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Vivian Howard Transcript

Vivian howard on thanksgiving and more

Kerry Diamond: Hey, everyone. Welcome to Radio Cherry Bombe, the number one female-focused food podcast in the universe. I'm your host, Kerry Diamond, coming to you from Brooklyn, New York. Today's show is a good one. I talked to my pal, Vivian Howard, chef, restaurateur, author, and Emmy and Peabody award-winning television host.

Earlier this fall, I stopped by Handy & Hot, Vivian's brand new coffee shop in Charleston, for her delicious biscuits, hand pies, and obviously, coffee. I pretty much ordered one of everything. Then right next door to Handy & Hot, Vivian is in the process of opening a brand new restaurant called Lenoir. I snuck in to see the work in progress. We'll hear more about both of those spots in just a minute.

Vivian also has a brand new cookbook, the high-spirited This Will Make it Taste Good. It's full of delicious recipes and stories from her life. The book centers around key flavor heroes, as Vivian refers to them. She'll tell us more pretty soon.

What else is going on? Well, a very Cherry Bombe Friendsgiving is underway. It's all about food, gratitude and new traditions. My Thanksgiving is a little topsy-turvy this year as yours might be. So I'm enjoying this virtual holiday filled with demos, panels and talks. Head on over to to learn more and to RSVP.

Thank you to our partners, Maple Hill Creamery, San Pellegrino, and Kerrygold. Thanks to them, all of our Friendsgiving programming is free. Speaking of Kerrygold, they are longtime supporters of Radio Cherry Bombe, and they're supporting this episode. So if you see Kerrygold butter and cheese in your grocery store, show them some love. Let's hear a word from them.

Kerrygold Announcer: Kerrygold is delicious, all natural butter and cheese made with milk from Irish grass-fed cows. Our farming families pass their craft and knowledge from generation to generation.

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Kerrygold Announcer: This traditional approach is the reason for the rich taste of Kerrygold. Enjoy delicious new sliced or shredded Kerrygold cheddar cheese, available in mild or savory flavors at a retailer near you. Find your nearest store at

Kerry Diamond: Now, here is my conversation with Vivian Howard. So Vivian Howard, welcome back to Radio Cherry Bombe.

Vivian Howard: Thank you, Kerry. Thanks for having me.

Kerry Diamond: It has been awhile.

Vivian Howard: It has. I can't even... maybe, maybe several years. I don't know.

Kerry Diamond: I think it's been several years, yes. Fortunately, I've seen you in between the radio appearances. But yes, welcome back to Radio Cherry Bombe. You have a brand new book that is so much fun. I'm very excited to talk to you about it. It's called This Will Make It Taste Good. It is not your typical cookbook. Can you explain what it's all about?

Vivian Howard: Yeah. This book is all about the way that I cook at home. It utilizes these things called flavor heroes, essentially condiments or recipes that I make in advance and I use to make really simple food exciting.

Kerry Diamond: I think you're selling yourself short by calling them condiments.

Vivian Howard: Yeah, I think you're right. You can imagine that I've given a lot of thought to what they should be called. I went back and forth with building blocks for a while, but I don't think building blocks are the big things in the recipes. These are insertions of flavor, so there is no good, no easy name for them.

Kerry Diamond: Well, you were very kind and at the height of just the pandemic awfulness in New York City, you sent me two of them. They were absolute life savers, because unlike a lot of people, I wasn't really doing creative cooking during all that. I was just doing like sustenance cooking, because I wasn't going out a lot and wound up just working around the clock. So I very much appreciated... You sent me the tomatoes.

Vivian Howard: They're called Red Weapons. They're basically a spicy pickled tomatoes that are a bright, acid, punch and one of my favorite recipe ever.

Kerry Diamond: They were so good. You can use them in so many ways. It really is mind blowing when you start to think about it that way. And then you sent me Little Green Dress. Tell us what Little Green Dress is.

Vivian Howard: So Little Green Dress is like a chimichurri and a salsa verde had a baby in a bed of olives. It's called Little Green Dress because like a little black dress, it goes well with everything or is perfect for many occasions.

