Food & Cooking Podcasts

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, follow us on Twitter @gastropodcast, and like us on Facebook at


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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, follow us on Twitter @gastropodcast, and like us on Facebook at




Museums and the Mafia: The Secret History of Citrus (encore)

A slice of lime in your cocktail, a lunchbox clementine, or a glass of OJ at breakfast: citrus is so common today that most of us have at least one lurking on the kitchen counter or in the back of the fridge. But don't be fooled: not only were these fruits so precious that they inspired both museums and the Mafia, they are also under attack by an incurable immune disease that is decimating citrus harvests around the world. Join us on a historical and scientific adventure, starting with a...


The End of the Calorie (encore)

For most of us, the calorie is just a number on the back of the packet or on the display at the gym. But what is it, exactly? And how did we end up with this one unit with which to measure our food? Is a calorie the same no matter what type of food it comes from? And is one calorie for you exactly the same as one calorie for me? To find out, we visit the special rooms scientists use to measure how many calories we burn, and the labs where researchers are discovering that the calorie is...


Champagne Wishes: The Tastes of Celebration

We pop it at weddings and pour it for the holidays, gift it to congratulate and sip it to celebrate—but, if we're being honest, Gastropod will seize any occasion to drink champagne. In the second episode of our two-part miniseries on the tastes of celebration, we tell the story of how this sparkling wine went from an unwelcome accident—winemakers considered fizz a flaw!—to a global brand associated with quality, luxury, celebrity, and, above all, fun. Along the way, we explore the science...


Caviar Dreams: The Tastes of Celebration

Yachts, private jets, caviar, champagne—all standard ingredients in the lifestyles of the rich and famous. But, every so often, at parties and special occasions, we mere mortals get to live large and enjoy fancy fish eggs and fizz, too. In this first episode of our two-part miniseries on the foods of celebration, Gastropod explores how something that Russian peasants ate as a form of religious penance became one of the world's most expensive foods. Join us this holiday season as we get up...


What Is Native American Cuisine? (Encore)

Pasta, sushi, tacos, samosas, and pad thai: In the U.S., enthusiastic eaters will likely be able to name traditional dishes from a wide variety of cuisines around the world. But most of us couldn't name a single Native American dish from any one the vast network of tribes, cultures, and cuisines that spread across the U.S. before Europeans arrived. Today, farmers, activists, and chefs are trying to change that. They're bringing back Native foods—not just to teach all Americans about the...


That Old Chestnut: A Nutty Tale, of Love, Loss, and Reconnection

Just a little over a hundred years ago, eastern forests were studded with what was called "America's perfect tree": 100-foot giants with straight-grained, rot-resistant wood, which filled the woods every fall with delicious, nutritious nuts. This nut—the American chestnut—was a staple in the diet and culture of Indigenous peoples, local wildlife, and colonial Americans. Then, in the early 1900s, disaster struck: a deadly and seemingly unstoppable disease moved in and made the species...


Prescription Dinner: Can Meals Be Medicine?

We've all heard that what you eat affects your health—but doctors prescribing dinner? It's real: Medically tailored meals are specifically designed to treat conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes, and heart disease, as well nourish people going through chemotherapy and radiation. Today, in a handful of places around the US, eligible patients can receive them for free, prescribed by their medical provider and reimbursed by their health insurance. There's even legislation in Congress that...


Trouble in Paradise: Coconut War Waters and Coconut Oil Controversies

Whether enrobed with chocolate in a candy bar or sucked up through a straw on the beach, coconut has become shorthand for the good life: clear blue waters, white sand beaches, and an ocean breeze. But it’s not just a tropical treat. All around the world, people who live alongside the coconut palm refer to it as the “tree of life,” thanks to its ability to provide food, oil, fresh water, and the sturdy raw materials to build homes, clothes, and even musical instruments—all from one plant. But...


Does the Western Megadrought Mean the End of Cheap Cheese and Ice Cream?

Imagine a summer's day without the jingle of the ice-cream truck, a pizza without its bubbling layer of melted cheesy goodness, or even a bowl of cereal without milk. It’s a shocking prospect, for sure, but the threat to these delights is perhaps even more surprising: The fact that Americans enjoy more than three times their body-weight in dairy products each year is, in no small part, due to a water-hungry plant that’s frequently, if counterintuitively, grown in the desert. That plant is...


Lunch Gets Schooled (encore)

Across the United States, school lunch is being transformed, as counties and cities partner with local farms to access fresh vegetables, as well as hire chefs to introduce tastier and more adventurous meals. This is a much-needed correction after decades of processed meals that contained little in the way of nutrition and flavor. But how did we get to trays of spongy pizza and freezer-burned tater tots in the first place? While it seems as if such culinary delights were always part of a...


What Do Aliens Eat? Food in Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Whether you’re an adorable, candy-loving alien, a lost hobbit, a Federation starship captain, or the King in the North, you still need to eat. This episode, Gastropod is exploring the weird and wonderful world of food in science fiction and fantasy, from well-loved standards like Star Trek and The Lord of the Rings, to modern favorites like The Expanse, and all of the esoteric cult classics (parasitic frozen desserts, anyone?) in between. We talk to some of our favorite writers about how...


Guest Episode: The Umami Mama by Unexplainable

Gastropod is excited to present this guest episode of Unexplainable. For thousands of years, there have been four basic tastes recognized across cultures. But thanks to Kumiko Ninomiya (a.k.a. the Umami Mama), scientists finally accepted a fifth. So could there be even more? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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...


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...


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,...


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...


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...


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...


Guest episode: Montréal by Not Lost

Gastropod is excited to present this guest episode of Not Lost, called Montréal: Voyage Voyage. When both his popular culture podcast and long-term relationship come to an end, journalist Brendan Francis Newnam finds he has the time — and freedom — to pursue his dream: a travel podcast where he goes places and learns about them by getting invited to a stranger’s house for dinner. Not Lost is both a delightful travel escape and an insightful look at people — locals and visitors alike — trying...


Reinventing the Eel

Aristotle thought they were born out of mud. A young Sigmund Freud dedicated himself to finding their testicles (spoiler alert, he failed). And a legendary Danish marine biologist spent 18 years and his wife's fortune sailing around the Atlantic Ocean to find their birthplace. The creature that tormented all of these great thinkers? It was the eel, perhaps the most mysterious fish in the world—and one of the most expensive per pound. So why are tiny, transparent, worm-like baby eels worth so...