We’re back! The Dumpling Diaries continue with the unlikely journey of a Central Asian street food that became one of South Asia’s most beloved snacks. We discuss all the words to describe a flaky pastry enveloping a spiced meat and vegetable mixture, the Mamluks and the rise of the Delhi Sultanate, and how the earliest written mention of the samosa appeared outside South Asia. Finally, we discuss all the iterations of the word “samosa.”
Dumpling Diaries 3: Lost in the Himalayas
After a HUGE hiatus, we’re back! We traveled, we lost sleep, we experienced life’s ups and downs, but here we are, returning to our first love – this podcast. And we resume talking about dumplings. This week, we discuss a true champion of dumplings (the momo), Ancient Nepalese-Tibetan geopolitics, and Buddhist mythology. Finally, Faye can’t pronounce iconography, and Ria forgets South Asian geography.
Dumpling Diaries 2: Memoirs of a Gyoza
This week, we dig into our first dumping – the humble gyoza. In our dumpling taxonomy, the gyoza is a “true dumpling.” We discuss Chinese medicine, the history of Sino-Japanese relations, and how gyoza (or their ancestors) may have been found in tombs in Western Asia. Finally, we argue that dumplings are good for your health (it’s just science!).
Dumpling Diaries 1: What’s in a Name
We’re kicking off our long-awaited dumpling series by providing a methodology. Oftentimes, we find ourselves asking, “what is a dumpling,” and in this mini-episode, we provide the answer that will guide us throughout this series. We present three categories of dumplings and some examples. Finally, we leave you with some myths surrounding dumplings.
One Maamoul to Rule Them All
This week, we share a belated Eid and Easter episode with all of you. We discuss the parallels between Easter and the Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar, how Abrahamic religions incorporate maamoul into their springtime holidays, and why the ancient Egyptians had depictions of maamoul. Finally, we trace the history of date cultivation in the Middle East, South Asia, and even Rome.
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.
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.
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.