Allen Salkin, Inside the Food Network

Author Allen Salkin takes readers inside the Food Network in his new book, "From Scratch." Salkin visits Madison on Sunday, Oct. 20, as part of the Wisconsin Book Festival.

Earl Wilson

Madison foodies can get to know the Food Network inside and out this weekend.

First, the Food Network show Heartland Table airs its "Roadtrip: Madison" episode on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. It will be re-broadcast Monday at 4:30 p.m. for those who forget to set their DVRs.

Heartland Table is a new cooking show focused on the Midwest that debuted Sept. 14. Host Amy Thielen, a Minnesota native with major kitchen cred, stopped at Underground Butcher, Fromagination and Karben4 Brewery, according to David Lohrenz at Madison Sourdough, where the show also filmed.

Recipes in the episode include Smoked Sardine Caesar with Salumi and Pan-Croutons, Oven-Baked Spare Ribs with Porter Beer Mop and Maple Bread with Soft Cheese.

Madison has been on the Food Network before, notably in a Bizarre Foods episode that aired in spring 2012. In the episode, host Andrew Zimmern visited Ha Long Bay, Black Earth Meats and an emu farm.

Later in the weekend, locals can get a glimpse behind the scenes of the chopping and sizzling when journalist Allen Salkin reads from his new book, "From Scratch: Inside the Food Network."

His free reading is part of the Wisconsin Book Festival, and is set for Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in the newly renovated Central Library. (Read Stephanie Bedford's overview of the festival here.)

One review said Salkin's book is full of delicious details, like how early versions of the set involved "kitchens where sinks emptied into buckets that had to be carted out between takes." Mario Batali didn't have an oven, so he'd stomp his foot on the floor to simulate the sound of an oven door closing.

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"The Food Network isn't just the network that made ravioli and casseroles, it's the network that made stars," said a story on NPR's Weekend Edition about the new book.

"Nobody believed that anybody would ever want to watch this on prime time," Salkin said in that interview.

Salkin himself has been actively promoting the book. He recently wrote an article on Bookish about the "five most thankless jobs" on the network, which employs a "plate chooser," a "label maker" — to avoid conflicts with specific brands of mustard or hot sauce — and a pantry stocker.

Since 2008, Lindsay Christians has been writing about fine arts and food for The Capital Times. She loves eating at the bar, going to the theater, fine wine and good stories. She lives on the east side with her husband, two cats and too many cookbooks.