👓 Resistance is fudgeable | Jeremy Cherfas

Resistance is fudgeable by Jeremy CherfasJeremy Cherfas (jeremycherfas.net)
Editing the recent podcast on Antibiotics in agriculture was far harder than I expected it to be, mostly because I had to cut away stuff that is important, but just didn’t fit. Much of that was about how, in time honoured tradition, antibiotic manufacturers and veterinarians sowed doubts about who...

I love that Jeremy goes to the effort to not only analyze the charts and graphs, but finds original copies and brings them to our attention. Too often people would look at such things and take them at face value.

This is definitely a podcast “extra”, but I’m glad he spent the time to bring up the other interesting topics that didn’t make the original episode.

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I love Eat This Podcast

Food as a vehicle to explore the byways of taste, economics and trade, culture, science, history, archaeology, geography and just about anything else.

Many who follow my blog recently will know that I’ve been binge listening to Jeremy Cherfas‘ wonderful podcast series: Eat This Podcast.

I’m now so many wonderful episodes in, that it was far past time to give something back to Jeremy for the hours of work he’s put in to give me so much entertainment, enjoyment, and even knowledge. So I just made a pledge to support him on Patreon.

If you haven’t been paying attention, Eat This Podcast is a fantastic series on food, but it it uses the “foods we eat to examine and shed light on the lives we lead, from authenticity to zoology”. Food becomes his “vehicle to explore the byways of taste, economics and trade, culture, science, history, archaeology, geography and just about anything else.”

It’s unlike much of anything I’ve seen or followed in the food space for some time. As someone who is a fan of the science of food and fantastic writers like Harold McGee, Herve This, Alton Brown, Tom Standage, Michael Pollan, Nathan Myhrvold, Maxime Bilet, Matt Gross, and Michael Ruhlman (to name only a few), Eat This Podcast is now a must listen for me.

Not only are the episodes always interesting and unique, they’re phenomenally well researched and produced. You’d think he had a massive staff and production support at the level of a news organization like NPR. By way of mentioning NPR, I wanted to highlight the thought, care, and skill he puts into not only the stunning audio quality, but into the selection of underlying photos, musical bumpers, and the links to additional resources he finds along the way.

And if my recommendation isn’t enough, then perhaps knowing that this one person effort has been nominated for the James Beard Award in both 2015 and 2016 may tip the scales?

If you haven’t listened to any of them yet, I highly recommend you take a peek at what he has to offer. You can subscribe, download, and listen to them all for free. If you’re so inclined, I hope you’ll follow my lead and make a pledge to support his work on Patreon as well.

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🎧 Potatoes are (almost) perfect | Eat This Podcast

Potatoes are (almost) perfect by Jeremy Cherfas from Eat This Podcast
The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service runs a program for Women, Infants and Children that subsidises specific foods for eligible women and their children. Back when it started, the WIC program excluded potatoes, on the grounds that “Americans already eat enough potatoes”. Potato growers – and their representatives – don’t like that. For one, they think it sends the wrong message about the nutritional value of potatoes. And so, in 2010, the Executive Director of the Washington State Potato Commission, Chris Voigt, launched a protest. He decided to eat nothing but potatoes for 60 days, gaining massive amounts of publicity but not – yet – a change in the WIC list of approved foods.[1] However, while the world marvelled at Voigt’s dedication to the people who pay his salary, one grower in neighbouring Oregon said “Hey, what’s so hard about that? Last winter, I ate pretty nearly all potatoes for about six months. It was a feast all winter!” Carol Deppe – author of Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties and The Resilient Gardener – ate almost nothing but potatoes because that’s what she had, and because she really understands the nutritional value of potatoes. She points out that potatoes contain more than 2% protein, which doesn’t sound like much when you compare it to the 9% in rice or the 12% and more in wheat. But those are dry-weight values. On that basis, potato comes in at better than 10% protein, and that protein is both more balanced and better absorbed that wheat protein. This isn’t exactly news. It’s been known since the late 19th century that if you’re getting all your calories from potatoes, then you’re probably getting all the protein you need too. But that knowledge seems to have been forgotten, and Deppe thinks she knows why: When the USDA denies WIC-program women, infants, and children their potatoes, in spite of the potato’s known excellence as a food, in spite of how much we all like it, I think I detect a subtly Euro-centric as well as classist message: “The right way to eat is like upper-class Europeans, not like New Worlders or peasants.” The problem is bigger than failing to recognize that Americans are not all Europeans, that even most European-Americans now embrace food traditions from many lands and cultures, and that most of us are closer to being peasants than to being medieval European royalty. To reject the potato is to be several hundred years out of date. Rejecting the potato represents a failure to learn some of the most important climate-change lessons of the Little Ice Age. I think the USDA should revisit its potato policy. So do lots of other people, including potato growers, and although potatoes are again up for consideration, it isn’t clear whether this time they will make it onto the hallowed WIC list. In the meantime, they remain an excellent and nutritious food.potato The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service runs a program for Women, Infants and Children that subsidises specif...

