Lael Gilbert

Bread And Butter: Cultural Appropriation And Food

May 11, 2021

I want to tackle a subject I’ve been pondering for a while, but frankly haven’t yet dared address: cultural appropriation as it applies to food and eating. I’m hesitant about this because, one, as you may have noticed, ‘cultural appropriation’ is a tetchy term, a signal to gather your people and prepare for war. Two, because I’m part of the dominant culture here, I don’t want to come across as preachy about something that I’m just really trying to understand myself. And three, I really don’t want to assign guilt to some of my favorite food experiences. There are so few real pleasures left to a lady, you know?

Bread And Butter: Pandemic Cooking

Apr 20, 2021

Lael Gilbert: So I was asked recently how this whole pandemic experience has changed food in our house. So the one big thing that I've noticed is that, for most of my married life, I have been the lead for planning, prep and cooking for the family. Before the pandemic, my husband would jump in from time to time, but that has really shifted. 

University of Utah Press

It’s UPR’s Spring Member Drive. On Access Utah that means some very special programming, including some Best Of segments from favorite episodes and some great new conversations. Today we’re talking about food and food culture and folklore with Lael Gilbert, one of the hosts of UPR’s Bread & Butter feature; and Lynne McNeill, folklorist and Associate Professor in the USU English Department. We’ll hear some Bread & Butter segments and a portion of our Access Utah conversation from October with the editors of the book This is the Plate: Utah Food Traditions. 


Bread And Butter: Expanding Children's Palates

Feb 24, 2021

  A while ago, a friend asked how she could get her kids to be better eaters. I wasn’t sure how to answer, because there is a difference between getting a family to eat healthier, and to be more adventurous in their food choices. But the advice, I’ve realized, has some crossover.


Sometimes people make suggestions for topics for me to cover in this food segment— everything from a neighbor who makes r eally good pie to the science behind digestion. Often these suggestions are problematic for one reason or another, but I hate to ignore them completely. 


What do we really mean when we say that we want to eat healthy? Ask anyone who’s moderately informed and they’ll likely mention one key practice: avoiding processed foods. 

Bread And Butter: Healthy New Year

Jan 21, 2021

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about Eric Carle’s classic children’s book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” Do you remember it? My December was a bit stressful, okay? And although I didn’t eat through a 15-pound stick of salted salami, as the poor bloated caterpillar did, at some point last month I did buy an entire wheel of brie with full knowledge that I’m the only one in the house who likes it. And I don’t have it anymore.

Bread And Butter: COVID-19 And Smell

Jan 20, 2021

Lael: The smell of a pine forest, melting butter or a favorite blanket from childhood, what happens when it's all gone? I used to think of the loss of the sense of smell as a minor inconvenience. But now, as thousands of people are experiencing it as a symptom of COVID-19, I've realized we really take our sense of smell for granted. For some, it's temporary. For others, the symptoms go on much longer. 

Bread And Butter: Goldrod Eggs

Dec 28, 2020

There are some foods that just scream Holiday Season—the warm and spicy snap of gingerbread, the creamy throat-coating decadence of eggnog, the crisp and golden-warmth of apple-sauce-smeared potato latkes.

'Bread And Butter:' Twice-Baked Cookies

Dec 14, 2020

Here’s a question for you—what’s your holiday cookie of choice? Is it the deep molasses and fragrant spice of traditional gingerbread? Or the decadent calorie blitz of a simple frosted sugar cookie? Maybe the pastel and light-as-air french macarons? Or a dollop of fruity, thickened jam with the crunch of a Linzer cookie?

Caramelizing Onions On Bread Butter

Nov 30, 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.

The Spruce Eats

Thanksgiving is traditionally a time when extended family gathers together. This year many of us will be gathering in smaller groups, but many of our traditions will endure and hopefully the food will be just as delicious. Today we’ll ask you about your traditions and your plans in this unusual year and we’ll answer your cooking questions.

Rolls of toilet paper stacked on end.

Remember way back in March of 2020, when we were awkwardly trying on masks for the first time, cautiously edging into grocery stores and desperately searching empty shells for hazelnut spread and yeast? 

Bread And Butter: First Jobs In Food Service

Nov 10, 2020
Seven balls of rising dough by a rolling pin

Lael: Tell me what your first job beyond babysitting was. 

Jen: My first job was in the food service industry. This will give you a little Utah history here and date me some, but I worked at the Word Perfect eatery. Word Perfect, of course, was a technology company started in Utah. It was at the Hard Disk Cafe. 

Underwhelming Food On "Bread And Butter"

Oct 28, 2020


Jenn Ashton: So I saw an advertisement for a state fair. And it reminded me of an experience—an underwhelming food experience. 

Food Insecurity On "Bread And Butter"

Oct 16, 2020

You may have been hearing more about food insecurity these days. What does this term mean? Well, it’s more than a simple linear relationship between how much food is in your pantry, and your hunger and health. For instance, a study from the University of Michigan shows that as poverty rises, so does obesity in children. As a kid’s income level dropped, they found, the chances that they would be overweight went up.

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: 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)


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.

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.

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.

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.

One-pan Meals

Apr 17, 2020

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

Food Couples

Apr 17, 2020

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

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)


Why Does Lamb Taste So Weird?

Jan 20, 2020


UPR has a state-wide audience, so here at Bread and Butter we try not to fixate on specific food venues. Because why would we torture you folks in Richfield and Vernal with the news that there’s a restaurant near here that serves mouthwatering Barbacoa quesadillas with hand-made tortillas cooked to a toasty crisp, melt-in-your-mouth shredded pork, dark brown candy-like caramelized onions and a side of tangy and colorful jalapeno sauce. That wouldn’t be nice.

Pumpkin Pie In April? No Way!

Dec 13, 2019
nutmarketca / Pixabay

Food writers Jenn Ashton and Lael Gilbert discuss the odd behavior of only eating certain foods during the holidays. 

What's Up With The Current Devotion To The Instant Pot?

Dec 12, 2019

Food writers Lael Gilbert and Jenn Ashton sit down and discuss the modern-day obsession with the Instant Pot. 

The Thanksgiving Matrix

Nov 27, 2019
Ulrike Leone / Pixabay

Lael and Jenn are joined by a special guest to discuss something "peculiar and remarkable." Without giving too much away, it has to deal with a special kind of food planning referred to as "The Matrix." You'll have to listen in to the discussion to find out more.