Good things from Nürnberg
December 10th, 2018
Nürnberg, or Nuremberg if you want to avoid umlauts, means different things to different people. Indeed it means different things to a single person: me. There’s all the nasty stuff, and then there are the artists, …
Is that a pickle …
November 26th, 2018
To me, a pedant and a purist, a pickle by rights ought to have gone through a proper fermentation. It might have been pasteurised afterwards and bottled, but at some stage it needs to have supported microbial …
What a bunch of turkeys
November 21st, 2018
I successfully ignored the Great American Blowout last year, and I have nothing new this year. But I was stung by being left out of a round-up of …
Just that which is deserved
November 12th, 2018
What is there to say about dessert? Utterly pointless, because by then I’ve usually eaten quite enough, thank you. And yet, utterly irresistible too, because I do have a bit of a sweet tooth. So I am usually quite …
A communal oven in Christchurch, New Zealand
October 29th, 2018
In 2010 and then again in 2011, Christchurch, on New Zealand’s South Island, suffered two huge earthquakes. The first destroyed buildings, but few people were hurt. The second brought more buildings crashing down …
Food, power, pubs and politics in Ireland
October 15th, 2018
Once you get over the idea that there is no good food in Ireland, and a single trip ought to be enough to do that, you might become aware of a paradox. Go into a pub, and if they serve food, rather than just …
Making sense of modern recipes
October 1st, 2018
Peter Hertzmann tells a great story of a chef telling a bunch of students to go and double the recipe for a batch of cookies. Minutes later, one …
Food in prison
September 17th, 2018
It is hard to imagine a punishment worse than to have almost no choice of either what you eat or when you eat it, but that’s how life is for most prisoners. Their food choices are made for them, every single day. At …
August 31st, 2018
What more is there to say? Plenty, of course, but not this time. This is the final episode of this run of Our Daily Bread.
I say that as if there will be another, but all I’m really doing is leaving the door slightly …
A Perennial Dream
August 30th, 2018
Wheat is an annual plant; it dies after setting seed. Each year, the farmer has to prepare the land, sow seed, fertilise and protect the plants. When the ground is bare, between crops, wind and water can erode the …
It’s a Hard Grain
August 29th, 2018
The qualities that make durum wheat so attractive for pasta have nothing to do with the size of the semolina particles from which it is made.
Anything but Grim
August 28th, 2018
"I began to dream of a binding machine. I dreamed of it at night and I dreamed of it during the day."
Bread and Political Circuses
August 27th, 2018
Sometimes people want bread more than they want democracy. Some governments can't deliver either.
Wheats and Measures
August 26th, 2018
Eight wheat seeds of silver gets you 5 pounds 10 ounces of bread.
August 25th, 2018
Nathan Myhrvold is right: "The best bread the world has ever had is being made today.”
Slow, but Exceedingly Fine
August 24th, 2018
Bakers who grind their own grain are all utterly in love with the flour they get. I'm jealous.
Brown v. White
August 23rd, 2018
If you are eating reasonably well, it probably doesn't matter which you choose. You can get great white bread, and you can get awful brown bread.
Sourdough by Any Name
August 22nd, 2018
It needn't actually taste sour. In fact, except in a few countries, it need not even make use of a natural leaven.
August 21st, 2018
All hail Adolf Ignaz Mautner von Markhof. And also Pope Leo IX, Michael Cerularius the Patriarch and assorted wise rabbis and scholars.
Back to Basics
August 20th, 2018
There's a fundamental tension between the time it takes to make a loaf of bread and the value of the final product.
The Bread that Ate the World
August 19th, 2018
Perhaps there's more to flour fermentation than the bubbles that lighten the loaf.
August 18th, 2018
A small bakery in Toronto, Canada, became a behemoth that bestrides global bread and beyond. Phew!
Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’
August 17th, 2018
St Anthony Falls powered the sawmills that created the financial capital that laid the foundations for General Mills.
Water and Power
August 16th, 2018
A large slave-driven mill could grind seven kilograms of flour an hour. A watermill multiplied that twenty times or more.
