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Jessie Sheehan in the kitchen standing in front of pans on a wall
Credit: Courtesy of Jessie Sheehan

Homemade celebrates the stories behind recipes, and this episode features those at the heart of Allrecipes, stories from home cooks. Host Martie Duncan chats with six of the Allrecipes Allstars, a group of home cooks who serve as our brand ambassadors and most active recipe creators, photo submitters, and reviewers.Tune in to hear their favorite food traditions, old and new. The conversation covers nostalgic food memories, from preparing collard greens for Sundays to tasting a future mother-in-law's cheesecake for the first time. One Allstar talks about recreating her grandmother's signature cake with boxed mix. Another shares how a friend's "crazy-weird" dessert became her own family's holiday favorite. More recent stories pepper the episode, too, like sipping backyard martinis for 72 days, frying avocados in Mexico, and publishing a cookbook of vintage recipe booklets. Download it for free at Apple PodcastsSpotify, and anywhere else you listen to podcasts beginning December 16.

About the Allrecipes Allstars

The Allstars are a group of Allrecipes superusers. These dedicated home cooks submit countless recipes, reviews, and recipe photos to Allrecipes, and share their enthusiasm for the brand with their family, friends, and followers. Recipes from the Allstars often appear on the pages of Allrecipes Magazine and in videos on-site, YouTube, and social media. Their reviews and photo submissions fill articles and recipe galleries, as well. Learn more about the Allstars program here.

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Episode Transcript

MARTIE DUNCAN: Welcome to Homemade, I'm Martie Duncan. We've been talking to a lot of celebrity chefs, but at its core, this show is about cooking at home, for the people we love.  I'm a home cook. I never went to culinary school, and I never worked in a restaurant.

The heart of Allrecipes is home cooks and people who are passionate about sharing great food and the stories and techniques behind the dishes they love. And on today's show, we're featuring some of our favorite home cooks, the Allrecipes Allstars.

This is a select group of community members who love to regularly cook, rate and review recipes, post photos, and give cooking advice. They're not only our brand ambassadors, but they've created some of our most popular and highest-rated recipes. And today, we're talking with them about their favorite recipes and kitchen memories.

Take Jessie Sheehan. She used to be an attorney, but now she's a baker. She's developed and tested recipes for several cookbooks including Deb Perleman's Smitten Kitchen Everyday and Snoop Dogg's From Crook to Cook. And she's written two cookbooks herself. Welcome to Homemade, Jessie!

JESSIE SHEEHAN: Thank you so much for having me! I'm so excited to be here with you and with Allstar recipe peeps and the whole thing.

MARTIE: Well, our Allrecipes Allstars are like rockstar royalty to our Allrecipes community. And it really is a community.

JESSIE: A hundred percent. What I love is recipes that come from peoples' families, that people have been making forever, that maybe they've twisted and tweaked over time to make it their own or to modernize it in some way. And I feel like this community very much speaks my language in terms of that and in terms of the things they like to make and the origins of the recipes that they like to use.

MARTIE: I know that’s something important to you, because your book, The Vintage Baker, is all about that: the stories, the traditions. This show was based on that premise. We wanted to have a show where we could talk about family recipes and favorite recipes and the stories behind those, how they came to be. Tell me a little bit about your book, The Vintage Baker.

JESSIE: I collect these vintage recipe booklets were these amazingly smart advertising tools, maybe between like, at least in my book from like the end of the 19th century through maybe the mid-20th century. And they were these little booklets filled with recipes that you would purchase or be given for free when you bought a box of sugar, a bag of flour, a new refrigerator.

And the idea was to encourage the housewife. And I'm going to say housewife, because back in the day that's exactly what it was. I don't think there were they were imagining a male audience. They were imagining a female audience. And these little booklets were to encourage that person, that housewife, to use Domino's sugar, to use Frigidaire refrigerator. And they had bought the product or they had bought the appliance, and now they had recipes that they could use that called for that ingredient and that called for that appliance. So it was a wonderful way to not only get people to buy your product but to keep buying it.

And the recipes I love because they were super simple, super homey. You know, back in the day, there weren't a million different complicated ingredients, for better or for worse. And so it was very much, like, pantry friendly recipes, which I still love a pantry-friendly recipe. They were short and easy to follow instructions, which I also love. And they were foolproof, because they've been tested in the test kitchens of Domino's sugar or Frigidaire, etc., etc. Plus, like and this is why I thought they would make a wonderful book, they have the most whimsical covers and the most amazing drawings throughout them. And they're just so fun to kind of have in your hands. The whole package of them completely spoke to me. 

