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Competitive Eating: The 'Gurgitators'

We speak to some of the world's most successful competitive eaters and find out how, and why, they do it. In the first of two episodes on the so-called sport, four ‘gurgitators’ tell us what it takes to eat the most hot dogs, corncobs or burgers in the shortest possible time. This is not something you should try at home. Emily Thomas speaks to one of the industry's biggest names, Takeru Kobayashi, a man credited with revolutionising competitive eating and turning it into a sport. We hear...

Duration: 00:27:12

My Life in Five Dishes: Madhur Jaffrey

Join us for five unforgettable dishes from one extraordinary life as the food writer and actress Madhur Jaffrey reveals some rather surprising mealtimes - from a swimming lesson with a watermelon, to a dinner disaster with jazz legend, Dizzy Gillespie. The food writer and award-winning actress has written more than 15 cookbooks, many of them bestsellers, and has been credited with changing the way people outside India think about the country’s food. She joins the BBC's Emily Thomas to talk...

Duration: 00:26:57

A Fly Future?

We're in South Africa again to find out whether fly larvae could help humans eat more meat and fish. As the global population expands, traditional feed sources such as fishmeal, soya and grains, could put increasing pressure on the environment, depleting oceans and reducing biodiversity. Alternative protein sources based on insects are being developed by a number of companies across the world. In this episode we explore whether they are as effective as traditional feeds, and how big the...

Duration: 00:27:38

The Maggot Masters

This week we’re in South Africa, picking up great big squirming handfuls of maggots. Could these unpalatable little creatures hold the answer to some big questions – what to do about the huge amount of waste going into landfill, and how to meet the world’s growing demand for a sustainable supply of farmed fish, pigs and poultry? A company called Agriprotein thinks its fly farm is the solution. They've just won The Food Chain’s first Global Champion Award - which recognises innovative ideas...

Duration: 00:27:02

Cow Candy

Why do farmers feed their cows sweets? What are the implications for the animals’ health, the environment and the taste of our meat? From the mystery of a rural US highway covered in Skittles, to chocolate-flavoured steak selling for hundreds of dollars, we explore the impact of feeding cows the byproducts of human food production. Plus, we take our own bag of treats onto the farm and discover cows have rather expensive tastes. Presenter: Emily Thomas (Picture: A cow eating a chocolate bar.)

Duration: 00:27:00

Finding a Food Champion

Meet the people determined to revolutionise what and how we eat as we launch our first ever international award. We hear about the four shortlisted projects hoping to be named The Food Chain Global Champion, including an insect-based cooking oil, a beekeeper empowering women in northern India, a maggot-based animal feed, and a global movement seeking to transform food and agriculture. We’ll also hear form our international panel of judges on their reasons for shortlisting the final four,...

Duration: 00:27:15

The Art of Fermentation

For 20 years Sandor Katz has been fascinated by fermentation - the breaking down of food and drink by microbes. Through his books and workshops he has helped thousands of people begin to experiment with flavours, fruits, vegetables, spices... and microorganisms. Dan Saladino travels to Sandor's forest home in rural Tennessee to meet Sandor, hear his story, and discover for himself the transformative potential of this culinary process.

Duration: 00:26:49

Upper Crust?

What does your choice of loaf say about you? Is your sourdough a source of pride? Have you ever felt ashamed of your sliced white? Flour, water, and salt - over thousands of years the basic recipe for bread has changed very little. But often there's been a dollop of judgement thrown in too. From Plato to modern-day Cairo, in this episode we’re talking about the ever-changing relationship between bread and social class. How have certain types of loaf come to have different moral and social...

Duration: 00:27:08

Is Social Media Putting You Off Your Lunch?

Are you the kind of person who can’t help taking a picture of your food before you eat it? Do you search out Facebook foods, Twitter tips and Instagram ideas for new restaurants and recipes? Or maybe the very thought of all this puts you off your lunch. This week we meet foodies, writers and experts to discuss where education ends and obsession begins. The BBC’s Manuela Saragosa talks to: Adaobi Okonkwo, who blogs about food under the name Dobby in Lagos; and Anna Barnett, who is a...

Duration: 00:28:59

Stockpiles? What Stockpiles?

We’re on the hunt for the world’s biggest stashes of food. Can the food system handle a big shock, or is it time to stock up on your supplies? In last week’s episode we met people doing just that - stockpiling food in anticipation of anything from a major natural disaster, to the apocalypse. They had little faith that their governments would be able to keep the food supply under control in extreme circumstances. This week we set out to test their assumptions. From forgotten World War Two...