August 15th, 2018
Ferragosto and the Feast Day of the Assumption of Mary; connected, perhaps, by a sheaf of wheat.
The daily grind
August 14th, 2018
Bashing wheat with a hammer will not give you flour. What you need is a shearing force, which you get by grinding the grain between two stones.
Bread from the Dead
August 13th, 2018
How Delwen Samuel, an archaeologist, replicated the bread of Egyptian workers of 3000 years ago. This is the episode that should have been called …
The inside story
August 12th, 2018
That kernel of wheat isn't actually a seed or a berry, at least not to a botanist. The rest of us can call it what we like.
It’s not natural
August 11th, 2018
Synthetic wheat; it isn't natural, but it is a very good thing.
Dwarf wheat: On the shoulders of a giant
August 10th, 2018
Credit where credit's due: The Father of the Green Revolution had an unacknowledged father himself.
August 9th, 2018
Today's Red Fife would not qualify as an official Canadian Western Red Spring Wheat, but that doesn't matter. People want Red Fife because it is Red …
Nikolay Ivanovich Vavilov
August 8th, 2018
"In order to improve cultivated plants it is necessary to have the 'building material' required ... And to use their most valuable qualities for …
Bake like an Egyptian
August 7th, 2018
In all probability, the original source of Kamut was a market stall or a small farmer in Egypt, where it had survived as an obscure grain grown by peasant farmers.
August 6th, 2018
Farro is not spelt. It isn't einkorn or emmer either. Farro "is an Italian ethnobotanical concept".
At last: agriculture
August 5th, 2018
Very quick or slightly slower, in just a few hundred years, domesticated wheat spreads all over the Fertile Crescent.
What exactly is wheat?
August 4th, 2018
How, and when, did modern wheat arise from its the wild ancestors?
Crumbs; the oldest bread
August 3rd, 2018
Maybe you heard about the oldest crumbs of burnt toast in the world. But have you stopped to wonder how the archaeologists found those crumbs?
Boil in the Bag
August 2nd, 2018
It's a trick scouts and survivalists know: you don't need a heat-proof container to boil water.
The Abundance of Nature
August 1st, 2018
Gathering enough wheat to eat probably wasn't all that difficult.
Our Daily Bread 00
July 26th, 2018
It's magic, I know. First a pretty ordinary grass becomes the main source of sustenance for most of the people alive on Earth. Then they learn how to turn the seeds of that grass into the food of the gods.
Food as Power
May 28th, 2018
In 1946 Geoffrey Pyke, an eminently sane scientist, put forward the idea of using what little coal there was to refine sugar rather than feeding it …
Food safety and industry concentration
May 14th, 2018
How do farmers' markets and concentrated food industries that depend on long food chains stack up when it comes to food-borne illness? Truth is, nobody really knows.
Who owns whom in the food industry
April 30th, 2018
The number of firms that own the food brands you see is much smaller than you think. That's not good for consumers or suppliers.
Whatever happened to British veal?
April 16th, 2018
Time was when veal calves were kept in the dark. These days, it may be the shoppers who have helped to solve the problem of surplus male dairy calves.
April 2nd, 2018
A hop crop flop in Europe made the fortunes of growers in the Pacific north west of America, none more so than in Oregon's Willamette valley. Ezra Meeker, the hop king, promoted the gemütlichkeit of hop-picking in the …
A visit to Hummustown
March 19th, 2018
Eating is a political act, as Wendell Berry reminded us. Which is why I was very happy to sample the food on offer by Syrian refugees in Hummustown.
Barges and bread
March 5th, 2018
Even before the Romans, grain arrived in what was to become London by water, and it continues to do so today, although the mechanics of the trade have changed beyond recognition. One of the last people to move grain by …
The Hamlet Fire
February 19th, 2018
The Imperial Food Products fire wasn't really an accident; circumstances conspired to make it extremely likely If it hadn't happened in Hamlet, it …
From little seeds …
February 5th, 2018
A second visit to Scariff in County Clare, Ireland, to hear from the people working hard to save Ireland's vegetable heritage and make seeds available to a new generation of gardeners.
