LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

OK, next week, we head into the heavy eating season; holidays ahead with all the butter, salt, cream, pie crust - the four basic food groups. The Internet is full of recipes; entire cable channels are devoted to preparing food. And radio is no slouch in the calorie department, either. NPR special correspondent Susan Stamberg has a favorite radio program to which she tunes for food.

SUSAN STAMBERG, BYLINE: It's "The Splendid Table." Host Lynne Rossetto Kasper calls it the show for people who love to eat.

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STAMBERG: Every week on many of these public radio stations, Lynne and guests give recipes, history lessons, background on various edibles. And on Thanksgiving Day, she bites the bullet - or the drumstick - and she does a live, two-hour, call-in show; helping listeners with the big meal. Sometimes, Lynne gets desperate callers, but she seems able to calm them down.

LYNNE ROSSETTO KASPER: We save just about anything. I'm not saying it's always the greatest save, but we give it a shot.

STAMBERG: Lynne Rossetto Kasper is fearless. My favorite part of her weekly, taped show is a feature she calls "Stump the Cook." The car guys do "Stump the Chumps," but Lynne has better manners. Here's how her "Stump the Cook" works:

KASPER: You call in, with five things that you have in your fridge. And I have to come up with a dish that you would actually want to make. Now, I get some freebies; I get water, salt, pepper, some kind of fat.

STAMBERG: I pulled out a few of my favorite stumpers...

KASPER: Oh, my.

STAMBERG: One had to do with - someone called in and had on hand an energy drink, tofu, apple butter, smoked trout and jalapenos. Now, you added butter and onion, and here was your idea.

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KASPER: We're going to do a smoked trout - bastardized version of a pate. OK?

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: (LAUGHTER)

KASPER: And you're going to take the energy drink and puree it into this mousse - because no one will know it's there. (LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: (LAUGHTER)

STAMBERG: Lynn, that's nuts.

(LAUGHTER)

KASPER: But - no, but I think what I remember doing is, if you moosh it up; and you give it enough good-tasting fat, right? And...

STAMBERG: Oh, yeah.

KASPER: ...you spike it with something acidic, which I - probably was the energy drink; you can usually make something pretty tasty.

STAMBERG: OK. Here was another one. This one combines cabbage, sweet potatoes, pomegranates, membrillo - I had to look that up; that's a quince paste...

KASPER: Right, right.

STAMBERG: ...and a big hunk of prosciutto. Here's what you said.

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KASPER: Drizzle the juice of the pomegranate over the cabbage. And you're going to sprinkle all of that dice - of that prosciutto, over the sweet potatoes; and this gets served, really, as a main dish.

STAMBERG: I want to play "Stump the Cook" with you. You game?

KASPER: Uh - all right. OK.

STAMBERG: On hand at home...

KASPER: Right...

STAMBERG: I have the following things: some raw cranberries, a small onion...

KASPER: Uh-huh...

STAMBERG: ...I have some sour cream, and some sugar. What would you do?

KASPER: Aaaah. (LAUGHTER) Anything that...

STAMBERG: OK, dear MORNING EDITION listeners, I confess. I am trying - for the 437th year in a row - to sneak the family recipe for Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish onto this radio program. You know, the family recipe that sounds terrible but tastes terrific, and looks good, too - shocking pink. All right, Pepto-Bismol pink. But uh-oh, I think Lynne Rossetto Kasper is on to me.

KASPER: Well, considering that there is the famous Susan Stamberg cranberries...

STAMBERG: (LAUGHTER)

KASPER: ...I would add - you know, obviously, you know what I would do, if I were you...

STAMBERG: (LAUGHTER)

KASPER: I would be throwing in a ton of garlic. I'd be sauteing the you-know-what out of the garlic and the onions.

STAMBERG: No.

KASPER: I'd throw in those raw cranberries and the sugar. Then, I would add a lot of fresh ginger, and I would add a whack of chili to this.

STAMBERG: Oooooh....

KASPER: And then I would cook that until you get the pop of the cranberries. And once you've got that beautiful ruby red, and it's lush-looking, then I would serve this as like, a little taste at the beginning of the meal; in espresso cups, with a dollop of sour cream - you don't want it folded in; you'll lose the impact. You want each thing to stand out and salute to you.

STAMBERG: Well, that sounds just fantastic - except I forgot to tell you a very important ingredient of mine, which is horseradish. But I suspect that would not change your combination in any way.

KASPER: If you want to add horseradish, you add horseradish.

(LAUGHTER)

STAMBERG: You know, I think I'm going to. But before I do, I'm going to thank you. Lynne Rossetto Kasper - she's host of public radio's "The Splendid Table." A very Happy Thanksgiving to you, Lynne.

KASPER: And to you, Susan.

STAMBERG: And to all our listeners. I'm Susan Stamberg, NPR News.

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KASPER: We're going to grow this recipe between the two of us.

STAMBERG: (LAUGHTER) You betcha. I love what you did. OK.

KASPER: Well, next year, we'll do an Italian version.

STAMBERG: Meatballs and cranberries - I love it.

KASPER: You've got it.

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WERTHEIMER: You can find both those recipes at npr.org.

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