MARTIE: Jessie, I gotta tell you, I am the foster home for those kinds of things. For some reason, people want to give me their vintage cookbooks like those and also the little spiral bound church lady cookbooks. 

JESSIE: Yes, love those. 

MARTIE: I have hundreds! Because people want me to adopt their mom's or their grandmama's books. They don't want to get rid of them, but they don't want them. So they want to give them to a good home. And I don't even know what I'm going to do with all these things. I have so many! 

JESSIE: I love that. 

MARTIE: They're precious. And like you said, they're full of interesting recipes and even techniques and things. You know, back in the day — don't you think this is interesting? Like, if you were going to make let's just say, a macaroni and cheese. Right? The recipe would say, "Make a white sauce." Maybe it would say, "Make a béchamel." It would never give you the step by step for those basic things. Like, make whipped cream. You wouldn't see the how-to to make whipped cream. But today, you have to have all of those details because people don't know instinctively how to make a béchamel or a whipped cream.

JESSIE: It is so true. Some of my favorite recipes — I think it's like a cornstarch booklet of mine, and it's a recipe in my book for a blackberry lime pie. And it's of course, I added the lime. It was just a blackberry pie originally, but the recipe was literally, "Make a pie crust."

MARTIE: Right.

JESSIE: "Put fruit in your pie crust, add some sugar, put it...." This is what I love the most. "Put it in a warm oven."

MARTIE: Right.

JESSIE: What the is a warm oven?

MARTIE: Yeah, but they knew that. They knew that.

JESSIE: They did. 

MARTIE: Yeah. And there'd be like three steps for every recipe. It wouldn't be like several pages...

JESSIE: Oh, my gosh, no.

MARTIE Of instruction and a whole page of ingredients. 

JESSIE: I think I was born in the wrong era. I'm the person who — like, even though I have a million cookbooks and I love collecting them and I love them and I want to support my friends and my peers when a new book comes out — if the recipe goes on to the second or third page, I have to skip it. I'm always dog-earring literally like the hot fudge sauce recipe in the back of the book because I'm always attracted to the really simple ones.

MARTIE: I know this lemon velvet sheet cake that you have on the Allrecipes site is one of your favorites.         

JESSIE: It is.

MARTIE: And it's got a funny story.

JESSIE: So the funny thing about me, just a little back story, is that I did not grow up baking. I didn't have a mom whose apron strings I was holding on to from one year old or climbing on a stool to whisk something with her. I didn't really come from a baking family. But I did — my father's mom, my paternal grandmother, did like to bake. However, I wasn't interested in kind of learning from her.

So when we went to visit her, I was extremely excited for her. She made these miniature Tollhouse cookies that I loved and she made chocolate cakes that I loved. And she made challah bread, which was delicious. But what I really loved was her lemon velvet sheet cake.

And that was kind of a departure for me, because I'm not really a lemon person. I'm very much a chocolate person. But loved this cake, it had this delicious kind of glaze that shattered when you bit into it, because it hardens like that. It was just to die.

And many years later, after my grandmother passed and I began to be interested in baking, I thought, "Oh, I want to see her old recipes." So I contacted my cousin, who was older than me and who had always loved baking, so she had all my grandmother's recipes. And I said, "Rachel, you got to send me the lemon velvet cheesecake recipe. I'm dying to make it. It's going to be so fun. I have this brand new blog. Can't wait to put it up there." You know, "Please help." She sent me the recipe. And the first ingredient is a box of lemon velvet cake mix, which is either Betty Crocker, Duncan Heinz. I don't know which one. And it was such an amazing aha moment, I have to tell you, because I love boxed cake mix.

MARTIE: Right. 

JESSIE: I always have. I always will. On my birthday, I have my sons make me, like, a Betty Crocker or Duncan-Heinz chocolate cake with frosting from a can.

MARTIE: Well, I don't think there's any shame in that. So, you have since perfected a different version of your grandma's lemon velvet sheet cake, and you shared that with us for one of your recipes on Allrecipes.

