I always thought you had to be like Rihanna to be asked to record one of those radio station statements. But a couple of weeks ago, I sat in the studio at BBC Radio Oxford, and smiled into the mic, “Bonjour! This is Kerry Saretsky, New York’s Freshest French Foodie, and You’re Listening to BBC Radio Oxford.”
This came on the tails of two days of food shopping, lugging, cooking, recording, and finally, eating. When my dear friend Charlotte pitched the idea of my French food as a feature on the Sunday morning show at the BBC, I was shocked when they scooped it right up. They ordered a four-part four-course meal, as well as meals for Easter, Mothers’ Day, and Fathers’ Day. Including an interview, that was a total of eight shows. I jumped up and down ten times. Then I collapsed in panic. I had no idea what to make.
I thought back to my own time at Oxford, while I was reading for my master’s in twentieth century English and American literature, and I thought about all that I had tasted, and more importantly, all that I had craved. Uncharacteristically, I was always craving a roast. One time, Mr. English and I picked up a joint of lamb from Sainsbury’s at eight o’clock, stuck it in the oven with some olive oil and rosemary, and we both went back to studying, as we had all day. All that kept me going through each tedious sentence was knowing that the roast would soon be awaiting my arrival, and I would finally eat something substantial. After about an hour and a half, Mr. English and I trotted expectantly downstairs to check on its progress, and we realized, the oven had broken. It was raw, and I spent another night sobbing into a Pizza Express takeout box. Shameful.
So, I knew I had to make something meaty, and something comforting. I knew I wanted it to be French, as ever, but have a distinctly English, instead of my usual American, accent. I wanted to take advantage of all the amazing imported French foods, mostly from Normandy, that cheaply populate all English shops. And quickly, my menu, always an ode to France, now also a little love song to Oxfordshire, began to take shape. I won’t spoil the surprise and tell you what all of the meals are now, but I will give you some hints. The four-course meal, because I wanted it to be comfort food, is a series of chic renditions of some of France’s oldest peasant food, with some very English ingredients. The Mothers’ Day meal paddles straight over from Normandy. The Fathers’ Day meal is, of course, meat and potatoes. And Easter is traditional with a twist. I have never worked so hard at perfecting any recipes as I have these, so I promise you, you will love them.
The shows starting airing this Sunday morning on BBC Radio Oxford, part of Joel Hammer’s Sunday Morning Brunch. This week’s is an interview with me, how I got started in food, where I hope to take my career, where I find my inspiration. Each week, I’ll let you know what’s coming up, and give you an inside peek at the show. Listen in, and let them know you love it!
All in all, what an experience it all was. I shopped all over London for the ingredients, and all over Oxford. I lugged pots and pans around and around to my friend Sarah’s kitchen, after Mr. English’s was drowned in a washing machine deluge. I cooked for two straight days, making the befores, the middles, the afters, for the short radio recordings. I bantered with a DJ. I loved every second. If making cooking shows is this much fun, count me in for life.