Best food podcasts.
This is how every episode of THE DINNER PARTY DOWNLOAD podcast begins, with a softly landing joke. Usually it's told by an indie-rocker, an actor, an author, or a chef from the podcast's line-up of guests--whoever has the most amusing (or least cheesy) one-liner. On the Venn diagram of pop-cultural personality types, Dinner Party hosts Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newman are represented by the shaded region where "hipsters" and "nerds" intersect. Their show is a sort of Cliffs Notes designed to help you win your dinner party. The duo covers food, beverage, and other cultural topics over the course of each hour-long podcast with the hopeful promise that by listening you'll dazzle friends at your weekend soiree.
Every episode is similarly structured in a succession of snappy and compelling segments starting with the Ice Breaker a funny joke. Followed by Small Talk: fodder for your party discourse items tend to be less newsy and more eyebrow raising. A History Lesson with Booze: a moment in history paired with a drink inspired by it and mixed by a noted cocktailer. Etiquette: guests take phone calls with questions completely out of their area of expertise. Guest List a guest makes a list. Main Course: delving into a food trend or quirky industry story. Eavesdropping: an interesting person tells an interesting story. Chattering Class: a reading. Guest of Honor interview. And finally Dinner Party Soundtrack: musicians talk about their ideal party playlist.
The Dinner Party tops Art Culinaire's list of the best food podcasts because not only do Gagliano and Newman track food trends, talk to industry insiders, and uncover obscure culinary stories, but they also supply enriching content about the world outside food--service that can be refreshing when one lives in a self-contained food obsessed world. The Dinner Party Download is a delicious and nutritious earsnack for the well-balanced chef. (Go to American Public Media's website publicradio.org/columns/dinnerpartydownload/or iTunes to download.)
2. For our number two pick on ACM's Best Food Podcasts Top 10 list, we cheat a little. Second place does not go to a single podcast. THE HERITAGE RADIO NETWORK (HRN) is a diverse collective of several outstanding podcasts and is an excellent resource for expanding a cook's mind and providing entertainment. Columbia University grad and founder of the Museum of Food and Drink in New York Dave Arnold is a historian, food cultureist, and host of the aptly titled HRN podcast Cooking Issues. If you've never listened to an HRN podcast before, Arnold's is a great place to start.
Go to heritageradionetwork.org or iTunes.
The HRN collective describes itself as "the most progressive voice for food and culture." It may also be one of the hipest. Its headquarters was built from two repurposed shipping containers now located in hipster heaven: the backyard of Roberta's pizzeria in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The organization was founded in 2009 by Patrick Martins, the same man behind Slow Food USA and Heritage Foods USA. His nonprofit network is "committed to archiving, protecting, and advancing our country's rich food culture through programs that give voice to America's leading food professionals, farmers, policy experts, artists, and tastemakers."
Some of the other quality HRN programs we recommend are: Taste Matters with Mitchell Davis; Beer Sessions Radio hosted by Jimmy Carbone; A Taste of the Past by Linda Pelaccio (yes, she's Zak's mother--see issue 84); The Main Course with Patrick Martins; Straight, No Chaser by Katy Keiffer; The Food Seen by Michael Harlan Turkell; Cutting the Curd by Anne Saxelby of Saxelby Cheesemongers; The Farm Report by Erin Fairbanks; and Hot Grease by Nicole Taylor.
3. Our number three choice for Best Food Podcasts stretches the concept of a Top 10 list as well. There are so many worthwhile food shows being produced right now, that we feel justified in our flexible selection criteria. The third place slot is filled by a commune of podcasts brought together by edible RADIO at ediblecommunities.com/radio. The edible in edible RADIO is the same one that's on the cover of the free magazine you pick up at your favorite coffee or sandwich shop. Edible Communities, Inc. is "a publishing and information services company that creates editorially rich, community-based, local-foods publications in distinct culinary regions throughout the United States." It has also produced more than 125 podcasts that are all archived on its website. Their programs include: Drink Tank; Blue Plate Special; Kitchen Sync; Growing Home; and Smart Food. The hosts of these shows are publishers of the different regional editions of the edible magazine. Marla Camp, publisher of edible Austin, is the host of Growing Home. Farmer, philosopher, and influential food culture critic, Wendell Berry was a recent guest on her show. Daniel Humm, Bradley Ogden, John Besh, the NYTimes' Melissa Clark, and food radio veteran Lynne Rossetto Kasper have all turned up on edible podcasts. These shows are in-depth, informative, and always enlightening.
The following seven individual podcasts round out Art Culinaire's top 10. The wealth of food entertainment and information out there may be at an all-time high. The relatively new medium of podcasting is at the forefront of the food media revoiution. People interested and immersed in the food world, but not affiliated with traditional media are able to pass on important culinary knowledge through podcasts. It's integral to perpetuating so many trades and traditions. And, of course, podcasts are based on one key factor around which most of our eating lives revolve: sharing.
4. THE FOOD PROGRAMME "Investigating every aspect of the food we eat."
Hosted by Sheila Dillon
Produced by BBC Radio 4
Recent episode: "The food lives of people surviving on the basic state pension"
bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/foodprog, also available on iTunes
5. HIDDEN KITCHENS
"Explores the world of unexpected, below-the-radar cooking, legendary meals, and eating traditions."
Hosted by Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva Produced by The Kitchen Sisters.
Recent episode: "Breadbasket Blues-A Central California Kitchen Story."
kitchensisters.org, also available on iTunes
6. THE SPORKFUL WITH DAN PASHMAN--It's not for foodies, it's for eaters
"We discuss, debate and obsess over ridiclous food minutiae, in search of new and better ways to eat."
Hosted and produced by Dan Pashman Recent episode: "Burger Formation and Consumption, Cheese Placement and More."
Sporkful.com, also available on iTunes
7. ZEAT FEED--the sound of good food
"Home-grown, hand made, free-range program celebrating seasonal, local, global and historical food."
Hosted by Anne Bromley
Produced by Eat Feed
Recent episode: Fat Tuesday Icelandic Style
eatfeed.com, available on iTunes
8. EARTH EATS--Real Food Green Living
"The freshest news and recipes inspired by local food and sustainable agriculture."
Hosted by Daniel Orr and Annie Corrigan Produced by Indiana Public Media
Recent episode: "Breakfast of Champions: Chia Seeds, Oats, Vigilant Eats"
indianapublicmedia.org/eartheats/about/, also available on iTunes
9. SPILLED MILK
"Combine food and comedy in a bowl and stir it up until it explodes."
Hosted by Matthew Amster-Burton and
Produced by Spilled Milk
Recent episodes: "Shrimp;" "Marshmallows;" "Cornbread" spilledmilkpodcast.com, also available on iTunes
10. GOOD FOOD
"Discover great restaurants that you've never heard of, the politics of consumption, explorations of cultures through their food customs and some of the most interesting people who devote their lives to various elements of the food supply."
Hosted by Evan Kleiman
Produced by KCRW
Recent episode topics: "Decoding Japanese Supermarkets: "California Truffles;"
blogs.kcrw.com/goodfood/, also available on iTunes