Gastropod Gastropod looks at food through the lens of science and history. Co-hosts Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley serve up a brand new episode every two weeks.
White vs. Wheat: The Food Fight of the Centuries 2020-03-24 14:36:08 White or whole wheat: while today the question is most frequently asked at the sandwich counter, the debate over the correct answer goes back literally thousands of years. In the past century, though, as white flour and thus white bread became more accessible, the debate became increasingly heated: "Science finds that white bread develops criminals," reported newspapers in the 1920s, while anti-white bread activists at the time claimed that eating too many slices would causing blindness and facial deformity. But whole-wheat bashers had their retorts ready: "Whiteness and purity go hand in hand," proclaimed health writer Dr. Woods Hutchinson. "The whitest possible of white bread" is "not only much more appetizing, but ... more nutritious and more wholesome than any black, brown or brindled staff of life."
White vs. wholewheat: this episode, we dive into the world's longest-running, highest-stakes food fight. Along the way: the invention of sliced bread, the science behind Wonder Bread's curious bounce, and a light dusting of eugenics. Listen in now as Aaron Bobrow-Strain, author of White Bread: A Social History of the Store-bought Loaf, unpacks the anxieties and values underlying the bread wars, while wheat breeder Steve Jones introduces us to the "approachable" loaf that he hopes will win the battle for once and for all. 49 minutes, 8 seconds
Licorice: A Dark and Salty Stranger 2020-03-10 11:58:00 Licorice is a polarizing candy: there are those who pick out the black jelly beans, those who think Twizzlers are better than Red Vines, and those who won't travel without a supply of salty dark lozenges. The dark and chewy treat begins life as a plant root that is more than fifty times as sweet as sugar. This episode, we tell the story of how a traditional remedy become England's first branded candy, and we get to the bottom of a medical mystery (licorice poisoning!) in a tale that involves both Tutankhamun and Henry VIII. 39 minutes, 54 seconds
To Fight Climate Change, Bank on Soil 2020-02-25 15:49:00 Our glaciers are melting, our forests are on fire, our harvests are increasingly decimated by either floods and drought. We are in a climate emergency that threatens our very survival, and it is, frankly, incredibly depressing. But this episode, we've got the story of one of the most exciting, seemingly feasible efforts to reduce atmospheric ...More â
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Move Over Gin, We've Got Tonic Fever 2020-02-10 21:45:28 Just a few decades ago, gin & tonics were considered rather stodgy and boring, the drink of suburbanites at the golf club. Today, the century-old drink is hot again. In part, that's due to a boom in craft gin distillinga ginaissance! But there's also been a new wave of experimentation with gin's life partner, tonic ...More â
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The United States of McDonald's 2020-01-27 17:00:10 McDonald's is mind-boggling. According to Adam Chandler, author of the recent book, Drive-Thru Dreams, it sells roughly 75 burgers every second and serves 68 million people every dayequivalent to 1 percent of the entire world's population. "The golden arches are thought to be, according to an independent survey, more recognizable as a symbol than the ...More â
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Dinner Plate Invasion: Lionfish, Tiger Shrimp, and Feral Pigs, Oh My! 2020-01-13 11:21:43 Across America, feral pigs are on the rampage, wrecking fields of crops, hunting local wildlife to extinction, and even attacking humans. In the United Kingdom, Japanese knotweed is taking over the landscape: banks deny mortgages to infested properties, and the government regulates its disposal with the same precautions it takes for low-level nuclear waste. Humans ...More â
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Meet the Queen of Kiwi: the 96-Year-Old Woman Who Transformed America's Produce Aisle 2019-12-17 06:39:57 The produce section of most American supermarkets in the 1950s was minimal to a fault, with only a few dozen fruits and vegetables to choose from: perhaps one kind of apple, one kind of lettuce, a yellow onion, a pile of bananas. Today, grocery stores routinely offer hundreds of different fruits and vegetables, many of ...More â
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Meet the Queen of Kiwi: The 96-Year-Old Woman Who Transformed America's Produce Aisle 2019-12-17 06:39:57 The produce section of most American supermarkets in the 1950s was minimal to a fault, with only a few dozen fruits and vegetables to choose from: perhaps one kind of apple, one kind of lettuce, a yellow onion, a pile of bananas. Today, grocery stores routinely offer hundreds of different fruits and vegetables, many of ...More â
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Are Insect Guts the Secret to the Most Delicious Kimchi? 2019-12-03 13:05:59 This side dish of spicy, bubbly, funky pickled vegetables is such a staple in Korea that no meal is considered complete without itbut, recently, kimchi has found its way into burgers, pasta, grilled cheese, and even tacos. This episode, we trace the behind-the-scenes story of the "kimchi diplomacy" that turned Korea's favorite fermented cabbage into ...More â
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Menu Mind Control 2019-11-18 15:21:41 At its most basic, a menu is simply a way for a restaurant to communicate its offerings and their prices to its customers. But, perhaps even more importantly, says Alison Pearlman, author of a new book on menus called May We Suggest, a menu has to persuade diners that they want what the restaurant is ...More â
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Teaching For Better Humans 2.0 More than test scores or good gradeswhat do kids need for the future? This hour, TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, both during and after this time of crisis. Guests include educators Richard Culatta and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
#556 The Power of Friendship It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond".
This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Dispatch 3: Shared Immunity More than a million people have caught Covid-19, and tens of thousands have died. But thousands more have survived and recovered. A week or so ago (aka, what feels like ten years in corona time) producer Molly Webster learned that many of those survivors possess a kind of superpower: antibodies trained to fight the virus. Not only that, they might be able to pass this power on to the people who are sick with corona, and still in the fight. Today we have the story of an experimental treatment that's popping up all over the country: convalescent plasma transfusion, a century-old procedure that some say may become one of our best weapons against this devastating, new disease.
If you have recovered from Covid-19 and want to donate plasma, national and local donation registries are gearing up to collect blood.
To sign up with the American Red Cross, a national organization that works in local communities, head here.
To find out more about the The National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project, which we spoke about in our episode, including information on clinical trials or plasma donation projects in your community, go here.
And if you are in the greater New York City area, and want to donate convalescent plasma, head over to the New York Blood Center to sign up. Or, register with specific NYC hospitals here.
If you are sick with Covid-19, and are interested in participating in a clinical trial, or are looking for a plasma donor match, check in with your local hospital, university, or blood center for more; you can also find more information on trials at The National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project.
And lastly, Tatiana Prowell's tweet that tipped us off is here.
This episode was reported by Molly Webster and produced by Pat Walters. Special thanks to Drs. Evan Bloch and Tim Byun, as well as the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
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