Archive for the 'podcast' Category

Podcast: The Science Enthuiast

I recently appeared on the The Science Enthusiast podcast, talking FOOD SCIENCE, natch. Tune in to hear me chat MSG, GMOs and much more. But don’t listen if you don’t like cussing, we do that a lot.

Gastropod: The Spice Curve – From Pepper to Sriracha with Sarah Lohman

I’m on the fabulous Gastropod podcast! Talking about my new book, Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine!

In this episode, Lohman introduces us to the historical and biological secrets behind two of those winning flavors: black pepper and sriracha. Black pepper is such a staple that it’s hard to imagine the American dinner table without it. But we have a grumpy Massachusetts colonial-era merchant and his much friendlier son, as well as the Food Network and a pain-inducing chemical called piperine, to thank for the spice’s ubiquity today.

Sriracha is the latest addition to the American flavor palate, with everything from sriracha-flavored potato chips to sriracha baby food sweeping the market. But how on earth did a Vietnamese spicy sauce used to pep up roast dog become a staple on the shelves of Walmart? Join us this episode as we find out the history and science behind these flavors’ successes—and survive our first, and, we hope, only, black pepper tasting session.

On the podcast, I talk about Martha Washington’s recipe “To Make Pepper Cakes That Will Keep Good in Ye House for a Quarter or Halfe a Year.” If you’d like to read about my experiences with that recipe, and see the finished cakes, go here.

And below is a recipe for a delicious modernized version from my book, Black Pepper Brown Sugar Cookies. I choose to use Sarawak peppercorns from Indonesia, as the pepper has notes of citrus and coriander that lend itself well to desserts. In fact, we notes its sweetness when we taste tested it on Gastropod, and its packaging noted it paired well with sweet creams and fruits. But any black pepper you have will work for this recipe. The result is a chewy cookie, speckled with pretty bits of black pepper.

peppercakes

Black Pepper Brown Sugar Cookies
Recipe modernized from Martha Washington’s A Book of Cookery.

Yield: makes 3 to 4 dozen, depending on the size of the cookie

4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to top the cookies
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon coriander
3/4 cup (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups packed light brown sugar
Zest of one orange
Juice of 1/2 an orange (about 1/4 cup)
2 large eggs

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients and spices.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter, sugar, and orange zest.

Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium-high until light in color.

Add the orange juice, and then add eggs one at a time, beating well

after each addition.

  1. With mixer on low, add the dry ingredients slowly. Stop and scrape

the bowl, then continue mixing until combined. Divide dough in half,

wrap in plastic wrap, and chill at least 1 hour and as long as overnight.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a generously floured work surface

and with a floured rolling-pin, roll dough 1/8 inch thick. Using a pepper grinder, crack fresh pepper over the surface of the dough and then

gently press the pepper in with the rolling-pin.

  1. Cut into desired shapes using a cookie cutter or knife. Bake on a

cookie sheet 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet halfway

through, until the cookies are brown around the edges. Allow to cool

completely on wire racks.

 

Listen here, and if you love food, be sure to subscribe to Gastropod on Itunes! And buy my book here!!

Podcast: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know about MSG and Why We’re Scared of it but Shouldn’t Be

I am neck deep in the final draft of my forthcoming book, Eight Flavors. I’m writing about the stories behind the most popular flavors in American cooking: black pepper, vanilla, chili powder, curry powder, soy sauce, garlic, MSG, and Sriracha. When I’m chatting at a party, and I rattle off the list of chapters, the topic I field the most questions about is by far MSG (or Monosodium Glutamate). “Isn’t it bad for you?” “Isn’t it a chemical?” “Why does it have such a negative reputation?”

Good questions–and ones I answer thoroughly in my book. But in the meantime, there have been several great recent podcasts that address those questions and concerns. I’ve rounded them up here so you can binge-listen  and draw your own conclusions!

Stuff You Should Know: How Umami Works!
umami600x350

For millennia humans have recognized four tastes, but in the 1980s a fifth taste first isolated in Japan gained worldwide acceptance – and took off like a rocket! Learn about meaty, musty, savory umami in this episode. Includes a history of MSG and explanation of it’s savory taste. Listen Here!

 

Gastropod: The United States of Chinese Food

Get the low down on MSG’s long-time association with Chinese Food.

Wander into any town in the U.S., no matter how small and remote, and you’re likely to find at least one Chinese restaurant. In fact, there are more Chinese restaurants in America than McDonalds, KFC, and Burger King combined. And the food they serve is completely unlike anything you’ll find in China. In this episode of Gastropod, we ask one crucial question: why?

