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Associate Producer, Here & Now Most recently, Jessica worked as an associate producer at WBUR's daily local program, Radio Boston. Jessica moved to Boston in 2008 and has lived many places since leaving her native Texas. After graduating from college, Jessica worked as a federal employee, documentary film festival producer, oral historian, university teaching assistant, traveling saleswoman and klezmer musician. Her work and projects have appeared in The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, Bust, Barnard Magazine, National Public Radio, Public Radio International (PRI), and the BBC. Jessica's freelance radio work has received various awards including accolades from the Religion Newswriters Association and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. As a Fulbright Scholar in El Salvador, Jessica collected and studied oral histories from the Jewish Community based in San Salvador. Jessica received her B.A. in political science from Columbia University’s Barnard College and her M.A. in history from Indiana University. She learned how to make radio from the phenomenal folks at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Jessica lives in Somerville with her husband, twin son and daughter, and two cats. To learn more about Jessica’s projects, both current and past, please visit


Photo: Flickr/terren in Virginia

Friday on Radio Boston, we take on the big one — burgers.

What makes a burger unforgettable? Richard Chudy, personal chef and the man behind Boston Burger Blog, joins us in studio to deconstruct, derail and delight in Boston’s vast array of burger choices.

Also important: your calls, comments and questions. Feel free to start commenting below or on Facebook; we’ll also take your tweets and calls.

Listen to the segment.

PRK On The Air: Chef/Recipe Bonanza

A turkey by Kathy Gunst. Photo: Jesse Costa for WBUR

Food is everywhere this week at WBUR.

On Monday, Here & Now featured a great segment with resident chef Kathy Gunst (including a turkey carving video which you shouldn’t miss). Gunst shared some fantastic recipes and helpful tips. Her husband John Rudolph (my first radio teacher, by the way) turns out to be an excellent turkey carver. Seriously, don’t miss that video.

Monday afternoon, Radio Boston went to Smolak Farms with Tremont 647’s Andy Husbands and brought back two fantastic recipes for apple sauce and spiced, candied peanuts.

Tuesday on Radio Boston, a quartet of chefs go way beyond stuffing, sharing their not-so-traditional recipes for the fall season. They include: Michael Schlow of Tico, Radius, Via Matta and Alta Strada; Joanne Chang of Flour and Myers + Chang; Andy Husbands of Tremont 647, and Jody Adams of Rialto and the newly opened Trade. Visit at 3pm for the recipes, tantalizing photographs and audio.

And it’s only TUESDAY! More awaits.

PRK On The Air: Last Suppers

Hotel Casa Santo Domingo Photo: Flickr/Edgar de Leon

At first glance, the topic of last suppers may seem morose. But not on Radio Boston.

Wednesday at 3pm, the show welcomes Melanie Dunea, the author and photographer behind “My Last Supper: The Second Course.” This is Dunea’s second book on Last Suppers,a series where she interviews and photographs famous chefs about their final meals. The list of world-renowned chefs includes two Boston-area gems: Lydia Shire (Scampo, Towne Stove and Spirits) and Barbara Lynch (Menton, Sportello, No. 9 Park, amongst others). All three will join us in studio.

Radio Boston will also ask for your calls and stories. But why not start now?

What would you eat? Who would be there? Where would they be?

Here’s mine:

Meal —  French fries and a black bean veggie burger + champagne
Company — My close friends and family (maybe a group of 10)
Location — Antigua, Guatemala. Nighttime at the Hotel Casa Santo Domingo.

Comment below or tweet @radioboston, @pubradiokitchen


Welcoming Fall With Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Photo: Flickr/Dr.Bacchus

I love the days when beautiful cookbooks and glossy food mags grace my mailbox. Yankee Magazine‘s latest installment of “Best New England Recipes” is no exception. Available now on news stands, here’s one of the yummiest recipes we could find — Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.

Tell me you can’t keep on reading.