Bread as it ought to be
January 22nd, 2018
Jonathan Bethony is one of the leading artisanal bakers in America, but he goes further than most, milling his own flour and baking everything with a …
Little bits of 2017: Part IV
January 8th, 2018
Tom Nealon on the plague-stopping power of lemonade.
Little bits of 2017: Part III
January 1st, 2018
Jaan Altosaar on his practical approach to food
Little bits of 2017: Part II
December 25th, 2017
Rachel Laudan on the rise and fall of white bread
Little bits of 2017: Part I
December 18th, 2017
Parke Wilde on SNAP and nutrition
Feeding people is easy
December 4th, 2017
First let's decide what kind of food supply system we want, then use that to bring about a renaissance in real farming.
A cheese place
November 20th, 2017
A trip to the Sheep's Head peninsula in West Cork and one of the pioneer cheesemakers there, Jeffa Gill.
Rethinking the folk history of American agriculture
November 6th, 2017
Many of the things you might believe about the history of agriculture in America just aren't true.
Ireland’s apple collection
October 23rd, 2017
Apples picked to perfume a room. Undocumented apples and apples with false papers. Foundlings that could give a supermarket apple a run for its …
Antibiotics and agriculture
October 9th, 2017
Antibiotic resistance is one consequence of feeding animals large amounts of antibiotics -- about three times the amount given to people in the US. …
1000 days of noodle soup
September 11th, 2017
How an empty kitchen in Boston triggered a breakfast obsession and a new book on noodle soup.
Pushing good coffee
August 30th, 2017
If you really want to do good by spending more on your coffee, you need to look beyond Fair Trade and other certification schemes.
It’s putrid, it’s paleo, and it’s good for you
August 14th, 2017
John Speth on how food we may consider disgusting is essential for survival in the Arctic, with added disgusting goodness from Paul Rozin.
Back to the future for the wheat of tomorrow
July 31st, 2017
Wheat growers are making use of hugely diverse evolutionary populations to give them the seeds they need.
Getting to know the cinta senese on its home turf
July 17th, 2017
A breed of pigs, well known as far back as 1338, almost vanished in the 1960s. Now it's back, and it's delicious.
A brief survey of the food of Corfu
July 3rd, 2017
Signs of the Venetian occupation are everywhere, as are the imprints of French and British rule. But there are also unique aspects to food and …
Changing Global Diets: the website
April 24th, 2017
A picture is worth way more than 1000 words when it reveals food trends over the past 50 years for more than 150 countries.
Australia: where healthier diets are cheaper …
April 10th, 2017
Australians devote almost 60 cents of every dollar they spend on food to unhealthy stuff. They could eat better for less money, but "affordable …
Mistaken about mayonnaise — and many other foods
March 27th, 2017
Alternative food facts tramp across the landscape the hordes of the undead. Tom Nealon's new book Food Fights & Culture Wars aims to lay some of …
A computer learns about ingredients and recipes
March 13th, 2017
Perhaps you’ve heard about IBM’s giant Watson computer, which dispenses ingredient advice and novel recipes. Jaan Altosaar, a PhD candidate at Princeton University, is working on a recipe recommendation engine that …
How much does a nutritious diet cost?
February 27th, 2017
You can eat a perfectly nutritious diet for a lot less money than the US government says you need. But would you want to?
Food and status
February 13th, 2017
Food has always been a marker of social status, only today no elite eater worth their pink Himalayan salt would be seen dead with a slice of fluffy …
In praise of meat, milk and eggs
February 1st, 2017
Giving up on animals as a source of food is a luxury that many people cannot afford. For poor people in developing countries, a bit of animal source food can greatly improve their health and wellbeing.
India’s bread landscape and my plans here
January 16th, 2017
I recommend a podcast and share some plans for Eat This Podcast in 2017.
Long live the Carolina African Runner
January 9th, 2017
Is the Carolina Runner No.4 peanut "the first peanut cultivated in North America" and does it matter anyway?