Kerry Diamond: I think I mixed it into many a scramble.

Vivian Howard: Yes, yes. Both the Red Weapons and the Little Green Dress are great with eggs.

Kerry Diamond: I think I wound up using the tomatoes in a lot of pasta and the Little Green Dress in a lot of eggs. And that kept me alive for about two weeks, Vivian, so thank you.

Vivian Howard: My pleasure. My pleasure.

Kerry Diamond: So This Will Make It Taste Good, not only is it not your typical cookbook, but it is really fun to read. I laughed out loud at least a dozen times, and I think I texted you half of those times, so I apologize for all the texts. What was it like putting it together? It seems like you had a good time.

Vivian Howard: It was the most joyful creative endeavor of my life so far, I think. Writing Deep Run Roots was very different, because it was as much like a historical text documenting the food ways of this region as it was a creative journey. This was really about the way that I cook at home, the way that I like to entertain people. I was able to just do what I want and share my personality. The goal was to just delight people. It was fun to do and felt just much more personal than Deep Run Roots.

Kerry Diamond: Oh, this one felt more personal than Deep Run Roots.

Vivian Howard: I live in Eastern North Carolina. I grew up here, but I always wanted to leave. So in many ways, I identify with this place and in a lot of ways, I really don't. I celebrate the region for the shiny parts of it, I guess. But, there is so much more to me and to my, even my style of cooking, that Deep Run Roots did not represent. I was trying to do that one thing really well, like write this comprehensive book about a place. And so this felt like it was my book.

Kerry Diamond: Okay, got it. You are a great writer. A lot of people don't necessarily know that, because so many chefs just get ghostwriters or coauthors for their cookbooks. But, you sweat through every sentence, don't you?

Vivian Howard: Yeah. I mean, that's why I do books, because I really enjoy it. I mean, it's the part of my work that I love the most. I love crafting headnotes. I know that most people probably hate that. But, I will design a recipe around a headnote if I've got a good one.

Kerry Diamond: That is good to know. I love a headnote. There are a few cookbooks that don't have headnotes at all. I always feel slightly cheated when you come across a cookbook that has no headnotes.

Vivian Howard: Yeah. I mean, as a chef, I don't really even read the recipes. I flip through and read all the headnotes and find inspiration in them. So I would also feel cheated if I were flipping through a book with no headnotes.

Kerry Diamond: For those folks who are like, "What the heck is a headnote," when you read recipe, you've got the title and then the paragraph or multiple paragraphs underneath that, that explains either the chef's inspiration or some tips and tricks regarding the recipe. That's your headnote. Some people don't take them seriously. Vivian does, which is why her cookbooks are great to actually read.

So I took out Deep Run Roots before this, because I wanted to do like a little compare and contrast with the cookbooks. I had forgotten how big Deep Run Roots is. It's bigger than a lot of Bibles.

Vivian Howard: Yeah. It weighs 4.7 pounds. It's the same as my daughter when she was born.

Kerry Diamond: It's like 565 pages or something. I was like, "Oh my gosh. I can't even imagine how much work." Not only is it heavy and a lot of pages, but when you open the book, it's dense. It's not like you filled it with white space.

Vivian Howard: No. You know what? I had no idea what I was doing. I was just writing. I didn't even have a word count on it. I enjoyed writing it. That's the part of my work that I love the most. When I got the opportunity to write that book, I felt like I had done something wrong, because I was actually loving my work so much. I felt guilty because it took me out of the restaurant, and I didn't mind that.

Kerry Diamond: I do remember how much of yourself you were pouring into that book.

Vivian Howard: Yeah. I mean, I would say, when you write, or at least for me, when I write a book, it's the thing that I'm showing up for at that time. I think we can only do a few things well. When I'm working on a cookbook, it's probably the only thing I do well.

Kerry Diamond: Now, are you good about compartmentalizing and focusing on one thing? Because everybody has got a lot on their plate these days, but you've got kids, restaurants, TV shows, so many responsibilities, but you were able to shut yourself away and focus?

