Rank #1: 34 – You Are What You Eat, Donald Trump
As President Donald Trump adapts to his new life as the most powerful leader in the country, his food choices have remained curiously stodgy. Steaks doused in ketchup, chocolate soufflé, wedges of iceberg lettuce served with creamy dressing: "He basically has the eating habits of someone who was spending lots of time and money in fine dining establishments in the early '80s and late '70s," says Slate political correspondent Jamelle Bouie, our first guest on this week’s episode. Bouie also reveals how he got into cooking as a broke college student, and has some tips on stretching out your food budget. Then Kiera talks to Civil Eats founder and editor-in-chief Naomi Starkman about how to stay optimistic in these “anxiety-producing” times.
Rank #2: 22 - You Don’t Get Fat For the Reasons You Think
Rank #3: 8 - Michael Pollan – Magic Mushrooms
Rank #4: 29 – This Simple Advice Completely Changed the Way I Eat
Rank #5: 31 – Everything You Love About Food Means Nothing to This Guy
Rank #6: 32 – As a Fat Person, "I Felt Like I Always Had to Apologize for Myself"
Rank #7: 26 - The Science of Why People Don’t Believe in Food Science
Rank #8: 83 – Nobody Puts Vegetables in the Corner
If you’ve ever had trouble figuring out what to do with a bunch of vegetables, this episode is for you. Just in time for summer grilling season, Maddie talks to Abra Berens, author of the new cookbook Ruffage: a Practical Guide to Vegetables. Abra dishes on the link between how plants grow and how they taste, what to do about bland, squishy zucchini, and how to make summer veggies the centerpiece at your next barbecue.
Rank #9: 66 – The Bizarre Fad Diet Taking the Far Right by Storm
Lately, Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychologist known for his arch-conservative politics and views on masculinity, has been talking up the virtues of carnivorism. He’s not the only extreme right winger who has an unusual relationship with meat. In today’s episode, we talk to Kelly Weill, a Daily Beast reporter who wrote about the rise of the all-meat diet in the conservative fringe. Then, University of Colorado PhD student Alexis De Coning talks about her investigation into the disturbing history of veganism among white nationalists.
Rank #10: 55 – This Is the Best Kind of Milk
In this episode of Bite, we dive deep into the contentious topic of fake milk with the great Plant-Based Milk Showdown of 2018. And Tom tells us how a particular kind of alterna-milk could restore America’s farmland. Then, in honor of Mother’s Day, we talk to Aimee Lee Ball, the journalist behind the website Eat, Darling, Eat, where she collects stories about a very potent mix of topics: mothers, daughters, and food.
Rank #11: 60 – (Not) Eating Animals
This episode is all about giving up meat. As novelist Jonathan Safron Foer prepared to become a father, he became increasingly irked by a question: How would he justify eating meat to his kids? The question morphed into a bestselling book, Eating Animals, which became a documentary, premiering June 15. Jonathan shares more about his reasons for going veggie, and reflects on talking about food choices in the age of Trump. Then we hear from the Vegan Bros, two all-American dudes who gave up hunting and fishing for plant-based diets. The hosts share their favorite vegetarian cookbooks. And we ask you to tell us why you became a vegetarian or vegan—even if it didn't stick. (Go to www.motherjones.com/veggie-stories)
Rank #12: 87 – The Dirt on Truffles
Truffles are one of the most sought-after foods in the world. People use specially trained animals to sniff out this delectable fungus on tree roots, and a pound of white truffles can sell for thousands of dollars. But there’s a dark side to this delicacy. We talk to journalist Ryan Jacobs about his new book, The Truffle Underground. And he’s got all the dirt: theft, fraud, poisoned dogs, and even murder.
Rank #13: 54 – Did Drinking Give Me Cancer?
