Episode 157: Marcus Samuelsson, Cheryl Strayed, and (Breaking) Bad Romances

Marcus Samuelsson/Photo by Kwaku Alston

This week, star chef Marcus Samuelsson dishes on his tough-but-tender training… WILD author Cheryl Strayed (aka “Dear Sugar”) offers free therapy… Anna Gunn of “Breaking Bad” lists her favorite fictional dysfunctionals… Author Chris Cleave spins gold from Olympic competition… We toast Warhol with a pop-art cocktail… and Woody Guthrie turns 100. Plus: vacationing with Hemingway, author Karen Thompson Walker’s slow fiction, and new music from the Dirty Projectors.

Icebreaker: Marcus Samuelsson

Star chef Marcus Samuelsson has the perfect joke for a dinner party, if the dinner party is in Sweden.

Small Talk: Sadie Stein

Sadie Stein, deputy editor of literary mag The Paris Review, has big news for Hemingway geeks: Papa tours in Michigan and a new “Farewell to Arms” with endless endings.

A History Lesson with Booze: Pop Goes Art and “Warhol’s Bloody Mary”

This week back in 1962, Andy Warhol unveiled his first images of Campbell’s soup cans… not in NYC, but at a legendary LA gallery. Learn about the tasty (and relatively inexpensive) beginnings of pop art, then silkscreen this custom cocktail.

“Warhol’s Bloody Mary,” as drawn up by Rob Floyd (with superstar chef José Andrés), lead bartender for Bar Centro at The Bazaar by José Andrés. It’s in the SLS Hotel – Beverly Hills, right down the street from Warhol’s ‘62 exhibit.

In a shaker, combine these colorful parts:

  • 2 oz. Bombay Sapphire gin (or vodka, if desired)
  • 1/2 oz. each of fresh lime and lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. celery juice
  • 3 oz. tomato water (lighter, crushed organic tomato)
  • dash each of pickled horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, fresh ground pepper, sea salt, and Tabasco sauce

Warhol's Bloody Mary

Add ice and shake, strain into a Campbell’s soup can (or Collins’ glass), on the rocks. Then for the avant-garnish, create an ‘air’ or ‘bubble bath’. Use a hand blender to whip together in these proportions:

  • 1 tsp. sucrose or Lecithin (Available at heath food stores)
  • 1 tsp. horseradish (fresh or pickled)
  • 8 oz. tomato water

Add the frothy topping to the drink, stir lightly with celery stalk, sip, and place on shelf next to 32 others, to admire properly.


Guest List: Anna Gunn’s Bad Romances

The acclaimed AMC series “Breaking Bad” launches its fifth (and final) season this weekend. In it actress Anna Gunn plays Skyler White, the wife of meth-dealing kingpin Walt White (Emmy Winner Bryan Cranston). They make up one of the least healthy fictional couples ever, so we asked Anna to list some other couples who define ‘dysfunction’.

Etiquette: Cheryl Strayed

Writer Cheryl Strayed has had a good year. This spring, she released the memoir “Wild,” about her soul-searching trek along the Pacific Crest Trail. Three months later, it’s still atop the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list. This week, she publishes another personal book – “Tiny Beautiful Things” – which collects the popular “Dear Sugar” advice columns she’s written for culture website The Rumpus. Cheryl tells us about why she makes therapists jealous, then tackles listeners’ hang-ups — from dance club custody battles to public weeping.

Eavesdropping: Karen Thompson Walker

Karen Thompson Walker used to edit other people’s books at Simon & Schuster. Then, mornings before work and on the subway, she wrote her own. The resulting debut novel “The Age of Miracles” just came out and tipped the literary world on its axis. Vanity Fair calls it ‘the summer book.’ Today we overhear her reading the novel’s eerie opener.

Chattering Class: Woody Guthrie 101 for his 100th

This weekend, cities around the country are celebrating the 100th birthday of folk legend Woody Guthrie (Born July 14, 1912). To join the party, we asked writer-professor Ed Cray, the first biographer with total access to Guthrie’s extensive archives, to share a few lesser-known insights about the man and his music. (Cray’s Guthrie biography “Ramblin Man”is being rereleased this summer).

Main Course: Marcus Samuelsson

Marcus Samuelsson is one of the most popular – and busiest – chefs in the country. In the last few years, he won the TV show Top Chef Masters, earned the James Beard Award for culinary excellence, and cooked the first state dinner of the Obama administration. Now, Marcus has published a memoir called “Yes, Chef.” In it he talks about his multinational upbringing and his pro soccer aspirations… but food lovers will dig into scenes of his intense culinary training. Brendan chats with Marcus about tough love amongst top chefs, race in the kitchen, and his latest food find.

Guest of Honor: Chris Cleave

British novelist Chris Cleave deals with humanity at its limits. Cleave’s 2009 bestseller “Little Bee” depicted a Nigerian refugee’s harrowing journeys between Africa and England. And this month, he’s released “Gold,” which follows two world-class cyclists’ rivalry through three separate Olympic Games. Chris tells Rico about the addictiveness of sport, vertical illusions, and Tonya Harding’s other claim to fame. (Web extra! Click here to hear Chris read from “Gold’s” opening chapter.)

One for the Road: Dirty Projectors – “Gun Has No Trigger”

This week, arty pop band Dirty Projectors released their latest album, Swing Lo Magellan. Here’s a clip of the first single “Gun Has No Trigger” – a perfect track to play from boombox…or soapbox.

Other Music in this week’s show:

The Sea & Cake – “The Argument”

Aphex Twin – “Boy/Girl Song”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

Esquivel – “Primavera”

David Bowie – “Andy Warhol”

Blue Aeroplanes – “Warhol’s 15”

Mychael Danna – “Finale” (From “The Ice Storm”)

Wendy Carlos – “Main Title” (from “The Shining”)

Dengue Fever – “One Thousand Tears of a Tarantula”

The Sea and Cake – “Earth Star”

Tosca – “Every Day & Every Night”

Woody Guthrie – “This Land Is My Land”

Nightmares On Wax – “Still? Yes!”

In One Peace – “It’s Insane”

Dirty Projectors – “Gun Has No Trigger”