Rank #1: CTF Ep 23 The Truth of Ruth and Alice: Ruth Reichl and Alice Waters
Ruth Reichl and Alice Waters! Chewing the Fat hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng welcome in studio Reichl, former "Gourmet" magazine Editor in Chief, and Waters, chef and owner of Chez Panisse. They were in town for the Chicago Humanities Festival event, “The Art of Simple Food: Alice Waters in Conversation with Ruth Reichl”. Monica and Louisa learn the the truth about Ruth’s highly anticipated Twitter inspired book, and hear her struggle writing the recently released Delicious!: A Novel. Alice talks about her new book, "The Art of Simple Food II: Recipes, Flavor, and Inspiration from the New Kitchen Garden." All that and listener mail — finally! (Photo: Monica Eng, Alice waters, Ruth Reichl, Louisa Chu)
Rank #2: CTF Ep 49 Ramen: Lucky Peach editor Peter Meehan, Slurping Turtle chef Takashi, and Ramenritto
Chewing the Fat slurps the fat on this Ramen episode. Co-hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng talk to Lucky Peach magazine editor and ramen expert Peter Meehan. And they visit Slurping Turtle, where Top Chef Master Takashi Yagihashi makes noodles inspired by his hometown in Japan. Then Louisa surprises Monica with hot and spicy instant ramen in a McDonald’s burrito, aka a public radio budget friendly Ramenrito, but Will She Eat It? Twitter: @ChuEngFat @louisachu @monicaeng (Photo by Louisa Chu / Pork ramen bowl at Ramen Jiro in Toyko)
Rank #3: CTF Ep 25 Gluten Free: Why all the hate for gluten haters?
This week we dig into the rising intolerance for the gluten intolerant by talking to celiac scientist Dr. Stefano Guandalini, comedian Brian Babylon, blogger and author April Peveteaux ("Gluten Is My Bitch") and WBEZ COO Alison Scholly. (Photo by Louisa Chu)
Rank #4: CTF Ep 20 LIVE: How you should eat and drink your wine, cheese and charcuterie
Live from Chicago, it’s Chewing the Fat! Co-hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng hold their first live event, a podcast recording and WBEZ Chicago Member Meet-Up at City Winery complete with wine, cheese, and charcuterie. Listen as audience contestants play Know Your Sausage with Hot Doug’s Doug Sohn; Will You Eat It? with three stinky cheeses and Pastoral’s Ken Miller and Greg O’Neill; plus Ask the Somms with Tenzing Master Sommelier Fernando Betata, and City Winery’s very own Rachel Driver Speckan.
Rank #5: CTF Ep 51 Food and Antibiotics: The butcher, the animal caretaker and the documentary filmmaker
Hard pill to swallow? Chewing the Fat examines our pairing of food & antibiotics. Hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng talk to "Resistance" filmmaker Michael Graziano about the threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, National Pork Producers Council Chief Veterinarian Dr. Liz Wagstrom about antibiotics and livestock, and Eataly butcher Daniel Roderfeld on their meat standards. Then Monica brings Louisa a Never Ever wild boar sausage, but what is it, and Will She Eat It? Twitter: @ChuEngFat @louisachu @monicaeng (Photo by Louisa Chu / Raw Piemontese beef toast with white Alba truffle at Eataly in Chicago)
Rank #6: CTF Ep 30: Seafood
So long, and thanks for all the fish? Hold the boat! This week Chewing the Fat co-hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng try to stem the tide in the Seafood episode. They ask New York Times best-selling author Paul Greenberg what are our best sustainable choices. And Jon Rowley, whom Julia Child called “The Fish Missionary”, about how to pick them. Plus a visit to Calumet Fisheries, the James Beard award-winning smoked seafood shack, to eat Gulf shrimp and hear fish stories from manager Carlos Rosas. But aged salmon bottarga? Podcast intern Iris Lin takes the plunge, but Will She Eat It? (Photo by Louisa Chu / Fried smelt at Calumet Fisheries in Chicago, Illinois)
Rank #7: CTF Ep 3 - Eat yr veggies, living vegan, The Flavor Bible and remembering Charlie Trotter
Less fat and more chewing as Monica and Louisa go vegan (this week only). In this vegetarian and vegan-friendly episode, they chat with the wife-and-husband team of Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, authors of the revered culinary guide, The Flavor Bible. Page and Dornenburg tell CTF about their new vegetarian diet. Then, Sheila Essig and Rob Gardner of Chicago food blog, the Local Beet, share their experience making the switch from meat-eating omnivores to rockin’ the vegan lifestyle… and it hasn’t always been easy. Also, they'll stomach natto atop microwavable rice, and share their favorite vegan spots in the city, and to make at home. All that, plus a remembrance of Chicago (and, world) food legend, the late Charlie Trotter. Photo: Flickr/Louisa Chu
Rank #8: CTF Ep 2: Scary food, grey matter quesadillas, oysters & candy
Brains! Blood! Intestines! In this week’s Halloween episode, Monica and Louisa try some of the scariest foods in Chicago. Tony Hu, famed chef of the renowned Lao Sze Chuan restaurant, chews the fat about balancing his boundary-pushing authentic Chinese cuisine with the demands of queasy-stomached Americans. Plus, recent Shaw's Crab House Oyster Hall of Fame inductee Bill Taylor of Taylor Shellfish Farms talks about the delicious creature many are squeamish about, Jonathan Groubert from The State We're In's stops by for the sad and scary story behind one of the dishes at his wedding, and for dessert, Monica and Louisa share their Halloween giveaway do’s and don'ts.
