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.
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?
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?
What’s a timber doodle? How do you make a gin sling? Where did the cocktail straw come from?
The cocktail is credited as one of America’s greatest inventions. Sarah and Soma will examine the dawn of the cocktail and trace the origins of some of our country’s most beloved imbibements. You’ll learn how to make the drinks that got your ancestors drunk: the sherry cobbler, the mint julep and more. We’ll talk blue blazers and Jerry Thomas, and Soma reveals tips for making the best modern cocktails: the secrets of the right ice and shaken vs. stirred.
On this week’s Masters of Social Gastronomy podcast, we’ll look at the culinary world’s experiments with illicit substances.
Let’s get high with the Victorians! From patent medicines to absinthe, Coca-Cola to laughing gas, we’ll look at all the forms of socially acceptable substance abuse during the 19th century.
Later, we’ll fast-forward to modern-day America, and explore the little known true history of the pot brownie. We’ll survey the range of altered-state culinary concoctions and see what both science and chefs have to say about creating the most effective epicurean euphoria.
This time on the Masters of Social Gastronomy podcast, we’re talking about **sugar and artificial sweeteners**
If you’ve ever crossed the Williamsburg Bridge, then you’ve surely noticed the towering structures of the defunct Domino’s Sugar factory. In this month’s MSG we’ll explore Brooklyn in an era when sugar was king, as well as take a behind-the-scenes peek at its modern day inheritor Sweet n’ Low.
But is giving in to our sweet tooth digging our own graves? Let’s break down the science behind the fear of sugar, from carcinogenic artificial sweeteners to the possible perils of that ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup.
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!
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.
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.”
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!
Each month, MSG takes on a curious food topic and breaks down the history, science, and stories behind it. In this podcast, Sarah Lohman of Four Pounds Flour will give you a run-down of vegetarianism in the west. From Benjamin Franklin’s ”Tow-fu” to Dr. Kellogg’s commercial “Protose,” we’ll explore just how long we’ve been eating things that masquerade as meat.
Soma will be taking charge of all your favorite modern imitation meats, exploring the many faces of soy and revealing the not-so-secret fungi factories that power your favorite frauds. We’ll take a look at crafting mock duck and tempeh at home, as well as where to shop if your culinary prowess fails.
Sarah Lohman of Four Pounds Flour will unearth the stories behind our favorite ice cream treats and share some of history’s wildest bygone flavors–that may be due for a revival. You’ll be able to answer questions like: which came first, chocolate or vanilla? The ice cream sandwich or the ice cream cone? Neapolitan or liquid nitrogen?
Then, Soma will tell you the science behind making the perfect batch at home, and Big Ice Cream’s tricks for plumping up their profit margins. We’ll also track frozen desserts across the globe, from Italian gelato to dondurma, the magically stretchy ice cream from Turkey.
Jonathan Soma of the Brooklyn Brainery will unravel the science behind inebriation, from the moment it hits your lips to your next-day regrets. Sarah Lohman, author of Four Pounds Flour, will unveil the history of drinking games, from Geisha Games to ancient Rock, Paper, Scissors.
From 19th-century “Punch Jelly,” to 20th-century “Jell-O Sea Dream with Shrimps” Sarah will discuss gelatin both beautiful and horrible.
Then, Soma will untangle the science of gelatin and its kin: stretch the boundaries of reality through an introduction to counterfeit Chinese eggs and the fancy-pants world of molecular gastronomy.
A special Masters of Social Gastronomy podcast short–all about RAW MILK! Sarah explores the history of the milk industry and why we pasteurize milk; Soma analyzes the scientific reasons to drink (or not to drink) raw milk. From swill milk to yellow milk to creamy milk to the lactose intolerant, we’ll answer the question: should you drink raw milk?
MSG tackles Candy! Sarah talks about the ancient origins of candy, and shares her recipe for chicken-flavored marshmallow peeps. Soma explores the science of candy making, and creates his own Atomic Fireballs, candy cigarettes and more.