Scrolling through itunes, I noticed that only one of the food podcasts from my previous list (less than a year ago!) had captured my interest long enough to survive.
Time moves fast in the podcasting world, and the culling can be merciless and swift. Two weeks of un-interesting episodes and my fickle fingers strays toward the “Unsubscribe” button…Don’t judge, I’m not the only one.
Luckily I’m not starved for content. As I said, seasons wax and wain at blinding speed and the fertile fields of itunes, Downcast, Sticher and Google Listen blossom with new food-related podcasts every month. With all the time I spend biking to work (yes, even in February) I got time to kill, and learn. So give me all the content, and then gimmie more!
Seriously folks, get in on this! It’s free and funny and surprisingly accessible to anyone! I don’t want to hear about how you can’t navigate your itunes account or how you can’t be bothered with the (terrifying!) politics of a keyboard and mouse. FREE STUFF! And if you find it compelling, you do what master podcaster Kevin Smith describes as, “Thow ‘em some sheckles” and feel good as well as smarter and entertained. Win freakin win.
Anyway, back to food… I realized that most of my new foodcasts fall into one of two classifications:
Type One – The Interview: Straight up, cookbook-fueled, celebrity chef exposition. A knowledgeable (or overly-nerdy) host goes straight at a particular person and wrings every bit of interesting biographical information they can within a half-hour time frame. These types of podcast tend to be a bit more polished and family friendly than…
Type Two – The After Shifter: A rambly, often-hilarious simulation of the alcohol-induced conversations that cooks have after they just spent a long night on the line. Completely ad-libbed and NSFW fun.
So here is another mad mixtape of audio edibles, made by a diverse array of people who are passionate about food and the food industry. Get up on it and download some free stuff, I guarantee it’s better than anything on the radio, or on cable TV for that matter.
Five more Great podcasts About Food
This rudderless, foul-mouthed circus of a podcast definitely falls into the “after shift trash talk” category I discussed. Chef Paul Gerard, The Reverend Spyro and competitive eater Crazy Legs Conti invite a menagerie of industry folk and various weirdoes into the Heritage Radio studio to discuss whatever pops into their collectively twisted minds. Sometimes the discussion falls apart (avoid any episodes with “theme” guests like pornstars and midgets) and sometimes it morphs into something amazing! The recent episodes with Jim Chu and Peter Herrero are especially great and filled with a surprising amount of heart.
The thesis is this: Music has lost its edge and food-media has spiked in popularity to fill the void. Chef’s are the new media sweethearts/bad boys and food is the new rock ‘n roll. To explore this, Zack Brooks (from the blog Midtown Lunch) and sometimes Chuck P (from KCRW) sit down every week with a celebrity chef to talk about their favourite music, or a musician to talk about food. Find out Where Ozomatli and Cut Chemist go for authentic Mexican food in LA, explore proper junk food etiquette with Tenacious D, join Questlove for a Sunday night family dinner… Or experience Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden with Tom Colicchio, follow the ‘Dead with a young Wylie Dufresne and learn what Hubert Keller does after his kitchen shift (spoiler: He’s a Vegas DJ!) plus Grant Achatz, Moby, Rene Redzepi, Fall Out Boy, Jon Favreau and so many freakin more!
Another thesis: Every moment in life, whether it be profound (childbirth) or mundane (ham sandwich for lunch) can be paired with a perfect cocktail. This pairing will allow for greater appreciation of the moment, and also loosen one up to the point where they’ll spill all manner of life stories into a microphone. Chris Bowmen and Benjamin Ahr Harrison invite a charming guest on every week to talk about life, the universe and everything while sipping delicious homemade cocktails, recipes included. It’s a really funny, rambly show that occasionally veers into the drink.
Chefs, food-stylists, cookbook authors and restaurant designers delve deep into their respective obsessions and drop some serious knowledge under the surgical strike questions fired by host Michael Harlan Turkell. This guy is a serious foodie and really does his homework so the interviews are dense with both information and anecdotes. His talks with chefs Gunnar Karl Gislason and Charles Phan are both must-listen.
If This American Life decided to focus entirely on Southern food and the people who love it, you’d have Gravy, the podcast by The Southern Foodways Alliance. Each episode is a series of thematically-linked stories ranging from farming, to biscuit-making, to racial equality in cookbooks. The production is very slick (think NPR) and the stories are profound. I actually shed a tear during a recent episode involving bittersweet food memories. It’s only got a handful of episodes up so it’s easy to get caught up on all the great back-content.
Alright, as long as I’m throwing recommendations around, I might as well shout out to a couple of the non-foodcasts out there that I love:
The Adventure Zone – Three hilarious podcasters sit down with their dad and play D&D… Sound boring? Well AbrickaF&@ckyou! It’s the most hilarious, good natured bit of fantasy fun on the interwebs, and you don’t even need to know a thing about the game to enjoy the craziness.
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – If you love history, even a bit, this is everything you ever wanted to listen to. Master storyteller Dan Carlin connects you to the human experience amidst the greatest events of both modern and ancient history. Its way more interesting than a TTC lecture and completely free! The multi-part series on the Mongols (appropriately titled “Wrath of the Khans”) is so epic!
Pop Culture Happy hour – Everything I know about current TV, movies, music and literature can be tangentially traced back to an episode of PCHH. Also, Glen Weldon is awesome!
Song Exploder – Every week one musician takes apart one of their own songs layer by layer and explains the thoughts, feelings and crazy stories behind ‘em. It’s fascinating to hear each track peeled off and played on its own then re-compiled at the end while The Postal Service, Spoon, Tycho or The Stars points out bits you’d never, ever hear on your own.
99% Invisible – Speaking of things you’d never think about unless it was pointed out to you… That’s pretty much what this whole podcast is about. Award winning radio/podcast guru Roman Mars tackles one concept a week and brings you multiple viewpoints on something that no-one sees. Ostensibly a podcast about art and architecture, 99PI examines subway elevators, fences with poetry built into them, pneumatic waste disposal, baseball mascots, the music of Nick Drake and many, many more diverse and fascinating topics.