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
Rank #2: Episode 72: Hot Dogs
This week on A Taste of the Past, Linda explores the history of the hot dog with Bruce Kraig, Ph.D, author of “Hot Dog, A Global History”. Bruce has traveled the world tasting hot dogs and shares some very interesting variations including Korean batter-dipped dogs. Learn how the frankfurter found its way into American culture, where it got its silly name from and how it helped define our “on-the-go” meal philosophy in this country. This episode was sponsored by Cain Vineyard & Winery.
Rank #3: 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.
Rank #4: Episode 55: America’s Vanished Foods
Linda Pelaccio explores America’s Vanished Foods on this week’s episode of A Taste of the Past with Andrew Beahrs, author of Twain’s Feast: Searching for America’s Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens. Tune in to hear about some of the original “heritage” foods of America including raccoon, oysters and terrapin soup. Learn about the food history and culture that can be drawn from the writings of Mark Twain and find out why things have changed drastically since those times. This episode was sponsored by Cain Vineyard & Winery. For more information visit www.CainFive.com
Rank #5: Episode 65: Cast Iron Cookware
This week on A Taste of the Past, Linda sits down with cookware historian/collector Joel Schiff and author/poet Stacey Harwood to talk about the history of cast iron cookware. Joel traces the material’s early beginnings in ancient China to its resurgence in popularity today. Then Stacey shares some of her favorite recipes to cook in cast iron molds. This episode was sponsored by Fairway Market.
Rank #6: 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.
Rank #7: 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
Rank #8: 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 #9: 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.
Rank #10: Episode 46: Origins of Curry
This week’s 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 shouldn’t be considered curry and how curry leaves differ from curry powder. This episode was sponsored by Cain Vineyard & Winery. For more information visit www.cainfive.com
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 257: All About Butter
From an accidental churning in ancient times to the modern day quest for the purest, silkiest spreads, butter has a very rich history. Historian Elaine Khosrova, author of Butter, A Rich History, shares some of her stories as we dive into the unctuous beginnings of this delicious food.
Rank #13: 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
Rank #14: Episode 54: Vegetarian Cooking with Deborah Madison
This week on A Taste of the Past, Linda is joined by Deborah Madison, “The Julia Child of Vegetarian Cooking”. Linda & Deborah dispel some of the stigmas and misconceptions surrounding vegetarian diets and explore ways to overcome the idea of a “centerless plate”. Tune in to learn about the Meatless Mondays initiative and find out which cultures are best with vegetarian dishes! This episode was sponsored by The Museum of Food & Drink. Learn about the “Get the Ball Rolling” fundraiser here.
Rank #15: 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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Rank #16: Episode 76: Jacques Pepin
This week On A Taste of the Past, Linda is joined by a very special guest who is not only a chef who has cooked for Charles de Gaulle and has 11 cookbooksbut who is also an Emmy Winner, a recipient of France’s highest honer: Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, a painter, and a poet. Any guesses??? It’s Jacques Pepin! The two chat about Jacques beginnings in his parents’ kitchen to his time at Le Pavillion to his newest cookbook coming out in October: The Essential Pepin. And if you’re in the area there’s still time to get tickets to catch Mr. Pepin at this year’s New York City Wine & Food Festival. This episode is sponsored by The Hearst Ranch.
Rank #17: 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.
Rank #18: Episode 64: Italian Food: The Empire Strikes Again
John Mariani, Esquire food critic, noted journalist and author of “How Italian Food Conquered the World”, is this week’s guest on A Taste of The Past. Linda & John trace the history of Italian and Italian American cuisine from the days where pizza ovens were a sign of low class cuisine to the recent artisanal pizza explosion in the culinary world. This episode was sponsored by Fairway Market – like no other market.
Rank #19: Episode 235: Foodways and Cooking of Appalachia
Appalachian food has been sustainable and organic for generations. They have been offering “farm to table” fare forever, without needing to call it that. And the iconic dish of soup beans and cornbread is "culinary harmony," a perfect blend of the native beans with the rendered fat of the pig, an animal brought to the lower South by the Spanish in the 16th century and to the upper South by the English in the 17th. Fred Sauceman, Appalachia born and raised, tells the story.
Fred Sauceman is Senior Writer and Associate Professor of Appalachian Studies at Eastern Tennessee State University. His latest book is Buttermilk & Bible Burgers: More Stories from the Kitchens of Appalachia, published by Mercer University Press. He is also the author of the three-volume book series on Appalachian foodways, The Place Setting: Timeless Tastes of the Mountain South, from Bright Hope to Frog Level, published by Mercer as well. In addition, he is editor of Cornbread Nation 5: The Best of Southern Food Writing.
Rank #20: Episode 246: Meat Loaf & Casseroles: Food of the Great Depression
After WWI, America went from sending food to war-starved Europe to suddenly no longer being the land of plenty. Authors Jane Ziegelman and Andy Coe discuss the culinary impact of that period which they chronicle in their new book, A Square Meal, A Culinary History of the Great Depression.