 

Masters of Social Gastronomy Podcast: Monosodium Glutamate

This is an oldie but a goodie from me & Soma; the full history and sciense of MSG!

 

Podcast: Chinese Take-Out!

Somethin’ to put on while you deck the halls, or before you go out for Chinese food.

Sarah covers the history of Chinese take out, whisking you away on a tour of Chinatown a century ago, where chop suey houses served entrees considered exotic by droves of hungry New Yorkers. Soma reveals the stories behind our modern American Chinese food experience, from the man behind General Tso’s to who put the magic in your fortune cookie.

Podcast: Thanksgiving!

Something to put on while you’re doing the cookin’.

Sarah tells you the real history of Thanksgiving, with historic recipes and the stories behind your favorite side dishes! Soma’s gonna help you cook your turkey right! Plus: why you should serve eels this year, and what’s spatchcock?

Podcast: The Rise of Chocolate

Just in time for Halloween, a Masters of Social Gastronomy podcast all about chocolate!

We’ll track the history of chocolate from its roots as an ancient Mesoamerican beverage to its current world-championship status. You’ll learn how a yellow, football-shaped tropical fruit transforms into high-end dark chocolate and what “Mexican Hot Chocolate” actually has in common with what Montezuma drank. Burning questions of modern confectionery will be answered: What’s better, milk or dark? Why does Hershey’s have its own theme park? Is imported European chocolate worth the price? Why does white chocolate suck?

Podcast: Sriracha, Ghost Peppers, and The History of Heat

This month on the Masters of Social Gastronomy podcast, we break into the secret world of hot peppers to pull back the curtain on everyone’s favorite Rooster-branded hot sauce and the worldwide affection for spicy, spicy food.

Follow Sriracha from its humble baby-food-jar beginnings to its current status as a Tabasco-challenging juggernaut. We’ll take a behind-the-scenes look at its California factory and see how sriracha just might be as American as apple pie.

Once you escape the potatoes-and-cream tyranny of European cuisine, a culinary dedication to heat can be found everywhere. We’ll examine what makes Thai food tick and where Indian vindaloo gets its muscle. From mild jalapeños to record-holders like the Ghost Pepper and Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, find out what makes a veggie pack such a powerful punch!

Podcast: SANDWICHES

Masters of Social Gastronomy love Sandwiches!

The history of sandwiches is laced with vice, ingenuity, and industry.

Sarah will relate this sordid tale via the PB&J, perhaps the sandwich Americans feel the most passionate about. But jelly wasn’t always thought to be peanut butter’s natural companion and at MSG you’ll get to experience long-forgotten peanut butter sandwiches of the past.

Later, Soma will take us on a tour of America’s best sandwiches, from national standbys like the BLT to regional treasures like the Po’ Boy. He’ll go to bat for the grilled cheese as the greatest sandwich of all time, and use the power of experimentation to uncover the Perfect Grilled Cheese.

Podcast: Monosodium Glutamate

To celebrate its one year anniversary, this month’s Masters of Social Gastronomy Podcast takes on its namesake: monosodium glutamate (MSG)! Savory spice or fatal flavor?

Sarah Lohman of Four Pounds Flour will track MSG back to its source in traditional Japanese food, showing how time and money can turned an innocuous plant into the darling of mass production

Soma will take on modern-day interpretations of MSG, from its role in “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” to its many relatives hiding in everyday foods. Science fact will be separated from science fiction as myths are deflated and truths laid bare.

BONUS TRACK! “Storytime” from the Monosodium Glutamate lecture. Soma and Sarah toast to one year of MSG talks with fish sauce diluted to the color of “honey wine.” Sarah bitches about the deception propagated by chic kitchen product “Umami Paste #5.”


 

You can listen to all of our podcasts here, or you can subscribe in Itunes here!

Podcast: Convienence Food

THE ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF MSG IS TONIGHT! Swing by Public Assembly in Williamsburg tonight to catch us live!

MSG is our FREE monthly food science and history lecture, and this podcast is all about convenience food!

It’s evil, right?

Well, you may change your tune after Sarah’s Ode to Convenience Food in Three Parts: How Convenience Food Won the Civil War; How Convenience Food Almost Killed Us at the Turn of the Century; and How Convenience Food Liberated the Modern Woman.

Sarah is fairly certain modern society was built on the back of Borden’s Sweetened Condensed Milk, and at MSG, you’ll find out why.

Why does your bacon clamor about its lack of nitrites, but your soda keeps quiet about sodium benzoate? Soma will unwrap our love/hate relationship with modern preservatives, and how keeping our food safe may or may not kill us in the end. Learn to read the small print of food labeling with terrifying ease!