Homemade Podcast Episode 13: Guilty Pleasures

Celebrity cooks! They're just like us.

Homemade Podcast graphic featuring fried chicken, ice cream, lemon cake, hamburger, quesadillas, and pizza
Photo: Allrecipes

Would you believe that your guilty pleasure may be the same as a James Beard award-winning chef's, Food Network star's, or YouTube cooking sensation's? Despite their credentials and discerning palates, even celebrity cooks can't resist ice cream, fast food, and unscrupulous amounts of shredded cheese.

Homemade host Martie Duncan asked all 12 of our previous guests to dish on the foods (or music and movies) that sabotage their willpower. And we're spilling their answers on this special episode.

Get to know Homemade's guests through their biggest cravings and best takes on comfort food. Find out who hankers for Domino's Pizza, who praises instant potatoes, and who can't help but crunch on tortilla chips and dip. (Relatable, right?) Plus, you'll learn the secret to recreating McDonald's apple pie, why you should pour booze into pancake batter, and more. Download it for free at Apple Podcasts, Spotify and anywhere else you listen to podcasts beginning September 2nd.

Episode Transcript

MARTIE DUNCAN Welcome to Homemade from Allrecipes. I'm Martie Duncan. If you've been listening to this podcast for a while, you know that we've had some great guests on the show celebrity chefs, home cooks, YouTube stars, cookbook authors. And we've heard so many great stories about memories made in their kitchens and at the dinner table.

On this episode of Homemade, we're getting a little more personal with our guests. We asked all of them, what's that thing you crave? That thing that brings you so much joy every time you eat it? And I loved all the answers.

But I felt like I needed to confess my own guilty pleasure I go to Argentina a lot — over the 20-something years I have. And I had this transformative ice cream there. It was Freddo's dulce de leche. That was the best thing I've ever eaten in my whole life, and I think about it way too much. Well, Haagen-Dazs has a Dulce de Leche ice cream that is really very, very good. It's not Freddo's, but it's convenient.

So I have been known to keep a stash of spoons in the door of my car. I live way out in the country. I can't get to the grocery store that easily, thank goodness, or I'd probably eat far more ice cream than I should.

But, I do keep a stash of spoons in my door. And occasionally, on the way home, I'll stop by the Winn Dixie, pick up a pint of Dulce de Leche, and if I happen to get stopped by a train on the way home, well, it gives me something to pass the time when you're sitting for 20 minutes waiting for a train to go by.

So, yeah, that's my guilty pleasure. And it turns out, I'm not the only one with a sweet tooth. The Godmother of Soul herself, Ms. Patti LaBelle, has one too.

PATTI LABELLE OK, I'm going to say this, but I don't do it often.


PATTI The Starbucks lemon cake with that white icing.

MARTIE I love that, too. I love that!

PATTI I love lemon! And so every now and then, when they go to Starbucks, they might treat me to one slice. And I'll take a little piece, a little piece until I'm finished, like, in four days. But that's one of my weaknesses. I love that cake. And I used to love Haagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream. I don't do it anymore. I used to love it.

MARTIE I can't stop. If I start on the ice cream, man, I'll eat the whole thing.

PATTI But see how strong I am. I make sure they fill the freezer with it, and every night, the next morning I wake up, I say, "I didn't do the chocolate ice cream. I'm good to go." So I can have it around and I'm not tempted. So that's how good I am now.

MARTIE Is your lemon bundt cake sort of like a version of that Starbucks lemon?

PATTI It's like that, yes. It is.

MARTIE Tell me how you make yours. Do you put out a confectioner's sugar-type of glaze sort of like theirs or?

PATTI It's like the ingredients that you do for lemon cake with extra lemon zest. And I don't do icing on mine. I don't do icing. Just a plain bundt lemon cake.

MARTIE Well, just so you know, this podcast is produced by Allrecipes. You know, we're a community of 60 million home cooks.


MARTIE Sixty million home cooks. Yes, ma'am. And we just did a copycat version of the Starbucks lemon cake. You can find that online. And now you won't even...


