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Cooking the Books with Yotam and Nigella

From Gastropod - Who first started collecting recipes into cookbooks? Do cookbooks have a future in a world full of online recipes? And can cookbooks tell us anything about what people are actually eating, or are they simply aspirational food porn? This episode, we explore the past, present, and future of cookbooks, from cuneiform tablets to Hail Marys, ...More →


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.

Cooking the Books with Yotam and Nigella
2018-03-12 17:15:30
Who first started collecting recipes into cookbooks? Do cookbooks have a future in a world full of online recipes? And can cookbooks tell us anything about what people are actually eating, or are they simply aspirational food porn? This episode, we explore the past, present, and future of cookbooks, from cuneiform tablets to Hail Marys, ...More →
48 minutes, 31 seconds


The Curry Chronicles
2019-04-09 11:47:34
Curry is, supposedly, Indian. But there is no such word in any of the country's many official languages—and no Indian would use the term to describe their own food. So what is curry? This episode takes us to India, Britain, and Japan on a quest to understand how a variety of spicy, saucy dishes ended ...More → The post The Curry Chronicles appeared first on Gastropod.


The Bagelization of America
2019-03-26 01:12:18
Today, it's a breakfast staple, but, as recently as 1960, The New York Times had to define it for readers—as "an unsweetened doughnut with rigor mortis." That's right, this episode is all about the bagel, that shiny, ring-shaped, surprisingly dense bread that makes the perfect platform for cream cheese and lox. Where did it come ...More → The post The Bagelization of America appeared first on Gastropod.


Can Diet Stop Alzheimer's?
2019-03-11 13:41:00
Every three seconds, someone in the world develops Alzheimer's disease. It's a devastating disease: millions of people, as well as their caretakers, spend years dealing with disabling disorientation and memory loss. Today, it's the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. By 2050, an estimated 15 million people in America will have Alzheimer's—the combined ...More → The post Can Diet Stop Alzheimer's? appeared first on Gastropod.


Seeds of Immortality
2019-03-04 13:22:50
When seeds first evolved, hundreds of millions of years ago, they not only revolutionized the plant world, but they also eventually sowed the path for human civilization. Today, it's nearly impossible to eat a meal without consuming a plant embryo—or many. But how did seeds come to play such a critical role in human history? ...More → The post Seeds of Immortality appeared first on Gastropod.


Pick A Pawpaw: America's Forgotten Fruit
2019-02-26 12:03:58
In 1916, agricultural experts voted the pawpaw the American fruit most likely to succeed, ahead of blueberries and cranberries. But today, most people have never even heard of it, let alone tried it. What is the pawpaw, and how did we forget it? Listen in this episode for a tale that involves mastodons and head-lice, ...More → The post Pick A Pawpaw: America's Forgotten Fruit appeared first on Gastropod.


Eating to Win: Gatorade, Muscle Milk, and... Chicken Nuggets?
2019-02-12 13:36:48
Ancient Greek Olympians swore by beans to give them a competitive edge. Japanese sumo wrestlers rely on a protein-rich soup called chankonabe to get into peak condition. And NBA all-stars Kevin Garnett, Carmelo Anthony, and Steph Curry credit their success to a pre-game PB&J. Throughout history, athletes have traditionally eaten something special they hope will ...More → The post Eating to Win: Gatorade, Muscle Milk, and... Chicken Nuggets? appeared first on Gastropod.


The Secret History of the Slave Behind Jack Daniel's Whiskey
2019-01-28 15:51:33
Back in 1866, Jack Daniel's became the first registered distillery in the United States; today, it's the top-selling American whiskey in the world. For much of the brand's 150-plus years, the story went that the young Jack Daniel learned his trade from a pastor named Dan Call. In reality, he was taught to distill by ...More → The post The Secret History of the Slave Behind Jack Daniel's Whiskey appeared first on Gastropod.


Sweet and Low (Calorie): The Story of Artificial Sweeteners
2019-01-15 11:54:57
For decades, ads for treats sweetened with substances like Sweet'N Low, NutraSweet, and Splenda have promised what seems like a miracle of modern science: that you can enjoy all the dessert you want, calorie-free. No need to deprive yourself—with artificial sweeteners, you can literally have your cake and eat it, too. But are these substances ...More → The post Sweet and Low (Calorie): The Story of Artificial Sweeteners appeared first on Gastropod.


Dirty Tricks and Data: The Great Soda Wars, Part 2
2018-12-17 20:13:19
Over the past five years, more than forty cities and countries around the world have passed a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. These soda taxes are designed to improve public health—but do they? Or have all the doom-and-gloom predictions of the soda industry come true instead? Researchers have been crunching the data, and this episode we ...More → The post Dirty Tricks and Data: The Great Soda Wars, Part 2 appeared first on Gastropod.


Souring on Sweet: The Great Soda Wars, Part 1
2018-12-04 13:01:27
Public health researchers agree: the evidence is clear that Americans consume way too much sugar, that sugar contributes to weight gain, and that rising rates of obesity in the U.S. will lead to significant health problems in the future. What's much less clear is what to do about it. In this special, first-ever two-part episode ...More → The post Souring on Sweet: The Great Soda Wars, Part 1 appeared first on Gastropod.


The Truth is in the Tooth: Braces, Cavities, and the Paleo Diet
2018-11-19 14:47:02
Brush, floss, and forget: chances are, you only think about your teeth when they cause you trouble. But teeth have tales to tell, such as how old we are, how fast we grew, and how far we've traveled... But, most intriguingly, teeth can tell us both what we evolved to eat and what we actually have ...More → The post The Truth is in the Tooth: Braces, Cavities, and the Paleo Diet appeared first on Gastropod.