Vivian Howard: Well, for this book, I really wanted to write it, but I really didn't have the time. So I started getting up at five every morning and writing for two hours before my kids got up. And I found that I had got so much more done that time of day. I mean, I've never been anyone that woke up one minute before she had to. This was very therapeutic and quiet, and in that way, I was able to compartmentalize it. But, it seems like, particularly during COVID, my days are just eaten up with a lot of reactions, so early morning.

Kerry Diamond: So now, you're a morning person. Do I remember this correctly, but did I read that, Theo, your young son, would get up and hang out with you early in the morning when you were writing?

Vivian Howard: Yeah, he did. It's the fondest memory I'll have of COVID.

Kerry Diamond: The idea for This Will Make It Taste Good wasn't your original idea for your second book. You had a whole different idea in mind.

Vivian Howard: Yes. I actually had two ideas, but the very first was a book called Pleasantly Plump, which is the name that my, the nickname, that my grandmother used to call me when she really, I think, meant to call me fat. I wanted to write a cookbook about body image. My editor, who I love, convinced me that a cookbook about body image, in his words, "sounded like a pool party about drowning." So I put that on the back burner, but told him I would do it anyway, at some point.

Kerry Diamond: Do you still want to do that book?

Vivian Howard: I do. But, I think that he had a really valid point in that, perhaps I'm not the best person to write that book. But, I definitely think that my experience and my voice could be a part of it. And so I think a book like that with a number of voices, both male and female, would be something that... That's a book I would be interested in reading.

Kerry Diamond: It's not something you hear chefs talk about much.

Vivian Howard: No. For all the things we do talk about, it's amazing that we work in the food space, but we never talk about body image and the way we see ourselves and our relationship with food. I think it's just an uncomfortable conversation. But, it's certainly been at the forefront of my mind almost my whole life.

Kerry Diamond: Not just the things you had to deal with growing up, but you've also been on now two different TV shows. It's a whole other ball game when you, I don't want to say put yourself out there, but you do, you put yourself out there and the public just feels that they can comment on anything.

I remember when you and I got to know each other. I was at Yahoo Food, and we would write something about you, and people commented on everything. Like, you cut your hair an inch and they would comment on your haircut. So you had to deal with that.

Vivian Howard: Yes. That's something that when it first starts happening, it's really painful and hurts your feelings. But then, I mean, I, at least, became numb to it, because people also say really nice things. So those two balance each other out. But for me, it was really more about seeing myself on TV. I've always just looked in the mirror face on and I never looked at myself from behind. On TV, there you are seeing yourself from every angle, and that was what was really hard for me and continues to be.

Kerry Diamond: Do you think you ever will do this book?

Vivian Howard: I hope so. I hope so. I think that if you want to write it and it feels important, I'll find a way to do it.

Kerry Diamond: Good, good. You know what's so interesting about you, Vivian? I don't know why, but I was thinking about your cookbooks in relation to music and albums. It's not like you're just churning out the same music over and over again. It's almost like you pick two wildly different genres of music.

Deep Run Roots is almost like your double album of greatest hits, and I don't know, like a classical album or something. And then, This Will Make It Taste Good is just a complete... It's like your fun pop album that you put out.

Vivian Howard: Yeah. Yeah. I think that's a good analogy. I mean, a lot of people have asked me, like this is such a departure from Deep Run Roots and that seems really surprising to people. But, I was so grateful to be able to write a second cookbook. I knew that if it were just the same old thing as Deep Run Roots, that it wouldn't be exciting for me or for the people that are interested my books. I write about this in the book, that I've always had this resistance to being typecast or stereotyped.

I really felt like as wonderful as A Chef's Life was, and it was such a gift to be a part of it, I had felt as if I had become a caricature of myself. Because people liked what they saw, and so there were a lot of people around me trying to keep all of that the same. I feel it's really important to evolve. If you're in media, it's important as you're evolving as a human to evolve in media. This felt like what I wanted to do right then, and it felt true to me. I guess, that's my pop album.

Kerry Diamond: It's tough when you're a chef. I mean, I do think people like to keep you in boxes, not just in terms of your persona, but also the food that you make. It's one reason people like restaurants. They like the comfort of going back to the restaurants they love, and that the spaghetti and meatballs will taste exactly the same or the chicken will taste exactly the same. That's tough for a chef.