A deep dive into cucurbit names
December 31st, 2016
Continuing the short season of bits and pieces that didn't quite fit in the year's episodes by getting to grips with the origin of "gherkin" and other names we give cucurbits.
The Great Epping Sausage Scandal
December 26th, 2016
Starting a short season of bits and pieces that didn't quite fit in the year's episodes with a look at the Great Epping Sausage Scandal.
We need to talk about diets
December 13th, 2016
Bad diet is now the number one risk factor for disease. Is the world going to tackle the problem?
The Culinary Breeding Network
November 28th, 2016
If you going to breed vegetables for flavour -- perish the thought -- you need someone to help you decide what's good. Enter the Culinary Breeding …
November 14th, 2016
Foie gras offers a fascinating insight into the role of politics in food — which happens to be the subtitle of a new book by Michaela DeSoucey, a …
Wine and cheese
October 31st, 2016
A new technique for asking how one taste affects another confirms a recent change of opinion. White wine is often a better choice than red to accompany cheese.
October 17th, 2016
Who knows what evil lurks beneath the wrinkled skin of an "economy" English sausage? And what delights won for the Cumberland and the Newmarket their coveted status of Protected Geographical Indication? Jan Davison, …
October 3rd, 2016
Did you know that malt whisky owes its existence in the marketplace to the stock market crash of 1973-74?
Neither did I, so when one of the people I interviewed for the craft distilling episode a few weeks back made …
A far from dismal scientist
September 19th, 2016
Speculators are responsible for food price spikes? Food price spikes are responsible for riots in the streets? First-world hipsters are responsible …
When is a zucchini not a zucchini?
September 5th, 2016
A story of exploration, aristocracy and promiscuity, all in the service of better food. What more could you want?
August 22nd, 2016
Perhaps the most astonishing thing about craft distilleries is how fast they're spreading, at least where they're allowed. British Columbia has gone …
A visit to Elkstone Farm in Colorado
August 8th, 2016
It’s all very well trying to eat local in a place like Rome or San Francisco, where the climate is relatively benign all year round and you can grow …
Xylella is here and it could be dangerous
July 25th, 2016
Climate change and global trade combine to make it ever more likely that new pests and diseases will threaten food supplies. A classic example is playing out now in Puglia, the region that includes the heel of Italy's …
How the Irish created the great wines of Bordeaux (and elsewhere)
July 11th, 2016
You can thank the Irish Wine Geese for many of the Grand Crus of France.
Back to the mountains of Pamir
June 27th, 2016
In 2007, Frederik van Oudenhoven travelled to the Pamir mountains in Central Asia to document what remained of the region’s rich agricultural …
Sweetness and light
June 13th, 2016
Before I read Christopher Emsden’s book Sweetness and Light: Why the demonization of sugar does not make sense I had no idea that the statistical …
The True Father of the First Green Revolution
May 30th, 2016
Today’s show is something of a departure; I’m talking about someone who is crucial to global food security and yet who is almost unknown.
It’s true, as Jean-Henri Fabre, the French naturalist wrote, that “History ... …
A brief history of Irish butter
May 16th, 2016
The Butter Museum in Cork, Ireland, features on some lists of the world’s quirky etc. food museums but not others. It ought to be on all of them. This is a seriously interesting museum for anyone who likes butter, and …
Where’s the latest episode?
