JFK Documents, Military Space Corps, Low Sugar Desserts

Air Date:
Heard On Central Time

The government released a trove of previously classified documents on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. We’ll talk to a historian about their significance and America’s enduring fascination with JFK’s death. Our favorite desserts don’t need to be loaded with sugar to end up tasting delicious! We talk with a former White House pastry chef about his favorite recipes that dial back the sugar without sacrificing flavor. After a bipartisan vote to create a military space corps passed the U.S. House of Representatives, we discuss the importance of space security and why the Pentagon opposes the effort.

Featured in this Show

  • 54 Years Later, Americans Remain Fascinated With JFK's Assassination

    The government released formerly classified documents on John F. Kennedy’s assassination yesterday. We talk to a historian about the enduring fascination around JFK’s death and what impact releasing the documents could have.

  • Less Is Best: Former White House Chef Cuts Back Sugar In New Recipe Book

    When First Lady Michelle Obama called a meeting of the White House cooking staff, Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses thought his job was in trouble.

    “In fact, it was just the opposite,” he said. “… What came to be was a program to get people to think about food, the source of their food and eating in a healthier way. But it did not mean eliminating desserts or necessarily making them diet-type desserts.”

    Yosses talks with students in the White House vegetable garden in Oct. 2009. Yosses helped Mrs. Obama and the children harvest vegetables from the garden. Charles Dharapak/AP Photo

    The new plan’s objective was still great-tasting desserts, but in smaller portions, made with healthier ingredients.

    Yosses embraced it. He got creative.

    “It was really shocking to us as we tested the recipes, to see how little sugar was necessary to make it still taste like a dessert and delicious,” he said. “And the side benefit was that a lot of the other flavors came out more fully.”

    Yosses shares some of his favorite low-fat and low-sugar recipes in a new cookbook of dessert recipes, “The Sweet Spot: Dialing Back Sugar and Amping Up Flavor.”

    Yosses’ strategy is to treat sugar like salt — in very little amounts. Instead of just blindly adding sugar, Yosses says bakers should put in just enough sugar to bring the flavor out, without drowning it in sweetness.

    In some cases, he said, he was able to cut back sugar as much as 50 percent.

    However, creating healthier recipes came with some challenges. Other than providing sweetness, sugar gives texture and structure to desserts.

    Yosses had to find tasty alternatives, such as honey, agave and fruit puree.

    “Apple (puree) was kind of the most common one,” he said. “And we found that the pectin in the apples and the fiber in the apples, as well as the natural sugar, brought a lot of structure into the desert and made it hold up better.”

    In some recipes pulling back the sweetness made the recipe even better than the original.

    Yosses said he has never been a fan of lemon meringue pie. To him, it’s too sweet.

    So in his version of the recipe, which he calls Lemon Curd Pie, there’s just the right amount of tart and sweet balance, he said.

    “The lemon flavor comes out, you can taste the crust, and then the meringue has a delicious flavor without being chewy from all the sugar,” he said.

    Yosses adds berries to a nectarine foam dessert in this Feb. 2011 file photo. Sweetened tangerine juice, soy protein, berries. Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo

    Another technique Yosses used was “distractors” — spices, herbs, and non-traditional syrups to give interest and distract from the lack of sugar. Common “distractors” are pomegranate molasses, rosewater and Japanese syrups. Many can be found in traditional grocery stores, but Yosses provides alternatives in the recipes, too, just in case.

    Yosses said he made sure flavor, not the concept of health, was still king. That dessert still tasted like dessert.

    So while he will substitute in millet, rye or buckwheat flours, he only uses them in minor proportions, 10 to 20 percent, so the flavor isn’t overpowering.

    Regardless of political affiliation — Yossess has worked under both Democratic and Republican presidents — everyone he’s worked for have had a sweet tooth. Dessert can bring people together, he said

    “I served both George Bush and Barack Obama,” Yosses said. “And if they agree on one thing, it’s that they love peach pie.”

  • Food Friday: Former WH Pastry Chef Dials Back Sugar For Delicious Desserts

    Your favorite desserts don’t need copious amounts of sugar in order to be delicious! By focusing on unique and natural ingredients, and making some smart substitutions, you can dial back the sugar and really ramp up the flavor. of pies, cakes, cookies and more. On this edition of Food Friday, a former White House executive pastry chef shares some of his favorite recipes, and tips to make dessert a meal you don’t have to feel guilty about.

  • Could The U.S. Military Get A Space Corps?

    Congress is considering defense legislation that could entail the U.S. military developing a space corps. A reporter tells us what a uniformed service for outer space would entail, and why the effort has been controversial.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Haleema Shah Producer
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • Jonathan Pollack Guest
  • Bill Yosses Guest
  • Russell Berman Guest

Related Stories