Recently Apple and it’s ITUNES product (v4.6) made subscribing to podcasts a lot simpler. As a result I track a lot of podcasts–food, environment, cultural. Essentially there are two groupings and the audio quality often reflects the definition. Indies which are home-brewed, with audio quality that is uneven and the others coming from larger media holdings such as local NPR stations. I’m starting a list here, that I hope will grow over time, of new favorites to help you save time.
If you are feeling eager and in need of more food podcasts Podcast Alley provides more. If you come across a new one that’s worthwhile let me know as I’m hoping to keep a roll of the better ones.
I know, I know, as if we all need more food-related reading in our lives. I’m drowning already. Next up wine-related podcasts.
Average length: 30-40 minutes/3x month Audio Quality: Medium – High
This show rocks. The staff behind this effort is what makes it shine–the founder and editor of Food History News, a SF restaurant manager. It’s an indie show that probably won’t be for long. The content and audio quality (if listen to on headphones and not via your car speakers) is top-flight. The podcast, hosted by Anne Bramley, the 2001 Jane Grigson award for food studies is "for a generation that has grown up in a world-wide food revolution." The show once had a singular theme per show but that’s changed, without a loss of interest. "Fresh from the Field", the current show , includes a home recipe for making fruit shrub–an acid fruit drink. Past show of interest to those on the Left Coast offers a visit to the Cheeseboard Collective, an interview with the Center for Ecoliteracy on school lunches and Crushpad, the new community winery in San Francisco. If you are curious and have a passion for food this is your show.
Average length: 6-12 minutes/2x a week Audio Quality: Poor
Food writers of the newspaper dine out with friends known and wider known. This is a new podcast as of late June. So while it may be unfair to pass early judgement nonetheless I can’t help myself. The recent two-part series on Dim Sum where Oliva Wu and a fellow editor goes to Daly City’s Koi Palace for Dim Sum offers great content and audio quality. She gives tips such as signaling your need for more tea by flipping the lid of your teapot lid over and how to approach ordering. Grace Walden’s lunch with Tyler Florence (whom I swoon over) and Anwas mildly interesting but seemed awkward leaning toward an ego dance. Not to mention that you will have to listen through them talking through mouthfuls of food. A bit like eavesdropping on the table next to you. If you can stand the background noise. I recommend with reservation as I’m moving toward ambivalent. Listen to it on headphones and it’s tolerable.
Average length: 60 minutes/4x a month Audio Quality: Medium
Host of the show is chef and cookbook author Evan Klieman. With perspective as an executive chef (Angeli Cafe), a teacher, and a scholar of traditional cooking methods and culture of the Italian kitchen the content is excellent and made approachable. I like this show slightly better than Splendid Table. Ms. Klieman doesn’t speak as if to an uninformed general food lover but as if you are having a conversation. There’s also an underlying assumption that if you are listening to such a specialized radio program, well you know a thing or two about food. Note, for Los Angeles readers, this podcast is essentially just a new distribution medium for the existing public radio program. The show description reads, "discover delicious recipes, great restaurants, and unique places to buy authentic ingredients; find out how to prepare the newest foods in the marketplace; learn techniques of master chefs and ideas for novices; and listen to discussions about food politics and the latest trends in food and eating." And while it does have a local (LA) slant if you are on the West Coast and visit the City of Angels it’ll keep you relevant.