From medieval butter towers to prehistoric bee-keepers, this week we're examining the divine associations with global foods with Emelyn Rude, editor of the new food history magazine Eaten.
Our latest episode, out now!
From Caesar salad to Fettuccini Alfredo, we're surrounded by meals named for famous figures in history. But how many can claim to be the national dessert of not one, but two countries? This week, we're taking a look at the origins and history of the Pavlova, named for one of the world's first ballerina superstars...
This week, we're bringing you the story of a ghostly banquet straight from the sagas of medieval Iceland. A mix of fact and fiction, sagas provide some of the only clues we have about early Icelandic cooking. Today, the island's cuisine may be famous for its fermented shark and its luscious skyr, but we'll learn what was on the menu 1,000 years ago when a dead woman decided to play chef for the night. Find out what happens when you eat the food of the dead and what to do when ghosts show up for their own funeral feast.
This week we’re discovering the meal that changed the face of American Judaism. Featuring Dr. Jonathan Sarna of Brandeis University, we’ll learn how a lavish banquet in 1883 Cincinnati kicked off a fierce debate about what it means to keep kosher. How did a dish of frogs’ legs bring about one of the largest religious arguments the US has ever seen? We’ll explore how a dispute over regional Jewish foodways changed the face of the religion at the end of the 19th century- from a dream of a single united Jewish American faith to the numerous denominations we know today.
Join us as we discover the rich culinary history of Syrian communities in New York City. Beginning in the 1880s, Syrian immigrants settled in lower Manhattan, setting up food shops, restaurants, and grocery stores. We'll taste fermented milk at Arta's Restaurant, reviewed by the New York Times in 1899. We'll listen to opera at Kalil's, a Syrian-owned restaurant which boasted seating for 1,000 at a time!
This week, we're exploring the unsung history of African American cooks in the White House with soul food scholar, Adrian E. Miller, author of "The President's Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas". Join us as we uncover the history of two formidable women who put their stamp on American history through their cooking. We'll look at the life of Laura Dollie Johnson, who cooked for not just one US president, but two! Learn how her food made newspaper headlines throughout the 1880s and 1890s. And we'll explore the career of the formidable Zephyr Wright, who may have been the only person who dared to tell President Lyndon Baines Johnson to stick to his diet. Learn how her recipe for Texas chili started a national crisis about beans!
This week we're travelling to the golden age of the Islamic Empire in 10th century Baghdad. Hidden in a bustling paper market, we'll visit a mysterious bookmaker responsible for one of the largest cookbooks from the medieval world. While it may not have exactly 1,001 recipes (only 632 at last count...), the book is a treasure trove of medieval dining etiquette, recommendations for healthy eating, and some of the best food poetry we've ever read (ode to a fried fish, anyone?).
Discover the untold history of electricity in the kitchen. Although the earliest electrical ovens were cooking banquets by 1892, the average North American consumer was slow to adopt the new technology. With only a tiny percentage of homes wired by 1900, electricity in the kitchen had a long road to go before the countless toasters, coffee makers, blenders, and food processors of today's modern kitchen. Learn how one early domestic scientist, Miss Helen Louise Johnson, became the Rachel Ray of electrical cooking in the late 19th and early 20th century. Whether cooking steaks at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893 or baking bread on stage in Brooklyn in 1900, Helen Louise Johnson showed a culinary future powered by current.
The Feast is back! And our debut episode for Season Two is out of this world. Literally! We're going back to one of the most (in)famous meals in the history of NASA, when a contraband corned beef sandwich snuck aboard Gemini 3 in 1965. We'll explore how space food has changed over the years. No more Tang and freeze-dried ice cream for modern astronauts, the space food of tomorrow may include everything from homemade sourdough bread to wine.
We're cooking up a delicious new season, debuting Friday, August 4th 2017! Discover the hidden stories behind competitive Soba eating in Japan, how the electric oven revolutionized the modern kitchen, and the unsung stories of African American chefs in the White House. All this and more on our delectable season two, starting with a stellar first episode on the history of space food! Don't miss out, subscribe today to The Feast and get ready for more meals that made history!