MARTIE You won't even have to go to the Starbucks. You'll be able to make it at home.

PATTI I can just make it myself. Yes, I will.

DUFF GOLDMAN I loooove junk food.

MARTIE That's pastry chef Duff Goldman. He says he didn't eat a lot of it growing up, but his first job was at McDonald's, and so he definitely still has craving for it as an adult.

DUFF I tell you, my favorite burger, of like the classic kind of fast food chains, my favorite burger — I don't know. It's a toss up between the classic Burger King cheeseburger — because I really like the texture of those sesame seeds on that bun, and that bun gets a little steamy — or the Junior Bacon Cheeseburger at Wendy's is also really good.

MARTIE That's my favorite. If I'm gonna get one, I'm gonna get a Junior Bacon Cheeseburger at Wendy's. Yeah, I'm gonna go for that.

DUFF Yeah, it's a good one.

MARTIE I mean, if I'm in a hurry, that's what I'm gonna get. And I might get two of them because they are cheap.

DUFF They're 99 cents.

MARTIE You are a McDonald's alum, so...

DUFF Yeah, yeah.

MARTIE I saw on your website where you re-created your version of the McDonald's fried apple pies. Now they bake them...

DUFF Their pies, yeah.

MARTIE But back in the day they used to fry those things and they were delicious.

DUFF They were delicious, and they were hot for like six days.

MARTIE Right. You couldn't, you couldn't bite into it. You had to wait until you got home.

DUFF Yeah.

MARTIE Because it was so hot it would scald...

DUFF Like lava. Yeah, yeah.

MARTIE I don't know how they do that.

DUFF But it was the goo. The thing about that pie that I find so good is that goo. I tell you, when I get an apple pie that doesn't have goo in it, it's, I don't know. I mean, I get it. It's like a little more rustic with the slices of apples, but it's not — I like the goo. So when I make an apple pie, I get some really good unfiltered apple cider and add a bunch of sugar to it and thicken it with some cornstarch.

MARTIE Good idea.

DUFF And then I make a slurry with a little cider and cornstarch and thicken that goo. Thicken that cider up until it becomes a goo. Then I fry the apples. Then I toss those apples in the goo. One thing I love about this pie is that you can bake it really hot because the inside's done, right? You got a goo, and you got fried apples. They're done. It's cooked. And then you can bake it really hot. So you can make sure that heat gets through the pie pan, so the bottom of the pie gets nice and crispy. There's a method to my madness.

MARTIE It sounds, I was about to say, it sounds like you've got a method to your madness on pretty much every level. But, you know, I'm going to steal that trick. I do a lot of apple pies. Right now, peach pies. I'm going to steal that apple cider trick.

DUFF Yeah, it's really great 'cause it's like, you know, adds a lot of moisture to it. Kind of like you're making like a really cheap pastry cream, but, you know, no dairy. You just thicken it up. And then, once it's nice and thick, add a little butter to it, make sure it doesn't start to congeal. And then it makes a great pie. It makes a real good pie. I just made, um...

MARTIE I love this.

DUFF I made — a friend of mine just had a baby. And his wife said that she's really, really craving a home-baked cherry pie. And so I went to the store, got this giant jar of sour cherries that were in, like, the sour cherry juice.


DUFF And I drained the cherries. I kept the juice. And I did the same thing. I made the goo with the cherry juice.

MARTIE What a good idea.

DUFF You know of Lucky Leaf?

MARTIE Yes, of course.

DUFF Right? Lucky Leaf pie filling?

MARTIE Yes, of course.

DUFF I love that stuff. And I eat it right out of the jar. It's right out of the can. It's great. And so that's what I was going on for. I was going for that Lucky Leaf kind of cherry pie texture. The same thing you're putting on a cheesecake. That pie filling.


DUFF Gooey. And so that's what I wanted to make. Man, they crushed that pie.

MARTIE And Duff isn't the only guest who confessed a love for fast food. There's also James Beard award-winning barbeque pitmaster Rodney Scott and YouTube star Chef John. They both like their chicken joints.

