Food Guys

Sunday 11:52 AM - 12:00 PM, Thursday 4:54 PM

From favorite seasonal recipes, to the roots of our food traditions, to the politics of food, the Food Guys illuminate the culinary world each Sunday, in this 10 minute program produced by Montana Public Radio.

The Food Guys have also been featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday.


Flickr user, Julia Rubinic

Greg and Jon discuss a 2013 New York Times article by Kenneth Chang titled "More Helpful Fatty Acids Found in Organic Milk." Chang writes: "Whole milk from organic dairies contains far more of some of the fatty acids that contribute to a healthy heart than conventional milk."  Greg distinguishes between omega-6 fatty acids, which abound in the typical American diet, and o

Flickr user, Anna Lynn Martino

Beef stew with rice, onions, bacon, tomatoes and cheese: that's the basis for Julia Child's recipe for "Boeuf À La Catalane," or Catalan Beef Stew. It became the jumping-off point for an adaptation by Greg one night as he improvised on this "hearty dish from the Spanish Mediterranean corner of France," with "a green salad, French bread, and a strong, young red wine" the recommended accompaniment.

Flickr user, Mike Licht

Jon and Greg speculate that widespread under-appreciation of parsnips is due to their resemblance to "an anemic carrot."  Jon recalls the sweet and flavorful parsnips kept buried in a box of soil in the root cellar by his gardener father, the taste of which approached the mythic sweetness of mature parsnips left in the ground all winter. Greg suggests roasting them, puréeing with potatoes, deep-frying them as chips, or including them in a recipe for root-vegetable custard.

Greg Patent

Greg describes two baking workshops he attended recently, taught by pie baker Kate McDermott and pastry chef Mindy Segal. Greg learned that the fats he uses for pie crust - butter and rendered leaf lard - are also favored by McDermott, who keeps her mixing bowls, flour, and fats chilled till it's time to make pie dough.

Courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Greg and Jon continue their discussion of Ari LeVaux's online column, "Irony Alert: Artificial Sweeteners Make You Fat" with information from a second article cited by LeVaux: "Do Gut Bacteria Rule Our Minds?" by Jeffrey Norris, UC San Francisco -  itself summarizing new research review findings:

Flickr user, Steve Snodgrass

Jon and Greg discuss a November 2014 online column by Ari LeVaux, "Irony Alert: Artificial Sweeteners Make You Fat." LeVaux's piece examines recent findings, published in Nature, that mice who were fed artificial sweeteners in their water developed glucose intolerance.

Flickr user, Emily

(Broadcast: "The Food Guys," 1/4/15. Listen weekly on the radio at 11:50 a.m. Sundays, or via podcast.)

Notes below are taken from Greg Patent's March 4, 2008 "Missoulian" column, where Greg first introduced the recipe (bottom) that Jon Jackson has since adapted to include poblano and chili peppers instead of chard:


Greg shares his recent successful improvisation of two appetizers, or canapés, which he accomplished with some basic know-how and the ingredients in his freezer and cupboard. If you know how to make pâte à choux (cream puff) dough, a Mornay sauce, and blanched greens, you, too, can carry off these hors d'oeuvres with the panache of A Food Guy. Or, as Jon would recommend, just improvise your own.

Greg rolls out a list of his favorite half-dozen new and classic baking books:

1. Rose Levy Beranbaum: "The Baking Bible"

2. "Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts"

3. Dominique Ansel: "The Secret Recipes"

Flickr user, Kim

Greg and Jon discuss Greg's recipe for crisp, gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, inspired by Ruth Wakefield's original Toll House "chocolate crunch" cookie recipe. Brown rice flour, tapioca starch and potato starch substitute for wheat flour. "For any chocolate chip cookie, you must refrigerate the dough at least overnight," Greg commands. "It's the magic of chemistry at work in your refrigerator."

It's hard to miss the "Got Milk?" ad campaign encouraging us to drink more milk, but this week, "The Food Guys" make a case for moderation in milk consumption.

Considering the high rate of lactose intolerance, milk allergies, and alternative sources for calcium and vitamin D, Greg and John recommend going easy on cow's milk. 

They discuss a July 2012 New York Times opinion piece, "Got Milk? Don't Need It," by Mark Bittman.

Flickr user, Chandrika Nair

Greg and Jon are coconut appreciators. They discuss shredded coconut in candy, cookies, cakes and pies; coconut milk, which in baking can substitute for cow's milk; coconut water (in young coconuts); and coconut oil, with its high smoke point.  Coconut oil, once thought a culprit in heart disease, has recently undergone a rehabilitation. How do you open a mature coconut?

Flickr user, Thomas Kriese

Jon and Greg discuss a 2013 New York Times opinion piece by Jo Robinson called "Breeding the Nutrition Out of Our Food," which compares the phytonutrient content of wild plants with that of supermarket produce.

Onion Ragout

Nov 16, 2014
Flickr user, Travis Price

"It is hard to imagine a civilization without onions" - Julia Child.

Jon and Greg discuss different members of the allium genus - which are actually lilies - and recommend basic tips for cooking onions, specifically onion ragout. Onion quiche, onion pizza, and onions as a side-dish are recommended by Greg. Jon says, "Often I look at a new recipe and if there are no onions, I wonder, "What's wrong with this recipe?"

courtesy of the Umami Information Center

Jon and Greg ask: "What exactly is umami?" (It has nothing to do with anybody's mother.) It's a Japanese word, coined early in the 20th century, meaning "delicious savory taste."  Greg explains: "Every time you eat something that's really yummy, like a well-prepared steak, a mushroom risotto, a spaghetti sauce, anchovies, it probably contains umami factors."  The Umami Information Center adds:

Dave Hitchborne

Greg and Jon follow up on a previous "Food Guys" show about a controversial study linking genetically-modified (GMO) corn to cancer in lab rats. This time they're onto the economic connection between GMO crops and the market for pesticides.

