As cooking shows have taken over culinary media, many of us get our culinary inspiration from celebrity chefs on TV, but that isn’t the only way to stay abreast of new techniques, food news, and insight from some of the globe’s best culinary minds. The world of podcasts is exploding, thanks in large part to popular shows like Serial and This American Life, but there are plenty of food-related podcast to expand your foodie horizons.
Maybe you’d like to listen to culinary podcasts while you’re chopping onions in the kitchen or you’re on the way to your favorite local market. Or maybe you’re just in the mood for food! These podcasts will feed your culinary curiosity with a blend of food science, historical lore, fascinating recipes, and what’s happening in the food world. From quick five-minute segments to meaty 40-minute shows, you’ll find the audible ingredients you need to satisfy your cravings.
What Doesn’t Kill You
During this tackle-the-issues show—it used to be called Straight No Chaser—veteran host Katy Keiffer interviews a never-ending stream of experts involved with the culinary world: food litigation lawyers, White House chefs, USDA officials, you name it. Want to know about farming insects for human consumption? Tune in! Or you might catch an episode about slave labor and Thai shrimp. You never know what you’re going to hear on her show…but you do know you’ll hear a spirited and respectful conversation about whatever topic is at hand. These are 40 essential weekly minutes for anyone who wants to get down and dirty with what’s on our plates and be entertained at the same time. And with over 150 podcasts under her belt, Keiffer doesn’t show signs of slowing down any time soon.
This podcast has only been around for a year, but co-hosts Nicola Twilley and Cynthia Graber already managed to snag the International Association of Culinary Professional’s Best Audio Series Award in 2015. That’s not surprising when you listen to their lively, easy-going banter that brings a world of culinary curiosities to life. Their motto is “Food with a side of science and history,” and they’re not kidding. Superbovine bulls? Check. Weird (and rather disturbing) facts about cheese bacteria? Got it. Why is there an entire aisle in grocery stores dedicated to the concept of cereal for breakfast? You’ll find out. Since Nicola hails from the U.K. and Cynthia is from the U.S., between them, you’ll hear perspectives from both sides of the pond.
If you’re looking for a quick nibble, pick your favorite letter and see what it stands for in the edible alphabet. These four-minute sound bytes pack a lot of history into each segment. It’s a little like listening to an encyclopedia speak—the simple yet thorough approach means you’ll actually be able to remember what you heard. Yes, you may have to block out the oddly swelling electronic music in the background, but once you’ve listened to all 26 episodes, you’ll be able to tell your friends and family the annotated history of everything from hot dogs to udon noodles.
If you’re into recipes and food memoirs, this is the show for you. You’ll hear plenty of food lore and good old-fashioned reminiscing about where a dish (or ingredient) came from, why it’s so beloved—Fat Tuesday in Iceland, anyone?—and what role it plays in today’s food-forward society. Eat Feed is celebrating its ten-year anniversary, having come onto the scene in 2005 and then topping the “Best Of” podcast lists at Slate and Saveur in the intervening years. Host (and Paste Food contributor) Anne Bramley has been carefully curating topics and guests longer than most food podcasts have been in the kitchen. And here’s another bonus: you’ll find mouthwatering recipes on her website, too. Listen, learn, and taste your way to culinary bliss!
NPR’s The Salt
Okay, this is more of a blog than a podcast, but you can always click on “listen to recent stories” to hear the latest audio files. Given NPR’s newsiness, The Salt tends to talk about the politics and health of food, but the team also delves into fun food news, restaurant trends, and global cuisine topics. It’s easy to find what interests you: choose “eating and health” (that one is obvious), “foodways” (focusing on the history and culture of food and food traditions), “producers” (growers, breeders, manufacturers, and anyone else involved in the production of food), “food for thought” (fun geeky science stuff!), or “for foodies” (you know who you are). Much of the content is written articles, but you’ll find plenty of podcasts for your listening pleasure, with new content being added almost daily.
Lisa Howard is the author of Healthier Gluten-Free (2014) and The Big Book of Healthy Cooking Oils (September 2015).