Rank #9: CTF Ep 16 The Breakfast Club: South Asian breakfasts, healthy & unhealthy breakfasts
Everyone knows breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but lots of folks (including Louisa) don't eat it. Monica doesn't approve. The hosts talk to writer Colleen Sen about Indian breakfasts and to Dr. Robert Lustig (Fat Chance Cookbook) about why he thinks food in the National School Breakfast Program is so dangerous. (Photo: Breakfast--congee with youtiao, pork floss, century egg, peanuts, green onions, soy sauce and sesame oil / Louisa Chu--Flickr)
Rank #10: CTF Ep 29: Halal
All American halal gyro cheeseburgers and camel milk? YES. This week Chewing the Fat co-hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng taste those and more on this Halal episode, exploring food at the end of Ramadan, during the Eid celebration. But what is halal food? Monica and Louisa ask their WBEZ colleague Mariam Sobh, who’s also the founder of the wildly popular lifestyle blog Hijab Trendz, about halal food trends. And they visit a halal Pakistani-Indian restaurant to feast on American fare, including burgers, cheesesteaks, and wings. Plus Will She Eat It? this week is Will He Drink It? featuring camel milk, from Midwestern Amish camel farmers, and podcast intern Patrick Burns. Hear how halal food and drink is not just for religious reasons anymore, but health and ethical too. (Photo by Louisa Chu / Halal gyro cheeseburger at Shahi Nihari Hot N Spicy restaurant in Villa Park, Illinois)
Rank #11: CTF Ep 18 SUSTAIN-A-LICIOUS: Can a Chipotle chef really change the world with fast food burritos?
When’s sustainable food delicious — or sustain-alicious, if you will? Chewing the Fat’s Monica Eng and Louisa Chu ask Chipotle chef Nate Appleman, who’s trying to change the world one fast food burrito at a time. Plus Leghorn Chicken chef / partner Jared Van Kamp who just opened his socially conscious chicken sandwich shop. And award-winning veteran sustainable chef Bruce Sherman whose first concern at his restaurant North Pond has always been the delicious. Bonus: Louisa and Monica introduce a new segment “Delicious Combo” exploring unexpected flavor sensations with nori fries. Can you handle this? Cause my food’s too sustain-alicious for ya babe…
Rank #12: CTF Ep 26 Cookout
Monica and Louisa speak with experts, and offer some tips on grilling. (Photo: Flickr/Christopher Craig)
Rank #13: CTF Ep 4 - Into the Wild: Squirrels, fowl and foraging for mushrooms and vegetables
This week, Monica and Louisa take a trip into the wild as they explore food that's been hunted and foraged. Our fearless hosts double... or, triple-down on dishes made from the Beast of the Urban (and, Rural) Wild -- the adorable little squirrel. Tim Burton of Burton's Maplewood Farm stops in to help on the squirrel front, and offers up some vegetarian and vegan options. He helps explain the surprises and rewards of foraging for your own food. The Chicago Reader's Mike Sula likewise has an affinity for squirrel meat -- though, his love grew from a mild hatred of the critter that once destroyed his garden. After several *civil* attempts to rid his garden of the fluffy-tailed rodent, he decided to take matters -- and the lives of these squirrels -- into his own hands. But that's just the beginning of his remarkable, award-winning story. Plus, Beard Award-winning blogger (Hunter Angler Gardener Cook) Hank Shaw joins CTF. He's also a duck hunter, and talks about the appeal of hunting, preparing and cooking certain fowl. His book "Duck, Duck, Goose" says it all. That and more on this episode of Chewing the Fat. (Photo: WBEZ/Monica Eng, Louisa Chu and poor little squirrels)
Rank #14: CTF Ep 50 Pet & Baby Food: Authors Marion Nestle and Amy Bentley, and veterinarian John Tegzes
What’s more important than feeding ourselves? At Chewing the Fat it’s Pet and Baby Food! Co-hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng talk to Amy Bentley, author Inventing Baby Food Taste, Health, and the Industrialization of the American Diet. And professor Marion Nestle, author of Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine and Feed Your Pet Right. Plus Dr. John Tegzes, the Toxvet, a veterinarian specializing in Clinical and Diagnostic Toxicology. Then we serve up baby food called Lil' Sticks® and a literal dogs dinner, but Will We Eat It? Twitter: @ChuEngFat @louisachu @monicaeng (Photo by Louisa Chu / Kiba Chu eats smoked shrimp at Calumet Fisheries in Chicago)
