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.
Moo-Dunnit: How Beef Replaced Bison on the American Plainsand Plate 2020-09-15 11:57:00 Saddle up, folks: Today's episode involves the cowboys' lullabies and meat riots that helped make beef an American birthright. With the help of Joshua Specht, author of Red Meat Republic, we tell the story of how and why the 30 million bison that roamed the Plains were replaced with 30 million cows. You'll never look at a Porterhouse steakthe first cut of beef invented in Americathe same way again.
See omnystudio.com/policies/listener for privacy information. 41 minutes, 12 seconds
What the Shell? Cracking the Lobster's Mysteries 2020-08-31 14:49:00 Consider the lobster roll: tender chunks of lobster bathed in butter or mayo, sandwiched between two slices of a squishy bread roll... Have we caught your attention yet? Lobster is a summertime staple in New England, a fixture on casino and cruise ship buffets, and a steady partner for steak in the classic surf 'n' turf. Today, the American lobster industry is the single most valuable fishery in the countrybut it wasn't always so. This episode, we're cracking the lobster's many mysteries, including how it went from prison fare to fancy food. There's also the question of what lobster eyes have to do with both the International Space Station and the belief in Intelligent Design, plus the rollicking tale of why it took scientists so long to locate the lobster penisand what makes lobster sex so, well, steamy? Listen in now for the lobster lore you never knew you needed to know!
See omnystudio.com/policies/listener for privacy information. 41 minutes, 49 seconds
Guest Episode: Rocky Road with Science Diction 2020-08-25 08:16:00 This episode, Gastropod is bringing you a guest: Science Diction, a bite-sized podcast about words, and the science stories behind them. They answer questions like: what does the word "meme" have to do with evolutionary biology? And why do we call it the Spanish flu when it wasn't from Spain? Science Diction is doing a series on food words, and this episode is all about Rocky Road. Grab a spoon and enjoy! We'll be back in just one week with our regularly scheduled Gastropod episode. 18 minutes, 36 seconds
Shatter-Proof: How Glass Took Over the Kitchenand Ended Child Labor 2020-08-17 16:53:00 Cheers! The lively clink of glass on glass is a must for any festive gathering, whether you're sipping champagne in a flute or lemonade in a tumbler. We rely on glass in the kitchenfor baking perfectly browned pies, preserving jams and pickles, and so much more. But glass wasn't always so cheap and ubiquitous: to ancient Egyptians and Romans, this was precious stuffit was high fashion to own a clear wine goblet in ancient Rome. Later, Venetians so prized their glass know-how that they imprisoned their glassmakers on an island. So how did glass go from fragile and precious tabletop ornament to an oven-ready kitchen workhorse? How did the inventions of a glassmaker in Toledo, Ohio, transform the peanut butter and ketchup industries, as well as put an end to child labor? And are we running out of sand to make glass? 45 minutes, 52 seconds
The Most Dangerous Fruit in America 2020-08-03 11:54:00 It's the epitome of summertime: there's nothing like a cold, juicy slice of red watermelon on a swelteringly hot day. But, once upon a time, watermelons were neither red nor sweetthe wild watermelon has white flesh and a bitter taste. This episode, we scour Egyptian tombs, decaying DNA, and ancient literature in search of watermelon's origins. The quest for tasty watermelon continues into modern times, with the rediscovery of a lost (and legendarily sweet) varietal in South Carolinaand the Nigerian musical secret that might help you pick a ripe one. But the fruit's history has often been the opposite of sweet: watermelons have featured in some of the most ubiquitous anti-Black imagery in U.S. history. So how did the watermelon become the most dangerousand racistfruit in America? 41 minutes, 18 seconds
Dig for Victory 2020-06-16 16:51:00 You've seen the news: vegetable seeds are selling out. All that quarantine ennui has combined with anxiety about the gaps on supermarket shelves to create a whole new population of city farmers in backyards and windowsills across America. And everyone from the Los Angeles Times to Forbes to CBS has dubbed these brand new beds of beets and broccoli "COVID-19 Victory Gardens." But what war is your pot of basil fighting? This episode, historian Anastasia Day helps us explore the history of urban gardening movementsand shatter some of the nostalgic myths about those original World War II-era Victory Gardens. One thing is true: in 1943, more than 43 percent of the fresh produce eaten by all Americans came from Victory Gardens. So, can a combination of vegetable patches, community gardens, and urban farms help feed cities today? Or is growing food in the city just a feel-good distraction from the bigger problems in our food system? And does the hype about high-tech vertical farms live up to environmental and economic reality? Listen in as farmers and activists Leah Penniman and Tepfirah Rushdan, food writer Tamar Haspel, and researchers Neil Mattson and Raychel Santo help us dig in to the science on urban agriculture, and harvest some answersas well as a tomato or two. 47 minutes, 43 seconds