I remember hearing about the USDA potato controversy at the time, but never dug into the details. Jeremy Cherfas kindly lays out lots of interesting potato information in his interview here.

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🎧 A deep dive into cucurbit names | Eat This Podcast

A deep dive into cucurbit names How Latin confused cucumbers and watermelons by Jeremy Cherfas from Eat This Podcast
One of the most fascinating things about pumpkins and squashes is what people call them. The whole summer squash, squash, pumpkin thing is confusing enough, and that’s to say nothing of courgettes and zucchini, which I explored in a podcast a few weeks ago. One of the people I talked to for that was Harry Paris, an Israeli researcher who has done more than anyone to disentangle the rampant thickets of cucurbit history. While not strictly anything to do with zucchini, while I had him on the line, I asked him to shed a little light on one of the great mysteries of Italian fruit names. The scientific, Latin name for watermelon is Citrullus, but depending on where you are in Italy, the Italian for watermelon is either anguria or cocomero which, to me, sounds way too much like cucumber. But the Italian for cucumber is cetriolo, and that sounds like citrullus, for watermelon. As for anguria, you better just listen. http://media.blubrry.com/eatthispodcast/p/mange-tout.s3.amazonaws.com/2017/anguria.mp3 Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 4:20 — 4.0MB) Subscribe: Android | RSS | More anguria One of the most fascinating things about pumpkins and squashes is what people call them. ...

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🎧 Long live the Carolina African Runner | Eat This Podcast

Long live the Carolina African Runner Who cares whether it really is the "ur-peanut" of the American South by Jeremy Cherfas from Eat This Podcast
Maybe you’ve seen the stories about a peanut, prosaically named Carolina Runner No. 4? In 2017 it will be ready to be grown in commercial quantities, having faded gently away from being the primary peanut before the 1840s to a reasonable contender into the 1910s to presumed extinct by the 1950s. Professor David Shields, an historian at the University of South Carolina, found it in a genebank as part of a project by the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation, which he chairs, to restore the crucial varieties of the American South. It’s a fine story, but a couple of things bothered me. One, how do they know it is “the first peanut cultivated in North America” or “the South’s original peanut” as all the articles claim. Two, although everyone acknowledges that the peanut came to the USA not from South America, it’s ancestral home, but from West Africa with enslaved people, nobody seems to be much interested in what on earth it was doing in West Africa, or the consequences of its introduction there by the Portuguese. The podcast looks a bit at the question of whether Carolina Runner No. 4 – henceforth Carolina African Runner – is indeed the “ur-peanut”; I conclude that it doesn’t really matter. My article sketching the peanut’s influence in West Africa is here. http://media.blubrry.com/eatthispodcast/p/mange-tout.s3.amazonaws.com/2017/peanut.mp3 Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 7:10 — 6.1MB) Subscribe: Android | RSS | More peanut Maybe you’ve seen the stories about a peanut, prosaically named Carolina Runner No. 4? In ...

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🎧 India’s bread landscape and my plans here | Eat This Podcast

India’s bread landscape and my plans here A podcast about this podcast and another podcast by Jeremy Cherfas from Eat This Podcast
This is the last of the short episodes of the holiday season. It is also something of a meta-episode because it is mostly about this podcast and another podcast. I’ve hinted before that I’d like to do more constructed shows here, where I speak to a few different people about a topic to try and get a broader sense of the subject. They’re harder to do, but more rewarding, and they consistently get more listeners. The problem is that as a one-man band, I don’t have the time I need to do that kind of show very often. As an experiment, I’m going to try chunking episodes into seasons, with a break between seasons when I’ll be working on those more complex shows. I’m not sure yet how long either the seasons or the breaks will be.

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