RODNEY SCOTT Chick-fil-A. They know me.

MARTIE You gonna get the spicy sandwich? You get the number one? You get the nuggets? What are we going for?

RODNEY Chick-fil-A — it may be the number one. It may be the deluxe. It may be the mac and cheese with the nuggets. All depends on the day. I think I've almost went through their menu.

MARTIE I'm gonna tell ya. I remember when the very first Chick-fil-A came to Birmingham. And my mother worked at Sears. And we would make a pilgrimage to that Chick-fil-A every day. If she was at work, we were at that Chick-fil-A in line. It was revolutionary back then. There were no chicken sandwiches. It was so good.

RODNEY It's embarrassing. I would pull up at Chick-fil-A, and they would say, "Good afternoon, Mr. Scott. How are you today?"

MARTIE You got me beat. They don't know me that well.

RODNEY They know me. They know me.

MARTIE But they do struggle with my half-and-half lemonade-tea order. Because I'm gonna get the regular lemonade, but I want the unsweet tea. So, you get the half cut. And they're like, "You want unsweet tea and then full strength lemonade." Yes. That's the magic. That's it, right there. Yeah. I love me some Chick-fil-A. I have to go with you on that one.

RODNEY That's a guilty pleasure.

CHEF JOHN MITZEWICH When I hear guilty pleasure, like once in a while I'll sneak off for a Popeyes run. And I'll just gorge on Popeyes fried chicken.

MARTIE "Love that chicken from Popeyes." Me too.

CHEF JOHN Yes, way too much red beans and rice. I always joke when I go through fast food I have to wear a disguise. But, at home, one of my all-time at-home guilty pleasures is instant mashed potatoes.

MARTIE I like 'em. I do.

CHEF JOHN I do too.

MARTIE I don't know why, but I do.

CHEF JOHN And I'm not ashamed to say. So, I think that's one I pick that people are like, "Oh my God, you?" But you know, you're five minutes away from mashed potatoes. As long as you look at the ingredients, there's not a ton of crazy stuff, and it's basically potato starch and some salt. And it's not gonna kill ya. And I'll, once in a while...

MARTIE You know, there's a certain taste to them that is different than mashed potatoes. My mother never used them, but I had an aunt that would use them sometimes. And I would try to get my mom to do it, and she was like, "I'm not going to use those instant potatoes." But I always liked them.

CHEF JOHN You know, I think it might be, it reminds me of maybe high school cafeteria.

MARTIE For sure. For sure.

CHEF JOHN Or college dorm, college cafeteria. Or maybe you're really stressed and anxious. Maybe you're at a hospital cafeteria or in a strange place and you just stumble into some casual dining, and it's that flavor association. It's like, processed comfort food.

MARTIE My good bud Chef Guy Fieri talked about having a backup supply of instant grits in the pantry. But his obsession is the ultimate southern comfort food: stone-ground grits. But don't ask him about doctoring 'em up cream or cheese, like most of us do.

GUY FIERI Goodbye. I'm not talking to you. If you're going to talk about putting cheese and cream in your grits.

MARTIE OK! Just asking.

GUY I'm just kidding.

MARTIE Just butter then.

GUY I'm a purist. I'm a purist about my grits.


GUY Little bit of salt. Stir 'em. Make sure they get nice and creamy. You gotta stir 'em. You gotta work 'em. You got to break them down a little bit if you're really gonna get that creaminess about them. Grits. Salt. Ham steak. Bone-in. Cast iron pan. Cook the steak. Deglazed with black coffee.

MARTIE Red-eye gravy, y'all. If you don't know what that is...

GUY Red-eye gravy.

MARTIE Red-eye gravy.

GUY And that's it.

MARTIE That's the bomb.

GUY Don't mess with it.

AARTI SEQUEIRA We're so used to eating out. And it's been very odd for us as a family not to have that anymore. And so, we've been eating a little bit of fast food here and there because that's the only thing that's really open.

