Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Review: Hidden Kitchens

Hidden Kitchens was an NPR series about, well, hidden kitchens. And what is a hidden kitchen? It's any tiny, improvised, non-obvious, ad-hoc, temporary, underground or otherwise discrete food preparation area.

And as the series explains - these kitchens are everywhere. From the guy selling authentic tacos from his truck, to small town yearly rituals, to prison cells.

While this may not sound like the most enthralling topic, the tales are nothing short of amazing. This is story telling at its very best. The CD itself makes use of every NPR radio trick in the book to keep the stories interesting, and yet continually transition you to the next one.

If you are curious why radio isn't going to be extinct anytime soon, just give this recording a listen and you'll hear why.

The stories really are remarkable. Just the collection of interviews centered around the George Foreman Grill are worth the price of admission.

I'm proud to say that even I have a connection to a hidden kitchen. One type of kitchen the CD specifically mentions are the little food stands that pop up at Dead and Phish concerts. These are supposed to be hippie oriented affairs, where veggie meals can be had for super cheap. My brother, for years, used to (still does?) pay his way to Phish concerts by selling grilled cheese at concerts, participating in one of these ad-hoc kitchens for a few days. Who knew hidden kitchens were a family tradition?

This book is excellent, I give it a 9.7/10 for an all around excellent audio experience, with a healthy dollop of hope and comedy tossed in



  1. Anonymous6:37 PM

    Hey Ben - you will find this of interest. I know the Kitchen Sisters... Davia's (one of the producers) office is in the American Zoetrope building in SF -- she was a couple floors below me. Those women are super fly -- They've been winning awards for their work. Happy you liked it -- funny - what a small world. - RachelE

  2. Wow, that is a small world!

    The way I see it, knowing them, makes *you* the most famous person I've ever met ;-).