Linda Pelaccio, a culinary historian, takes a weekly journey through the history of food on A Taste of the Past. Tune in for interviews with authors, scholars and culinary chroniclers who discuss food culture from ancient Mesopotamia and Rome to the grazing tables and deli counters of today. Each week Linda explores the lively link between food cultures of the present and past.
Retro Cocktails and Pimm's Cups
There has been a resurgence in the cocktail culture of the pre-Prohibition period and the MadMen era. And whether mixing at home, cocktails-to-go (outside) from a restaurant or bar, or the new kid on the block: ready to drink cocktails in a can, there has been a definite uptick in the spirits market. Author and spirits writer Kara Newman shares her views and observations and answers Linda's questions about the origins of Pimm's.
Cuisine of the Spanish Roma
Gypsies, Romani, Gitano - these are all names used to identify the ethnic group of Roma throughout Europe, of which there are more than 750,00 living in Spain. Food writer Valerio Farris learned about the cuisine of the Spanish Roma and the importance of preserving their recipes and culture by cooking with Roma people in and around Barcelona.
Made in Italy, really!
Authentic products by artisan producers are worth protecting. Beatrice Ughi, founder and president of the food importing company Gustiamo talks about the fake and adulterated products passing as "Made in Italy", and shares her passion for keeping it real.
Jessica B. Harris on The Legacy Quilt: African-American Foundation of American Cuisine 1619-2019
Culinary historian and foremost expert on the food and foodways of the African Diaspora, Dr. Jessica B. Harris, joins Linda to talk about The Legacy Quilt, the centerpiece of a project celebrating Black contributions to American cuisine. It's all part of a major exhibition at the Museum of Food and Drink --MOFAD-- entitled, African/American: Making the Nation's Table, whose opening was delayed by COVID-19.
Presenting The Shameless Chef
Get to know another Heritage Radio Network show that gives us a glimpse into the culinary culture of the 1970s. The Shameless Chef was developed for public radio in 1977 but many of these audio treasures have never been heard before. The show’s original host, Michael A. Davenport shares his fearless attitude towards food and encourages home cooks to have fun and take risks in the kitchen. The podcast takes us back in time but still has a lot to teach us today.
In Episode 2: How to Be Audacious, Michael shares his belief that there’s no excuse for being a ‘meat and potatoes man’ and suggests throwing out the rules to break up the monotony of your meals. He shares recipes for ‘wing dings’ and black olive soup and suggests adding an orange peel to your coffee. Ultimately, Michael subscribed to this sentiment, “don’t react to your prejudices, react to your palette.”
Pasta's Past, One Dish at a Time
Historian and author Karima Moyer-Nocchi has been exploring and sharing information about the history and origins of Italian cooking through her books and also with photos and videos on her Instagram feed, @HistoricalItalianFood. In this episode, she shares the process of learning about pasta's past and other historical dishes.
Definitely appreciate the topics
I do think the host comes off as one of the coastal elite, and have noticed when topics she’s not as passionate about (ie non-Euro topics) she tends to cut off the interviewees and not let them finish. The guests themselves are wonderful and what keeps me listening.
Fascinating Topics but Hit or Miss
There are a lot of fascinating topics brought up in this podcast. In the past few days I’ve really enjoyed some older episodes like Eat Your Words (about the linguistic and historical changes that some of our food names in English have undergone), the one about Mark Twain’s favorite American foods, and the one about the Libyan Jewish cuisine in Rome. I’ve learned fun and interesting facts and usually have my browser open to read further into some of the facts brought up.
With that said, I have to agree with some other commenters in a few points. Some guests seem out of their element, particularly up and coming authors. I’m sure the book about beans, for example, was interesting—but the author doesn’t seem like she’s done any sort of podcast or public speaking. I’ve come across several other episodes like this as well. I’m not sure what the solution to this would be, but some episodes are hard to listen.
It unfortunately also does tend to come off as very Western-centric. Especially in a place like New York, one would expect to find authors and cooks from all over the world, yet the guests are more often than not white Americans. As a white American who is fascinated by the Middle Eastern cultures, languages, and cuisines and has lived in Israel/Palestine and Jordan, I had been hoping to hear more from the people who actually grew up in that region and were steeped in the culture and cuisines—rather than other Westerners who are interested in these topics but only know about them by proxy. Add some diversity, not for diversity’s sake alone but to make the podcasts richer and deeper.
I personally don’t mind Linda’s delivery—but it’s clear when she’s interested in a topic and when she’s bored. The latter point is something to consider working on, but I actually really like the episodes where she jokes with the guests and is actively engaged in the conversation.
Overall I enjoy this podcast a lot, but I’d like to see more diversity in guests and fewer unprepared guests. Thank you for making this show!
Listen to Anthrochef
I really want to like this podcast as I listen to a variety of pods about food, splendid table, sporkful, and my favorite food history podcast - the anthrochef. I am disappointed in the quality of the interviews, production quality, and what many commenters are saying is a very Eurocentric perspective. You absolutely cannot have a good podcast without an engaged host, decent production, and a structured format. The sound quality of the phone calls is absolutely horrible, I wanted to listen to the Paris episode and could not deal with the background noise after about 3 minutes, and I usually like to give podcasts a good chance before I decide it’s not for me. Do better Heritage!!! Listen to the feedback!!! :(