MARTIE And what does the spice queen Aarti Sequeira crave?

AARTI We got Domino's Pizza, and I got the thin crust, which to me is like a cracker — it's perfect — with pepperoni and pineapple. I'm sorry, Carl. It was a-maz-ing.

MARTIE Really?


MARTIE It sounds good. I've never had one, but — I've never had in my life had a Domino's pizza.

AARTI Really?

MARTIE Never. Not ever.

AARTI Now's the time, Martie.


AARTI Now's the time, Martie Duncan. I'm telling you, that thin crust pizza. They get it so thin. It is almost like a water cracker, like a saltine.

MARTIE I have learned to make a little dough like that. And I put it in my cast iron skillet with some oil.


MARTIE Get it good and hot. And then I stretch my pizza dough out. I put it in a cast iron skillet, kind of fries it a little bit.


MARTIE Flip it over, and then I start adding all my cheeses. Mozzarella and Parmesan or whatever. My tomato sauce. I'll add onion, whatever I want to put on it. And then I'd heat up the broiler and then stick it under the broiler...


MARTIE For a couple of minutes and, oooh, it is so delicious. I drizzle a little bit of olive oil around the edges of the crust. Then it kind of fries it.

AARTI Yeah. OK, I'll take that recipe.

MARTIE Then pile up a bunch of arugula on the top.


MARTIE And again, a little bit olive oil, salt, pepper, and Parmesan on the top of arugula. And I'm in heaven.

AARTI I love arugula on pizza.

MARTIE I love arugula on anything. I would eat it like grass. Like, graze like a horse. It's one of my favorite things.

MARTIE Coming up after the break: late-night snacking, a must-see movie, and a little bit of Tom Jones. I'm Martie Duncan, and this is Homemade.

EMMY CHO People ask me, like, all the time, like, "How do you stay small? Or, "How do you stay so thin when you're eating all this stuff?"

MARTIE I was wondering that myself.

EMMY I just — I let myself eat whatever I want. But I just don't eat all that much of it.

MARTIE That's Emmymade of Emmymade in Japan, a woman who will eat just about anything, including tarantulas.

EMMY Oh, popcorn. Hands down. We love popcorn. So, I like popcorn with the works, so I'll pop popcorn, and then I will put melted butter on it, and then put nutritional yeast on it, and then I put some...

MARTIE Wait, wait, wait. Back up. You put what?

EMMY Nutritional yeast. It's from my crunchy days.


EMMY It's this yellowy kind of flaky powdery stuff that gives this really great yummy flavor. But it doesn't any salt on it. Yet it's kind of cheesy. If you're vegan, then it has tons of B vitamins and it gives that kind of, sort of cheesy flavor. Sort of.

MARTIE Where do you find it?

EMMY You can find it at, you know, health food stores. You can find it at Whole Foods. You probably could find it at most supermarkets in maybe the more crunchy area. But I love it. So I used to sprinkle it on everything. But I really love it on popcorn. But you have to have some sort of fat for it to stick onto the...

MARTIE So like butter?

EMMY Butter. Yep. And the nutritional yeast and then salt. And sometimes I put a little bit of pepper. Love that. And then for movie night that's — we've been eating a lot of that. We've been having a lot of that for a snack here, around our house. And then guilty pleasure, I guess probably in the summertime, would be ice cream.

MARTIE Me too. Ooh, ice cream.

EMMY Mhm. We have creameries that open up for the season in the summer around New England. And so, after supper, I said, "Yeah, let's go get a cone." And so mint chocolate chip is usually my standby. But I love a good scoop of vanilla with hot fudge and peanuts. That's my other.

MARTIE That sounds amazing.

Emmymade and two of my other guests, Chefs Amanda Freitag and Aarón Sánchez, agree that if there's one thing they crave, it's a good snack.

AMANDA FREITAG Well, I have sweet and savory. My sweet guilty pleasure always involves chocolate, of any kind.

MARTIE Me too.

