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47 – Not Just Granola: How Hippies Reinvented American Cuisine

If you enjoy avocado toast and power bowls, thank a hippie. On this episode, Tom talks to Jonathan Kauffmann, whose new book is about how the 1960s counterculture gave way to some of today's most popular American dishes. Plus, Maddie talks to New York Times reporter Nellie Bowles about why some people are rejecting tap water in favor of pricey, untreated H20.

Duration: 00:31:35

29 – This Simple Advice Completely Changed the Way I Eat

Writer and chef Samin Nosrat distills cooking into four basic elements: salt, fat, acid, heat. In this episode, she reveals secrets about using one of them to transform what you cook—and her advice changed how Maddie was tasting food for the days following. Maddie and Samin conduct a taste test, and Samin reveals how she clinched her first cooking job at Chez Panisse, and dishes on what it took to win over Alice Water. Plus, Tom reveals some of his own home cooking tricks.

Duration: 00:28:46

46 – Dinner and a Movie

Kiera interviews screenwriter Sri Rao, one of the few American-born people who’s worked on Bollywood films, and he’s learned a lot about bridging the two cultures along the way. He applies those insights in his new cookbook, title Bollywood Kitchen, which tells you how to make authentic Indian food and suggests the perfect Bollywood films to watch while enjoying it. Sri talks about the inspiration for the cookbook, which Bollywood stars he’d invite for a dinner party, and more. Plus,...

Duration: 00:20:02

45 – Restaurant Workers Say #MeToo

Sexual harassment is rampant in the food industry, as Tracie McMillan discovered when she worked undercover stints in California farm fields and at an Applebee’s in New York City for her classic 2012 book The American Way of Eating. Tracie tells Tom about her experiences with harassment, and worse, when working as a cook. Then we hear about one tweak to the restaurant industry that could help fix misogynistic workplace culture. (Warning: This episode includes material that might not be...

Duration: 00:30:49

44 – When Dinner Gets Awkward

Ah, Thanksgiving: the holiday when American families give thanks while trying to politely ignore their glaring political differences and inhaling vast quantities of food. In this special episode, Jenny Luna attends a dinner party where the whole point is to have awkward conversations: A group called Make America Dinner Again pairs up folks on opposite sides of the political aisle to cook and eat a meal together—and the result is some refreshingly honest discussions. Then, Maddie talks to...

Duration: 00:22:48

43 – Robin Sloan's Hilarious and Bizarre Food Novel

The Bite team interviews author Robin Sloan, author of the new novel Sourdough. When a gift of magical sourdough starter lands on the protagonist’s lap, she rolls up her sleeves and learns how to bake. Secretive, invite-only farmer’s markets and oblique cheese mongers soon enter the picture. Sloan, whose previous novel is Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, peppers the brisk, entertaining story with plenty of food trend send-ups along the way. Maddie and Kiera talk with Sloan about all that...

Duration: 00:27:03

42 – After Napa’s Inferno, “We’re Still Standing”

As fires continue to burn through wide swaths of wine country, Maddie heads to Napa to catch up with the cellar crew from Robert Sinskey winery and hear about their week from hell. Then Tom interviews renowned chef Dan Barber about how the biggest wasters in food aren't who you think.

Duration: 00:23:18

41 – Do Farmers Still Love Trump?

Farmers voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump in the last presidential election. But over the course of the past year, the conversation has shifted, says journalist Ted Genoways, author of the new book, This Blessed Earth. "Farmers are starting to realize the real threats this could pose to their livelihood." Ted also talks about what he learned following around one family from harvest to harvest for his book. And Kiera discovers what it’s like to consume nothing but pumpkin spice products...

Duration: 00:31:29

40 – She Packs Your Brussels Sprouts and Lives in Fear

Elena thought she had finally found freedom. She graduated high school and got a steady job in a vegetable factory. Then, in a matter of minutes, everything turned upside down. Mother Jones’ Becca Andrews brings us this story out of Tennessee. Then Top Chef Masters champ Traci Des Jardins tells us what she would have done with her knife skills if she hadn’t become a chef, and talks about the number one challenge facing new restaurants today.

Duration: 00:19:28

39 – Songs That Make Food Taste Better

Whiskey ballads, tamale ditties, odes to cornbread: So many beloved musicians make food their central subject at some point. OC Weekly Editor Gustavo Arellano tells us about the evolution of corridos and rancheras, Mexican songs that are often dedicated to favorite foods or life in the fields. “Kind of like gangster rap,” Arellano explains, “corridos would tell you the stories of repressed communities". Then Jenny Luna tries whiskey that has been aged to the tune of Michael Jackson and...

Duration: 00:26:17

38 – W. Kamau Bell and the Case of the Racist Skittles

Comedian W. Kamau Bell showed up at a Ku Klux Klan rally in Kentucky in 2014 fully expecting to face steely stares and racist comments. But when one of the masked Klansmen did approach Bell, it was to hand him iced tea and Skittles, the snacks Trayvon Martin purchased the night he was killed by George Zimmerman in 2012. On today’s episode, Bell tells us how he reacted to the overtly racist gesture—and about how certain foods can become cultural symbols. He also reveals the key to the most...

