Tasting History

November 9, 2022

Host Ken Magos and food and culture historian Dr. Libby O’Connell cook up history on NJ PBS


Drive By History: Eats second season premieres Wednesday, November 9 at 8 p.m. on NJ PBS. See all the ways to watch; livestream at MyNJPBS.org/live.

What do the Suffrage Movement, Thomas Jefferson and The Great Gatsby all have in common? Delicious recipes, of course.

That’s what host and executive producer Ken Magos discovers as he cooks up the second season of Drive By History: Eats, a companion series to Drive By History, the popular show that first premiered on NJ PBS in 2015.  The spin-off revisits past Drive By History investigations, but this time with a focus on food,” digging in” to historic recipes that uncover New Jersey’s culinary past – or “eats.”

“On Drive By History, we’ve delved into the various story angles behind the history markers — the people, the events, the locations,” says Magos. “Now we focus specifically on the food, which so often plays a major role in these narratives.”

Many of these historical recipes, rediscovered and interpreted by food and culture historian Dr. Libby O’Connell and recreated on camera by local chefs, were nearly lost to history, but still deliver unexpected flavor profiles and food combinations that appeal to the modern palate.

According to O’Connell, “This research is so important because these dishes provide a unique window into the past, revealing not only how our ancestors ate, but also when new ingredients entered our culinary lexicon.”

Drive By History: Eats Season 2 Programs

The second season of Drive By History: Eats airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on NJ PBS through December 28. See the schedule, including encores.

Cranberries: America’s Founding Fruit
Wednesday, November 9 at 8 p.m. on NJ PBS

In the season opener, host Ken Magos investigates the culinary heritage of the cranberry, and with the help of food and culture historian Libby O’Connell, PhD, recreates a popular Colonial cranberry dessert and vegetarian pemmican, a cranberry energy bar based on food eaten by Native Americans. Watch a trailer.

Recipes from Colonial Winter
Wednesday, November 23 at 8 p.m. on NJ PBS

Ken discovers that winters in Colonial America were often spent with family and friends enjoying good food. With Libby’s help, he recreates recipes from over two centuries ago that are still delicious today.


The Suffrage Cookbooks
Wednesday, November 30 at 8 p.m. on NJ PBS

Discover the Suffrage Cookbooks, first published in the 1880s.  Ken and Libby recreate a few of the recipes intended to advance women’s rights. Plus, a look at one of the few surviving recipes from Susan B Anthony.

19th Century Christmas Delights
Wednesday, December 7 at 8 p.m. on NJ PBS

Investigate the different culinary Christmas traditions that came together in the 19th century. Ken and Libby recreate authentic treats that might have been on the table at the famed Ballantine family’s holiday open house in 1890’s Newark.

Ice Box Cuisine
Wednesday, December 14 at 8 p.m. on NJ PBS

Ken discovers delicious recipes that were developed specifically for the ice box. A special treat: Thomas Jefferson’s recipe for the most decadent ice cream, ever.

Scallops in champagne sauce

Imagining Gatsby’s Table
Wednesday, December 21 at 8 p.m. on NJ PBS

Ken returns to the pages of “The Great Gatsby,” focusing on food, and with Libby’s help imagines what else might have been on the buffet table, recreating authentic fare served at the era’s fantastic parties.

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