AMANDA Whether it's just a dark chocolate square or whether I go full on and make a dark chocolate lava cake that's hot in the center and eat it with ice cream. Chocolate chip cookies.

And then my savory guilty pleasure is usually a tortilla chip dipped in either salsa or guacamole. I have a crunch addiction. I love crunching, crunching, crunching, crunching. It is such a satisfying texture profile, and honestly, yes, if I have salsa, I'll dip it in. If I make a guac, I'll have it. If I have sour cream, I'll dip chips in that. I love that creamy yet crunchy dynamic.

MARTIE And a little salty.

AMANDA And salty. And I'll bop back and forth salty and sweet. So, I have to have both.

AARÓN SÁNCHEZ Oh, man. Well, you know what? I'm a typical chef. I'm a late-night eater. For a large portion of my career, I get out of work at 11:30 at night. So I have that bad habit of trying to snack late night and figure things out.

I'll tell you what I always have in my fridge. I always have cheese. I always have tortillas. And I have a salsa. So I can make me a quesadilla as quick as you can say lickety-split. So, I'm always about the quesadilla. It's one of my guilty pleasures. Oh, my God. I love mac and cheese. And I'd love you to make me mac and cheese. All right, Martie?

MARTIE I'm going to make you a great mac and cheese. It's gonna be the best one you ever had.

AARON I love that.

CARLA HALL I love television. Unapologetically, I will binge watch something. I love a movie. I love it.

MARTIE Some of my guests' guilty pleasures were not food. When Chef Carla Hall told me that TV is her jam, I had to know what her number one go-to movie is that she has to watch every single time it comes on.

CARLA Oh, Bourne Identity, like the Bourne series.

MARTIE Ooh, I love all those too. Those are fun. And then...

CARLA Matrix.

MARTIE Are you having a salty snack or a sweet snack?

CARLA Why say "or" where you can say "and"? Popcorn, M&M's, and lemonade.

MARTIE All right. All right.

CARLA But Peanut M&M's.

MARTIE Peanut M&M's. That sounds fabulous. Movie night at your house!

RACHAEL RAY I don't feel guilty about the stuff that makes me happy, but I guess other people would say, like, my guilty pleasures are, like, Tom Jones.

MARTIE That's Rachael Ray. If you know her, it's no surprise that she loves music. She's married to musician John Cusimano, who joined us for this interview. But her passion for music actually goes way back.

RACHAEL Tom Jones was my first crush. When I was a little girl, I hated wearing dresses.

MARTIE Me too.

RACHAEL The only thing I put on a dress on for was the Tom Jones Show because I thought Tom could see me.

MARTIE I love that. Oh, my God, I love Tom Jones. I've got his albums. One of my albums in my collection I bought — my very first album I bought was a Tom Jones album. "This Is Tom Jones."

RACHAEL Dude, I have that album.

MARTIE "Why, why, why, Delilah..."

RACHAEL The first song I learned every word to. I'm not even kidding. Do you know how inappropriate it is for, like, a five-year-old little girl to wander around singing the most misogynistic song in the history of music about how Delilah cheated on Tom. He stabbed her, and it was her fault. Why did she do it to him? That was the first song I learned all the words to. Not "Wheels on the Bus." "Delilah."

MARTIE "Delilah." I love it. That's awesome.

RACHAEL My grandpa would take — I call it the blueberry chair, but it was really your chair with blue roses on it. I called it the blueberry chair. And he turned his blueberry chair backwards, and he would watch me instead of Tom Jones because I would stand in the middle, put on my dress, dance with Tom, and try and sing along with him to whatever he was doing. And for my grandpa, I was the show for the Tom Jones show.

MARTIE OK, we've got one more guilty pleasure to share. And it comes from my good friend and "Food Network Star" teammate Chef Justin Warner.

JUSTIN I like food that rolls. So anything that's served on one of those convenience store rolling griddles. You know what I'm talking about?


JUSTIN You know, like the hotdog cooker, where the hotdog just rolls?

MARTIE Yes. Yes.

