183 episodes

Food with a side of science and history. Every other week, co-hosts Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley serve up a brand new episode exploring the hidden history and surprising science behind a different food- or farming-related topic, from aquaculture to ancient feasts, from cutlery to chile peppers, and from microbes to Malbec. We interview experts, visit labs, fields, and archaeological digs, and generally have lots of fun while discovering new ways to think about and understand the world through food. Find us online at gastropod.com, follow us on Twitter @gastropodcast, and like us on Facebook at facebook.com/gastropodcast.

Gastropod Vox Media Podcast Network

    • Arts
    • 4.8 • 24 Ratings

Food with a side of science and history. Every other week, co-hosts Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley serve up a brand new episode exploring the hidden history and surprising science behind a different food- or farming-related topic, from aquaculture to ancient feasts, from cutlery to chile peppers, and from microbes to Malbec. We interview experts, visit labs, fields, and archaeological digs, and generally have lots of fun while discovering new ways to think about and understand the world through food. Find us online at gastropod.com, follow us on Twitter @gastropodcast, and like us on Facebook at facebook.com/gastropodcast.

    Gut Feeling

    Gut Feeling

    Do you get butterflies in your stomach when you’re excited? Feel nauseated when you’re nervous? Get a knot in your gut when you're worried something bad is going to happen? Then you’ve experienced what’s called the gut-brain axis: a powerful connection between your brain and your stomach. And, if you’ve been on wellness social media over the last few years, you’ve probably heard that you can hijack this connection to help heal a whole host of mental illnesses, from taking probiotics for PTSD to treating depression with diet. But how much of this is science, and how much is modern-day snake oil? With the help of gastroenterologists, psychologists, and yes, the U.S. military, Gastropod is here to investigate! The answer involves prescription kefir, a trip to an Army base to play video games, and the trials and tribulations of some very melancholy mice—not to mention lots and LOTS of microbes. Listen in for the scoop on how tweaking your gut microbes can change your mind. (But, for your own health, please don’t drink every time we mention our favorite topic during this episode!)
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    • 47 min
    Green Gold: Our Love Affair With Olive Oil (encore)

    Green Gold: Our Love Affair With Olive Oil (encore)

    Olive oil is not what you think it is. According to Tom Mueller, author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, an olive is a stone fruit like a plum or cherry—meaning that the green-gold liquid we extract from it "is, quite literally, fruit juice." And, while we're blowing your minds, have you ever stopped to wonder what "extra virgin" means? "It's like extra dead or semi-pregnant," Mueller said. "I mean, it doesn't make any sense at all." This episode we visit two groves—one in the Old World, one in the New—to get to the bottom of olive oil's many mysteries. Listen in this episode as we find out why the ancient Romans rubbed it all over their bodies, and whether the olive oil on our kitchen counters really is what it says on the label. (Encore presentation)
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    • 52 min
    How Ketchup Got Thick

    How Ketchup Got Thick

    Ketchup is the crowd-pleaser of condiments—a ubiquitous accessory on dinner tables throughout the United States, and, increasingly, the world. But this kid-friendly classic actually has its roots in a much funkier food: fermented fish sauce! So how did the salty, pungent, amber-colored seasoning that gives Southeast Asian cuisine its characteristic flavor turn into a thick, red sauce typically found atop hamburgers and French fries? It's a saga that involves the fall of the Roman empire, eighteenth-century fish sauce knock-offs made from green walnuts and vinegar, and the marketing genius of one Henry J. Heinz. Listen in now for that story, plus the 1981 ketchup scandal that shook the Reagan White House, in our love song to ketchup's weird backstory and underrated culinary sophistication.
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    • 46 min
    Delivery Wars

    Delivery Wars

    Big tech is changing every aspect of our world. But how? And at what cost? Gastropod is excited to share the first episode of a special four-part Land of the Giants series, in which Recode teams up with Eater to unbox the evolving world of food delivery. Find out how the rise of investor-backed third-party delivery apps has dramatically changed consumer behavior, helped create a modern gig workforce, disrupted small businesses, and potentially changed our relationship with food forever. 
    We need your help! We’re conducting an audience survey to hear from you. The information you share is important to help us keep making the podcast and, we hope, keep making it better! Head to Gastropod.com/survey to participate. We really appreciate it. 
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    • 38 min
    The Milk of Life

    The Milk of Life

    No matter what your diet’s like today, we all likely started life eating the same thing: breast milk, formula milk, or a bit of both. But both of these products aren’t always easy to come by. Breastfeeding can be difficult or impossible for some parents, and formula milk isn’t always safe, affordable, or even available — as we’re seeing in the US, where formula milk is currently 70 percent out-of-stock. This episode, we tell the story of how we got here, and we explore what we should we do to make feeding babies easier in the future. Along the way, we find out what makes human milk—or "white blood," as it perhaps should be known—so unique, as well as why Parisian attitudes to feeding infants in the 1800s made it known as a city with no children. We've also got the story of when formula was first invented, the dirty tricks used to market it, and the competing pressures and changing advice that have swung the pendulum from "breast is best" to formula and back again. Listen in for the story behind the news, the tale of our first and most essential food.

    We need your help! We’re conducting an audience survey to hear from you. The information you share is important to help us keep making the podcast and, we hope, keep making it better! Head to Gastropod.com/survey to participate. We really appreciate it. 
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 53 min
    Poultry Power: The Fried Chicken Chronicles (encore)

    Poultry Power: The Fried Chicken Chronicles (encore)

    Juicy, crispy, crunchy...fried chicken is undoubtedly delicious. But it's also complicated, in ways that go far deeper than the science behind that perfect crust. From slavery to entrepreneurship and from yard fowl to Gospel bird, the story of fried chicken is filled with challenging contradictions. Grab a drumstick and listen in. (Encore presentation.)

    We need your help! We’re conducting an audience survey to hear from you. The information you share is important to help us keep making the podcast and, we hope, keep making it better! Head to Gastropod.com/survey to participate. We really appreciate it. 
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    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
24 Ratings

24 Ratings

Kiwi_Moon ,

Everything to love!

We’ll researched and really clearly presented. I always learn something interesting! I find the hosts voices really easy to listen to, unlike most American podcasts. I see other reviewers don’t like their accents though. Obviously accents are a subjective thing depending on what you’re used to!

emweb ,

Who knew food could be so interesting?

OK, so most of us did know, but this brings the fascination to a whole new level in a wonderfully-presented way.

Silverangold ,

Too many ads

I like the content but there are too many ads

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