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White vs. Wheat: The Food Fight of the Centuries from Gastropod

From Gastropod - 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.


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


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.


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. 


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 → The post To Fight Climate Change, Bank on Soil appeared first on Gastropod.


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 distilling–a ginaissance! But there's also been a new wave of experimentation with gin's life partner, tonic ...More → The post Move Over Gin, We've Got Tonic Fever appeared first on Gastropod.


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 day–equivalent 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 → The post The United States of McDonald's appeared first on Gastropod.


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 → The post Dinner Plate Invasion: Lionfish, Tiger Shrimp, and Feral Pigs, Oh My! appeared first on Gastropod.


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 → The post Meet the Queen of Kiwi: the 96-Year-Old Woman Who Transformed America's Produce Aisle appeared first on Gastropod.


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 → The post Meet the Queen of Kiwi: The 96-Year-Old Woman Who Transformed America's Produce Aisle appeared first on Gastropod.


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 it–but, 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 → The post Are Insect Guts the Secret to the Most Delicious Kimchi? appeared first on Gastropod.


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 → The post Menu Mind Control appeared first on Gastropod.


Of Ghost Foods and Culinary Extinction
2019-11-04 17:31:09
The earliest humans favored juicy, meaty mammoth at mealtimes. Ancient Romans loved their favorite herb, silphium, so much that they sprinkled it on everything from lamb to melon. In the 19th century United States, passenger pigeon pie was a cherished comfort food, long before chicken pot pie became commonplace. And, for dessert, Americans a century ...More → The post Of Ghost Foods and Culinary Extinction appeared first on Gastropod.


Tiki Time!
2019-10-22 06:22:34
Tiki bars are hot these days: you can enjoy a fruity tropical drink while surrounded by faux-Polynesian décor in most major cities around the U.S. and elsewhere, with new tiki spots opening every month. The trend is a revival of a nearly century-old American tradition–but the knowledge of how to make these classic tiki cocktails ...More → The post Tiki Time! appeared first on Gastropod.


What's CRISPR Doing in our Food?
2019-10-07 19:12:02
You've probably heard the hype: CRISPR will revolutionize biotech, cure disease, resurrect extinct species, and even create new-and-(not-so)-improved humans. But what is CRISPR–and what's it doing in our food? The first generation of genetically modified crops, or GMOs, were labelled "Frankenfoods" by critics and are banned in the European Union. Can CRISPR succeed where fish-tomatoes ...More → The post What's CRISPR Doing in our Food? appeared first on Gastropod.


Happy Birthday to Us: Gastropod Turns Five
2019-09-24 11:40:20
We launched Gastropod in September 2014, which means we're turning five this month, and that's approximately 100 in podcast years. We're celebrating our birthday with a special episode featuring highlights from the past five years' worth of episodes, as chosen by you, our listeners–served up alongside a generous slice of cake science and history. Join ...More → The post Happy Birthday to Us: Gastropod Turns Five appeared first on Gastropod.


Celebrate Mexico's True National Holiday with the Mysteries of Mole
2019-09-10 13:27:28
In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is an excuse for margarita-fueled partying. But in Mexico, that date–the anniversary of a military triumph over Napoleon on May 5, 1862–is marked by a parade and not much else. The real celebrations happen on September 16, which is Mexican Independence Day. At Gastropod, we're always down to ...More → The post Celebrate Mexico's True National Holiday with the Mysteries of Mole appeared first on Gastropod.


Running on Fumes: Strawberry's Dirty Secret
2019-08-27 10:19:20
This episode, we tell an age-old tale: an innocent young berry heads west to make its fame and fortune–but sells its soul in the process. In order for our hero, the strawberry, to defeat its nemesis, a fungus called wilt, the aromatic red fruit makes a deal with the devil–and duly becomes America's favorite berry. ...More → The post Running on Fumes: Strawberry's Dirty Secret appeared first on Gastropod.


Omega 1-2-3
2019-08-12 19:52:30
Based on all the hype, you'd be forgiven for believing that the fish oils known as omega-3s are solution to every problem. Heart disease, dementia, depression, even obesity–the list of ailments that experts claim a daily dose of omega-3 can help prevent seems endless. And with more than ten percent of Americans taking a capsule ...More → The post Omega 1-2-3 appeared first on Gastropod.


Meet Sharbat, the Ancestor of Sorbet, Syrup, Shrub, Sherbet, and Pretty Much Everything Else Cool
2019-08-05 22:42:47
Many of you won't have heard of sharbat, the delightfully tangy, refreshingly icy Persian drink. But most of you will have tasted at least one of its many descendants: sorbet, sherbet, syrup, shrub, and even the julep. So, what is sharbat? How did it inspire so many variations on cooling deliciousness? And how did Persians ...More → The post Meet Sharbat, the Ancestor of Sorbet, Syrup, Shrub, Sherbet, and Pretty Much Everything Else Cool appeared first on Gastropod.


Super Fry: The Fight for the Golden Frite
2019-06-18 17:50:48
Shoestring, waffle, curly, or thick-cut: however you slice it, nearly everyone loves a deep-fried, golden brown piece of potato. But that's where the agreement ends and the battles begin. While Americans call their fries "French," Belgians claim that they, not the French, invented the perfect fry. Who's right? This episode, we take you right into ...More → The post Super Fry: The Fight for the Golden Frite appeared first on Gastropod.


Eat This, Not That: The Surprising Science of Personalized Nutrition
2019-06-09 22:18:45
This episode, we've got the exclusive on the preliminary results of the world's largest personalized nutrition experiment. Genetic epidemiologist Tim Spector launched the study, called PREDICT, to answer a simple but important question: do we each respond to different foods differently? And, if so, why? How much of that difference is genetic, how much is ...More → The post Eat This, Not That: The Surprising Science of Personalized Nutrition appeared first on Gastropod.


Guts and Glory
2019-05-21 06:44:55
What does it mean when your stomach rumbles? How do our bodies extract nutrients and vitamins from food? Does what you eat affect your mood? Digestion is an invisible, effortless, unconscious process–and one that, until recently, we knew almost nothing about. On this episode of Gastropod, we follow our food on its journey to becoming ...More → The post Guts and Glory appeared first on Gastropod.


BONUS: Introducing Science Rules! with Bill Nye
2019-05-16 06:23:48
We interrupt our regular programming to bring you news of a new podcast you might like. Bill Nye is on a mission to change the world–one phone call at a time. On his new podcast, Science Rules!, he tackles your questions on just about anything in the universe. Perhaps you've wondered: Should I stop eating ...More → The post BONUS: Introducing Science Rules! with Bill Nye appeared first on Gastropod.


The Great Gastropod Pudding Off
2019-05-06 15:44:10
Four bakers, one evening, and one challenge: Who can steam the best spotted dick? On this week's action-packed episode, Tom Gilliford, Selasi Gbormittah, and Yan Tsou of Great British Bake-Off fame, along with honorary Gastropod member (and Cynthia's partner) Tim Buntel, compete to see who can master this most classic of British puddings for the ...More → The post The Great Gastropod Pudding Off appeared first on Gastropod.


Potatoes in Space!
2019-04-23 12:20:51
Today, a half century after Neil Armstrong took one small step onto the surface of the Moon, there are still just three humans living in space–the crew of the International Space Station. But, after decades of talk, both government agencies and entrepreneurs are now drawing up more concrete plans to return to the Moon, and ...More → The post Potatoes in Space! appeared first on Gastropod.


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.


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