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.
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)
We’re back in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, but we’re not talking about corn this week. Nope. We’re talking about something even better – cocoa. This week, we discuss one man’s very famous cocoa-on-the-go pot, why Moctezuma drank gallons of chocolate every day, and why cocoa drinks in Mesoamerica were way stronger than any hot cocoa we have today. We also explore the connections between cocoa and religion in Mesoamerica. Finally, we assess our drink-pouring skills (or the lack thereof).
We’re wrapping up our corn mini-series by going back in time. We start by following the mystery around the domestication of corn in Mesoamerica. Then, we explore the importance of corn in pre-Columbian life, particularly in Mayan and Aztec religions. We discuss the Mayan Maize God and Centeotl, the role of corn in the creation of the universe and mankind, and the real reason why the Aztecs followed the Spanish around with incense. Finally, we discuss the ancient Mayan sport of xbalanque.
Inspired by a discussion with our very favorite executive producer, Mary Vo, we decided to explore a great misconception about everyone’s favorite breakfast pastry. Turns out, croissants aren’t French at all. We trace the known history of croissants and speculate wildly about how medieval crescent rolls became the buttery, flaky rolls of heaven that we know and love today. We also discuss the life and times of the extraordinary baking pioneer/newspaper mogul August Zang.
The Thomas Jefferson Trilogy ends with an discussion of the third President’s very expensive tastes that eventually made him go into heavy debt. We explore Jefferson’s famed cattiness, including his snide comments about whiskey-drinkers. We also discuss how Jefferson, though a smart farmer, was pretty terrible at it, unlike George Washington. But, apparently, Jefferson was a great gardener and vegetarian. Finally, Faye takes issue with Thomas Jefferson’s dinner menu for a Tunisian diplomat.
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.”
We’re back with an all new episode to inaugurate our second season of Follow the Crumbs. We begin by destroying your Disney dreams and demystifying America’s two favorite mythical Native Americans – Pocahontas and Squanto. We explore Ben Franklin’s love affair with corn and how it connected to the South’s love affair with tobacco and rum. Finally, Faye pitches yet another HBO historical fiction series focused on Paul Revere’s famed drunken horse ride through Massachusetts.
In the penultimate episode of Season 1, we’re continuing our bovine fascination, but this time we’re yakking about cows’ Tibetan cousins: yaks. We trace the roots of yaks and how they drove Chinese economics for centuries, pitch an amazing HBO mini-series about the Qin Dynasty, and discuss the monetary value of yak in dowries. Finally, Faye’s cat/familiar makes a special appearance.
This week, we go deep into the four bellies of a cow to uncover the mystery of where cows are from. We discuss the mechanics of cow running, the best geographic strategy for cattle trading, and the legacy of cows in college rivalries. Finally, Faye laments a missed opportunity in American history to glorify another bovine creature – the American Buffalo.