JESSIE: A hundred percent. Because, even though I do love a boxed cake mix, I kind of also appreciated the challenge of taking this recipe of my grandmother's that called for one and trying to replicate it. And I joke — but really I'm being serious — my goal in every cake I develop is to try to make it taste like a boxed cake, because that's the flavor I love.

MARTIE: That was Allstar Jessie Sheehan. You can find the 2.0 version of her grandmother’s cake recipe by searching Allrecipes for "lemon velvet sheet cake." Also, go to her website at JessieSheehanBakes.com. She's got tons of recipes—cakes, cookies, pies—and beautiful photography also.

Next up, Allstar Angela Sackett from New Jersey also enjoys baking, and she's got a hot new take on a century old classic: the Dutch Baby. Everybody loves that. This one's a Paleo version, so all you gluten-free folks, listen up. You are going to want to try this.

So, I looked up your ingredient list really quick. It's got butter, eight eggs, coconut milk, arrowroot powder. I've never even tried to use arrowroot powder. Can you tell me what that is?

ANGELA SACKETT: Yeah. OK. This is very interesting. They say that arrowroot powder got its name from Native Americans who actually used it to treat wounds. Now, I don't know if that's a true fact, but that is — you will find that if you look up the history of arrowroot. But it has the texture of like cornstarch. It's really quite silky and powdery. It's used a lot in grain free baking, because when you mix it with a heavier—like a nut flour, almond flour, cashew flour— it brings that lightness to it.

MARTIE: OK. And you use chestnut flour in this recipe?

ANGELA: Yes. I did because I had it, and it was fun and funky. But you can use almond flour. You name it. What you got. Yep.

MARTIE: Does it rise? Would the arrowroot be the thing that gives it the leavening?

ANGELA: I think it's eggs, more than anything.

MARTIE: OK. And then lemon extract, stevia, and sea salt. And now I'm assuming this recipe is posted on our Allrecipes website.

ANGELA: It is, yes! And it's got some good reviews on it, too, thankfully. I think the title might be Grain Free Dutch Baby.

MARTIE: OK. So y'all look for that. That sounds really good. And especially if you're paleo or have some dietary restrictions, this might be just the thing you need to get that Dutch baby back in your menu, in your rotation.

ANGELA: And listen, girl, you would like it even if you're not paleo, I promise.

MARTIE: I'm going to try it. I'm always open to trying new things.

MARTIE: I heard you say you have a blog and it's dedicated to gathering. Tell me the name of the blog again.

ANGELA: It is Everyday Welcome and I write about food and faith and living a welcoming life.

MARTIE: Angela goes by the screen name "Super Hot Mama" on Allrecipes, and her grain-free Dutch baby is just one of many sweet offerings from the Allstars.

Howard Wulforst of Nevada shared some tips about a sweet treat he makes that's got a very special backstory that began decades ago.

HOWARD WULFORST: It's a tough story, right? Because, when you realize what I had to go through to get a piece of that cheesecake, it's kind of funny. So, I met my lovely wife Jeanie in high school in 1980. We were seniors, and we were in an advanced biology lab class. And I sat down and I turned to one of my friends. I said, "Who is that girl over there?" I was relatively new to the school. And he told me. And I said, "Oh, I like her." And the next day, these are lab tables with about four seats around them. I came back to sit where I had been sitting the day before, and there was a young lady there and she pointed over to the table where she had been sitting the day before. And my seat was now over with Jeanie. So that's how it all started. And it was, for me, love at first sight. It took her a little bit longer to get used to me.

But she did bring me home. And I met her father for the first time, which — she really wasn't excited to introduce me to him. And he was a, you know, a real blue-collar truck driver, construction worker, and had a presence. And I just felt like it was a fight every time with him. He really didn't want me around. And every day I did have the opportunity to meet him, he would make sure I knew that I should move along.

MARTIE: Like any daddy would with a sweet daughter. Yeah, trying to protect his daughter.

HOWARD: That's right. It was his only girl. But as I had said, you know, he was this Archie Bunker kind of guy, and I was definitely Meathead. The things he would say just were astounding. And I was invited to Thanksgiving. And again, it's a very quiet family, much different from the world that I come from. I come from a very large Irish family. And they're very reserved and conservative and quiet and they don't show a lot of emotion, outwardly. And I went to Thanksgiving and sat at the table and Jeanie's brothers were there and, of course, her mom and dad. And, you know, we have a great meal.

