We’re back! And we’re starting season 3 off on a far more cheerful note than we ended season 2. In honor of July, heat waves, climate change, and sweating, we’re starting off this new season with an ode to ice cream and how a snack for the 1% became the people’s dairy confection. We discuss Roman shaved ice, Marco Polo and Catherine de Medici revolutionizing European food (yet again), and the mechanics of refrigeration. Finally, we hypothesize why sundaes got their name.
On our season finale, we decide to dig into the story of one of the most iconic modern Native American foods – frybread. We talk about the events surrounding the Long Walk, how frybread emerged, and the enduring cultural significance and importance of this humble yet delicious food for the Navajo community. Finally, we discuss powwows and frybread competitions.
This week, we return to one of our favorite dishes, but we’re not talking about it in India. Instead, we delve into why and how this flavorful mix of rice, spices, oil, and meat became so popular in the United Arab Emirates. We discuss the historical ties between the Arab world and South Asia, the prevalence of South Asians in the UAE, and the history of pearl diving and how these pieces fit into our biryani mystery. Finally, Faye reviews a play.
This week, we’re going to a part of the world we haven’t really talked about yet: southeast Asia. And, of course, we have to talk about colonialism. We discuss the basic tenets of Vietnamese cuisine, the fabled origin story of puff pastry, and how pate chaud traveled from the streets of revolutionary France to kitchens all across Vietnam. Finally, we discuss the universality of meat in wrappers.
This week, we have four sweet vignettes about candy, society, and history. We discuss how the military ended up with a large shipment of tootsie rolls, the origin story of jelly beans, why British kids liked cockroach candies, and how capitalism did not capitalize on Halloween for candy sales. We provide a literary analysis of Turkish delight, and finally, Ria accidentally drags St. Patrick.
To kick off February, we’ve got an episode on an overlooked story of a woman who helped feed countless activists during the Civil Rights Movement. We explore how food creates spaces for activism, the connection between a small restaurant and the Freedom Riders, and why Georgia Gilmore is an unsung hero of a pivotal time in American history. Finally, we remind listeners to avoid overthrowing governments in coffee shops.
As the title of this week’s episode suggests, we’re diving into the fish trade and the immigrant story that gave rise to cod-related black markets. We discuss why Portuguese immigrants came to Massachusetts, how they became the backbone of the American cod industry, and how this lucrative market developed fishy practices. Finally, we make fun of Herman Melville.
It’s a new year so we’ve got a new episode. This week, we cover one of the great food tragedies of the Gilded Age and its effects on how to make cities safe from industrial accidents. Of course, that means we’re covering one of our favorite topics: the moral failures of capitalism. We also discuss what molasses is, why it was being stored at a distillery and the best places to get cannolis in Boston.
It’s our wonderful, Holiday special! But we’re not talking about Christmas this year. We’ve got a whole episode on Hanukkah, and more importantly, why people eat latkes at Hanukkah. Join us as we discuss the different kinds of cooking fats, why you have to eat fried foods at Hanukkah, and whether or not latkes are even traditional. Finally, we answer the age-old question: what are cheese pancakes?
This week, we’re changing it up with a book review! We review The Culinary Crescent: A History of Middle Eastern Cuisine by Peter Heine, which gives readers a lovely overview of the long and storied history of food in the Middle East and among Muslim societies stretching from Turkey to India. We discuss recipes, Faye gives a rundown of her favorite anecdotes, and we discover some interesting overlaps in storytelling.
Special thanks to Clare Roberts of Gingko Press Publishing for sending us the book and to Peter Heine for writing a delightful book. If you would like to purchase the book, you can find it here: https://www.gingko.org.uk/title/the-culinary-crescent/