My Favorite Podcasts About Food, Part 2 (The Main Course)
As I mentioned yesterday, I love to cook and I love to eat. I get a lot of inspiration from podcasts, which are great to listen to when I go for a run to work off all that great stuff I just ate. These are my favorites.
This podcast takes me there. Lynne Rossetto Kasper can set the scene in a way you feel you are in Tuscany, enjoying a bottle of Chianti with her and her friends. She is also a serious, well-respected food authority. She welcomes all kinds of experts to her show to discuss the broadest scope of food-related topics, down to the smallest, intriguing detail. From the politics of food, to what “extra virgin” really means, to how (and why) to sauté shallots, you will be enchanted by every word. If you are a food nerd, that is (Hello!).
Lest you start to wonder if Lynne is anything other than one of us, check out her episode featuring eloquent indie rapper Dessa talking about her eating habits on the road. Nothin’ but voyeuristic fun.
There are two shorter podcasts available but I prefer the main broadcast for it’s tendency to carry me away like a beautiful book.
2) Melinda Lee
Melinda Lee has a knack for explaining how to do something in such rich, visual detail, you feel you don’t even need to see the recipe. She’s enthusiastic, precise, and expert at trouble shooting. She’s the gracious hostess you wish would invite you into her kitchen to cook with her, and she probably would if she knew you. She has a ton of recipes on her website which she refers to often on her show. Given this resource, I think it’s possible to get through life without ever purchasing a cookbook. (But what fun would that be)?
She doesn’t have a regular podcast but you can listen live on Saturdays from 10-noon PST which is a good time to catch her in your car on the way to the grocery store.
You can also listen to 90-second Food News On Demand segments. They aren’t as charming as her full show, but they are informative about one topic at a time.
3) Good Food
Good Food is upbeat farm-to-restaurant food journalism. Based in Los Angeles, The Market Report is a regular segment on Good Food that tells you exactly what is available at the farmer’s markets this week, what is impeccably ripe, and just what in the heck you can do with all that beautiful, fresh fennel at home. They recently covered the horse meat scandal in Britain in an unemotional timeline of events that was factual and illuminating.
Host Evan Kleiman and her guest contributors have a massive respect for seasonality and nature, knowing that letting the rules of the sun and seasons guide everyone from farmer to cook will yield the most pleasurable results. They are less critics and more reporters. They do their homework and they present their findings to you in a way that’s calm and passionate at the same time. Fab.
Honorable Mention: America’s Test Kitchen
This show celebrates the scientific side of food. Why? Because if you apply scientific methods to creating and testing recipes, you are guaranteed to find the best ones. Right? That’s the premise of America’s Test Kitchen, from the folks at Cook’s Illustrated. They do a radio show, as well as a television show. They are no nonsense, no frills, and very dorky (as joyfully enhanced by host Christopher Kimball’s ubiquitous bow tie). They passionately pursue the ultimate in food, as evidenced by their book titles: The Best 30-Minute Meal, The Best Make-Ahead Dish, Slow Cooker Revolution, and an entire book on mastering all the cuts of meat called, plainly, Steaks, Chops, Roasts and Ribs. Like me, these folks appreciate everything from meatloaf to filet mignon – as long as it’s great. Otherwise, why bother? Just have a smoothie and wait to eat until you can do it in a way that adds pleasure to your life.
Chris is fussy but fascinating. He’s usually accompanied by a more regular gal or guy who also just happens to know everything about everything. This show isn’t evocative like The Splendid Table, but it’s highly informative. Want to know whether you should put salt in your pasta water before or after it boils? (After). And why? (It takes slightly longer to boil with salt in it, plus the salt may scratch the bottom of your pot). Who cares? (You do!) If you want to learn enough well-researched facts to teach a cooking class, welcome to the Kitchen.
Coming Soon: Podcasts about Language and Podcasts about Parenting.
What are your favorite podcasts?