May 9th, 2016
By rights, there should have been an episode last week, but there wasn't because I was just back from New York and the James Beard Awards, and I just …
It is OK to eat quinoa
April 18th, 2016
Quinoa -- that darling of the health-conscious western consumer -- came in for a lot of flack a few years ago. Skyrocketing prices caused some food activists to claim that the poor quinoa farmers of the high Andean …
Welcome to the Wonderbag
April 4th, 2016
At this year’s Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food I talked to Jon Verriet, who’s been researching the history of the haybox. That’s an …
The evolution of food culture in Mali
March 21st, 2016
When it comes to cradles of agriculture, West Africa does not often get a look in. The Sahel is better known as a place of famine than of feasting, …
Crackers about Indonesian food
March 7th, 2016
I'm on what the real professionals call a mission, or, failing that, duty travel. And once again I've bitten off more than I can chew. So, rather than admit defeat and just leave well enough alone, I decide to record a …
Chewing the fat about chewing the fat
February 22nd, 2016
Karima Moyer-Nocchi is an American woman who teaches at the University of Siena. When she had been here almost 25 years she developed something of an obsession. On the one hand, she watched “a bewildering decline in the …
The haybox through history
February 8th, 2016
This year’s Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food was dedicated to The material culture of cooking tools and techniques and was …
An English woman’s take on Italian cooking
February 1st, 2016
Rachel Roddy, after about 10 years of hard slog, is an overnight sensation.
She's just scooped the André Simon award for best food book in 2015, a very big deal indeed for a first book. I'd been warming up this second …
Egyptian street food in London
January 25th, 2016
As promised, another second helping from one of 2015's episodes, before we get to the new stuff. This time, I'm remembering my trip to the little place in St Martin's Lane in London that serves a couture version of …
Tulip bulb soup
January 5th, 2016
As ever, I’m taking a little break and bringing you some repeats from 2015. This one is prompted by an episode of NPR’s Planet Money that I’ve just listened to. They decided to cook a peacock for reasons that I think …
An experiment in sound and taste
December 21st, 2015
Irish music and its influence on the taste of Irish beer
Aquae Urbis Romae
December 7th, 2015
Following the ancient aqueducts to trace the history of the waters of Rome
How to measure what farms produce
November 23rd, 2015
How should we measure what farms produce? The answer drives some pretty important trends. For the past 60 years and more, the key metric has been …
The Dark Ages were a time of prosperity
November 10th, 2015
The Dark Ages ran for about 400 years, from around the fall of the Roman Empire, in the middle of the 6th century, to around the 10th or 11th centuries. It was dark because the light of Rome had been extinguished, while …
Going further than food miles
October 26th, 2015
“Forget organic. Eat local.” Nice, simple advice, from the cover of Time magazine. But more or less pointless. There’s so much more to food systems than just the distance the food travels. Tim Lang coined the phrase …
Fifth quarter: Rachel Roddy’s Rome
October 12th, 2015
That sink is where Rachel Roddy, an English woman in Rome, prepares meals to share with her partner Vincenzo, their young son Luca, and a horde of appreciative readers of her website and, now, her first book.
Just Mayo and justice
September 28th, 2015
It’s hard to know what this episode is really about. Government bullying private enterprise? An evil conspiracy to crush a competitor? Confused …
A year of cooking almost everything from scratch
September 14th, 2015
Megan Kimble -- that's her on the left -- is a young journalist in Tucson, Arizona. Back in 2012, she set out to stick it to the processed food man, by eating only unprocessed food for a year. Her book Unprocessed: My …
The military-culinary complex
August 31st, 2015
Have you ever stopped to wonder what drives the incessant innovation in processed food? Who thought that an energy bar would be a good thing to …
100% food insecure: poor people in a rich country
August 17th, 2015
The O-Pipin-Na-Piwin Cree Nation have suffered generations of maltreatment at the hands of various official entities. Moved from their homelands further south, they now occupy small scattered settlements in northern …
July 20th, 2015
The heat here in Rome has been something the past couple of weeks. Not up to 2003 of blessed memory, but hot nevertheless. The last thing I needed was for the fridge to start playing up, but it did, making horrible …
Culture and agriculture in the Pamirs
July 6th, 2015
The Pamir Mountains of Central Asia hold a fascinating diversity of food crops. Exploring the area in the early years of the 20th century the great …
How to eat well in Italy
June 22nd, 2015
People looking for a good place to eat in Rome can choose from almost as many opinions as there are restaurants. Truth be told, though, a lot of …
These aren’t the pests you’re looking for
June 8th, 2015
Day after day, week after week, special agents keep a look out for invaders that they really don’t want to find. And we, the ordinary public, give them barely a second thought. Worse, we sometimes provide the means for …
Lead poisoning of hunters and game
May 18th, 2015
This episode of Eat This Podcast is only tangentially about what people eat. At its heart, though, it is about how what people leave behind affects the other animals that eat it.
