Rank #1: Episode 282: How Tea Shaped the Modern World
Tea has been one of the most popular commodities in the world. Over centuries, profits from its growth and sales funded wars and fueled colonization. Erika Rappaport talks about her new book, A Thirst for Empire, in which she delves into how Europeans adopted, appropriated, and altered Chinese tea culture to build a widespread demand for tea in Britain and other global markets and a plantation-based economy in South Asia and Africa. She shares her in-depth historical look at how men and women—through the tea industry in Europe, Asia, North America, and Africa—transformed global tastes and habits and in the process created our modern consumer society.
Rank #2: Episode 93: Downton Abbey
Hooked on Downton Abbey? Curious what food was like during the Edwardian Period? Tune in to an especially historic episode of A Taste of the Past with Linda Pelaccio as she is joined by Cathy Kaufman, chair of the Culinary Historians of New York. Find out why English food has a rich tradition and why it gets such a bad reputation these days. Learn about early haute cuisine, table settings, cookbooks and the important of the dining room as it relates to the period of time featured on Downton Abbey. This program is sponsored by Cain Vineyard and Winery. English food at that time [The Edwardian Era] had fabulous butter, cream and meats. The houses all had wonderful gardens. There was no reason for the food not to be good. English food gets its bad reputation because of the true hardships with food rationing that the population underwent after World War I, The Great Depression and World War II. In England unlike in the US, while you would have some flowers and silver candelabra, it would not be overly profuse. I think theres an interesting juxtaposition between American and English tables at this time. The American table is rather gaudy by comparison. --Cathy Kaufman, Chair of the Culinary Historians of New York on A Taste of The Past
Rank #3: Episode 183: Colonial Drinks: Shrubs, Flips, & Rattle
This week on A Taste of the Past, host Linda Pelaccio is talking shrubs, flips, and rattle-skulls - aka colonial drinks! Welcoming food writer and author of Forgotten Drinks of Colonial New England Corin Hirsch via phone to brief Linda on this interesting topic, they start off the show talking about how prevalent alcoholic beverages were in the times of our founding-fathers. As it turns out, cider was a very common drink for all to enjoy - even children! Having to do with poor water quality at the time, alcoholic drinks were considered safer to drink than most other drinks at the time. After the break, Linda is joined in the studio by Michael Dietsch, author of the book Shrubs: An Old Fashioned Drink for Modern Times. Continuing the colonial chat, Michael shares historical tidbits about shrub: the name of different, but related, acidulated beverages. He goes on to elaborate about each type of shrub and how the beverage basically disappeared from the market, though is seeing a comeback in recent years. Tune in to hear all about the drinks that Colonial Americans loved! This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery. Alcohol consumption, as robust as it was before the war began, it just reached its peak in the decades after the war. [10:05] --Corin Hirsch on A Taste of the Past Shrub was one of the first things that the British navy used to fight scurvy. [29:03] --Michael Dietsch on A Taste of the Past
Rank #4: Episode 218: New Orleans Food History
Using restaurants as a lens to observe the citys cuisine, Lolis Elie talks about food, culture and customs of New Orleans on this weeks edition of A Taste of the Past. There are at least two traditions in Louisiana gumbo. The New Orleans tradition, and that gumbo tends to be thinner, tends not to have as thick or dark of roux, and also, when I think of Creole gumbo I think of a mix of sausage, seafood, and occasionally some poultry. [15:05] --Lolis Elie on A Taste of the Past andnbsp;
Rank #5: Episode 81: Liquid Gold: The Impact of Olive Oil on Western Civilization
Three million tonnes of liquid gold have been produced this year and no were not talking about bullion, were talking about olive oil. From its first sightings on ancient Egyptian pyramids to the many different styles and pressings today, olive oil has been a staple of life for thousands of years. With the help of oil importer and expert Tony DeMarco, Linda Pelaccio takes you on an organoleptic retrospective of one of the worlds oldest delicacies. From its early uses helping sustain traveling Roman Armies to the recent discoveries of its health benefits and uses in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, this weeks A Taste of The Past will provide you with an encyclopedic view of this amazing but hard to grow tree crop. Also, tune in for a live tasting of some of the best olive oils in the world at the end of the show! This episode is sponsored by Fairway Market.