JUSTIN So, for some reason, as I toured the country, you know, and like getting gas for the RV, that's like a 75-gallon tank. Like, stopping for gas took so long. Depending on the pump, I could be there for breakfast and lunch.

Anyway, I became a connoisseur of these things. And so, in some parts of the country, they will put a tamale wrapped in a heatproof plastic on that thing, and the tamale will sit there and roll and roll and roll. They make tubular hamburgers now that sit there and roll and roll and roll. There's something to me about that.

MARTIE I'm not sure about the rolling hamburger.

JUSTIN There's something utterly wrong about it but something utterly right. It's uniform, and you can also eat it more easily with one hand.

But to cook stuff, guilty pleasure to cook? Man, I love using cheese, chef. I love store-bought, pre-shredded cheese. I love the way it melts. I love the way I can put it on anything. I love cheddar cheese from the bag. That's a big sin, I know.

MARTIE Not really. I think it's perfectly acceptable. Are you going to put it in something? On something?

JUSTIN Yeah. I mean, it can go anywhere. I love making a good hot sandwich using just, like, pre-shredded cheese and deli meat. I love creating tater tot abominations.

MARTIE That's what I'm after. Let's have that.

JUSTIN Yeah. Just anything like that. The other day I made — this is just diabolical. I was working in a test kitchen for Ninja, and I created this Buffalo chicken dip. But the chips were chicken skin. You know, like, I'm going to hell for that.

MARTIE No, bring that to my house right now. All right. So our Allrecipes community love pancakes. Like, anything we can do with a pancake. So, riff on a pancake.

JUSTIN So I love hangover pancakes. And so hangover pancakes, to me, are pancakes that have booze in them. And oftentimes you can take the components of a good cocktail, and you can turn it into the components of a good pancake.

One of my all-time favorite hacks is to reconstitute those concentrated juice drinks, like limeade or lemonade or cranberry juice — you know, that come frozen in a can? Reconstitute those to the same as the package instructions, instead of using water, use maple syrup. It's diabolical.

A famous recipe of mine is Mojito pancakes. So, I take a standard recipe, but I cut the milk in half and replace it with rum. I then make a compound butter of mint and lime zest and butter. And then I use that limeade in the maple syrup. And the great thing about using liquor in your pancakes is, well, one, liquor. But two, because alcohol evaporates at a lower temperature than water, it creates leavening more quickly to get a fluffy pancake.

MARTIE So, where we normally see like our pancake takes a bit to puff up and rise, you're saying that the alcohol will actually promote that leavening.

JUSTIN Insta-bubbles. And you'll find that the way that pancake browns, oddly enough, is lacier. The crust on the pancake, if you're into that sort of thing, it has this very glassy sort of shatter to it. Almost like a brulee. Yep, absolutely.

MARTIE I'm coming to your house. You're going to make me some boozy pancakes, and we're gonna solve the problems of the world.

MARTIE Whether it's boozy pancakes with Justin Warner; comfort food with Guy Fieri and Chef John; late-night snacking with Carla Hall, Aarón Sánchez, and Amanda Freitag; fast food with Duff Goldman, Rodney Scott, and Aarti Sequeira; ice cream with Emmymade and Patti LaBelle; or Rachael Ray's love of music and her first crush, Tom Jones — everyone has a guilty pleasure. And a story to tell.

If you haven't heard my guests' full interviews, please run to the playlist and check them out. There's just so much fun and a lot of practical culinary tips packed into every single episode.

Let us know what you think. Rate the podcast and leave us a review, if you get a chance. I'd really appreciate it.

And don't forget, you can find thousands of recipes, meal ideas, and cooking how-tos from the world's largest community of cooks at Allrecipes.com. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This podcast was recorded in Birmingham, edited in Atlanta, and can be found wherever you get your podcasts. Homemade is produced by Allrecipes with Executive Editor Jason Burnett. Thanks to our Pod People production team Rachael King, Eliza Lambert, Tanya Ott, and Maya Kroth.

Thanks for listening! I'm Martie Duncan, and this is Homemade.

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