Hunters routinely clean up the animals …
Enjoying life on a rather restricted regimen
May 4th, 2015
By great good fortune, there is nothing I cannot eat. There are a couple of things I'd prefer not to eat, but nothing, at least as far as I know, …
April 20th, 2015
What kind of business wants customers to buy less? The beef business, or at least, one tiny corner of the beef business.
Mark Shelley is an environmental film-maker turned cattleman who raises grass-fed beef near …
A second helping of citrus in Italy
April 6th, 2015
This episode is a repeat of one first published in October 2014, and the reason is that it has been nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award. I'm utterly thrilled by the news, and gratified that more people have …
A visit to Koshari Street
March 23rd, 2015
Street food is big. Not just in places where eating on the street is the only place many people can afford, but in happening neighbourhoods around the rich world too. Burrito trucks, Korean barbecue in a taco, ceviche, …
An Italian wine education
March 9th, 2015
Drinking Italian wine anywhere -- even in Italy -- can be fraught with complications. Is that wine from the area in Piedmont known as the Langhe? Better not say so on the label, unless you have express permission to do …
A little about allotments
February 23rd, 2015
Allotments seem to be a peculiarly British phenomenon. Small parcels of land, divided into smaller still plots, furnished often with a shed and …
Food, hunger and conflict
February 9th, 2015
A couple of weeks ago I was at the 2nd annual Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food, and a very interesting meeting it was too. The topic was …
January 26th, 2015
One of the things I find most frustrating in agricultural research is that, despite the subject matter, it often bears little relationship to the …
Future of agriculture
January 20th, 2015
Will biotechnology feed the world? Can organic agriculture? Ford Denison is a research scientist who has thought clearly about the future of …
Pasta laid bare
January 12th, 2015
Why is arrabbiata sauce always served on penne pasta? What's wrong with my spaghetti cacio e pepe? Maureen Fant, co-author of Sauces & Shapes: Pasta the Italian Way first explained all back in February 2014 in one …
Cheese in aspic
January 5th, 2015
There's a thin line between protecting the authenticity of a fine traditional food and preventing the kinds of living changes that allowed it to survive long enough to become traditional. Zack Nowak, a food historian, …
December 29th, 2014
Back in January I talked to Suzanne Dunaway about Buona Forchetta, the bakery she and her husband Don started and eventually sold. An early social …
Garibaldi and citrus in Italy
December 22nd, 2014
One of my treats this year was sitting down with Helena Attlee to talk about her book The Land Where Lemons Grow. Part of that interview didn't make it into the final podcast, so here it is now. And if you missed the …
Another helping of turkey
December 15th, 2014
The conservation of the wild turkey was triumph, but it left ornithologists scratching their heads. How many species were there? And where did they …
A partial history of the turkey
December 1st, 2014
For a nomenclature nerd, the turkey is wonderful. Why would a bird from America be named after a country on the edge of Asia?
November 27th, 2014
As people in North America prepare to give thanks and devour unimaginable quantities of food, we go to the heart of the matter. Why are turkeys called turkeys?
In next week's show, more about the American contribution …
The festa dell’uva of the 1930s
November 17th, 2014
These days, every little town and village in Italy has its sagra or festa, a weekend, or longer, in celebration of a particular local food. Although …
Looking forward to the festa dell’uva
November 10th, 2014
In the 1930s the Italian fascists decided that floats laden with giant grapes would be the vehicle to drive forward Italian nationalism. Hear how in …
Exploring Kazakhstan’s apple forests
November 4th, 2014
Kazakhstan stretches across Central Asia from the Caspian Sea in the east to China in the west. The country is famous for many things – it is the largest landlocked country in the world, says Wikipedia – but among food …
Bears and apples
October 27th, 2014
Ben Reade recently got back from a trip to Kazakhstan, in search of the original wild apples. Last time we spoke, he was sharing bog butter. This time, bears, and how they may have helped to domesticate those apples. …
A novel approach to food security
October 20th, 2014
It is so easy to forget that very few people know anything about plant breeding and how vital it is to having enough to eat. The time it takes, and the resources it needs -- financial, genetic, human -- are just not …
Citrus in Italy
October 6th, 2014
Citrus, thanks to what writer Helena Attlee calls their great “suggestibility,” confound the botanist and the shopper alike. What is the difference between a clementine and a mandarin? That was one of the few questions …
What’s cooking in Tasmania?