And anyway, towards the end of the meal, Jeanie's mom goes into the kitchen and comes out with a cheesecake. And up until that time, I really believed that cheesecake, you could only have one at a restaurant. I'd seen apple pies and pumpkin pies and inhaled them all as a 17 year old would. But she comes out of the kitchen with this beautiful cheesecake. It was really something that was a big surprise for me. We had this family that was conservative, reserved, and here was this beautiful, creamy cheesecake being laid on the table. But it was it was really a big contrast for me to see that cheesecake. And it's something that we proudly make every year.

MARTIE: It stuck with you a long time. And now the recipe is being passed down through the generations. Do you know where it originated? Where she got it?

HOWARD: No, I don't. And I asked, you know, we've talked about this a few times. Jeannie, my wife, is a tremendous baker. She bakes all the time. In fact, the first two years we were married, I ate cake for dinner. That's what she she did. When I asked her about the cheesecake specifically, she said she doesn't have early memories of it. She just knew it was a part of their life all the time. We do have the original recipe card, and and she's had to adjust it over over time as she's made it.

But the one thing I did come away from is probably about 15 years ago, she made the cheesecake and it had cracks in the top of it. And I really had never thought about that at all because I had always had the candied cherries on top. And she said, "Never worry about the cracks. That's what the cherries or the blueberries are for on top."

And so recently we had made the recipe and of course, you know, I had, you know, crevices in it like the Grand Canyon. Did a little bit of research. And I have a friend who is a pastry chef, CIA-trained up in New York. And, you know, one of the tips she gave me is to turn a plate upside down on top of the cheesecake. And that's supposed to help self-heal the cheesecake.

MARTIE: Huh. You mean after it comes out of the oven?

HOWARD: Yeah, if it starts to develop the cracks outside the oven. Because what I understand is the cracks start to happen when the cake is cooling down. And then, of course, Chef John, he had a nice tip, which is essentially turn the oven off when the cheesecake is ready and don't take it out for about two hours, and it will cool down in the oven and not have the cracks.

MARTIE: What a great tip from our Allstar Howard Wulforst. I am definitely going to try that next time I make one at home.

Coming up after the break, we head to the heartland for tips on making somethings that, as a Southerner, I've been making since I was a little girl.

I'm Martie Duncan, and this is Homemade. Today we're talking to some of the Allrecipes Allstars. They're the brand ambassadors and mentors in our community of 60 million home cooks.

Shelia Johnson, who goes by Cooking With Sheila on Allrecipes, is from Kansas City, Missouri. But her cooking roots are somewhere else.

SHELIA JOHNSON: So my mother, a Southern girl from northern Louisiana. Every Sunday, I mean, for as long as I could remember, collard greens were always on Sunday's menu. So that meant preparation on Saturday. Cleaning them, picking them. And my mother was really picky about her collards. And so she wouldn't let me just cut off the excess stem. No, I have to take the leaf away from the stem.

MARTIE: I know. Yeah, same thing, girl, the same thing. But I did learn a little bit of a method now, somebody taught me this, where I stack them...

SHELIA: Yes!

MARTIE: And then I cut the vein out of a bunch of them all at one time. Where was that back in the '70s, huh?

SHELIA: I know, right?

MARTIE: I'd have a lot less time in the kitchen cleaning those collard greens. My momma used to take hers and put them in a lingerie bag and wash them in the washing machine.

SHELIA: Really?

MARTIE: Yes.

SHELIA: I love it! Yeah.

MARTIE: On the gentle cycle.

SHELIA: I've never heard of that way. But, you know, my granddad was a farmer, had a small farm here in Kansas. And so we got our collard greens from my granddad's farm. And so, the sand, the grit, and so the washing them, the cleaning them, cutting them, you know, the right size and that sort of thing. But my mother transitioned in 2013. So, when I miss her the most, I go to the market and I pick the best bunches of collards like the ones that she would have picked, and I come home and I turn on some of her favorite music, and I invite her spirit in, and I cook them collard greens and some hot water cornbread. And yesterday we had roasted chicken to go with it. So.

MARTIE: Girl, I am coming to your house.

SHELIA: Come on! Yes, I love feeding people. So, come on.

