When Brad is working at the Earlywood studio, he’s often listening to podcasts. When I’m cooking or cleaning up after cooking, I tend to do the same thing. We thought we’d give you a taste of some of our favorites from time to time, beginning with our favorite food podcasts.
But first, for those of you who may not be familiar with the term, just what is a podcast? Podcasts are, simply, episodes of a program available on the Internet. They’re usually original audio or video recordings, but they can also be excerpts or entire broadcasts from a radio program, a performance, a lecture or another event. Podcasts can be subscribed to for free and downloaded onto a device—a computer, cell phone or iPod—for offline listening. For a complete definition, check out this page at Wikipedia.
“The idea is to eat well and not die from it—for the simple reason that that would be the end of your eating.” That’s a quote from the late, great author Jim Harrison. I’ve wanted to share it for ages. This seemed as good an opportunity as any. We doubt Jim listened to podcasts, but if he did, we think he would have listened to these:
If you’ve never listened to Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s cooking show, broadcast by American Public Media, you’re in for a treat. First of all, she’s not only a walking, talking encyclopedia of food knowledge and recipes, she’s warm and delightful—an acclaimed food writer and celebrity chef, if you will, but never a food snob. Kasper interviews farmers, writers, chefs and others to lead people on a “journey of the senses” (her words) and celebrate all things culinary—from the culture of food to the science of it, the recipes to the histories. A lush listen, to be sure.
From Heritage Radio Network, this podcast features interviews of the individuals who “defied convention and shaped our food landscape.” Think Michael Pollan (of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Cooked fame), Frances Moore Lappé (author of Diet for a Small Planet—published in 1971, it was among the first books to link world hunger to our own food choices) and Alice Waters (the founder and owner of the San Francisco eatery, Chez Panisse, who built a career on the notion that cooking should be based on ingredients that are produced seasonally and locally—and in the process helped start a movement). This podcast may not make you hungry, but it will make you think.
When it comes to understanding the science behind cooking, we turn to America’s Test Kitchen—a real, 2,500 square-foot kitchen where the staff will test a recipe “30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times” until they get it just right. The kind of obsessive we like, ATK is the podcasts for food geeks.
Hosts Andrew Zimmern (from The Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods") and Molly Mogren (world traveler and self-described “food fanatic”) have been on hiatus for some time now, but digging into the archives of this show is worth it, if you can get over the cheeky name. Whether the duo is discussing the food of Kazakhstan or interviewing a James Beard award-winning cookbook author, they’re funny, informative and, like the podcast’s name, not just a bit irreverent.
Another Heritage Radio gem, Eat Your Words is a great guide to the contemporary literature of food, featuring interviews with authors of cookbooks, food memoirs, travelogues and food industry exposés.
Host Linda Pelaccio is a culinary historian who conducts fascinating interviews of scholars, writers and others to discuss food culture and history in detail and in-depth. Does it fascinate you, too, to think about the connections between modern-day cheese and Homer’s Polyphemus? Then, this one’s for you (nerd—I can say that because I’m one, too).
Modernist cuisine is explored in-depth on this podcast and the results are great. From sous-vide to avoiding getting food poisoning from supermarket sushi, rutabagas versus turnips (“the eternal struggle”) to the gender of pots and pans (pots are female, pans are male??). An interesting, sometimes hilarious listen.