On this very special season finale, we've teamed up with Liz Birnbaum and The Curated Feast to bring you a mythic meal that'll take you from the roots to the stars. Join Liz and her guests at a secret underground location near Santa Cruz, California as they dine on food fit for the gods. We'll explore how food played an integral role in ancient folklore, representing cycles of birth, death, and renewal. Why did the ancient Egyptians associate barley with Osiris? Why did pomegranates confine Persephone to the Greek underworld? All these answers and more on this very special underground edition of The Feast.
Cocktails can have some great origin stories, but how can you tell sober fact from tipsy fiction? This week, we're going cold turkey to get the details behind that noble institution of pre-dinner drinking: the cocktail party. Legend (or Wikipedia) says the first cocktail party was held by Mrs. Julius S. Walsh Jr. in 1917 St. Louis. As we'll learn, the real story is *way* more complicated, stretching from Revolutionary America to the swinging 1970s. While Mrs. Walsh may not have invented the cocktail party, her life was full up with martinis, mayhem, and, yes, even murder.
What's the most iconic fair food? Popcorn? Hot dogs? Deep-fried apple pie on a stick? Today, fair food and the fryer may be a match made in heaven, but where did the trend of eating adventurously at the fair start? Today, we're heading back to the original American fair: the Centennial Exposition of 1876. But don't get out the deep-fried twinkies just yet. Turns out, the biggest battle in 19th century American fair food was about fine dining! Despite the white tablecloth service visitors received in 1876, we'll learn how the Centennial Exposition saw the birth of some of America's most famous casual foods: the hamburger and soda.
Edible Monuments: Naples' Salami Castle of 1768
Forget Hansel & Gretel's candy cottage, Naples was building fortresses of food in the 18th century! This week, we're investigating the Neapolitan tradition of cuccagna- a festival celebrating a mythical land of food, where roast chicken rained from the skies and wine flowed in rivers. Learn how early modern Neapolitans built giant edible monuments to celebrate birthdays, weddings, and holidays, complete with fortresses of ham, bell towers made of cheese, and lakes of beer!
This week we're talking about the famous Explorers Club Dinner of 1951, where woolly mammoth (or was it ancient giant sloth?) was a featured appetizer. Join us for a great discussion with Jessica Glass & Dr. Matt Davis, the two scientists who discovered the identity of the most famous mystery meat in history. We'll talk about the curious tendency for scientists to nibble on their specimens and how food might have a major role in the future of conservation.
This week, we're headed to the land of bean trees & cholla buds: the Sonoran Desert. Home to UNESCO's new capital of gastronomy, Tucson, we'll trace the desert's diverse culinary history, from the cornfields of the Hohokam to the mission gardens of the German Jesuits. Why did 18th century missionaries bring fruit trees to Sonora? Could heritage wheat be the solution to sustainable farming in southern Arizona?
This week, take the escalator to menswear and turn left at home goods. We're heading to the glory days of department store dining with a trip back to old Toronto. Learn how Eaton's and Simpson's battled for the hearts and dollars of Torontonians through their opulent in-store restaurants. We'll explore why these stores are remembered more for their chicken pot pies than for their sales!
This week, The Feast is bringing you a very special Canadian episode dedicated to Chinese New Year! We're exploring an opulent Han Dynasty banquet from the second century CE as the basis for our own Chinese New Year celebrations in Toronto. Join us as we search for the origins of tofu, find out the proper way to make a baijiu cocktail, & recite some foodie poetry from ancient China. All this & more rooster puns than you can shake a tail feather at on this week's episode of The Feast.
Feeling punchy this inauguration season? Take a note from Andrew Jackson & join the wildest party the White House has ever seen! In our first episode of 2017, we’re heading to 1829 when 10,000 people crashed Jackson’s Inauguration Reception for a bit of cake and barrels of free punch. But was this party as wild as rumors have suggested? Did Jackson plan the whole thing? And where did all those punch barrels come from? We’ll learn the history of the popular tipple & why it’s been the drink of American politicians for over two hundred years.
Sitting down to the traditional holiday ham this season? This week on The Feast, we're celebrating the unofficial animal of winter: the pig! Find out why a boar's head is the center of holiday traditions from London to Louisville. We'll learn a porcine Christmas carol, some tips on how to buy off the mayor of medieval London, & why an Oxford college still celebrates an epic 14th century battle of student vs. pig. Discover the distant & unexpected roots of the spiral-cut holiday ham this week on a very special porky holiday episode.