MARTIE: Now, I will tell you, I hear a lot of people think they don't like collard greens, but I tell them all the time, "It's only cause you didn't cook them right." If you cook collard greens right, you're gonna love them. So you make hot water cornbread. Now, I've never made it. Tell me about that.

SHELIA: So, hot water cornbread is so simple, and I'm actually not that great at it because my mother didn't measure anything. It's just plain old self-rising, white cornmeal. You boil water, you slowly pour the water in there, but the consistency of it is what makes the difference. OK? And so you get a, like, little bowl that has cold water in it so that when you pick up a spoon of the cornmeal mixture, you make sure that your hands have been wet with the cold water. And you pat that cornmeal mixture and then you drop it in hot grease in a cast iron skillet.

MARTIE: I know exactly — so, we call those Jonnycakes.

SHELIA: Yes! OK, same thing.

MARTIE: Fry them up in a little bit all in the cast iron skillet and get the edges all crispy and just put a little bit of butter on those and dip your collard greens.

SHELIA: Yes! Oh, my God. And that pot liquor from them collard greens. Oh, my goodness.

MARTIE: Yes! Hey, you know, I had Carla Hall on this podcast a little while back, and she taught me something. I didn't think I could learn anything about turnips or collards. And Carla taught me two things, really. First thing is they freeze. I never knew it, but they do. So when you make them, make a lot and you can freeze them.

SHELIA: OK.

MARTIE: I never knew that.

SHELIA: OK.

MARTIE: Second thing is, she doesn't do it like we've always done it where the pot liquor is the residual effect of the cooking.

SHELIA: Mhm.

MARTIE: She seasons all the liquid first and makes sure she has the seasoning just like she likes it, then she adds in the collards and cooks them.

SHELIA: That is exactly how my mother would do. So, my mother would take white onions, garlic, bell peppers, and she would sauté them in a cast iron skillet first. Now she's got her water on the side where she's put — now, my mother used like fat back, ham hocks and stuff like that, OK?

MARTIE: Right, right.

SHELIA: And she would have that boiling and getting ready. So then she would take the sautéd onions and bell peppers that she seasoned and she would dump those over into the water once the ham hocks were done to a certain point. Then she would add the collard greens. Then it was very little adjusting after that because she's seasoned those peppers and onions exactly the way she wanted them to taste.

MARTIE: One of Shelia’s most requested recipes on Allrecipes is something I had never heard of before. It’s called yassa. It's a West African dish.

SHELIA: You can make yassa with either fish or chicken. I tell everybody it's an onion lover, lemon pepper lover's dish. And so you will slice up, like — and not really slice, but kind of. How do you call it when you've got an onion and you want them to be... They're not sliced, They're a little bigger...

MARTIE: Yeah, like big chunks.

SHELIA: So you use this marinade that has spicy brown mustard in it. You put fresh squeezed lemon in it and all these spices. And so, like, I use red pepper, African yellow pepper, white pepper, a little bit of salt. And then I make my own, like, lemon pepper seasoning. And I use that in there as well. So you take that and you put these onions, this onion mixture, and you let it like marinate in it, make a foil pan. You do the same thing with the chicken. You season the chicken the same way, or the fish, and you grill it.

MARTIE: OK, so you do your marinade and you let it stay in there for a certain amount of time.

SHELIA: Thirty minutes. An hour. I have done it overnight, but I can't say that it tastes any different. And then you take half of the onion mixture and you make a little foil pack, and you just dump that on the charcoal grill, too. And then you cook your chicken or your fish on the charcoal grill. And when it's done, you bring it and you put it in a pan. Now you've got some onions left that you didn't put on the grill. And you put them all in the pan, put them in the oven for about 15, 20 minutes. And you serve it over white rice.

MARTIE: Oh, it sounds good!

Carol Castellucci Miller lives in Dover, Ohio, about an hour and half south of Cleveland. But she loves to travel. And when she does, she picks up new recipes and shares some of her favorites.

CAROL CASTELLUCCI MILLER: One of my favorite recipes right now is sauteed avocados. Everywhere I go — especially, that has a lot about avocados, like I've done it in Ecuador and Mexico, all over like South America when we travel — I will share this recipe. And the people there look at me like I'm crazy.

MARTIE: Right, like I am right now. Like, sautéd avocados?

CAROL: Oh, so you've never had it either? OK.

MARTIE: No. No.