Duration: 00:25:56

37 – The Agony and Ecstasy of Eating 330 Hamburgers

Journalist Kevin Alexander discovered a lot about a city through its burgers. Last year, he ate hundreds of hamburgers across the United States in a quest to find the best one. On this episode, you'll go out to lunch with Kevin and Maddie as they taste the one burger that Kevin hasn't tried yet. Then, we talk to Paul Greenberg, a lifelong fisherman and bestselling author of the books "Four Fish" and "American Catch." Paul also tried an extreme diet for a year: Instead of land meats, he ate...

Duration: 00:30:52

36 – Farmers Are Living Dangerously

What’s going to happen if I get hurt or sick? That’s what many people are asking themselves as the Trump administration attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. But a group you don't often hear from on this issue is farmers—and they are very worried about how they’ll be able to afford to take care of themselves. That’s bad news for the future of the nation’s farms—and eaters. On today’s episode, Politico food and agriculture reporter Helena Bottemiller Evich explains why. Then,...

Duration: 00:21:51

30 – Sex, Drugs, and Oysters: What It's Really Like to Work at a Fancy Restaurant

In Stephanie Danler’s novel Sweetbitter, it takes Tess, a 22-year-old waitress new to Manhattan, about three months to master the art of balancing three plates on one arm. In the same amount of time, Tess adapts to a life of champagne and cocaine-addled adventures. In this episode, Stephanie dishes about how her own experiences—working as a back-waiter, bartender, and restaurant manager in New York City—informed the novel. Plus: What’s your favorite comfort food in the age of Trump?

Duration: 00:26:41

29 – This Simple Advice Completely Changed the Way I Eat

Writer and chef Samin Nosrat distills cooking into four basic elements: salt, fat, acid, heat. In this episode, she reveals secrets about using one of them to transform what you cook—and her advice changed how Maddie was tasting food for the days following. Maddie and Samin conduct a taste test, and Samin reveals how she clinched her first cooking job at Chez Panisse, and dishes on what it took to win over Alice Water. Plus, Tom reveals some of his own home cooking tricks.

Duration: 00:25:11

28 – What a Cool New Podcast About Shipping Can Teach You About Coffee

That cuppa joe you just sipped? Its long journey to your cup was made possible by shipping containers—those rectangular metal boxes that carry everything from TVs to clothes to frozen shrimp. And there’s a whole host of characters whose lives revolve around this precious cargo: gruff captains, hearty cooks, perceptive coffee tasters, and competitive tugboat pilots. This is the world journalist Alexis Madrigal illuminates in his new podcast Containers. Alexis tells us how the fancy coffee...

Duration: 00:33:50

27 – The Bizarre, True-Crime Story of New England’s Seafood King

If you’ve ever eaten cod from New England, chances are you’ve helped build the empire of Carlos Rafael, the crime boss whose fishy business has earned him the nickname “The Codfather.” In this episode, Kiera interviews journalist Ben Goldfarb about his recent Mother Jones feature on the rise and fall of this larger-than-life character. Featured: FBI agents posing as the Russian mob, Rafael’s Machiavellian backstory, and the moody atmosphere of the Massachusetts fishing town of New Bedford....

Duration: 00:28:34

26 - The Science of Why People Don’t Believe in Food Science

When Atlantic journalist and physician James Hamblin investigated the world of gluten-free products, he found a $23 billion industry of "detox courses," custom blood tests, and specially formulated foods—but no medical evidence that avoiding gluten is good for people who don't have celiac disease. Kiera interviews Hamblin, author of the new book If Our Bodies Could Talk: A Guide to Operating and Maintaining a Human Body, about the gluten-free boondoggle, how multivitamins can make people...

Duration: 00:26:51

25 – Is Your Favorite Restaurant Standing Up for Immigrants?

Tom and Maddie pay visits to owners of “sanctuary restaurants”—eateries that are standing up for their workers’ rights as the Trump administrations vows to crack down on illegal immigrants. Penny Baldado—who owns a café in Oakland, California, famous for its adobo sandwiches—is an immigrant herself; she’s originally from the Philippines. When she was undocumented, “I moved in the world with a lot of fear,” she tells Maddie. She now relishes the opportunity to offer both employees and...

Duration: 00:28:35

24 - Somali Refugees Make Better Pancakes

Maddie pays a visit to a mother-daughter team of Somali chefs in Oakland, California. Before arriving in the United States, Halimo and Fatuma lived in the largest refugee camp in the world, in Kenya. There, they used UN rations to concoct Somali delicacies, including the paper-thin pancakes that they teach Maddie to make. Then, Tom talks with science writer Ed Yong about the trillions of bugs living inside our bodies, and why there’s no such thing as “good” and “bad” bacteria.

Duration: 00:24:38

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