Shared Plates: How Eating Together Makes Us Human 2020-06-02 20:36:05 We love eating dinner together with friends and extended family, and we miss it! But why does sharing a meal mean so muchand can we ever recreate that on Zoom? As we wait for the dinner parties, cookouts, and potlucks of our post-pandemic future, join us as we explore the science and history of communal dining. Scientist Ayelet Fishbach shares how and why eating together makes us better able to work together, and evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar and archaeologist Brian Hayden demonstrate how it actually made us humanand led to everything from the common cow to the pyramids. Plus we join food writers Nichola Fletcher and Samin Nosrat for the largest in-person banquet of all time, with Parisian waiters on bicycles, as well as the world's biggest online lasagna party. 40 minutes, 2
Pizza Pizza! 2020-05-19 11:40:00 At last, an episode on pizza! But that raises a tricky question: what exactly is pizza? As it turns out, the original pizzas from eighteenth-century Naples looked nothing like a standard slicethey were more like a focaccia, topped with oil, herbs, anchovies, or whatever else was on hand. Even after these first pizzas met the tomato, the dish was a local peculiaritymost Italians thought pizza was gross and weird until just a few decades ago. So how did we get from Neapolitan subsistence snack to today's delivery staple? Listen in this episode as we travel with historian Carol Helstosky, author of Pizza: A Global History, and Francisco Migoya, head chef at Modernist Cuisine, from Italy to New York to Brazil and beyond, to tell the story of how pizza conquered the world. All that, plus the tough questions: is Chicago deep dish really pizza? How about bananas on top? What about (gasp) a donut pizza? 45 minutes
Eating the Wild: Bushmeat, Game, and the Fuzzy Line Between Them 2020-05-05 14:10:56 It's a safe bet that your recent media diet has included the words "wet market," "zoonotic disease," and "pangolin," as experts take a pause from discussing COVID-19's spread and impact to speculate on the virus's origins. This episode, we're digging into the larger story behind those words, that of our relationship to eating wild animals: how and why have our attitudes to wild meat shifted over time? Why is it that deer shot by a hunter in the U.S. is game, but monkey caught in the Democratic Republic of Congo is bushmeat? With the help of Gina Rae La Cerva, author of the new book, Feasting Wild, we explore what we gain and lose by eating wild, from the lost primeval forests of Europe to Robin Hood, and from smoked monkey to bird spit. 39 minutes, 13 seconds
Eating the Rainbow: Or, the Mystery of the Orange Oranges, the Red M&Ms, and the Blue Raspberry 2020-04-21 15:40:39 From stripy fuchsia beets to unicorn doughnuts, the foods available today on grocery store shelves and in cafe displays are more brightly colored than ever. But this hasn't always been the case. This episode of Gastropod, we offer three stories that explore the colors of our cuisine: How did a food fight between Florida and California turn oranges (the fruit) that perfect bright orange (the color)? Why did US consumers freak out about the food dye Red #2, and what was the impact on our M&Ms? And finally, who invented the blue raspberry? All that, plus one very sexy indigo-hued blossom. 43 minutes, 53 seconds
Debbie Millman: Designing Our Lives From prehistoric cave art to today's social media feeds, to design is to be human. This hour, designer Debbie Millman guides us through a world made and remadeand helps us design our own paths.
#574 State of the Heart This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts.
Insomnia Line Coronasomnia is a not-so-surprising side-effect of the global pandemic. More and more of us are having trouble falling asleep. We wanted to find a way to get inside that nighttime world, to see why people are awake and what they are thinking about.
So what'd Radiolab decide to do?
Open up the phone lines and talk to you.
We created an insomnia hotline and on this week's experimental episode, we stayed up all night, taking hundreds of calls, spilling secrets, and at long last, watching the sunrise peek through.
This episode was produced by Lulu Miller with Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Shima Oliaee, and Jonny Moens.
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