September 22nd, 2014
What better to do with a surplus rooster than turn him into a delicious meal. And share the process. Stir-fries, curries, Ethiopian wats, loaves of bread: John Grosvenor, a software developer, posts delectable images of …
Garum brought up to date
September 8th, 2014
Garum is one of those ancient foods that everyone seems to have heard of. It is usually described as “fermented fish guts,” or something equally unappealing, and people often call it the Roman ketchup, because they used …
Rice from Randall’s Island, New York
August 25th, 2014
Randall’s Island is a small piece of land just east of 125th Street in New York’s East River. It is also around 2 degrees further south than the …
Japanese food through Canadian eyes
August 11th, 2014
I’m fascinated by Japanese food, but from a position of profound ignorance. I’ve never been there and I’ve never having eaten anything I could …
Who invented dried pasta?
July 29th, 2014
The history of pasta, ancient and modern, is littered with myths about the origins of manufacturing techniques, of cooking, of recipes, of names, of antecedents. Supporting most of these is a sort of truthiness whereby …
Vermont and the taste of place
July 14th, 2014
What do artisanal cheese and maple syrup have in common? In North America, and elsewhere too, they’re likely to bring to mind the state of Vermont, which produces more of both than anywhere else. They’re also the …
What makes Parmigiano-Reggiano Parmigiano-Reggiano?
June 30th, 2014
Great wheels of parmesan cheese, stamped all about with codes and official-looking markings, loudly shout that they are the real thing: …
Bones and the Mongol diet
June 16th, 2014
The growing popularity of “Mongolian” restaurants owes less to Mongolian food and more to, er, how shall we say, marketing. To whit:
"It’s actually …
May 26th, 2014
A Dutch food writer tries to discover the origins of pom, the national dish of Suriname. Is it Creole, based on the foodways of Africans enslaved to …
Food tours and cooking classes
May 12th, 2014
It is quite amazing how popular food tours and cooking classes are in Italy. When in Rome, many people seem to want to eat, and cook, like a Roman. …
Rambling on my mind
April 28th, 2014
This episode of Eat This Podcast is something of a departure. With nothing in the pantry, so to speak, I had to make something with what I had: myself. So I hooked myself up to the audio recorder and went about some of …
Food prices and social unrest
April 14th, 2014
“If you can tell your story with a graph or picture, do so,” says Marc Bellemare, my first guest in this episode. The picture on the left is one of …
The Global Standard Diet
March 31st, 2014
We’ll have what they’re having has taken on a whole new meaning
In a world in which you can get pizza in Tokyo and sushi in Rome, diets have become …
Food and finance
March 17th, 2014
Sure, you've seen Trading Places. But do you know about the history of futures contracts, or why some things are traded on commodities markets and others aren't? I didn't, not really. So I spoke to Kara Newman, food …
Culture and Cuisine in Russia & Eastern Europe
March 3rd, 2014
About a month ago I got wind of a conference called Food for Thought: Culture and Cuisine in Russia & Eastern Europe, 1800-present, at the …
February 17th, 2014
There’s supposed to be this whole mystique surrounding “proper” pasta: how to cook it, which shape with what sauce, how to eat it, all that. And if …
Food — and bombs — in Laos
February 3rd, 2014
Karen Coates is a freelance American journalist who writes about food – among other things. She emailed to ask if I would be interested in talking to …
Baking bread: getting big and getting out
January 20th, 2014
Ah, the self-indulgent joy of making a podcast on one of my own passions.