Rank #15: CTF Ep 27 Future Food
On this bonus "Pledge Drive" Chewing the Fat special, hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng are back from tasting the future of food! Monica and Louisa break bread and smoked butter, and sous-vide-cooked steak and eggs, with culinary tech maker Philip Preston, inventor and owner of PolyScience. They flavor trip on miracle berry inspired chocolate and bacon donuts with Moto and Berrista chef and owner Homaro Cantu. Plus US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) CEO Randy Krotz tells us how we as consumers drive meat to the market. And Blue Hill co-owner, chef, and author of The Third Plate Dan Barber describes a multi-course meal of the future, including the Rotation Risotto he’s serving right now. For more info on how to support Chewing the Fat, and all of our podcasts, head to www.chewingthefatpodcast.org. (Photo: Louisa Chu/Flickr--Bacon chocolate donut test for Berrista in Chicago)
Rank #16: BONUS: Where did Chipotle's sofritas come from? / CTF 18 SUSTAIN-A-LICIOUS
Chipotle chef Nate Appleman tells the story behind sofritas creation. Hint: They started out as an idea for chorizo.
Rank #17: CTF Ep 7 - Italian-American in one fell swoop: Mario Batali, Lidia & Joe Bastianich, Eataly & pizza
The recent opening of the massive Italian marketplace Eataly Chicago inspires this episode of Chewing the Fat. Louisa and Monica speak with principal partners and master chefs Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich and Joe Bastianich (*of* MasterChef) about how their one-stop-super-shop of high quality (if highly-priced) Italian food, dining, teaching and more can compete in Chicago without trampling the smaller shops. They also talk about the Sicilian roots of Chicago's deep dish pizza, and though Jon Stewart may think Chicago pizza sucks, Monica and Louisa give you their top places to catch a delicious slice -- New York *and* Windy City style! Plus, will she eat tripe? The ladies bring in some offal done Italian style -- tripe Florentine from Riccardo Trattoria, to be exact. It’s a plate for which the Chicago restaurant has received great accolades but... hey... it’s still a stomach! Will Monica and Louisa measure up to the Italian Challenge? That and more on this episode of Chewing the Fat. (Photo: Flickr/Louisa Chu)
Rank #18: CTF Ep 13 - Chinese Food and the Lunar New Year, Ming Tsai (01/31/14)
Chewing the Fat comes out of polar vortex hibernation for a special Chinese Food episode timed to the Lunar New Year. We chat with chef and TV personality Ming Tsai about growing up in a Chinese restaurant family, celebrating the new year and the future of Asian food. We visit acclaimed Chinese American author Wen Huang to learn how to make jiaozi, the New Year’s dumplings of his Xian youth. And we travel back to mid-Century Chinese-American chop suey houses with a woman who grew up in one, an avid patron and an author who’s written a book on this American culinary phenomenon. (Photo: Dumpling from Katie's Dumpling House/Louisa Chu--Flickr)
Rank #19: CTF Ep 6 - Leftovers: The Land of Unwanted Food with Chefs René Redzepi & Phillip Foss
Waste-not, want-not. EL ideas chef/owner Phillip Foss gives his thoughts on doggy-bagging his Michelin-starred restaurant's food. Plus, Rene Redzepi's Noma restaurant has been named best in the world. Some of Noma's meals that are well regarded came from once under-appreciated veggies. He tells how he took produce that sat in the ground far-too-long, and turned them into delectable "vintage" offerings. Plus, Ken Dunn has taken waste and discarded land and more, and turned it into culinary gold.
Rank #20: CTF Ep 48 Carnivore: Author Ted Genoways, blogger Hank Shaw, and deer hunting
Chewing the Fat gets to the matter of meat in this Carnivore episode. Co-hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng talk to Ted Genoways about his new book The Chain: Farm Factory and the Fate of our Food. And award-winning Hunter Angler Gardener and Cook blogger Hank Shaw about the ethics of harvesting your own meat. And Monica goes into the wild to hunt deer. Twitter: @ChuEngFat @louisachu @monicaeng (Photo by Louisa Chu / Venison ribs in buffalo chili at the 2013 Harvard Sportsman's Club Wild Game Dinner in Harvard, Illinois)