Rank #6: Episode 22: Ice Cream with Jon Snyder & Jeri Quinzio
This week on A Taste of the Past Linda spoke with two masters of frozen delights. Jon Snyder of Il Laboratorio del Gelato and Jeri Quinzio, author of Of Sugar and Snow stopped by with some delicious insight into the history and future of ice cream.
Rank #7: Episode 202: Sugar and its Dark History
This week on A Taste of the Past, host Linda Pelaccio is talkin sugar and its checkered, dark past with guest Andrew F. Smith, author of Sugar: A Global History. Its no surprise that sugar has been on our minds for several millenia. First cultivated in New Guinea around 8,000 B.C.E., this addictive sweetener has since come to dominate our appetites-whether in candy, desserts, soft drinks, or even pasta sauces-for better and for worse. Offering highlights of the book and other historical factoids of this simultaneously beloved and reviled ingredient, Andy relays how sugar has held its incredible value as a global commodity up against its darker legacies of slavery and widespread obesity. Tune in to hear a layered and definitive tale of sugar and the many people caught in its spell-from barons to slaves, from chefs to the countless among us born with that insatiable devil, the sweet tooth. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery. The American Revolution is directly tied to sugar and molasses. It wasnt until the late 19th century that you had the granulated sugar and sugar cubes and things that we now know and and love. Companies now have several different names for sugar so it doesnt look like its the number one ingredient, which it is. --Andrew F. Smith on A Taste of the Past
Rank #8: Episode 206: Roman Food Culture
Elizabeth Minchilli has been eating her way through Rome since she was 12 years old. Eating Rome, is her homage to the city that feeds her, literally and figuratively. This week on A Taste of the Past, host Linda Pelaccio is getting Elizabeths personal story which is a quirky and deliciously entertaining look at some of the citys monuments to food culture. Strolling through her favorite open air markets along with details of amazing coffee, pizza, artichokes and grappa are just the starting points for mouth-watering stories about this ancient city. If you are planning your first trip to Rome or if youve been a dozen times, tune in as Linda spends this episode traveling through the region with Elizabeth as the perfect travel guide. This program was brought to you by Bonnie Plants. The thinking is that the last thing in the world you would want after a big lunch [in Rome] is a big cup of warm milk, which is basically what cappuccino is... so theyll give it to you but theyll be very disapproving. [8:22] These [farmers] markets which are only open on Saturdays and Sundays are really crowded. I think that shows a rebirth of this interest in buying quality food from the source. [16:35] --Elizabeth Minchilli on A Taste of the Past
Rank #9: Episode 84: The Lost Art of Real Cooking
This week on A Taste of The Past its time to rediscover The Lost Art of Real Cooking with Ken Albala who has written a book on just that. Learn how our liberation from the kitchen in the 70s has lead to our over-consumption of pre-made and pre-packaged foods. From government subsidies to food deserts, tune in to learn something new about how to recover this lost art. This episode is sponsored by S. Wallace Edwards and Sons.
