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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.