CAROL: So, we had — like, when we were in Mexico —- we had this family of women who would come cook for us, at least one meal a day that were provided by our hosts. It was a business trip. And they would do breakfast and sometimes a dinner or whatever, and very authentic food.

So the last morning there, I said — you know, we couldn't speak. They didn't speak English. I didn't speak Spanish. But, you know, I just asked for avocados and said that I wanted to cook for them, you know, something for them, too, to taste. And so I sliced the avocados, you know, just put it in a hot pan with a little bit of butter. And they're looking at me like, this woman is crazy. What is she doing?

So I get them cooked up and they brown on both sides just like a potato. And then you take them out, you salt them, just like a potato, and I handed them one and they tasted it. And the look on their face — because I know they thought I was crazy all along until they tasted it. And to see that look on their face like, "Oh, my word. This is amazing." And I would, you know, and they were shocked.

MARTIE: That is a great story. And I imagine that most people have that response, like, "Oh wow! This is wonderful." Yeah, I got to try it!

CAROL: Ready to try it?

MARTIE: I never really thought about sautéing them. That sounds wonderful. And do they need to be under-ripe or overripe or just ripe? How do they work best?

CAROL: You know, you can do it regardless of how it is. You can actually get away with it on, you know, the hard ones. They're not my favorite. But they'll work. Just so they're not too mushy. You know, you have quite a range. It's pretty forgiving.

MARTIE: OK, so now we’re going to mix it up a little bit. Because one of our Allstars is known for her mixology. It's also pretty fitting that Lisa Lynn Backus lives right outside Las Vegas because she likes to put on a good show.

LISA LYNN BACKUS: During this quarantine, I did 72 days of backyard martinis.

Martie: What! I want to know more about that. Seventy-two straight days of backyard martinis? Do y'all do gin martinis or do you do like flavored martinis or vodka martinis? Tell me a little bit about what a "quarantini" martini would look like or tastes like.

LISA: So like you, Martie, it's all about the party. Right? And it's all about celebrating everybody. So we just start it off with the basics. So gin is our favorite.

MARTIE: Mine too.

LISA: Nothing like gin. Yeah.

MARTIE: Especially in the summertime.

LISA: Summer, winter, any day that ends in Y is good. So we did that and we started out with some simple things. But summer has such great fruits, so I started experimenting with a cantaloupe martini, watermelon martini, strawberry. And my big thing was I went and bought all these picks from all over. And I would just do these great picks.

One time I did the pajama martini, which was just gin and pink lemonade. And I put a mini corndog and tater tots on the pick. Right. And I'm like, I didn't want to get out of my pajamas that day. It was quarantine. I was tired. I didn't know what's going on with the world. I just stayed with the pajamas and had martinis.

MARTIE: I think that sounds like a smart plan. Everybody needs a little mental health break, you know, a little day off. Pajama party. I think that sounds amazing. I have my own martini because, you know, Martie. So I have my Martie-ni that I make that I really love with limoncello and Pama liquor and vodka in that one. Delicious.

LISA: Sometimes I do the 50-50 with gin and vodka. Do you do that?

MARTIE: I don't even know that! So you're gonna have to tell me.

LISA: I'm like you. I don't tend to measure so much. I'm just like here's the ingredient. Make enough for two, because all the martini recipes are for one. Now how crazy is that? So you just put half the gin you would normally and half vodka and then whatever else you want.

MARTIE: So either vermouth or whatever else you're using in your martini.

LISA: Yeah, and I found out it wasn't a huge vermouth fan, and I substituted with whiskey or champagne. And then whatever celebration of the day was — I remember it was sometime I think in June is King Kamehameha Day. So then I did a little bit of like gin and a little bit of a mai tai flavored thing and some pineapple skewers. And that's how I celebrated Kamehameha Day. And somebody's birthday and I just named a martini after them.

MARTIE: I think that sounds awesome. And if you ever see that "Andy Griffith" episode where they had the two sisters that made the moonshine and they were only selling it for celebrations and holidays, but they had like, you know, Wash Your Laundry Day...

LISA: Love it!

MARTIE: And things like that were the holidays. And so, yeah, they ended up getting busted on those not so actual holidays. But these days, I think we need a reason to celebrate as much as possible.

We've got more holidays around the corner, and I asked the Allstars what's the one thing that must be on their holiday dinner table. Here are some of their answers.