Amy Traverso, Senior Lifestyle Editor at Yankee, says that while “Pennsylvanians may claim whoopie pies as their own, we know they’re a New England thing. ”

And how to make a whoopie pie even more New England? Traverso explains that Yankee “replaced the usual chocolate in the cakes with native pumpkin, giving [the pies] a warm spice flavor and further bragging rights to one of the greatest culinary invention ever:  a cake that eats like a cookie.”

So, without further ado, here is the recipe.

Continue reading

PRK On The Air: Fighting Fat And Losing Friendly’s

A Friendly's in West Springfield, MA. Photo: Flickr/Rusty Clark

It’s been a ripe week of food and fitness coverage on WBUR.

Here & Now reported on a new law in Finland called “Health In All Policies,” which asks legislators to consider how each of their decisions may impact residents’ health. For example, local officials are urged to plan developments that encourage people to exercise.  Does that mean bike lanes only? Listen in to find out.

Speaking of combatting obesity, the nation’s thinnest state is losing it’s edge. NPR reports on Colorado’s efforts to combat its growing waistline.

And finally, Friendly’s. Those who love those smiley-faced ice cream treats may be shedding a tear. NPR reports that the Wilbraham-based food restaurant chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday morning. So what does this mean for the Bickford’s, Denny’s and Cracker Barrel’s of the food world? Time will only tell.

PRK On The Air: Mobile Slaughterhouse

Photo: Adam Ragusea for WBUR

Chickens may be easy to grow (and love) but slaughtering them locally–that’s another issue altogether.

Today on Radio Boston, Adam Ragusea visits a Mobile Poultry Processing Unit (MPPU), a grant-funded joint project between Tufts University’s New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and the New England Small Farm Institute. Listen here to learn more.

PRK On The Air: Urban Farmers Cash In

City Farm in Chicago. Photo: Flickr/Linda N.

The line outside my neighbor’s house gets longer each week. He’s known as “The Basil Guy” and it’s no joke; some people think this elderly Somervillian grows the best stuff this side of the Mississippi. Well, Mr. Basil isn’t alone. Urban farming has taken on new meaning in cities across the country.

Host Robin Young takes a closer look at the trend on Friday’s Here & Now.  Listen here.

Pupusa Nostalgia

Photo: Flickr/BeSighYawn

I’m always on the hunt for Boston’s best pupusa, the traditional Salvadoran dish consisting of a stuffed corn tortilla. This piping hot full-of-yumminess tortilla is served with curtido, a cooling slaw.  This driving desire has taken me to Lynn, to Somerville, to East Boston–the list goes on but I’m a bit embarrassed at this point.

The best pupusa I’ve ever had is back in the mother country, the incredible Tipicos Margoth in El Salvador.  So far, nothing in the Bay State comes close–but I’m heartened by a recent post from Brian Knowles of The Gringo Chapin. He says Rosticeria Cancun, a Maverick Square hole in the wall is a contender.

Read more here and let me know if you’ve sampled some seriously good pupusas.  And if you’ve never tried one, seriously–get on IT.


Treasurer’s Office Stands Down on Farmer-Brewer License Advisory

Photo: Flickr/IvanWalsh

From contributor Anna Pinkert

Massachusetts brewers holding farmer-brewer licenses can rest easy for now.

An advisory that would have required 50% of raw materials to come from local sources has been rolled back by Massachusetts Treasurer Steven Grossman.

We reported on the advisory last Friday, along with WBUR’s Radio Boston. The farmer-brewer license is the cheapest and most far-reaching license for beer producers who wish to brew, pour and sell their beer on one site. Though some brewers with the license grow a small percentage of their own hops, and others work with farmers to redistribute spent grain, none believed that the 50% rule was a realistic goal for small brewers in Massachusetts.

Before meeting with brewers on Monday, Treasurer Grossman and Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission Chairwoman Kim Gainsboro lifted the controversial advisory. Massachusetts Brewers Guild President Rob Martin said that the meeting had positive results with the Treasurer acknowledging that the advisory was a mistake, inadvertently putting businesses in jeopardy. The Treasurer’s office is planning a series of public hearings to develop ideas for improving relationships between farmers, brewers and the state. Martin is not sure what changes may come about, but for now he’s “excited to get back to brewing.”