Vivian Howard: Yeah. I think a lot of chefs least favorite question is, what's your signature dish? But, everybody wants to know what it is or what is it you love to cook? I mean, how do you answer that question? I think anyone who becomes a chef or cooks for a living has to have a deep interest in a lot of different types of cooking because otherwise, it would be really fricking boring. I think that I'm with a lot of professional cooks in that we like to learn and evolve and try new things.

Kerry Diamond: I would love for you to walk me through a recipe that you really love in This Will Make It Taste Good.

Vivian Howard: Well, every chapter is about one of these things that I call a flavor hero. One of the ones that I think will be most useful and fun for people, and one of the ones that I want people to make more than anything else is the Can-Do Kraut. It's basic sauerkraut made with cabbage and cucumbers. But, I've thought about this kraut all throughout this COVID experience, because we've all been looking for kitchen projects, things to do with our kids, things that we can make out of ingredients with long shelf lives. I'm a big believer in cabbage's power in that way.

The Can-Do Kraut recipe is all about encouraging you to make kraut. I make an argument for why we should all have kraut in our kitchens. It's really good for us. It's full of probiotics. It's crunchy. It's bright. It adds not only salinity and acid, but also texture. So it's really a unicorn ingredient for me. I love doing it, making it with my kids, because it's like a little science lesson and there is a lot of like pounding of the cabbage, which is something they get a kick out of. And then, it's something you can put on your counter and watch change and develop until it's ready. I just think that, that's a great lesson for all of us. We can do things in our homes and our kitchens that we didn't necessarily think we could, if we just try.

Kerry Diamond: Okay, well, I'm going to make an embarrassing admission. I have never made sauerkraut. In fact, I do love, I love a fancy farmer's market sauerkraut. I'm sneaking over to my fridge right now to give a shout-out to these people, Gracie's Garden Golden Kraut. Every summer, when I go to Maine, I always go to the farmer's market and buy their sauerkraut because it's amazing.

Vivian Howard: What's in it? What's the vegetable that they make it with?

Kerry Diamond: It's just straight up cabbage.

Vivian Howard: If you're going to use kraut in recipes, which is what I'm advocating for in this book, I give you the kraut recipe and then 10 recipes to make with kraut, I actually think that a straight cabbage kraut without a lot of extra aromatics in it is the best type to use in cooking.

Kerry Diamond: I would love to start to make my own because, A, you can do that in your house, like you point out. And B, it's also so good for you, which everyone now knows. Another thing, Vivian, I'm totally embarrassed to admit, I don't think I had good or real sauerkraut well into adulthood because I grew up on that sauerkraut that you get at the hotdog stands.

Vivian Howard: Yes, me too. Me too.

Kerry Diamond: I mean, I guess it's a US thing, not just a New York thing. But, does that even count as sauerkraut?

Vivian Howard: I think it counts. When you know better, you do better, right?

Kerry Diamond: Yeah. That's true. So for someone who's never made sauerkraut, any tips?

Vivian Howard: Well, you don't have to go out and make this investment in a pickling crock or you don't need to buy anything, but a head of cabbage. I don't even get caught up in pickling salt versus regular salt. So don't let equipment be the thing that prevents you from trying to make kraut. There is a million ways to do it safely in your home. I think you'll just be so pleased with yourself when you do something that you thought was otherwise outside your pay grade.

Kerry Diamond: What's the difference between pickling salt and regular salt, if you can let everybody know?

Vivian Howard: So pickling salt is a salt that's primarily meant for pickling and preserving. But, the thing that it does that people celebrate it for is it prevents your brine, whatever the salt is going to create with the vegetable, it prevents that brine from being cloudy. So if you don't care that much about that, then any salt will do. I use kosher salt for just about everything.

Kerry Diamond: All right, let's talk restaurants. We didn't even really follow up after my visit to Charleston. So I had to go down South to see a family member. We just happened to be, actually not that close to Charleston, but I was like, "You know what? We're close enough to Charleston, so let's go." You had just opened Handy & Hot. I was so excited to go see it. Can you tell everybody what Handy & Hot is all about?

