According to Friday's survey of food radio or podcasts, Lynne Rossetto Kasper's The Splendid Table is your clear favorite, earning 53% of Kitchn readers votes. The other frontrunners were KCRW's Good Food (20%), and Molly Wizenberg and Matthew Anmster-Burton's Spilled Milk in third, with 12% of the total votes (as of Saturday, March 5th).
These figures got me thinking about how important the podcasts I listen to while cooking and cleaning really are to my daily routine. Does my list match up with readers' votes? Read on to find out!
It's so hard to play favorites, each and every podcast brings me new information, allows me to daydream/think and also gives me ideas for new topics to write about here on The Kitchn. Perhaps it's a throwback to begin a kid, having my mom tuck me in with a story (I had a serious thing for the Berenstain Bears), but being read to is something I still value a great deal.
While working and cooking, I listen to about two or three podcasts per day, then maybe switch to an audio book for the remainder of my work day/home chores. I've even been jogging away on the treadmill listening to folks wax rhapsodic about chocolate peanut butter pies or some other highly caloric treat! So ironic.
My favorite podcasts might be just the thing to keep you going while doing the dishes or waiting for the bus, most are food-related, but a few are about broader topics. Let us know if there's a podcast missing from the list, I'd love to find out about it! In no particular order, here they are.
• The Splendid Table — I'll have to agree with you voters, Lynn Rosetto's show is one of the best out there. She explains easy recipes, invites chef guests to divulge their secrets, features great road food finds from Jane and Michael Stern, then answers call-in questions of us home cooks. This format of diverse content keeps things interesting and moving. Lynn's got an infectious laugh and speaks so earnestly. I love that.
• KCRW's Good Food — Hosted by Evan Kleiman, this show focuses on food stories from abroad as well as Evan's local Los Angeles food scene. Evan's an informed, delightful host and her co-contributors, Eddie Lynn and Jonathan Gold (among others) bring wonderful insights, mostly into the world of ethnic food. The descriptions of some off the beaten path, the hole-in-the-wall restaurants, such as a Lao noodle shop in a strip mall in Echo Park, make me want to jump on a plane down South. The farmer's market descriptions at the top of the hour will make you incredibly envious of the Southern California bounty, mid winter.
• Vegetarian Food for Thought — This show, created by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, is the most compelling podcast about animal rights and veganism I've come across. Colleen's joyful tone and emphasis on delicious vegan recipes make for a great listen.
• This American Life — this is the grandaddy of all the podcasts and it's not food-driven per se, but it is incredible story-telling at its finest. If you are unfamiliar with this incredible archive of sometimes emotional, often hilarious, very touching stories, you are in for a real treat. This show can break your heart, make you cry and then have you roaring in stitches, all within the same show! For foodies, definitely check out their annual "Poultry Slam" which is a roundup of stories involving poultry for the Thanksgiving Holiday.
• The Moth — So here's another show not really about food, but it's so fabulous, I wanted to include it on this list. Here's a show that's brave, honest and quite amazing really. It's a live show, of individuals getting up and sharing their stories, without notes. Think of it as a more raw form of some of the content on This American Life. Just thinking about it get's me all excited as to what this week's show will bring. Will I laugh or will I weep?
• Spilled Milk — I love this newcomer podcast hosted by Molly Wizenberg and Mathew Amster-Burton. During their 15 minute(ish)-long show, they discuss a food topic of the day (hamburgers, cereal, chicken stock, spouseless eating, etc), cook something, then hash out the results of their handy work. The pair are pretty funny when put together and as a listener, you wind up feeling like a friend along for the food party. I'm a huge fan of both of these food writers' books, so I enjoy their podcast as another insight into their lives and careers.
• NPR Food Podcast — This is a wonderful round up of food stories with frequent guest visits from celebrity chefs. Nigella Lawson was just on, for example. Another great aspect of the show is that they touch on economic issues and how they relate to the world of food; featuring small food business start ups and world fluctuations in the price of grain, beef, etc. and the impact this has on the world.
• Radiolab— with co–hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich at the helm, this is maybe my favorite podcast right now, if I had to pick one. This show focuses on huge issues such as mortality, time, race and more, and they attempt to crack that topic open with scientific experts, as well as regular folks with a creative connection to the story. The speakers and the hosts are spliced with beautiful music and ambient sounds, making for a unique listening experience. If you like stories and you like science, this music-rich documentary show is definitely something you'll want to plug into.
Listen to the Podcasts:
(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)