Friday, July 1, 2016

Trending Podcasts: Gravy & Burnt Toast

by Makena Wininger, Associate Degree in Culinary Arts, excerpted from La Papillote

Currently, iTunes hosts 240 different food-related podcasts covering everything from home-brewing to vegan cooking. They are hosted by people from every level of the culinary world, from famous chefs to food bloggers to home-cooks. Having all of these different voices commenting on our food, how we grow it, the way we eat it, and how to make it better, lends to a great wealth of information out there just waiting to be heard. But with over 240 options, where does one even start? Well, I have a couple suggestions for those who are willing to give podcasts a try.

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From the curators of the food blog, Food52, comes Burnt Toast, a show hosted by Kenzie Wilbur and a rotating cast of guests. Burnt Toast discusses all the things that don't make it on to the Food52 website, but what Wilbur says they're all talking about anyway. Wilbur is often joined by Food52 founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs to talk about controversial cooking topics, food culture, and have the occasional good-spirited debate. One of my favorite episodes of the show is, And the James Beard Award Goes To. This episode takes the listener on a tour of the James Beard Award process, following the journey of a cookbook from submission to award-winning.

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Produced by the Southern Foodways AllianceGravy is now a two-time James Beard Award-winning podcast that tells the stories of the changing American South through the foods we eat. This broadcast uses food as a means to delve into the culture of the South. The host, Tina Antolini, navigates the listener along a road trip of stories, seeking to show how the states below the Mason-Dixon line accommodate new immigrants, adopt new traditions, and maintain the old ones. The best episode I've heard so far is Episode 16: Fried Chicken: A Complicated Comfort Food. This episode reaches into the history of fried chicken as it has long represented the American South. Reporter Lauren Ober takes her listeners from the Gordonsville, VA Fried Chicken Festival to a soul food restaurant in Harlem to discover how fried chicken has been both the embodiment of empowerment and racism.

As an avid podcast listener myself and a lover of so many things food, the discussions taking place in this slowly emerging form of food media are fantastic ones. They're full of thoughtful, intellectual, and purposeful commentary on topics that culinarians should have on their minds. Why don't you, too, listen to a podcast and join the conversation. 

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