Rank #1: Episode 140: Coffee History
Mark Pendergrast comes into the studio this week on A Taste of the Past to talk about the history of coffee! Mark Pendergast is an American independent scholar, and author of six books, with his most recent titled, “Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World”. Telling the story of coffee from its discovery on a hill in ancient Abyssinia to the advent of Starbucks, Mr. Pendergrast is an expert when it comes to the history, craft, and production of coffee. Learn how coffee was able to sober up Europe, how coffee first became a traded product through the growth of the railroad industry, and the truth behind the health benefits of coffee. Think you know a lot about coffee? Listen to this program and we’re sure that you’ll expand your knowledge even further. This program has been sponsored by Rt. 11 Potato Chips.
“It’s inevitable that we’re going to continue having a boom in coffee.” [18:05]
“One of the things that’s revolutionized coffee is the one way valve.” [25:03]
“A great way to make coffee: 2 teaspoons of ground coffee and 6 ounces of boiled water.” [31:05]
— Mark Pendergrast on A Taste of the Past
Jun 20 2013
Rank #2: Episode 34: Some Spicy History with Michael Krondl
This week on A Taste of the Past Linda talks salt, pepper, and spice: currency, commodity, and culinary aid. Author and culinary historian Michael Krondl breaks down the roles that specific spices played in their respective empires; the English and Dutch colonies that were built to trade it, Venice as a spice-stuffed world financial hub, and how many peppercorns made a nickel. Plus Krondl reveals that the cinnamon in your cupboard is an impostor. This episode was sponsored by Fairway: like no other market.
Sep 30 2010
Rank #3: Episode 36: Truffles
This week on A Taste of the Past Linda delves into the luxurious world of the truffle, and speaks to Vincent Jeanseaume of Sabatino Tartufi. Vincent and Linda take a look at the many varieties of truffle available (or not-so-available), why truffle oil is only a half-accurate moniker, and the many delicious things Vincent and others can do with this versatile fungus. Linda also relates a personal experience involving a hundred dollar stinky Italian truffle. This episode was sponsored by White Oak Pastures.
Oct 21 2010
Rank #4: 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.
May 20 2010
Rank #5: 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.” It’s 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 & Winery.
“The American Revolution is directly tied to sugar and molasses.”
“It wasn’t 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 doesn’t look like it’s the number one ingredient, which it is.”
—Andrew F. Smith on A Taste of the Past
Apr 16 2015
Rank #6: Episode 59: The Potato: How it Changed the World
This week on A Taste of the Past, Linda invites food historian and noted author Andy Smith to the program to explore and dissect the history of the most popular tuber and a staple of most diets – the potato. Did you know there are over 200 varieties of potatoes? Find out more about the history evolution of the potato on this especially informative episode of A Taste of the Past. This episode was sponsored by Cain Vineyard & Winery
Apr 21 2011
Rank #7: 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 & 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 there’s 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
Mar 08 2012
Rank #8: Episode 48: The Ancient Legacy of the Mediterranean Diet
This week on A Taste of the Past, Linda is joined by Moroccan born author and cooking instructor, Kitty Morse. Kitty’s latest book, “A Biblical Feast: Ancient Mediterranean Flavors for Today’s Table”, is as much a history book as it is a cookbook. Tune in and learn more about how and what people ate in Biblical times, the origins of fish sauce, and what makes real Ezekiel bread. This episode was sponsored by The Barterhouse. For more information visit www.thebarterhouse.com
Jan 27 2011
Rank #9: 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.
May 13 2010
Rank #10: Episode 152: Halloween History
It’s Halloween on A Taste of the Past at the HRN studios! Host Linda Pelaccio welcomes historic gastronomist and blogger, Sarah Lohman, and together they talk about the history of Halloween, trick-or-treating, superstitions, costumes, Halloween cakes, and more! Learn more about the origins behind the Halloween tradition as Sarah takes us through the history from the very beginning. Also tune-in to learn about trick-or-treating, and how the custom has changed in recent years. Lastly, find out how those small treats known as candy corn (which Sarah makes at home) have become a tradition, and even how to make a batch for yourself! This program has been sponsored by International Culinary Center.
“The pre-text of this holiday was a night for people to loosen up a little bit.” [12:00]
“Halloween is this holiday of pure fun. It’s about going and having fun whether you’re a child or an adult.” [16:30]
— Sarah Lohman on A Taste of the Past
Oct 31 2013
Rank #11: Episode 150: Cuisine & Empire with Rachel Laudan
Rachel Laudan is taking a culinary approach to world history in her book, Cuisine & Emire! This week on A Taste of the Past, Linda Pelaccio talks with Rachel about the influences of medicine, politics, and religion on cuisine throughout the ages. Learn about humorism, and how this system of belief affected the food that ancient people ate. Find out what agricultural products different religious groups relied on across Eurasia. Why are most cuisines based in grain? Tune in to learn about the New World exploration, and how that inequitable culinary exchange altered the food ways of continents. Where does the United States fit into the culinary landscape? Find out all of this and more on this week’s edition of A Taste of the Past. This program has been sponsored by Heritage Foods USA. Music by SNOWMINE.