Duration: 00:27:55

What Will You Eat if the Apocalypse Comes?

How long would your food supply last if you were unable to buy any food? Are you prepared for the worst is a hurricane hits, the floodwaters rise or the stock markets crash? Maybe your cupboards are full - but what if you had no electricity or gas to cook? Or if the water supply was turned off? And, if there was total breakdown of social order - could you defend the food you have? This week we meet the people who are stockpiling food in anticipation of anything from an earthquake to the...

Duration: 00:27:16

Have We Cracked the Nut Problem?

It’s a food problem that can prove fatal - and we might be about to crack it. The first licensed medicines to treat peanut allergy are close to being approved by regulators. But we ask – why has it taken so long? For over a century we’ve known that an allergy can be treated by controlled exposure to the allergen. Simply put, the treatment of a peanut allergy is a very small dose of peanut. So when the prevalence of allergies began to soar in the 1990s you could have been forgiven for...

Duration: 00:27:15

Health lessons with the Hadza

We're continuing our adventures in east Africa with the Hadza – a skilled tribe of hunter gatherers who could be the last remaining link to our ancient food past. We join them as they hunt and forage, eating baobab for breakfast and enjoying some very unusual honey, all in the quest to discover the ideal human diet. The reason the scientists and geneticists are so interested in the Hadza, is because it’s thought they can help us better understand our complex relationship with our gut...

Duration: 00:26:43

Hunting with the Hadza

This week we’re going to be telling what might be the oldest food story in the world. The Hadza of Tanzania, east Africa, are one of the last remaining hunter-gatherer communities in the world and the last remaining link to our ancient food past. The total population of the group now stands at around one thousand, with up to two hundred living as pure hunter-gatherers, who grow nothing, and practice no form of farming. They’ve lived in this part of east Africa for at least 40 thousand...

Duration: 00:26:38

Fortification: Too Much of a Good thing?

What if we told you something had been added to your food that could affect your health? You can't see it, you won’t taste it, and you might not have realised it’s there at all. Most of us will eat something that has been fortified with micronutrients – small amounts of minerals and vitamins - every day. But who is adding them to our food - and why? And does a focus on fortification by development agencies mean valuable resources have been diverted from tackling underlying causes of...

Duration: 00:26:40

The Unlikely Power of Cookbooks

Even if you’ve never picked up a book of recipes - cookbooks will have had a huge influence on how you live. What may appear to be mere collections of ingredients and cooking methods, sometimes tell us just as much about social class, politics and gender. We explore how cookery books have been used to demonstrate power, strengthen colonial and soviet ideology, and divide society by class and race. Do we see these dividing lines reflected in today’s publishing industry? And what does your...

Duration: 00:26:46

Food Secrets of Centenarians

People who have lived into their hundreds explain their food experiences and philosophies, to help us explore relationship between food and longevity. We ask whether despite having a greater variety of food available, and an ever growing abundance of dietary information, are younger generations able to replicate the diets of the oldest people on earth? Does modern food culture prevent us from emulating the food habits of centenarians? In Acciaroli, Italy,one of the BBC’s longest-standing...

Duration: 00:27:06

What Time is Dinner?

How social class has dictated when we eat. From Ancient Greece to New York hipsters, what has determined our mealtimes in the past and who wants them to change now? For thousands of years when we eat signified where we were in society. It seems this idea may not have been consigned to history - is the resurgence of brunch marking out a new 'creative' social class? And have you heard of the ‘fourth meal’? Snacking is on the rise - and the food industry might be helping you abandon the three...

Duration: 00:27:03

Much Ado About Michelin

For many chefs winning a Michelin star, or two or three, is often considered the pinnacle of their career. It could put them on the path to money and fame. But some critics claim not all stars are equal- and in an industry where receiving one could mean the difference between profit and loss, the stakes are high. In this episode we take a closer look at the Michelin guide and how two brothers made the name of their tyre business synonymous with the highest quality food in the world. Why do...

Duration: 00:27:21

The Real Value of a Cup of Tea

Coffee addict Dan Saladino sets out to understand what a cup of tea is really worth. Do we pay enough? In south west India, food writer Vanessa Kimbell gets up close to the leaf and hears the reality of a hard day’s work from a team of tea pluckers 6000 metres above sea level. From there we move to the Assam region in the north east to hear about an investigation into working conditions on a tea plantation. Will Battle, author of the World Tea Encyclopedia and a professional tea taster,...

Duration: 00:27:16

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