This week, The Feast is heading to the Canadian wilderness- where 10,000 US soldiers helped to build the Alaskan Highway in 1942. But how do you feed an army in the middle of nowhere? We'll look at how these soldiers survived arctic winters & mosquito-plagued summers with the latest in military food technology, including dehydrated foods and the rise of the dreaded C-Ration, the meal for the soldier on the go. With nothing but powdered milk and tinned food to eat for up to six months at a time, soldiers got creative with the local wildlife. Bear steak, anyone?
Struggling to decide what to have for lunch today? Take a tip from history & pack a pie! This week, The Feast explores how the pastry pie was the original grab & go lunch option, from the Ottoman börek to the Cornish pasty to the Hot Pocket. Although the Cornish pasty may be an icon of English cuisine, learn how a small town in the mountains of Mexico made this traditional mining meal their own. Plus, all the EU pastry laws you can handle on this week’s special collaboration episode featuring Rocio Carvajal & PassTheChipotle.com
It’s that time of gruyère: it’s the Feast’s election episode! And we’re dedicating a whole show to some great White House food traditions. What do you get the President that has everything? A giant cheese, of course! Not just for fans of “The West Wing” anymore, we’re looking into the weird and wacky world of White House cheeses, going back to one of the founding fathers himself, Thomas Jefferson. Find out how a 1200-pound cheese ended up on the president’s doorstep one cold January morning in 1802.
We’re back with a whole new season of feasting! Join us for a very special Halloween episode that takes us back to February in ancient Rome. Join a Roman family as they prepare for the annual festival of Parentalia, where the best parties in town are happening down at the graveyard. Find out how to appease an angry Roman ghost with a lovely bouquet of roses and some…black beans? See how the Romans engineered their tombs to be homes away from home, complete with dining tables, bars, even kitchens. Grab a seat at an epic feast, held in the finest tomb money could buy!
(image via flickr/Chris)
No fables here! We’re travelling back 2700 years to uncover the case of King Midas’ lost funeral feast. Join us as we explore how an ancient civilization sent people off to the afterlife with a rocking good party. We’ll also learn how modern technology is revealing the diets of ancient civilizations as well as the recipe for the oldest cocktail in the world. Find out how historical tastes are making a comeback with a little help from the craft brewing industry.
Grab your ration books, The Feast is heading back to 1945! Find out how the US and Canada got patriotic with its cooking during World War II. This week we'll see how both radio and radar transformed North American food. From war brides to washing machines, get ready for a kitchen revolution on this week's episode.
Dog days of summer getting you down? Why not treat yourself to a story about one of the first families of ice cream in 19th century Philadelphia? Learn how a modest ice cream shop went head to head with New York’s famous Delmonico’s to become one of the finest restaurants in America. A special feature this week, in collaboration with Becky Diamond, author of “The Thousand Dollar Dinner”.
What does ketchup have to do with medieval politics? Find out this week, when we travel back to 10th century Constantinople to dine at the emperor’s table. Discover how the fall of the Roman Empire profoundly changed the eating and drinking habits of western Europe & how an ancient salty fish sauce may be lurking in your kitchen cabinet.
Can you imagine Italian food without pasta? This week, we journey back to the 1920s & 1930s when an artistic movement declared war on noodles, one of the most beloved Italian culinary traditions. Find out how the golden age of the airplane inspired an entirely new way of thinking about eating; when restaurants resembled aircraft hangers, chicken tasted of steel, and your dinner soundtrack was an airplane engine!
Ever dream of dining with a T.Rex? Join us for a New Year's Eve dinner in 1853 at London's famous Crystal Palace where you can meet the man who coined the term dinosaur itself, Sir Richard Owen. And dinosaurs won't just be the talk of the table, they'll be the table itself! Discover how one Victorian dinner helped to launch the dino-mania of today, from The Flintstones to Jurassic Park.
Deposed queens, papal politics, sugar sculptures, & Bernini- a combination that could only happen at a Baroque feast! Join us this week as we explore the politics of feasting in the 1650s when Pope Alexander VII did the unthinkable & invited a woman to dinner!
Where can a medieval pilgrim expect to find a good meal on the Camino de Santiago? Learn how to survive your pilgrimage & sample some of the local treats of medieval Spanish cuisine including escabeche, barley bread, and miraculous pastries.