Mother Jones Senior Reporter Stephanie Mencimer just wrote a blockbuster story that weaves together her own breast cancer diagnosis and the disturbing history of the alcohol industry downplaying the link between booze and cancer. She joins us to talk about her drinking history and how the industry courts women. Then, New York Times op-ed writer Liz Tracy reflects on what it’s like to be a sober mom in a parenting culture that’s obsessed with wine. Finally, MoJo's Becca Andrews caught up with Planned Parenthood’s outgoing CEO Cecile Richards about her new memoir and the recipes that have fueled her career. Bonus: Cecile reveals her secrets to baking the best cherry pie.
Rank #14: 84 – The Problem With Home-Cooked Meals
What’s not to love about a meal prepared from scratch at home? Well, a few things actually, according to Joslyn Brenton, co-author of the new book Pressure Cooker: Why Homecooking Won’t Solve Our Problems and What We Can Do About It. Brenton and her co-authors embedded with nine women to find out what it takes to feed a family today. They found that the expectation to return to the kitchen to solve the food system’s woes places an undue burden on busy parents. Tom talks to Brenton to hear more about the project. And assistant editor Yu Vongkiatkajorn makes some discoveries about what people mean when they use the word “authentic” in Yelp reviews.
Rank #15: 21 – The Secret Lives of Chefs
Rank #16: 12 – You’re Eating a Lie
Rank #17: 72 – These Spices Will Transform Your Life
In the introduction to his new cookbook, Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food, Nik Sharma writes: “Mine is the story of a gay immigrant, told through food.” Nik was born in India, but left his native country for the United States in part because he wanted greater opportunity to be himself. In his cookbook, popular food blog, and columns for the San Francisco Chronicle, he does just that. Nik takes American classics like egg salad, and experiments with incorporating the Indian spices and cooking methods of his childhood. On this episode of Bite, Maddie talks to Nik about identity, chai, and why he cringes whenever he hears the word “fusion.”
Rank #18: 57 - Bonus: Introducing The Mother Jones Podcast
Bite is proud to present this special bonus show—the first episode of The Mother Jones Podcast. Our colleagues have been busy putting together a show packed with our brand of original, no-holds-barred reporting. Do us a favor and find it on your favorite podcast app, and subscribe!
In the debut episode, Senior Reporter Tim Murphy profiles the candidates ripping up West Virginia’s political blueprint and asks what their successes and failures mean for national politics come November. In Georgia, Democrat Stacey Abrams just enjoyed a spectacular, history-making victory to become the first black woman to ever to win a major party’s gubernatorial nomination, but her toughest battle is ahead: Can this national political darling beat a well-funded Republican, in a deep-red state, to break another glass ceiling and become the first female black governor in America? Then it’s time for resident Russia guru David Corn to make the extraordinarily complicated Mueller investigation understandable. We’ll also chat to David Beard, the author of our weekly Recharge newsletter, giving you a jolt of good news.
Rank #19: 51 – You Thought You Knew Spam. You Knew Nothing.
Every year, Spam enthusiasts take over the town of Isleton, California. Mother Jones senior editor Dave Gilson attended, and his audio postcard contains many treats, including but not limited to Spam cheesecake. Then: What if food prices depended on your skin pigment? Chef Tunde Wey just ran a fascinating and provocative experiment about that, and Kiera caught up with him to hear about the results. Finally, Tom talks to Maine congresswoman Chellie Pingree, who might be the only congressperson in history to own an organic farm and run a restaurant.
Rank #20: 61 – Comic W. Kamau Bell on Getting Coffee While Black
Not so long ago, comedian W. Kamau Bell was asked to leave a Berkeley cafe in what he called a case of “textbook racism.” On this episode of Bite, Bell talks to Mother Jones reporter Brandon E. Patterson about that incident, Starbucks’ controversial racial bias trainings, and more. Then, Maddie visits the kitchen of a refugee woman who fled Iraq for California five years ago. Today, she’s cooking at some of the world’s hottest restaurants. Warning: This interview may trigger intense shawarma cravings!