HOWARD: Christmas for me is the roast, and something that is new that we've made the past two years is the Tartiflette by Chef John. It is beautiful and it presents really well.

MARTIE: Tell us about it.

HOWARD: Sure. It's really potatoes in a pie type dish, and they're sliced very thin, and you're adding Brie on top on top.

MARTIE: Ooh, fancy.

HOWARD: It is very fancy.

MARTIE: It sounds beautiful with a roast, too.

HOWARD: It's really nice. For me, it's like a Christmas Eve kind of thing too. If you're having a late Christmas Eve. It's a nice, I don't want to say snack, because it's a little better than a snack. But it's a nice little meal that everybody can get a piece of, they really enjoy and you can bring it out. And it looks very fancy, as you say.

MARTIE: Is it complicated to make? Does it take long?

HOWARD: No, it's very easy. It's just slicing the potatoes and getting the right combination of cheese, but mostly Brie would work.

MARTIE: Then Howard surprised me with another dish that has to be on this table.

HOWARD: Turnips, believe it or not.

MARTIE: Oh, really?

HOWARD: Yeah. So we have a saying, “Turnips once a year, like them or not.”

MARTIE: Well, we have ours for New Years, so, you know, good luck where I come from. You gotta have greens and pork and black eyed peas to start the year off and on the right foot. But so. So turnips is part of your Thanksgiving or your Christmas?

HOWARD: It's both because I love turnips. I'd like to do a savory version. I'm not the marshmallow person. Right. That's...

MARTIE: People put marshmallows on turnips?

HOWARD: I've heard that.

MARTIE: No!

CAROL: My mom still does the Christmas Eve cooking. And it won't be the holidays unless we have homemade spaghetti. I tried to change it to homemade raviolis because I think they're better than homemade spaghetti. And there was a revolt from all of the grandchildren that we switched from ravioli to spaghetti. So, spaghetti and meatballs is one of the main staples.

MARTIE: And it's so wonderful you still had your mom there to do that cooking. You know, my mother did most of the holiday cooking. I always loved waking up on Thanksgiving morning even as an adult when I would travel home. I'd wake up at my parents' house and smell those onions and celery cooking on the stove for the dressing. And it just stirs so many memories.

ANGELA: Ohh, hm. It would be between Gramma's seven-cheese macaroni and — you are going to laugh your head off 'cause I say I'm a paleo, you ready? The Pink Stuff. Do you know what the Pink Stuff is?

MARTIE: Oh! I'm from Alabama, of course, I know what the Pink Stuff is. But let's tell everybody else!

ANGELA: This crazy-weird combination of Jell-O and Cool Whip.  It can't even be real whipped cream, which just hurts my culinary soul. But you know, it's Jell-O, maraschino cherries, cool whip. And... What else is in there? Crushed pineapple out of the can. And it hurts me a little bit to stir it up. And we got the recipe from my friend. It wasn't even something that I grew up, but my kids — you can't. You gotta have it.

MARTIE: Listen, we all have those dishes. And the Pink Stuff is very popular here where I am. I love that. That is the best answer I've heard yet.

On today's show we heard from Jessie Sheehan, Angela Sackett, Harold Wulforst, Shelia Johnson, Lisa Lynn Backus, and Carol Castellucci Miller. Each of them is an Allrecipes Allstar. If you're interested in learning more about the Allstar program or becoming an Allstar yourself, just visit Allrecipes.com/allstars.

On next week’s show, we’re getting tips for great holiday meals from some of our favorite guests this season of Homemade.

INA GARTEN: It's luxurious, so it's good for the holidays, but I think, like a roast filet of beef is the easiest meal in the world to make. And you can make all different kinds of sauces.

MARCUS SAMUELSSON: Mix it, butter, maple syrup, maybe even some soy to get that perfect color on it. And that's your last 15 to 20 minutes, and that's how you get it crispy.

DORIE GREENSPAN: I love dough. I love pie dough, tart dough. But with the galette, you just roll the dough out any which way. It's nice that it has ragged edges.

DAN PASHMAN: It's really pretty straightforward. It's just like — you're basically like making a cake, but instead of flour, you put in liquor. And then you drink the cake.

We'll talk with Ina Garten, Dan Pashman, Alex Guarnaschelli, Dorie Greenspan, and more. Subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss 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.