Rank #10: Episode 176: Ramen: The Untold History
This week on A Taste of the Past, Linda Pelaccio talks about the history of ramen in Japan and the United States with George Solt, author of The Untold History of Ramen. Tune into this episode to learn how international relations and trade agreements allowed ramen to evolve in Japan using non-traditional ingredients. How do ramen noodles different from other Japanese noodle soups like soba? How did ramen preparations change in order to satisfy the caloric needs of the Japanese population. Tune into this program to learn more about the first instances of instant ramen, ramen museum, and the dishs nutritional value! Are ramen shops in Japan as popular as their equivalents in the United States today? Tune in to find out! Thanks to our sponsor, S. Wallace Edwards and Sons. Music by Pamela Royal. Until the introduction of Western food culture en mass in the 19th Century, the Japanese didnt eat much meat; it was much more of fish and vegetable type of eating culture... It shows how politics, international relations, and trade affect food culture. [6:50] The pushcart is really the site that the ramen phenomenon came from. [9:20] -- George Solt on A Taste of the Past
Rank #11: Episode 21: Heirloom Seeds with Amy Goldman
Linda sits down with author, horticulture legend and the worlds premiere vegetable gardener Amy Goldman. Amy also serves as the Board Chair for Seed Savers exchange, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving heirloom plant varieties.
Rank #12: Episode 284: The South, A - Z
The American South is a diverse region with its own vocabulary, peculiarities, and complexities. Even Southerners can't always agree on all things Southern. A new book by the editors of Garden & Gun Magazine is a good source for answers. "S is for Southern" is an encyclopedia of Southern life, culture, and history, covering age-old traditions and current zeitgeists. Executive managing editor Phillip Rhodes, born and bred in the south, talks about the fun facts.
Rank #13: Episode 184: Vegetarian Flavors
This week on A Taste of the Past, host Linda Pelaccio welcomes Karen Page, author of many books but most recently The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, to talk all about eating vegetarian. With the popularity of cutting out meat in the past decade, Karen Page brings some great dishes to light in the new book. Notably, Karen and her author/photographer husband, Andrew Dornenburg, became vegetarians in 2012. Talking to Linda about the history of vegetarianism, Karen mentions that in the United States, this style of eating actually had religious roots prior to being hailed as a healthy way of living. After the break, Linda and Karen discuss the varying reasons why people choose to change their diets in such a way as well as Karens reason for becoming a vegetarian. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market. Why do these flavor combinations we know as classics come to be? Its because people started playing with the ingredients that they had locally. [6:05] Vegetables are being embraced by chefs of all stripes [17:48] People always say how do you get your protein and I say, well, I eat plants. Plants have protein! [31:18] --Karen Page on A Taste of the Past
Rank #14: Episode 33: Eataly with Joe Bastianich & Lidia Bastianich
This week on A Taste of the Past Linda speaks to Joe Bastianich and his sainted mother Lidia Bastianich for a discussion about Eataly. The largest artisanal Italian food and wine marketplace in the world, Eataly is the brainchild of Mario Batali, the Bastianichs, and Oscar Farinetti, founder of the original Eataly in Turin. Tune in to find out how the project came together and for a break down of the immense scope of this wildly successful undertaking. Find out how Joe is handling selling everything from cookware to crudo to beer from a brewery on the roof, all in one place. This episode was sponsored by Heritage Foods USA. Photo 1: The BandB Family, Photo 2: Eataly layout
Rank #15: Episode 28: Steven Raichlen
This week on A Taste of the Past Linda spoke to Barbecue Bible (blog and book series) author Steven Raichlen about the only international food woven into our human fabric: BBQ. Steven has traveled the world investigating, written eight books about, and hosted his own show on PBS regarding BBQ, and knows a thing or two about a thing or two regarding grilled meat and the slow and low. Tune in for an illuminating look at BBQs history, future, and how our local traditions have grown from and melded with international versions of the cue. This episode was sponsored by Hearst Ranch: purveyors of fine grass-fed beef.
