A little more about Big Appetites, with Pati Jinich and Sally Swift

August 25, 2014

Your hosts: Pati Jinich and Sally Swift

The Podcast: Big Appetites | iTunes

Pati Jinich:  The Mexico City native, armed with a master’s degree in Latin American Studies from Georgetown, thought she had landed a dream job as a policy analyst in Washington, DC.  But she kept obsessing over the food of her childhood and her native country, started taking night courses at a culinary school, and left that job to become a chef.  She made the right decision.  Pati’s Mexican Table will be starting its fourth season on PBS, and her cookbook is an Amazon bestseller.

Sally Swift:  The award-winning managing producer and co-creator of APM’s The Splendid Table with Lynne Rossetto Kasper.  She is co-author with Lynne of The Splendid Table’s How To Eat Supper and its sister book, the James Beard Award nominee, How To Eat Weekends, as well as A Summertime Grilling Guide.

Prior to her work on The Splendid Table she worked for a variety of media outlets, and may be the only person in the world to have ever been employed by Prince, Garrison Keillor and Jenny Jones.

Together, they’re bringing you Big Appetites.

Sally Swift & Pati Jinich

How did you two meet?

PJ: Someone harassed Sally into coming to one of my cooking demonstrations/dinners at the Mexican Cultural Institute.  We hit it off with the first, “Hi.”

SS: One of the luckiest days of my life. Yes, I was coerced, but the minute we started talking I was smitten.  The phone calls started the next day.

Do you have an overarching goal for this podcast?  Is there anything specific you hope to do/accomplish with this show? 

PJ: Make people hungry.  Hungry for more.  Hungry to try new foods.  Hungry to try new experiences.  And also…to indulge, because we love chatting and speaking our minds, and this gives us a good excuse to do it more!

SS: I think feeding people is one of the most primal things in life and I think too many people worry way too much about what is right and what is wrong.    I get enormous pleasure working with food, and feel lucky as hell to get a chance to do so. I know Pati feels the same way.

Do you listen to other podcasts?  If so, which ones and why?

PJ: Not much.  I only listened to two when Sally invited me to try this one.  The fact that I don’t…is one of the reasons why I am jumping to do it.  I love to venture into new and unknown territory.  I have a knack for jumping in blind.  I think I watched two cooking shows before making mine.  It has its advantages and disadvantages…if I had seen too many shows before I started mine, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have given it a try.

SS: In an attempt to remedy my less than illustrious academic record, (oh! One must GO to classes to do well?) I tend to go the scholarly route with my podcasts. Current favorites are Design Matters, which digs into all kinds of design issues with architects and artists–I like the artist conversations best.  And Stuff You Should Know–everything from How Do Executive Orders Work to Fractals and Pet Psychics.

Three guests you’d like to have on.  Can be real, fictional, dead, or Paul Rudd.

PJ: Hahaha!  I am happy I have a first shot at this questions or Sally would completely take over.  I say:

  • Judi Dench.  As we say in Spanish, es toda una señora.  I admire her career deeply.
  • Frida Kahlo.  So many questions I would ask.
  • Mark Ruffalo.  First, because I’ve had a crush on him since I can remember, and that crush grows bigger as I age (my husband knows).  Second, something about the sound of his name makes me really hungry.


  • Diana Vreeland.  That was a woman who knew how to live and work.
  • Picasso, though I suspect I would hate him.
  • Winston Churchill

I have seen someone make guacamole with mayonnaise as a key ingredient.  This is horrifying, right? 

PJ: Guacamole with chopped tomato is horrifying.  Makes it watery and goopy.  Guacamole with mayo sounds like a good spread on a sandwich and a good base for a salad dressing.  Let’s just not call it guac and have an open mind…and I can have an open mind except when it comes to chopped, mushy tomatoes in a guacamole.

SS: I cannot imagine making guacamole with mayonnaise, or making a sandwich spread with mayo and avocado, but I defer to Pati’s reasoning that it should simply be renamed–though before I throw too many stones, I must confess that she once read a recipe I had written for refried beans, and said they sounded delicious but should probably be called something else–with a big beautiful smile.

Sally, as a Wisconsin native, please name the Most Wisconsin-y Food.  I would say cheese curds, but I’m merely a visitor to America’s Dairyland.

PJ: Since Sally is not here yet, let me continue, because I like to talk…and I really have no idea what the answer would be here, except to say I am dying to go to Wisconsin to try all the food there.

SS: Oh man, would I love to drag Pati around Wisconsin. The fish fry is by far the most Wisconsin-y food around–small fish like perch, beer battered and fried–of course all-you-can-eat, and always served with a “relish tray” of sticks of raw carrots and celery, pepperoncini and black olives with holes in them so you can slide them onto the ends of fingers and wiggle them.

Do either of you have a guilty food pleasure?  (White Castle sliders, peanut butter straight out of the jar, etc.) 

PJ: “A” is too lonely in that question.  It should be rephrased to “Do either of you have guilty food pleasures?”  Many.  Too name a few:

  • Mexican Oaxacan chocolate, before going to bed, sometimes.
  • Chipotle in adobo sauce in way too many things and too many times a day.
  • Sweetened condensed milk in my coffee, sometimes.  Not only does it make it sweet, it also gives it a lovely thick and creamy consistency.  Did you know that they call coffee with sweetened condensed milk “bombas” in Spain?  (Translates to “bomb.” Coffee like that really is “the bomb.”)
  • Children’s chocolate-flavored cereal, especially the remaining milk after you have refilled the bowl with cereal and milk a few times.
  • I can keep going, but I will leave some for upcoming sessions.

SS: I’m with Pati. Way too many…potato chips, a really fresh box of Dots, anchovies on soda crackers.