I get up every day at 8:00 sharp. Do all the dishes my past-self thoughtlessly left in the sink, shower, take the dog out, prep my uniform for a day’s abasement, and walk 45 minutes to work. I walk down footpaths, through forests, past people’s backyard gardens. It’s not all concrete, there are trees and birds and sometimes bears and things… it’s nice. But, sometimes it can be a little boring.
Enter podcasts. The perfect way to fill my head with interesting news, fun-facts, tunes, humour and talk talk talk talk… All while I hike my way to work. I love podcasts of all types, and subscribe to many: Music, history, science, comics, etc. Each created and curated by a person (or persons) with mad passion for something. Now, I work in a kitchen, and cook at home, and write about cooking on this blog, so it’s not far off to say I’m obsessed with food. As it turns out, so are many, many other people (How many food blogs out there? Thousands?) and some of those people have access to a microphone and an iTunes account.
Food podcasts, like food blogs, are big and getting bigger! What was once a tiny niche in the “Health and Lifestyle” tab has become an iTunes frontpage mainstay. People want to hear about other people’s dinner, or how sous-vide works, what the next big thing for snails will be, or why René Redzepi’s name doesn’t sound all that Nordic. Anything you can imagine that is even remotely food related is being talked about, dissected and discussed. And some of it is pretty good!
Now, a couple of provisos before I run down my favourite five:
- First up, I only chose podcasts that are still currently producing episodes. This is why many classics like Eat Feed and Deconstructing Dinner are not in attendance.
- Second, I’ve only included audio podcasts, not video. They are amazing (hit up Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie) but hard to watch while walking to work. I end up in a lot more ditches when I try.
- Finally, I don’t make “Top” five lists anymore. Each podcast is different in style, content and most of all budget! Comparing some mediocre show put out by a big radio station to a brilliant one made by a line cook in his basement is like comparing apples and emus.
If you haven’t experimented with podcasts, do it! The podcast revolution has already been around for years, and there is so much FREE content out there! I guarantee you’ll find something that interests you, no matter how general or obscure your obsessions. Get on iTunes, or Podcast.com, or hit up your favourite personality’s website and listen up!
Five Great Podcasts About Food
If food is my primary obsession in life, then history would be the close runner up. Put ‘em together and you have a damn interesting podcast! Culinary historian Linda Pelaccio invites a guest expert to join her every episode in discussing the history of food, and how it relates to modern tastes. Sometimes the talk is focused on a single event in history and sometimes it unfolds to cover a broader story. Great topics include the history of American cocktails, soy sauce, baking in pre-industrial times, ancient grains, the rise and fall of tuna fishing and tons more. A Taste of the Past is part of the Heritage Radio Network, an internet-based radio station dedicated to food culture.
With only two podcasts under their belt, the charming duo of David Leite and Renee Rossi have forged a diehard following of foodies thanks to that most important element of talk: chemistry. These two (like the duo who host Spilled Milk below) really enjoy each other’s company and love to talk food. It’s a lighthearted, poignant and often irreverent glimpse into the many facets of food culture. It’ll make you smile.
The moment I heard Booker T and the MG’s kick in, I knew I was ‘gonna love this podcast. Mark Pascal and Francis Schott are The Restaurant Guys, and they love to talk shop, share opinions and interview fellow members of our brash, beautiful and bastardized foodservice industry. This is a podcast geared towards chefs, cooks, bartenders, restaurateurs and anyone who has ever thrown up their hands in frustration at the foibles of our industry, and the insanity-cum-stupidity of our customers. Each episode starts with a discussion of a recent restaurant news event, followed by an interview with an industry pro. Everyone uses industry slang and oozes a wine-splattered Reservoir Dogs-kinda cool.
Dan Pashman talks like a cross between Guy Fieri and George Stroumboulopoulos… And that’s a ‘freakin cool thing. The Sporkful is his one man bandstand built to spread the gospel of “eating more, eating better, and eating more better”. It’s awesome! Dan’s enthusiasm and style propel the show forward without pause. Half-hour episodes fly by in what feels like seconds, and there is a lot of fun packed into all this hyper-compressed talk. Discussions routinely revolve around the messy mechanics of burger eating, the joys of melted cheese and half-cooked bacon, the philosophy of “total pizza awareness” and just what the heck is a Veggieducken? It’s all mad, good, greasy fun. The kind that makes me want to order pizza every time I get home, and eat it upside-down… Also, listen to Dan on Slate’s limited series Table To Farm.
West Coast represent! Spilled Milk is a podcast mixed up by food bloggers, authors and obvious friends Matthew Amster-Burton and Molly Weizenberg. They have chemistry by the carton-full, and are a joy to listen to. Each episode focuses on a single ingredient used in cooking. The dynamic duo talk about it, cook with, eat it, talk about it some more, and laugh about pretty much anything and everything. Many episodes had me giggling to myself (passing drivers give me such looks!) and nodding in nostalgic agreement (take-out Chinese episode for sure!). Just to give you an idea of their sense of fun, this is clipped from their blog:
“Spilled Milk has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to treat any disease, but just between you and me, it probably cures Chlamydia.”
While you’re prowling for more audio edibles hit up our Five More Great Food Podcasts!