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Fannie’s Last Supper

Airs Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: A dozen food and media mavens, including Harry Smith (CBS News), Renee Montagne (NPR's "Morning Edition"), José Andrés ("Made in Spain"), Mark Bittman (New York Times) and Amy Dickinson (NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!"), judge the results of a 12-course feast at Chris Kimball's restored 1859 townhouse.

"Fannie's Last Supper" reveals the origins of American cooking and explores how the culinary expert Fannie Farmer sowed the seeds of the modern food revolution.

Fannie Merritt Farmer (1857-1915, left) simplified the whole cooking procedure by setting down a system of level measurements that made each recipe turn out exactly right. Here, in a rare photo, Miss Farmer is shown with one of her pupils, Martha Hayes Ludden, at Miss Farmer's Boston cooking school, where recipes were kitchen tested and formulated. Her recipes have become so popular that her cookbooks sold in the millions, while a large candy company utilizing some of her candy recipes currently sells some 20 million pounds of candies yearly. Undated.
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Above: Fannie Merritt Farmer (1857-1915, left) simplified the whole cooking procedure by setting down a system of level measurements that made each recipe turn out exactly right. Here, in a rare photo, Miss Farmer is shown with one of her pupils, Martha Hayes Ludden, at Miss Farmer's Boston cooking school, where recipes were kitchen tested and formulated. Her recipes have become so popular that her cookbooks sold in the millions, while a large candy company utilizing some of her candy recipes currently sells some 20 million pounds of candies yearly. Undated.

The "America's Test Kitchen" team recreates a 12-course feast straight from the pages of "Fannie Farmer's Boston Cooking School Cook Book." A dozen food and media mavens, including Harry Smith (CBS News), Renee Montagne (NPR's "Morning Edition"), José Andrés ("Made in Spain"), Mark Bittman (New York Times) and Amy Dickinson (NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!"), judge the results at Chris Kimball's restored 1859 townhouse.

"Fannie's Last Supper" also reaches back into the history of cookware, cooking and the food industry to understand how Victorians shopped, cooked, ate and entertained.

The documentary also details the culinary sleuthing and testing necessary to bring back to life the original Fannie Farmer recipes and cooking methods. The test cooks uncover the secrets of making homemade jellies, baking a Mandarin cake, larding venison, roasting geese and making classic lobster a l'Americaine.

View photo galleries of the food, the party and the kitchen.

Video

Video Excerpt: Fannie's Last Supper

Above: "Fannie's Last Supper" is a historical cooking documentary from Christopher Kimball. Produced by DGA Productions Directed by Michael Rothenberg Edited by Travis Marshall

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