Vivian Howard: Yeah. So Handy & Hot is a biscuit and hand pie shop in Downtown Charleston. It was actually going to be a biscuit and hand pie shop in Kinston where I live until we just suffered too many closures related to hurricanes. I was just like, "I'm not going to do anything else right now." And so we started a Handy & Hot online bake shop out of Kinston. So we just inverted the business model. And so we've been running that for about a year and a half now. And then, I had this opportunity to do the actual brick and mortar version in Charleston. And so, yeah, it's been open for about two months. It's been interesting opening a restaurant in the middle of COVID.

Kerry Diamond: Yeah, I can imagine. So there is a lot more to it than biscuits and hand pies though. Tell us what else is on the menu.

Vivian Howard: I have a very particular point of view as it relates to biscuit sandwiches. I don't think that eggs belong on a biscuit sandwich. I think that biscuits should have a little something salty and a little something sweet. So a lot of our biscuits have country ham with apple preserves and white cheddar, or air-dried Eastern North Carolina's sausage with grape mustard. Our hand pies are stuffed with savory and sweet things. We have an Apple Jack, which is a really traditional Southern hand pie, if you will. We have a lot of little salads and snacks. We have several recipes from this book actually, a chicken salad that has a basil vinegarette. We have a Jammy Egg that we serve in the morning with the Red Weapons, which is, ends up being kind of a relish on that. It's primarily a coffee shop with really delicious food.

So yeah, my friend, Cynthia Wong has this great ice cream business in Charleston called Life Raft Treats. She designed some special bars for Handy & Hot. We have a banana pudding and sesame ice cream bar. We have a cola and peanut ice cream bar, which is a classic combination in Eastern North Carolina and a peach and buttermilk shortbread bar.

Kerry Diamond: I don't think I told you this, but I basically loaded up on everything that you had, because we had several days of driving on the way back. We were just stopping at these hotels just to spend the night. So I'm going to walk you through everything I got. I got the broccoli cheddar hand pie. The hand pies are insane. They are so good and so flaky.

Vivian Howard: Thank you.

Kerry Diamond: I don't know how to do it, but that's why you're Vivian Howard. There was a tomato jam one that was amazing. And then, I got the, is it Redneck Caviar?

Vivian Howard: Yeah.

Kerry Diamond: I got that. I actually went back and got another one. It was so good. I had the chicken that you talked about. I had biscuits. I had amazing coffee. I had had some really bad road coffee, so I was so grateful to have a decent cup of coffee. Whose coffee are you using?

Vivian Howard: We're using a roaster out of North Carolina called Black & White. They're a team that left Counterculture and opened their own gig. Yeah, their coffee is amazing.

Kerry Diamond: Oh, it was so good. Then you had some kind of like power ball, energy ball thing. I had to buy that. And then, I got a whole bunch of Cynthia's things because I love Cynthia Wong so much. I can't wait for the day when you can get Life Raft Treats-

Vivian Howard: Everywhere.

Kerry Diamond: Yes, throughout the country. I hope so. But, I got the banana pudding, which was like a chocolate covered pop, like a Popsicle, I guess, and then, life-changing, the peach buttermilk blondie.

Vivian Howard: I know. That's my favorite one too. I hate to say it, because it's the least specific to Eastern North Carolina, but it's delicious.

Kerry Diamond: It was one of the best things I ever had. I love blondies, but it was so good. It's just the right size. It's like, leaves you wanting more. But oh my God, it was so good. Vivian, I just thought the place was amazing. Literally, everything we had was great.

Vivian Howard: Oh, thank you. Thank you. It's interesting, because I opened it... It's in a hotel, and what we're doing there is just really specific and dialed in. When you're in a hotel, I think there is this need to make everybody happy. And so that's been one of the things that we've just kept this constant gentle pressure like, no we're doing this. No, we're doing this. So that's been really interesting. But, I'm really proud of Handy & Hot and how it's doing and how it turned out. So I'm so happy to hear that. Thank you.

