Lukins, Co-Author Of 'The Silver Palate' Dies At 66 Sheila Lukins co-authored The Silver Palate cookbook series and helped found The Silver Palate gourmet shop in New York City. She died Sunday of brain cancer at the age of 66. Lynne Rosetto Kasper, host of American Public Media's "The Splendid Table," talks with Ari Shapiro about the contributions Lukins made to American cooking.
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Lukins, Co-Author Of 'The Silver Palate' Dies At 66

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Lukins, Co-Author Of 'The Silver Palate' Dies At 66

Lukins, Co-Author Of 'The Silver Palate' Dies At 66

Lukins, Co-Author Of 'The Silver Palate' Dies At 66

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Sheila Lukins co-authored The Silver Palate cookbook series and helped found The Silver Palate gourmet shop in New York City. She died Sunday of brain cancer at the age of 66. Lynne Rosetto Kasper, host of American Public Media's "The Splendid Table," talks with Ari Shapiro about the contributions Lukins made to American cooking.

ARI SHAPIRO, Host:

Good morning.

LYNNE ROSETTO KASPER, Host:

Good morning, Ari.

SHAPIRO: So "The Silver Palate" cookbook came out in the late 1970s. It went on to sell two and a half million copies. What made it so popular?

ROSETTO KASPER: You know, I think it was "The Joy of Cooking" of a new generation of cooks. Sheila represented - her taste represented how America was beginning to look at food at that time.

SHAPIRO: What do you mean by that?

ROSETTO KASPER: Well, Sheila Lukins picked up that banner in the '70s. She and her partner Julee Rosso opened a little store in the Upper West Side of New York called The Silver Palate. And Sheila had the courage of her imagination. By that time, everybody was into French food. But here was a couple who was cooking a kind of food that was a melding of what was rumbling at that time.

SHAPIRO: Greek, Moroccan, all kinds of other ethnicities came in.

ROSETTO KASPER: Mexican, Moroccan. I mean, I've been thumbing through my "Silver Palate," you know - for what I can see of the printing through grease spots and whatever - duck and pear salad with mango chutney dressing. Now, you know, today we say, you know, we can see that on almost every menu. But if you went back to the '70s, that was not happening. The chicken marbella recipe that combined all these fabulous things (unintelligible)...

SHAPIRO: That's like prunes and capers and olives.

ROSETTO KASPER: Yeah. Prunes and more cloves of garlic than anybody had ever put in any dish.

SHAPIRO: Yes. I read that an editor told her you can't possibly have 25 gloves of garlic in a ratatouille recipe and she said, oh, yes I can.

ROSETTO KASPER: I mean, this was the beginning of people looking at pesto, believe it or not. This was the first time we hit goat cheese.

SHAPIRO: Wow.

ROSETTO KASPER: Yeah.

SHAPIRO: So before we have to wrap up, what's your favorite of her recipes that you keep finding yourself coming back to?

ROSETTO KASPER: You know, I really think I have to say the famous chicken marbella, because this is a chicken marinated with that fabulous garlic and prunes and vinegar and olive oil. And then it's slow roasted. And then you sprinkle this beautiful thing with brown sugar so that it caramelizes until your mouth is watering because it's sort of lacquered and glistening.

SHAPIRO: Sounds amazing. Thank you.

ROSETTO KASPER: You're welcome.

SHAPIRO: This is NPR News.

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