The Best Pies in Hanoi

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.

Liberté, Egalité, Sucre

Get ready with your favorite Victor Hugo novel, because we’ve got Francophone revolutions on our mind this week. But we’re not talking about any revolutions in France. Instead, we dive into the complex history of the Haitian revolution and the ties between the French sugar trade and the first country for black folks in the New World. Also, Faye casts Denzel Washington and Chadwick Boseman in her upcoming Hollywood Oscar-bait film dramatizing the Haitian revolution.

Transformers Take Over Europe: The Chocolate Saga Continues

This week, chocolate does a reverse Columbus by leaving the New World and landing in Europe. From the ships of unbathed merchants to the courts of royalty become the next big thing, and from there, the whirlwind romance between Europe and chocolate began. We discuss how the Industrial Revolution, H.H. Holmes, and condensed milk are all connected through this beloved dessert. Finally, we have an important message for you about democratic responsibility (VOTE)

They Got Lost Again: Corn in Africa

We’re kicking off a mini-series on corn this week with a return appearance from the world’s worst navigators. That’s right, Vasco Da Gama and crew are back on the podcast as we trace the path of corn from the New World to Africa. We discuss how corn followed European expansion into Africa and helped build European, African, and R&B empires. Finally, Faye has a PSA about Beyonce.

Chop Suey! An American Tale

This week, we’re rushing to California to find gold. We’re discussing how the 1949 Gold Rush created the San Francisco we know and love, and the Chester A. Arthur we know and hate. Plus, we discuss how the uniquely Chinese-American dish Chop Suey came to be, and the role New York Jewish Americans played in making Chinese food famous. Finally, Ria gives some important cooking tips to guarantee you always make good food.

 

Hot Takes and Hot Cakes: The James Hemings Story

We continue our story of the Founding Fathers and food by taking a deep dive into America’s third President’s very expensive, very European food and drink habits. We discuss Thomas Jefferson’s crazy party-planning skills/booze-purchasing habits. More importantly, we trace the origin story of one of America’s first chefs, James Hemings (brother of Sally) and this unsung hero’s rise to the top of French and American cuisine. Finally, Faye has some thoughts on the name “Benedict.”

Mary’s Back, Tell A Friend: An Ode to Gin

In this very special episode, Mary makes her prodigal return to discuss her favorite booze. Our Executive Producer joins us as we discuss why William of Orange banned brandy, the English’s 50-year drunken bender, and how gin and tonics kept the sun shining on the British Empire. Finally, we debate whether or not liking gin makes you a psychopath.