Kerry Diamond: Oh good. I mean, I'll tell you, but the first thing that went through my mind, I was like, "Oh my God, this food is like so much better than it has to be." I don't know, that's a terrible thing to say because food can sometimes be an afterthought when it's a coffee shop, but absolutely not in this case.

Vivian Howard: Thank you. That's exactly the point. When I was explaining to people what I was trying to do, I'm like, "We're doing like a great coffee shop where the food is at the forefront." So awesome, I'm glad that translated.

Kerry Diamond: And then, don't fire anyone, but after that, I snuck into... Well, I went twice and when I went back the last time I snuck in to see Lenoir.

Vivian Howard: Oh, good, good. It's beautiful.

Kerry Diamond: It's so beautiful. Oh my gosh. So this is a full service restaurant you'll be opening.

Vivian Howard: Yes. Yes. So it's about 60 seats with a bar that has maybe 20 seats at it. Yeah, it's a full service restaurant named after the county that I grew up in here in North Carolina. We're going to open, I think, at the beginning of December.

Kerry Diamond: Oh, wow! Okay. Did I say Lenoir right?

Vivian Howard: Yes, you did. I was on a podcast the other day and someone said "Len-WA", and I just let him go with it.

Kerry Diamond: That's funny. It looked pretty finished to me. Why do you have to wait until December, for the obvious reasons?

Vivian Howard: Yeah. Well, I've just been pushing it off as long as possible. I mean, even to the point that we've opened Handy & Hot in the evenings, just so we can... So that I can kick the can down the road, because I'm just nervous about opening that type of restaurant at this moment in time. Handy & Hot was one thing, because it was always a grab-and-go scenario. Lenoir is not, so.

Kerry Diamond: Yeah. Can you give us a little glimpse as to what the menu will be at Lenoir?

Vivian Howard: Yeah. Yeah. I think the food that I'm really known for cooking is the food of the agricultural South, really rooted in a lot of vegetables and grains and meat as a condiment. And so that's what we're going to be doing at Lenoir. The menu is going to be... There'll be an appetizer section. But then, there will be proteins and then a bevy of sides. So it's kind of like a steak house model, but with modern Southern food that's rooted in fruits and vegetables and grains.

Vivian Howard: I'm really excited for the format, because as you get older and your interests and the way you eat, I think, changes. For me, right now, I have two nine-year-olds and they're a pleasure to go out to dinner with and being able to go and order a delicious piece of fish and then be able to share a number of sides that both my children will enjoy and I will enjoy. We can compromise and give-and-take in that category. That's the way that I want to eat out now. And so I'm excited to have the menu shaped that way.

Kerry Diamond: I love that you called it, "a bevy of sides." I would buy a cookbook called A Bevy of Sides.

Vivian Howard: I would too. I would too.

Kerry Diamond: Yeah. I would go to a restaurant called A Bevy of Sides. So tell us, give us an example of what a few of these, of the bevy.

Vivian Howard: The bevy, let me get the bevy out, braised greens with a persimmon and pecan gremolata. We have a turnip root and green gratin, baked ciandra peas, boiler room French fries with kitchen sink mayonnaise. That's a start to the bevy right there.

Kerry Diamond: The "Len-WA" Bevy sounds amazing. Kidding, Lenoir. So everybody should hang tight for news on the opening. That could be in December, fingers crossed. And then, I forgot to mention Handy & Hot. So you've got the Handy & Hot grab-and-go in Charleston as mentioned, but you also have a Handy & Hot mail order that's still going on.

Vivian Howard: Yes, yeah.

Kerry Diamond: So folks can go to Handy & Hot and order some of your products, like the ones that you talk about in the book.

Vivian Howard: Yes, yes. We're getting ready to do a specialty item for Thanksgiving and also Christmas.

Kerry Diamond: Ooh.

Vivian Howard: And so the way we usually work that is, we'll release like 500 of something and sell them at one time. That way, it's a get ramped up to do it and then it's done.

Kerry Diamond: Ooh, very exciting. I would be watching to see what those items are. Thanksgiving is coming up. You said, you're hopeful, but what are you thankful for this year?