“We now expect only one cuisine to every nation. All you have to do is look at the cookbook section in the bookstore to get this idea.” [4:45]
“Everybody now can eat the same kinds of cuisine. In the past, there was a huge distinction between high and humble cuisines.” [15:10]
— Rachel Laudan on A Taste of the Past
Oct 17 2013
Rank #12: Episode 296: The Greedy Queen: Dining in the Time of Victoria
On this episode, historian and regular voice on BBC Radio 4's Kitchen Cabinet, Annie Gray, joins Linda to talk about the enormous culinary changes during the Victorian era and the birth of modern food culture. In her recent book, The Greedy Queen, Annie considers Britain's most iconic monarch from a new perspective, telling the story of British food along the way. Voracious and adventurous in her tastes, Queen Victoria was head of state during a revolution in how the British ate--from the highest tables to the most humble.
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Apr 12 2018
Rank #13: Episode 62: Ice Cream with Laura Weiss
Linda Pelaccio gets ready for summer as she explores the history of ice cream with noted journalist and author Laura Weiss on A Taste of the Past. Laura traces the history of ice cream, from it’s icy and innovative roots to its worldwide popularity today. Learn about ice houses, the big business of ice cream and it’s many variations across the globe. Laura’s latest book is Ice Cream: A Global History, and is available where all books are sold. This episode was sponsored by Hearst Ranch, the nations largest single-source supplier of grassfed and grass-finished beef.
May 19 2011
Rank #14: Episode 275: The Evolution of Grocery Stores
From early trading posts to retail chains and superstores, award winning author Michael Ruhlman--The Soul of a Chef, The Elements of Cooking--traces the history and evolution of the American grocery store in his new book, Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America. On this episode Ruhlman shares his views of grocery stores as a reflection of our culture. He examines how rapidly supermarkets—and our food and culture—have changed since the days of your friendly neighborhood grocer.
Jun 22 2017
Rank #15: Episode 58: Royal Weding Feasts
This week on A Taste of the Past, Linda explores the decadent feasts behind royal weddings. Joined by food historian and period cookery instructor Ivan Day, she predicts what might been seen on the plates of guests at Prince William’s wedding and reveals the history behind wedding cakes, decorative dishes & marriage ceremonies. Sponsored by Fairway Market – like no other market.
Apr 14 2011
Rank #16: Episode 167: Foods of The Silk Road
This week on A Taste of the Past, Linda explores the history of Rhubarb and other foods of The Silk Road with Laura Kelley, author and food historian. Laura tells us about how so many foods were originally used as medicine, and the lines between food and medicine have become much more clear over the years. This program has been sponsored by Rolling Press. Today’s music provided by Pamela Royal.
“Most cinnamon we see on the shelves today labelled cinnamon isn’t really cinnamon.” [15:00]
“You have to really try to kill a chili plant.” [24:30]
–Laura Kelley on A Taste of the Past
Mar 27 2014
Rank #17: Episode 80: Julia Child and the Rise of Food TV
This week A Taste of The Past investigates the rise in popularity and power of TV cooking shows. Host Linda Pelaccio looks into the origins that have resulted in today’s obsession with food TV, with hundreds of shows on a multitude of dedicated food and cooking networks, they find the catalyst in the impossibly original and witty Julia Child. With the help of NYU Cinema Studies professor Dana Polan, who has written a book about the subject, discover how Julia transformed America’s views of home cooking and made us enamored of French cuisine. From her refusal to use any product placement to harnessing the power of PBS, learn about this food icon and the food media empire she help give birth to. This episode is sponsored by Whole Foods Market.
Nov 03 2011
Rank #18: Episode 108: Herbs: A Global History
What differentiates an herb from a weed? And what historical significance do herbs hold? Today’s episode of A Taste of the Past is a culinary history of herbs. Linda Pelaccio is joined by Gary Allen, herbalist and author of the recent book, Herbs: A Global History. Tune in to hear the difference between herbs and spices. Learn about extinct herbal plants and their ancient uses. Hear about the exchange of regional herbs, and how it has changed the culinary landscape and the food we eat today. Culturally, herbs are symbols for for memory, love, and fidelity. How did these associations come to be? Find out this, and so much more on this week’s A Taste of the Past. This episode has been sponsored by Whole Foods.
“Technically herbal teas are not teas- they are infusions. True tea is only the tea plant: camellia sinensis.”
“All foods are fusion foods, because every time anyone runs into anyone from anywhere they adapt their dishes to new ingredients and new circumstances.”
“Rosemary is often associated with memory because its scent lingers for so long.”
— Gary Allen on A Taste of the Past
Jun 28 2012
Rank #19: Episode 241: Food in the Gilded Age: What Ordinary Americans Ate
America's Gilded Age, the last quarter of the nineteenth century, is renowned for the excesses of robber barons and tycoons and their culture of conspicuous consumption. The lavishness of their tables impressed contemporaries and historians alike. But what about the eating habits of ordinary people at the time? Robert Dirks, author of Food in the Gilded Age, poses that question and discovers some surprising answers by peering through the lens of what then was a newly emerging science of nutrition.
Jun 16 2016
Rank #20: Episode 264: Pho: History in a Bowl
Andrea Nguyen, an author, food writer, culinary teacher and expert in Vietnamese cooking, learned to love the iconic noodle soup of Vietnam long before it became a cult food item in the US. She traveled back to her birthplace to research and learn about the birth of PHO which she recounts in her newest book, The Pho Cookbook, and shares with us in this episode.
Feb 23 2017