The King of Cakes

This week, we postpone our dumplings series for one more festival-themed episode. Instead, we discuss a cake for all spring holidays in the Christian calendar, how a Christmas-time dessert became an Easter-time dessert, and the significance of Three Kings Day. Finally, we talk about enriched doughs.

New Year, New Season

This week, we dive into season 5 by ringing in the (Lunar) New Year. We explore the foods that make Lunar New Year special, the relationship between samurais and mochi, and how a bowl of tteokguk can give you another year of life. Finally, we discuss the pun that gave the world longevity noodles.

Yule Be Home for Christmas

This week, we trace the pagan roots of the Christmas season. We discuss big tree fires, why the bouche de noel (Christmas cake) looks like a log, and how leaders repackaged pre-Christian traditions for a converted populace. Finally, we discuss exactly why yule logs are so difficult for bakers on and off the Great British Bake Off.

Apologies for any weird ending you might hear this week – we had some technical difficulties.

American Pie

This week, we’re deep in Holiday Season, as we discuss one of America’s most divisive and storied holiday desserts: pumpkin pie. We discuss Indigenous farming practices, the myth of the first Thanksgiving, and how New England used tourism to elevate the story of Plymouth Rock. Finally, we discuss the connection between the Civil War and pumpkin pie’s firm place on Thanksgiving tables across the country.

The Scarlet Apple

This week, we’re taking on seasonal treats. We discuss a marketing strategy that worked too well, how candied fruits traveled from China to the Americas, and the connection between Yeats and candied apples. Finally, we explore the dental dangers of various kinds of hard-shelled apples.

Remember the Margarita!

In this episode, we’re diving into one of Mexico’s beloved cocktails – the margarita. Of course, the history of this drink is murky, and we explore the margarita’s competing origin stories. We discuss a showgirl who was allergic to every alcohol except tequila, a house party hosted by Dallas socialite and a Hilton in Acapulco, and Rita Hayworth’s time in Tijuana. Finally, we give you a Spanish lesson.

Wheat Streets 8: Pan y Circo

This week, we’re ending our wheat series with yet another revolution. But this time, we’re not talking about a political revolution. We discuss the hottest fads in farming, the environmental impacts of fertilizer, and the negative impacts of an agricultural movement to end hunger. Finally, we talk about the superbugs that keep us up at night.

Wheat Streets 6: Brot and Peace

As our journey with wheat continues, we come to the most important event of the 20th century: The Great War. This week, we pick up right where we left off, and discuss why America’s grain couldn’t get to Europe fast enough, how Germany’s quest to feed its people may have prolonged the war, and how Herbert Hoover won the war. Finally, we foreshadow the next years in Russia by returning to our favorite theme: grain prices.

Wheat Streets 5: Grown in the U.S.A.

We’re back on our grain train! This week, we’re talking about wheat’s trip across the Atlantic, the role that railroads (yet again) play in the rise of a beloved food in the United States, and how a century of revolution in Europe allowed American farmers to feed the world. Finally, we discuss the rise of Chicago.