We all love The Hungry Dads Podcast more than anything – but there are other great podcasts in case you didn’t know. Here are some food-centric shows and episodes. In no particular order:
#1. Planet Money – This is theoretically a podcast about money and economics – but it is way too much fun to be described that way. It’s all about human and real world stories and has a surprising number of food centric episodes. Episode 554, “How The Burrito Became a Sandwich” analyzed a NY Tax Law that legally defines what constitutes a sandwich. (this episode also inspired our own vigorous debate in Hungry Dads, Episode 2). Episode 399, entitled “Can You Patent a Steak?” featured a “meat scientist” who is literally cutting up cows to “invent” a new cut of beef. They also discuss a patents for KFC Popcorn Chicken, Steak Ums and the delicious sounding “Frank Fries,” (a hybrid of curly fries and corn dogs). Episode #627, The Miracle Apple,” tells us why apples are yummier than they used to be. The answer? Copyright Law! Episode #601, The Chocolate Curse,” asks if chocolate as we know it is becoming rarer than gold – or even extinct!?
#2. This American Life – Perhaps the best podcast/radio show out there right now hosted by NPR rockstar Ira Glass. If you haven’t heard of it, then stop reading now and check them out. Episode 484, Doppelgangers, is a classic episode that explores a question I didn’t know existed: Is some calamari served in restaurants actually cut up pig rectum, seasoned and fried? And if so, would a taste test reveal the difference? Learn about “seafood counterfeiting,” and if the taste of poop can be removed in cooking.
#3. Welcome to Nightvale – The most unique podcast out there. Smart, clever humor. It’s a fake a radio show for a fictional town where spooky weird stuff happens. It defies description, but suffice to say, in one fake/parody commercial, they do a philosophical sendup of Outback Steakhouse’s motto, “No Rules. Just Right.” There is no describing it. Take a listen. Episode 55.
#4. 99% Invisible – It’s a podcast about design. But since design sorta covers everything, they also cover everything. Including food. The podcast itself is art. The host, Roman Mars has a palpable and contagious love of podcasting. Episode 137, Good Bread, gives us the history of the modernly maligned white bread; how there was a visual design decision to it white so people would think it was pure and healthy. (We reviewed this episode in greater detail in Hungry Dads, Episode 13). In Episode 148, The Sizzle, 99% Invisible talks about the aural sensation of Chili’s sizzling fajitas.
#5. The Gist with Mike Pesca – General news culture podcast hosted by a fella named Mike Pesca –its focus is clever analysis of news and pop culture, but there is a food focus pretty often. In Episode 237 they point out that everyone in TV and movies eats Chinese food out of those white cartons, but in real life, how often do you really see those anymore? In a great regular segment called, “Is it Bullshit” Episode 254 asked if artificial sweeteners were bullshit. Do they cause cancer? Do they promote weight loss?
#6. The Sporkful – This food focused public radio show is “Not for Foodies, its for Eaters.” It’s kinda serious, but kinda fun and senseless too. They ask some great questions that straddle the fun/serious divide like: Is free office coffee more valuable than healthcare? Office Fridge politics? In a recent episode, we hear from a “flavor chemist” who came up with both the Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Pizza and the McDonald’s McGriddle and get his take on how to pack a hamburger for grilling (lookup Meylar Reaction).
#7. Spilled Milk – Upbeat hosts Molly and Matthew take a type of food each week (pudding, soy sauce, Indian food, shallots, are few recent examples) and break it down, taste test, share memories, thoughts and recipes. To be clear, it’s not a cooking show. It’s a loving tribute to each day’s item. What’s refreshing about it is how truly nice the hosts seem. Nothing sarcastic or snarky about them or the show. And nowadays sarcasm and snark are kind of the humorists’ shorthand, which makes this upbeat show so unique.
#8. Freakeconomics – Another economics podcast, but totally, totally entertaining with great food content. The episode, “There is No Such Thing as a Free Appetizer,” asks why restaurants give free bread? The episode, “A Better Way to Eat” features world champion competitive eater Takayru Kobayashi. He the world record for hot dog eating after “training” with rolls of minced fish.
(check out Episode 41 for more info)