The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) will bring together popular personalities Phyllis Speer and John Philpot, cohosts of "Arkansas Outdoors" and "Cooking on the Wild Side," for "Cooking on the Wild Side: A Phyllis & John Reunion" at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. The special will repeat at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, and at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15.
"Cooking on the Wild Side: A Phyllis & John Reunion" features perennial viewer favorites Phyllis Speer and John Philpot for their first new program in more than four years. During her more than 20 years with the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission – and even into her retirement – Phyllis has travelled across Arkansas and the nation to cook tried and true game dishes for outdoor enthusiasts. John Philpot, a longtime regular on Arkansas radio and television programs, continues his service as "official taste-tester" and offers colorful colloquial commentary. The special reunion program is dedicated to the memory of "Arkansas Outdoors" producer Jim Holmes.
"It has been so much fun to talk and bring back memories – telling funny stories, telling jokes and cooking," Speers said. "It was a good 20 years [on ‘Arkansas Outdoors’], and we thank our viewers for being a part of that time and for giving us the opportunity to come back together to join them. We appreciate the fact that they’ve enjoyed us as much as we’ve loved making these programs."
Loyal viewers of "Arkansas Outdoors" and "Cooking on the Wild Side" will enjoy seeing the dynamic duo making mouth-watering recipes from their new cookbook "Cooking on the Wild Side: A Phyllis & John Reunion," which also contains more than 50 viewer-submitted recipes. Recipes featured in the program include Arkansas Wild Cakes, Remoulade Sauce, Succotash Salad, Apple Pizza, Butternut Guacamole, Dutch Oven Spicy Chicken Casserole, Dutch Oven Pear Custard Pie, Bar-B-Que Potatoes, Pitchfork Fondue With Dipping Sauces and Fried Biscuits. The companion cookbook and DVD copies of the special will be made available during the program’s premiere.
"It really was a hoot to get to do this again," Philpot said. "I didn’t think we’d get the chance; it’s been a long time. I want to tell all our friends who have been watching two things: thanks for contributing and thanks for caring."
In addition to highlighting traditional game favorites and dishes with a twist, the 90-minute special also provides a long overdue dose of the pair’s unique brand of humor as the two discuss life after "Arkansas Outdoors," John’s unique perspective on Phyllis’ cooking and how Phyllis created some of her new recipes.
"Arkansans cannot get enough of Phyllis and John," AETN Director of Production Carole Adornetto said. "Their downhome sense of humor and love of life is contagious. We are also proud to announce that the series will be distributed nationally in 2014. Now, public television audiences across the nation can enjoy the unique ‘taste’ of this incredible pair."