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In this episode
Have a question, query, or quagmire you’d like Renee and David to answer? Click that red button to the right, or click on this link to leave us a recorded message. Press and talk away and maybe you’ll be featured on the show!
It all began when I was about 10 years old. Whenever my parents and I visited my avó and avô (that’s Portuguese for grandmother and grandfather) and the rest of the Leite family in Somerville, MA, I’d gather my ensemble of cousins for the express purpose of staging musical spectaculars on my Aunt Irene’s back porch. I was the director, naturally, and my word was law. (Oh, how little things have changed, I can hear Renee thinking.) [Editor’s Note: Yup. Precisely.]
One show, in particular, featured an all-Beatles lineup in which I directed my distant cousin Elaine to slowly walk down the porch stairs as she sang “Let It Be.” (This was also the era of Cher, hence the many long, slow stair descents and excessive hair flipping at my directives.) I made her do this over and over again until, frustrated, I climbed to the top of the stairs and did my own descent. Never was a David Leite spectacular more spectacular.
A little later, I discovered The Brady Bunch Variety Hour. How many times did I dream that I was the seventh Brady kid (in between Greg and Peter) and had my own solo in the finale of each show? And how can I express to you just how achingly desperate I was to have one of those synthetic, powder blue jumpsuits?
Yet even with ambition fierce enough to make Eve Harrington pee herself—as well as serious acting training at Carnegie Mellon University—stardom never found me. The closest I ever came to fame? Playing a zombie in George Romero’s “Day of the Dead.” (I wasn’t even the kind of zombie that exploded in glorious gushes of blood. No, I was just an extra’s extra, in the back row, crying quietly.)
Through it all, though, I repeatedly heard, “You have such a great voice. You should consider radio.” (Well, okay, not on the zombie set. All I did there was groan.) But radio? Motion picture’s poorest relation? I’d rather have a 9 to 5 office job than do radio.
Ah, be careful what you wish for, children. Eighteen years of soul-sucking, fluorescent-lit servitude followed.
Now, older, wiser, and fatter, I realize that radio and its equally distinguished cousin, the podcast, are more than worthy of my time.
But it’s not the lure of fame that elbowed me to create our new podcast, Talking with My Mouth Full, but rather it’s my desire to be of service to you. (Oh, hell, who am I kidding? I still fantasize that someday a casting director will hear me and stand, fist raised to the sky à la Scarlett O’Hara, and shout, “I’ve found my star!”)
Until then I’m all yours. Heart and soul.
Most kidding aside, though, the reason Renee, my editor-in-chief, and I created this podcast was to bring to life the writers whose words grace our pages, the cookbook authors whose recipes you desire, and the LC staffers who may not be familiar to you but whose fingerprints are all over every post.
We also wanted you to hear from our beloveds–those folks who populate our lives and our stories, including The One (Who Brings Me Love, Joy, and Happiness), Momma Leite (my mother, who else?), E (the love of Renee’s life), and, wait for it, you.
Yup, we’re inviting you, our dear readers, on the show as our guests. What’s that? You don’t have a blog or cookbook? No Food Network show or line of cookware? Like we care. If you possess a kick-ass lasagne recipe (I personally prefer béchamel, just like Giuliano Hazan’s recipe), wield an unorthodox way of making mashed potatoes (I’m ALWAYS on the lookout for mashed potato recipes), or regularly debate whether or not nuts belong in chocolate chip cookies (they don’t) [Editor’s Note: Oh, brother], we want to hear from you.
Lest you think we went all DIY and locked ourselves and a digital recorder in a closet (I’m through with closets, but that’s another post), think again. We reached out to my mentor Sally Swift, managing producer over at The Splendid Table, who recommended producer and impresario Tom Voegeli (pronounced “vaguely,” but trust me, he’s anything but). Tom was one of the creators of The Splendid Table, so we knew we were in capable hands.
That’s when our education began, and the meetings, calls, texts, emails, and faxes commenced. I feel like I’ve graduated from what amounted to a crash course in radio production after working with Tom.
For my previous podcast, Authors’ Answers, everything was a no-brainer. I stuck a microphone in front of a writer, and we talked. This was a brave new world. Suddenly I had to share the mic (egads!) with my lovely and talented co-host, Renee.
We had to find a rhythm and get used to each other. [Editor’s Note: What he really means is find ways to politely and diplomatically disagree.] Add to that musical snippets, multiple guests, ISDN lines to London and other far-flung places, loooong days locked in a recording studio with takes and retakes and more retakes, and enough four-letter words flying out of my mouth to make the rap world proud. Stardom doesn’t come easily, folks.
Yet under Tom’s careful watch, enough material came together for a couple of podcasts, and after several rounds of edits, we ended up with what’s before you, our first ever, our debut, our launch, our world premiere, with the second podcast to follow in just a few weeks.
Renee and I are a little nervous, as you can imagine. And we’re more than a little desperate for you to let us know what you think. Just please be gentle…after all, we’re virgins.
LOVE IT!! LOVE IT!! LOVE IT!! Can’t wait for the next one!!!
THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! The next one is tentatively scheduled for May 6th in time for Mother’s Day.
Woohoo! Thank you!
Laughter is good for the soul…this made mine ecstatic!
Lovely, Peggy. Many thanks, my dear childhood friend.
I LOVE it! Thanks, Peggy. Your comment made my morning.
How fun was this? I loved it! You must do more exchanges between you and The One. Chickens, David? Really? The way this scene played in my head was an hysterical disaster…worse than any kitchen disaster! Especially after your winter meltdown post, I see this playing out to a (funny, scene worthy but) no good end…hahahaha!
Susan, it will be interesting to see who wins, er, prevails in Battle Chicken. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Oh, and you can be sure “Green Acres” will return frequently on the podcast.
Very nice to put a voice with the face, so to speak! Looking forward to more.
Must say, though: I have a few hens who provide lovely organic eggs. I don’t refrigerate the eggs, and only wash them if they have a bit of mud or poop on the shell, and then I wash them under running water and use them right away. And although I get the occasional egg with a feather or mud or poop on the shell, I cannot imagine selling (or even giving away) the poopy eggs!
Quinn, thank you. For the kind words AND the support about raising chickens. I think it would be a huge asset, and educational, too. I know a lot of people who don’t refrigerate local eggs. And, think about it: We’ve been cooking with eggs far, far longer than we have had refrigerators!
Hey there, David – coming back to ask where you got that crack-the-egg-on-the-side method of avoiding shell fragments in the bowl! I’ve been using it lately and cannot believe how well it has worked so far. Does it always work? You’ve probably cracked about a million eggs, so your data will be pretty compelling 🙂
Quinn, we got directly from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Mark Scarbrough told us. And it doesn’t always work–I’ve cracked some eggs a bit too hard. But on the whole, it’s a pretty failsafe method.
David, what a delight! Very well done. So good to hear you again after so long. Kitchen disasters? I’ll never forget that Thanksgiving in Brooklyn Heights when, if I recall correctly, you attempted to make your first pecan pie and didn’t have a clue what you were doing (I remember you mixing the raw ingredients in the pie pan with your hands). How far you’ve come! Congratulations!
Thanks, Jon. Do you remember that we videotaped that Thanksgiving? And we were imitating Julia Child? My parents STILL play it and crack up. Gosh, that was several millennia ago, huh?
Calling Momma Leite to ask if I can borrow this video….
Hah! I definitely want to hear more details pertaining to this story, Jon….