Rank #16: Episode 213: What’s in a Name: Chinese Dishes
Take a trip to the Far East long ago as host Linda Pelaccio welcomes Kian Lam Kho to the studio for a brand new episode of A Taste of the Past. Kian shares descriptive details on what banquets were like in China more than three-thousand years ago and how traditional Chinese cuisine was shaped by the worldly trading routes. Through much culinary detective work, Kian goes on to share tantalizing facts about ancient dishes and cooking techniques used before discussing a special visit to the country that no doubt influenced his new book, Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees. Tune in for a thorough explanation behind the poetic names of popular Chinese plates! To find out more, check out Kians website! [gallery ids=30719,30718,30717,30716] Mugu gai pan, for example, the pan in the end means that the chicken is sliced thinly, so the pan refers to the cut. [26:45] Once you know the techniques, you can adapt to your own flavor or local ingredients because I understand not everywhere can you find the exotic ingredients required for Chinese cooking. [28:30] --Kian Lam Kho on A Taste of the Past andnbsp; andnbsp;
Rank #17: Episode 195: How the Other Half Ate: Working Class Meals of 1900
This week on A Taste of the Past, host Linda Pelaccio is delving into the pages of culinary history, wondering how the working-class ate at the turn of the century. Dr. Katherine Leonard Turner joins Linda via phone, adding to the discussion interesting facts and thoughts brought up in her book How the Other Half Ate: A History of the Working-Class Meals at the Turn oft he Century. She explains that at this time, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, working-class Americans had eating habits that were distinctly shaped by jobs, families, neighborhoods, and the tools, utilities, as well as size of their kitchensâ€”along with their cultural heritage. Tune in for a thorough look at food and meals for the common man. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery. Photo via Montgomery Farm Womens Cooperative Market Lewis Hine, Library of Congress Certainly working class peoples cooking facilities were much much behind at this time. When the middle class had gas stoves the working class had wood and coal burning stoves... Its a lot of upkeep and maintenance just to run coal stoves, and their kitchens arent separate from their homes. [10:00] Urban working people are eating on the street, bar, push cart, cafeterias that sound more like where Americans eat today. [20:00] --Dr. Katherine Leonard Turner on A Taste of the Past
Rank #18: Episode 208: Sugar and Sweets Around the World
A sweet tooth is a powerful thing! This week on A Taste of the Past, host Linda Pelaccio is exploring the vast array of sweets across the globe with Darra Goldstein, the Editor in Chief of The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets. As Linda and Darra point out, the science of sweet is only the beginning of a fascinating story, because it is not basic human need or simple biological impulse that prompts us to decorate elaborate wedding cakes, scoop ice cream into a cone, or drop sugar cubes into coffee. These are matters of culture and aesthetics, of history and society, and we might ask many other questions. Why do sweets feature so prominently in childrens literature? When was sugar called a spice? And how did chocolate evolve from an ancient drink to a modern candy bar? Tune in to this intriguing episode and check out the Facebook page! This program was brought to you by Bonnie Plants. The plants that tended to be bitter would be toxic, or likely... the entire verge of survival depended on the sweet. [6:00] They are making a fabric now of lightly sweetened green tea... its meant to be worn! [23:25] Frisbee actually originated with a pie tin. [24:20] --Darra Goldstein on A Taste of the Past
Rank #19: Episode 224: Folklore of Food
Folklore has long explored food as a core component of life, linked to identity, aesthetics, and community and connecting individuals to larger contexts of history, culture and power. It recognizes that we gather together to eat, define class, gender, and race by food production, preparation, and consumption, celebrate holidays and religious beliefs with food, attach meaning to the most mundane of foods, and evoke memories and emotions through our food selections and presentations. Today, A Taste of the Past host Linda Pelaccio welcomes Dr. Lucy Long to the show to elaborate on her books, The Food and Folklore Reader as well as Culinary Tourism, talking how these topics play into current food studies and much more.
Rank #20: Episode 46: Origins of Curry
This weeks discussion on A Taste of the Past focuses on curry, one of the most widley used - and misused - terms in the culinary lexicon. Joining Linda is Colleen Taylor Sen, a food historian and journalist specializing in the cuisine of India. Linda and Colleen trace the history of curry, from the East India Trading Company to British fast food chains. Tune in and learn what should and shouldnt be considered curry and how curry leaves differ from curry powder. This episode was sponsored by Cain Vineyard and Winery. For more information visit www.cainfive.com