Greg Patent

“Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness” ~Jane Austen

Jon and Greg's annual homage to apples. Below is Greg Patent's recipe,  Classic American Apple Pie (from The Baking Wizard).

(Broadcast: "The Food Guys," 10/26/14. Listen at 11:20 a.m. Sundays or via podcast.)

Flickr user, Nssdfdsfds

Greg and Jon share the recipe for "Jean's Spiced Lamb Meatball And Bok Choy Soup:"

(Broadcast: "The Food Guys," 10/19/14. Listen at 11:20 a.m. Sundays or via podcast.)

Flickr user, litlnemo

"The Food Guys" Jon and Greg review the results of a recent "butter tasting," discussing why butter's taste and texture varies so widely. The categories of sweet, salted, or cultured butter (a premium butter which has been flavored and is made in small batches) are just the beginning of the butter distinctions and vocabulary.

There's the ratio of butterfat to water, which matters in certain types of sauces and baking. What the dairy cows have been eating, of course, explains a lot.

Flicker user, Joe Foodie

Greg and Jon review the world of turnovers, including Chinese dumplings and jiaozi (pot stickers), Russian piroschki, Welsh pasties, Italian calzone, and American moonpies.  Whether it's savory or sweet, made with yeast dough or pastry dough, baked or fried, Greg considers it a turnover. "Think anything good. Put it inside a dough, wrap it up, seal it, and either bake it or fry it. That's a turnover."

Moussaka Recipe

Sep 28, 2014
David Lifson

Jon and Greg recommend using fresh, unblemished eggplant for the following moussaka recipe:


Likeable Leeks

Sep 21, 2014

Greg and Jon list reasons to like leeks: they're pretty; they're full of Vitamin K; the extra parts are useful for making vegetable stock; they're half of the classic recipe for potato-leek soup; they're good braised in broth or sautéed with olive oil and garlic, which could be the starting point for a pasta sauce; they're good baked with mushrooms in tarts. The Turks fry them and the Scots use them for cock-a-leekie soup.

(Broadcast: The Food Guys, 9/21/14)

Potato & Leek Soup recipe:

Muhammad Mahdi Karim

"The Food Guys" - Jon Jackson and Greg Patent - consider Colony Collapse Disorder, the recent large-scale disappearance of European honey bees, both wild and managed.

Chris R. Sims

Greg and Jon discuss two cooking projects that Greg reserves for summer: levain breads (all-sourdough, with no other added yeast), and fermented rice and/or rice wine. In both projects, temperature is key to the fermentation process. When preparing levain bread, Greg prefers a 73 - 75 degree F kitchen and ingredients whose temperature has been carefully adjusted to create at 78 degree F dough.


Jon and Greg a share pet peeve: undercooked green beans in restaurants. "I think they wave a match near them to pretend to warm them up," says Greg. He prefers beans cooked just enough to bring out their flavor, but not so much as to create what Jon calls "the sodden cabbage effect."  Greg recommends basil pesto or miso as flavoring for blanched or sautéed green beans. Jon wonders where the strings in stringbeans have gone.

(Broadcast: The Food Guys, 8/31/14)


Greg and Jon toot the horn of the cooling, flavorful muskmelon. Greg reminds us to avoid buying whole chilled cantaloupes and honeydews, since aroma is key to picking a ripe one. For a watermelon, Jon points out, you can determine ripeness the old-fashioned way: thump it.  "I remember thinking as a child that in heaven, we could eat all the watermelons we'd want, and they'd all be perfect."

(Broadcast: The Food Guys, 8/24/14)


Aug 17, 2014

Jon and Greg's annual hymn to sweet corn includes instructions for quick cooking and various uses for fresh, local corn in salad, chowder, omelettes, soufflés and cornbread. When it comes to flavor, Jon accuses non-local corn of being a good-looking but insipid imposter: "It looks larger than life, compared to the corn we grew when I was a kid."

(Broadcast: The Food Guys, 8/17/14)


Jon and Greg discuss the two kinds of dairy pasteurization, HTST ("high temperature, short time") and UHT ("ultra high temperature"), or ultra pasteurization. UHT pasteurization developed in the 1960s and allowed the shelf life of dairy products to be extended threefold, a convenience for milk manufacturers. But Jon and Greg aren't buying it. Greg finds that ultra pasteurization strips milk of its flavor, and Jon is suspicious of milk that, according to its packaging, can last up to nine months unopened.  "Something that's nine months old is NOT fresh," he observes.

Palm Oil

Aug 3, 2014
Achmad Rabin Taim

Greg and Jon take on palm oil, whose associations with environmental destruction and human-rights abuses are increasing as rapidly as its ubiquity in manufactured foods.  Even as a substitute for trans-fats, when consumed in large amounts, palm oil isn't particularly healthy, given that it's saturated. The Food Guys' advice?

Bok Choy

Jul 27, 2014
Flickr user, The Marmot

Jon and Greg pursue their Vegetable Agenda this week via the adaptable and aroma-less Chinese cabbage, bok choy. Greg outlines the Chinese dish, lion's head, which involves bok choy and half-pound meatballs. For something lighter, baby bok choy works well as a side dish. Don't forget to rinse the stalks, where soil will have accumulated. Jon asks, "I wonder how we ever did without it?"

(Broadcast: The Food Guys, 7/27/14)