likely be the yeasty smell of rising bread.  There is a look he gets on his face when he walks into the house as rolls or loaves are rising that is akin to nirvana.  Or, at least, that’s what I assume that look is as it’s the same one I get when I see, or even think about tacos.  Or cheesecake.