Frybread: A Story of Tragedy and Resilience

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.

An Arabian Tale: Biryani Goes West

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.

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.

Pod Save Georgia… or Georgia Save the Pod?

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.

The Codfather

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.

The Great Molasses Flood

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.

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)

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate! AACK!

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).

Praise the Corn Gods! Corn, Pt. 2

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.

The Great French Lie: A Croissant Expose

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.