Vivian Howard: Well, I'm so grateful that my family is healthy and around me. My parents live across the road from me. And so I've watched so many people during this crisis be separated from their families and it just keeps going on and on and on. And so I'm so grateful to have them in my backyard and for everyone to be healthy.

I'm grateful that I can see the silver lining in some of this, because I think that's one of the things that a lot of people are having a hard time with, a loss of hope and a loss of a way forward. But, I'm grateful that I have been able to do that.

Kerry Diamond: Will you be celebrating at home this year?

Vivian Howard: Yes. The last few years we've been away for Thanksgiving. And so I think it'll be nice to be home and show my nine-year-olds a proper Thanksgiving.

Kerry Diamond: How do you do your turkey, Viv?

Vivian Howard: So I brine it. Actually, I usually do two turkeys because I love the way a brine turkey tastes, but the skin never does what I want it to when I brine it. So we usually fry a turkey and brine and butter roast a turkey.

Kerry Diamond: Ooh, yum. I think a deep fried turkey is the way to go, but it is not the easiest way to go.

Vivian Howard: No, no. You should never do it without really reading the directions. Putting a frozen turkey into a fryer is a real bad disaster waiting to happen.

Kerry Diamond: I think there is a lot of that on YouTube. Back to a bevy of sides, what are, tell us what the bevy of Thanksgiving sides will be?

Vivian Howard: Well, my favorite part of Thanksgiving is dressing, or you may call it stuffing. But, it's the whatever bread mixture mixed with whatever seasonings and baked. And so that's my favorite thing. I usually like to just get creative with the things that are in my fridge there.

I also like always, always candied yams, my grandmother's recipe, it's really simple and just a great link to her, always, in my family, rice and gravy and cranberry sauce from the can. I mean, I have certainly made my fair share of whole cranberry sauce, but I grew up eating it from a can. And so Thanksgiving is so much about memory for me that nothing really suits except for that cranberry sauce from the can.

Kerry Diamond: Yeah. My family loves the cranberry sauce in a can. I make a little homemade cranberry sauce every year and they make fun of me.

Vivian Howard: Yeah.

Kerry Diamond: And then what about dessert?

Vivian Howard: So my mom has always made pecan pie for dessert. My sister then makes lemon and chocolate pies. We always eat the lemon and chocolate pies for dessert, and then the next morning, eat the pecan pie for breakfast.

Kerry Diamond: Ooh. That's a fun tradition.

Vivian Howard: Yeah. Yeah. It's great with coffee. It's almost like a breakfast pastry, if you think about it.

Kerry Diamond: That is true. I love a pecan pie. I'm sure Scarlett's is amazing.

Vivian Howard: It's the recipe on the back of the Karo syrup bottle?

Kerry Diamond: It is?

Vivian Howard: Yeah.

Kerry Diamond: Now, I know all of her secrets. Well, Vivian, it's been so nice to talk to you and thanks so much for putting out a really fun book. Like I said, I loved reading it and I laughed out loud several times, and I can't wait to get cooking from it.

Vivian Howard: Thank you. Thank you so much, Kerry.

Kerry Diamond:  That's it for today's show. Thank you so much to Vivian Howard. Viv, I'm sorry we couldn't hang out in person, but I guess this is the next best thing. Snag a copy of Vivian's This Will Make It Taste Good from your favorite local bookstore. And if you're in Charleston, head on over to Handy & Hot and try some of those hand pies.

If you'd like to join Team Cherry Bombe for our free Friendsgiving celebration, it's going on right now, visit for the schedule, sign up and more.

Radio Cherry Bombe is edited by Kat Garelli. Our theme song is All Fired Up by the band Tralala. Hang in there, everybody. Thank you for listening. You are The Bombe.

When Harry Met Sally Clip: I'll have what she's having.

Rani Cheema: Hello. This is Rani Cheema, culinary travel specialist over at Cheema's Travel. Do you want to know who I think is The Bombe? Sara Prada, the newly elected Hayward California School Board member. Sara is the definition of a strong black mother. She is the change the school board system needed. She's fought, and continues to fight, for the rights of black students, students of color, and also the special needs students who have been ignored by a backwards school system. She is The Bombe.