Montana Public Radio

Food Guys

Sundays 9:54 a.m.

From favorite seasonal recipes, to the roots of our food traditions, to the politics of food, the Food Guys illuminate the culinary world each Sunday, in this 10 minute program produced by Montana Public Radio.

The Food Guys have also been featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday.

The theme song for "The Food Guys," is a Cole Porter song, "Sunday Morning Breakfast Time," played and sung by Porter himself.


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Food Guy, home baker and sugar-slasher Jon Jackson muses about why, when it comes to baking, so many recipes call for so much of the sweet stuff. "I wonder if there wasn't a little bit of mission creep when sugar began to get very inexpensive, after World War Two." Food Guy Greg Patent recommends reducing the sugar in any given recipe by 1/4. If the taste and texture don't suffer, then next time, reduce it by another 1/4.

flow chart for making traditional cassoulet
Flickr user, Anthony Georgeff (CC-BY-NC-2.0)

"Cassoulet, that best of bean feasts, is everyday fare for a peasant but ambrosia for a gastronome, though its ideal consumer is a 300-pound blocking back who has been splitting firewood nonstop for the last twelve hours on a subzero day in Manitoba." - Julia Child

Vanilla Vs. Vanillin: Which To Use?

Dec 29, 2019
vanilla pods

Food Guy Greg Patent has begun baking with vanillin, a synthetic version of the major compound in vanilla. Why? Because the cost of pure vanilla extract peaked in 2018 above $30.00 per 16-ounce bottle. If you're making custards, sauces or ice cream, Greg says, stick with pure vanilla extract (extracted from from the vanilla pod with alcohol). It'll give you the benefit of the plant's full range of flavors. But most of the subtle aromatic compounds in vanilla just volatilize in the baking process, so when you bake, you might as well save some dough on vanillin.

The History Of Breakfast

Dec 22, 2019
Bernadette Wurzinger

"But on Sunday morning, there's the time when a man has time to eat..."

Radio listeners can enjoy an excerpt of Cole Porter's "Sunday Morning Breakfast Time" at the top of every Food Guys broadcast. Breakfast-odes notwithstanding, when Jon Jackson did a little digging, he discovered that breakfast's role as "the most important meal of the day" is new-fangled. In fact, in 13th century Europe, breakfast carried vulgar connotations: Thomas Aquinas declared that meals eaten early in the day bordered on gluttony. Breakfast belonged to farmers and manual laborers, children, the elderly, and the infirm.

Apple turnovers
Gbert T (CC-BY-20)

The Food Guys return to the object of Jon Jackson's mother's phrase, "There's nothing like an RC and a moon pie." Jon recalls her fruit turnovers, baked from leftover pie pastry, each one clutched in the hand of a child making a beeline for the front door. Moon pies, hand pies, turnovers: call them what you will, they're homey, unpretentious, easy to make, and delicious.

Recipe: Lime-Avocado Cheesecake

Dec 8, 2019
Flickr user kaz k (CC-BY-2)

Avocado-Lime Cheesecake with Oatmeal Brittle Crust and Gingered Blueberry Sauce

This is a rich, creamy, smooth, no-bake cheesecake with a crust made from oatmeal brittle, oats, and walnuts. A gingered blueberry sauce, sweetened with some of the powdered brittle, adds a zesty finish. Make the brittle first. You’ll have much more than you need for the crust and sauce, so you can enjoy leftovers as a special candy treat.

Steve Buissinne

The Food Guys react to an article in Atlantic magazine by Laura Shapiro reviewing two books published in 2019: The Way We Eat Now: How The Food Revolution Has Transformed Our Lives, Our Bodies And Our World, by British food writer and historian, Bee Wilson, and Pressure Cooker: Why Home Cooking Won’t Solve Our Problems and What We Can Do About It, by sociologists Sarah Bowen, Joslyn Brenton and Sinikka Elliott.

Conger Design

'Food Guy' Greg Patent shares his recipe for a holiday favorite, fruit and nut whiskey cake:

Now’s the time to bake this extraordinary fruit and nut bourbon cake for the holidays. I like to have this cake on hand during this time of year, ready to serve impromptu to friends who drop by for conversation and tea or coffee. This is not a fruit cake. I say this because I know people who either love or hate fruit cake. But this cake is in a class by itself. Weighing over 5 pounds (!), it’s packed with toasted pecan halves and whiskey-marinated dried fruits — golden raisins, dark raisins, dried blueberries and dried sour cherries. No sugary, dyed, glacéed fruits!

What Is Soul Food?

Nov 17, 2019

How would you define "soul food?" To 'Food Guy' Jon Jackson, it's ham hocks, butter beans, cornbread and mustard greens. But Jon's fellow Detroiters might name red beans and rice, or barbequed ribs. Greg Patent's idea of soul food is Iraqui chicken or Russian borscht. "Ethnic food--maybe that's what all soul food is," concludes Jon.

P.D. (U.S.D.A.-E.R.S.)

What did American farmers and food companies produce in 2016, compared to 1970?   A lot more of everything --  460 calories more, or 25% more daily. Given the growing circumference of Americans' waistlines, this raises The Food Guys' eyebrows. Based on a 2016 U.S.D.A. snapshot of the American food supply, they break down the trends of the last 46 years in the American diet.