Who Invented Mac and Cheese?
2018-11-13 09:15:11
The warm, gooey dish, a childhood staple across North America, is many things to many people: a mainstay of African-American Sunday dinners, according to soul food expert Adrian Miller; a comforting yet celebratory meal that can be jazzed up in dozens of ways, according to chef and former mac and cheese restaurant owner Allison Arevalo; and ...More → The post Who Invented Mac and Cheese? appeared first on Gastropod.


How the Carrot Became Orange, and Other Stories
2018-11-05 19:28:48
Thousands of years ago, in what's now Afghanistan, people unearthed the tangled, gnarled roots of Queen Anne's Lace—a ubiquitous, hairy-stemmed plant with a spray of tiny white flowers. These fibrous, twisted roots were white and bitter-tasting, but they had an appealing spicy, pine-y, earthy aroma. This was the unpromising ancestor of one of America's most ...More → The post How the Carrot Became Orange, and Other Stories appeared first on Gastropod.


The Incredible Egg
2018-10-23 15:48:19
We love eggs scrambled, fried, or poached; we couldn't enjoy a quiche, meringue, or flan without them. But for scientists and archaeologists, these perfect packages are a source of both wonder and curiosity. Why do eggs come in such a spectacular variety of colors, shapes, and sizes? Why are we stuck mostly eating chicken eggs, ...More → The post The Incredible Egg appeared first on Gastropod.


Espresso and Whisky: The Place of Time in Food
2018-10-08 20:06:14
Why does fish cook so fast? What's the "wasabi window"? And can you really make 20-year-old aged whisky in six days? This episode, we're looking at the role of time in food and flavor: what it does, and how we've tried—and sometimes succeeded—to manipulate that. To explore these questions, we visit a whisky time machine tucked ...More → The post Espresso and Whisky: The Place of Time in Food appeared first on Gastropod.


Why These Animals?
2018-09-24 19:58:51
In the West, when it comes to which meat is for dinner, we nearly always choose beef, pork, or chicken. Yet cows and pigs are only two of more than five thousand of species of mammals, and chicken is one of ten thousand species of birds. Meanwhile, at different times in history and in different ...More → The post Why These Animals? appeared first on Gastropod.


Mango Mania: How the American Mango Lost its Flavor—and How it Might Just Get it Back
2018-09-10 21:49:40
Mangoes inspire passion, particularly in India, which is home to hundreds of varieties of the fruit. They are celebrated in Indian music, poetry, and art; they are mentioned in Hindu and Buddhist religious texts as well as the Kama Sutra; and Indian expats will even pay hundreds of dollars for a single, air-freighted box of ...More → The post Mango Mania: How the American Mango Lost its Flavor—and How it Might Just Get it Back appeared first on Gastropod.


Keeping it Fresh: Preservatives and The Poison Squad
2018-08-27 20:59:10
More than a century ago, enterprising manufacturers added brand-new chemical preservatives into food to keep it fresh as it traveled from the farm into rapidly growing American cities. Milk no longer went rancid! Meat no longer spoiled! But some scientists wondered: could all these preservatives be doing more harm than good? It took a crusading ...More → The post Keeping it Fresh: Preservatives and The Poison Squad appeared first on Gastropod.


Watch It Wiggle: The Jell-O Story
2018-08-13 20:01:28
It's been described as the ultimate status symbol for the wealthy, as the perfect solution for dieters and the sick, and, confusingly, as a liquid trapped in a solid that somehow remains fluid. What could this magical substance be? In case you haven't guessed, this episode, we're talking about Jell-O! Or, to be more precise, ...More → The post Watch It Wiggle: The Jell-O Story appeared first on Gastropod.


Out of the Fire, Into the Frying Pan
2018-06-19 11:51:29
From rainbow-hued enameled stew pots to lightweight nonstick frying pans, the metal and ceramic vessels we use to heat our food are such an everyday aspect of the kitchen that they're easy to take for granted. But make no mistake: the invention of the pot was, after fire, one of the most important innovations in ...More →


Hotbox: The Oven From Turnspit Dogs to Microwaves
2018-06-05 00:38:57
Humans are the only animals that cook their food, an innovation that changed the course of our evolution and the trajectory of the planet. But how did we tame those early cooking fires and put them in a box—and what can subsequent leaps forward in heating technology tell us about cuisines and culture? This episode, ...More →


Feed the World: How the U.S. Became the World's Biggest Food Aid Donor—And Why That Might Not be Such a Great Thing
2018-05-21 21:19:49
The United States is, by far, the world's largest international food aid donor. Almost every year since the 1950s, it has been responsible for more than 50 percent of the billions of tons of food shipped from the parts of the world with a surplus to the parts of the world that are hungry. This ...More →


Ripe for Global Domination: The Story of the Avocado
2018-05-07 20:00:08
Avocados are on a roll. More precisely, they're on toast—a lot of toast. Last summer, British Vogue reported that more than three million new photos of avocado toast are uploaded to Instagram every day. But how did this humble fruit, originally named after testicles, get from its Mexican forest home to a tattoo on Miley ...More →


Meet the Man Who Found, Finagled, and Ferried Home the Foods We Eat Today
2018-04-23 20:18:42
You've probably never heard of David Fairchild. But if you've savored kale, mango, peaches, dates, grapes, a Meyer lemon, or a glass of craft beer lately, you've tasted the fruits of his globe-trotting travels in search of the world's best crops—and his struggles to get them back home to the United States. This episode, we ...More →


Who Faked My Cheese?
2018-04-09 19:36:18
Cheeeeese: that one word alone causes our stomachs to rumble and mouths to water. The sheer variety of flavors and textures created by only a few ingredients—milk, salt, enzymes, and microbes—is astounding: hard and soft, creamy and crumbly, richly umami and sweetly savory. For thousands of years, humans have been transforming animal milk into one ...More →


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