The Kitchen Sisters

The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva) are producers of the duPont-Columbia Award-winning, NPR series, Hidden Kitchens, and two Peabody Award-winning NPR series, Lost & Found Sound and The Sonic Memorial Project. Hidden Kitchens, heard on Morning Edition, explores the world of secret, unexpected, below-the-radar cooking across America—how communities come together through food. The series inspired Hidden Kitchens: Stories, Recipes, and More from NPR's The Kitchen Sisters, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year that was also nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Writing on Food. The Hidden Kitchens audio book, narrated by Academy Award winner, Frances McDormand, received a 2006 Audie Award.

Hidden Kitchens Texas, an hour-long nationwide broadcast special, narrated by Willie Nelson & Robin Wright Penn, premieres in the summer of 2007.

The Kitchen Sisters' groundbreaking national radio collaborations, in partnership with Jay Allison, bring together independent producers, artists, writers, archivists, grandmothers, NASCAR drivers, butchers, public radio listeners, and many others throughout the country to create richly layered, highly produced radio documentaries that chronicle untold stories of American culture and traditions.

Other noted Kitchen Sisters stories include: "Waiting for Joe DiMaggio;" "The Nights of Edith Piaf;" "WHER: 1000 Beautiful Watts;" "Cigar Stories: El Lector, He Who Reads;" "Carmen Miranda: The Life and Times of the Brazilian Bombshell;" "Guillermo Cabrera Infante: Memories of an Invented City;" "Tupperware;" "The Road Ranger;" and "War and Separation." The Kitchen Sisters began their radio lives producing a weekly live radio program in the late 70’s on KUSP-FM in Santa Cruz, California. Their radio documentaries have been featured on NPR's All Things Considered and Morning Edition, the BBC, Audible, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Smithsonian, California Public Radio, Pacifica Radio, Soundprint, PRX, and are now heard as NPR podcasts.

The Kitchen Sisters are also involved in educating and training new voices for public media in an imaginative, artistic and creative approach to storytelling. They teach at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and give presentations and provide training at universities, festivals, workshops, radio stations, public forums and events throughout the country. They also train and work with interns, college students, and youth radio apprentices and participate in the life of the public radio community throughout the country.

In addition to producing radio, Davia Nelson is also a casting director and screenwriter. She lives in San Francisco. Nikki Silva is also a museum curator and exhibit consultant. She lives with her family on a commune in Santa Cruz, California.

The Mexican town of Tequila in the western state of Jalisco is the heart of a region that produces the legendary spirit. Any bottle of tequila must be made from the Weber Blue species of agave, grown and distilled in this region.

Field after field of agave gives this land a blue hue, defining an economy and its traditions.

If you teach an aboriginal man (or woman) to make a cappuccino, can you feed his career for a lifetime?

That's the hope at Yaama Dhiyaan, a cooking and hospitality school for at-risk indigenous young people in Australia.

Students there are learning the skills to be cooks, restaurant and hotel workers, and caterers. The school is also helping to reconnect them to their culture, disrupted when many of their grandparents were kidnapped off the land, forced into missionary schools and denied the right to vote until the 1960s.

In a laboratory, deep under a mile-high stretch of the Alps on the French-Italian border, Philippe Hubert, a physicist at the University of Bordeaux, is testing the authenticity of a bottle of wine.

"We are looking for radioactivity in the wine," says Hubert. "Most of the time the collectors send me bottles of wine because they want to know if it is fake or not."

When Nikita Khrushchev emerged as the leader of the Soviet Union after Stalin's death in 1953, one of the first things he addressed was the housing shortage and the need for more food. At the time, thousands of people were living in cramped communal apartments, sharing one kitchen and one bathroom with sometimes up to 20 other families.

In the decades following the 1917 Russian Revolution, most people in Moscow lived in communal apartments; seven or more families crammed together where there had been one, sharing one kitchen and one bathroom. They were crowded; stove space and food were limited. Clotheslines were strewn across the kitchen, the laundry of one family dripping into the omelet of another.

In an old hunting lodge on the grounds of an ancient Norman castle in Abergavenny, Wales, a small, extinct dog peers out of a handmade wooden display case.

"Whiskey is the last surviving specimen of a turnspit dog, albeit stuffed," says Sally Davis, longtime custodian at the Abergavenny Museum.

The Canis vertigus, or turnspit, was an essential part of every large kitchen in Britain in the 16th century. The small cooking canine was bred to run in a wheel that turned a roasting spit in cavernous kitchen fireplaces.

In recent years, the effort to bring the Mafia under control in Sicily has spilled over into the world of food. Today a movement of small organic agricultural cooperatives has sprung up across the island to farm land once confiscated by the Mafia and bring these goods to a global market.