“They” say that turning cooking from an enjoyable hobby into a business …
A tasting menu
January 13th, 2014
The first episode of 2014 is a look back to some of the topics I covered in 2013, and for what I hope is a good reason. With a podcast, unlike a piece of writing or an image, it is very hard to decide quickly whether …
December 18th, 2013
Apologies for the delay in publishing this podcast. One of the joys of not being tied to "proper" radio is the freedom to give a story the length it …
Hunger and malnutrition
December 2nd, 2013
One week jam, the next global hunger and malnutrition. That’s the joy of Eat This Podcast; I get to present what interests me, in the hope that it interests you too. It also means I sometimes get to talk to my friends …
November 18th, 2013
What is jam? “A preserve made from whole fruit boiled to a pulp with sugar.” Lots of opportunities to quibble with that, most especially, if you’re …
Backpackers and their food
November 4th, 2013
When you’re on holiday, or just away from home, do you seek out the “authentic” local food, or look for a reassuringly familar logo? Backpackers, …
Pecans and history
October 21st, 2013
The Guadalupe River that flows through Texas used to be known as The River of Nuts, a fact that Wikipedia does not confirm. The nut in question is the pecan, Carya illinoinensis, and the pecan tree is the state tree of …
Why save seeds?
October 7th, 2013
What, really, is the point of conserving agricultural biodiversity? The formal sector, genebanks and the like, will say it is about genetic resources …
How to bake bread in a microwave oven
September 23rd, 2013
Say you wanted to bake bread in a microwave – I can’t think why, but say you did – you could go online and search the internets for a recipe. And you …
Crispy crunchy mega-munchy
September 9th, 2013
I am reliably informed that the taste of a soggy potato crisp – or chip, if you prefer – is identical to that of a crispy one. But the experience falls far short of enjoyable. A crisp needs to be, well, crisp. If it …
Backyard vegetable breeding
August 26th, 2013
Carol Deppe was a guest here a few months ago, talking about how most people misunderstand the potato, which is about as nutritious a vegetable as …
Industrial strength craft beer
August 12th, 2013
What matters is not how little beer you make, but how carefully you make your beer.
Knives: the new bling
July 29th, 2013
Bling, the Urban Dictionary tells me, is an onomatopoeic representation of light bouncing off a diamond. Or a Bob Kramer original hand-made chef’s knife, which goes for $2000 and up. Of course some people might be able …
What’s the beef with frozen meat?
July 15th, 2013
Good beef frozen is better than bad beef fresh.
Early agriculture in eastern North America
June 24th, 2013
This history of domestication and agriculture encompasses North America too.
Sugar and salt: Industrial is best
June 10th, 2013
Not all progress is bad. Rachel Laudan makes a powerful case that modern methods of making sugar and salt are far superior.
Spam: a special edition
June 6th, 2013
I did not know that that the famous Monty Python spam sketch was recorded on 6 June 1970. At least, that's the claim of a Tumblr obsessed with Minnesota in the 1970s. (Wikipedia says only that "[i]t premiered on 15 …
May 27th, 2013
The big question is, why do amateur growers and those who choose not to care even need the protection of EU seed legislation?
Potatoes are (almost) perfect
May 13th, 2013
Most of what you think you know about potatoes and nutrition is wrong.
April 29th, 2013
From a wilderness survival trick to a new theory on Neanderthal cooking.
OZ97a — a great British hop
April 15th, 2013
A bit of history about a new, old hop.
Do good chocolate
April 1st, 2013
The world of fine chocolate has seen some major change in the past few years, much of it focused on the rise of so-called “bean to bar” chocolate …
March 18th, 2013
Among the more miraculous edible transformations is the one that turns raw meat, salt and a few basic spices into some of the most delicious foods …
March 4th, 2013
Peat diggers in Ireland and elsewhere have occasionally unearthed objects, usually made of wood, that contained some kind of greasy, fatty material with a "distinctive, pungent and slightly offensive smell".