No matter who you are or where you live, it’s highly likely that the current COVID-19 quarantine has changed your relationship with food. You’re estranged from your favorite restaurants. Marooned from your weekday office lunches. Suiting up in protective gear to do your grocery shopping. Plus, odds are that you’re cooking way more than ever before.
We’re getting to know food in a whole new way, and you know what that means: we’ve all got food on the brain.
There are two ways to respond to your food obsession:
(1) You can keep trying to win the impossible battle of tuning out your brain screaming, “Food. Food. Foooooood!” 24/7; or
(2) You can LEAN IN to your food-obsession and satisfy your hunger with some of the best food podcasts on the market.
Our recommendation: Choose Option 2 & use this list of kickass food podcasts to get started.
What’s Gaby Cooking in Quarantine
You have to appreciate any forward-thinker who took the initiative to give food podcasts a quarantine theme, and that’s exactly what cookbook author, chef and lifestyle writer Gaby Dalkin did. The California-based home chef behind What’s Gaby Cooking is helping us navigate the quarantine with tips and tricks for those of us getting well-acquainted with our kitchen for the first time.
Gaby also offers her creative ideas on how to make something edible (or even delicious…?) from the random ingredients in your fridge and pantry. A chance to finally figure out what to do with that solo can of creamed corn that mysteriously appeared in your kitchen cupboard one day? The ultimate quarantine dream!
Has the pandemic taken a toll on your dating life? Take your relationship with food to the next level instead! Put on your sexiest oversized sweatpants and cozy up to Gastropod, a show cohosted by Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley.
This gastro-gem in a sea of food podcasts “combines food with a side of science and history — from aquaculture to ancient feasts, from cutlery to chile peppers, and from microbes to Malbec”.
Gastropod features stories from food-related hubs around the world — from labs to farm fields to archaeological sites— and includes Cynthia and Nicola’s interviews with the experts.
Hey, if nothing else, maybe listening to Gastropod can give you some interesting food facts to keep in your back pocket for a conversationally-challenged suitor once the quarantine is over and you had enough time to forget how much you hate dating and every guy you’ve ever met on Hinge.
Glass half full!!!
Inside Trader Joe’s
As an NYC resident quarantined in Northern Wisconsin for all of the foreseeable future, please hear my cries of anguish when I say that I MISS TRADER JOE’S!!! Until I can return to my familiar basic-bitch world of tamari rice crackers and edamame hummus, I’m happy to know that I can get my TJ fix by way of podcast.
Fortunately for all of us, Founder Joe Coulombe had the foresight in the 1970s to recognize that there were a whole lot of college-educated but poorly-paid young people who would flock to a store that stocked healthy foods at bargain prices and opened Trader Joe’s. Plus, the grocery store chain continues to demonstrate that a business can be highly successful AND pay their employees well! (What a concept, right?!)
Cohosted by Trader Joe’s Marketing Director Tara Miller and VP of Product Marketing Matt Sloan, Inside Trader Joe’s takes you behind the scenes of the notoriously secretive inner workings at Trader Joe’s.
Listen in to a private TJ’s tasting panel where decisions are being made about new Trader Joe’s products, or join an overseas adventure where new Trader Joe’s flavors are discovered.
At the time of this article’s publication, Home Cooking is a mere three episodes in, but it has 4.9 stars and 899 ratings on Apple Podcasts. And as you might expect, the show’s instant success is no coincidence — this show has star power.
The world of food podcasts was a natural fit for cohost Samin Nosrat. She’s a cook, teacher, and author of the James Beard Award-winning New York Times Bestseller Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. (She’s also a columnist for The New York Times Magazine and host/executive producer of a Netflix original documentary series based on her book, so, yeah…she’s pretty legit..)
Samin joins fellow cohost Hrishikesh Hirway (who already hosts and creates three other podcasts — Song Exploder, The West Wing Weekly, and Partners) to deliver a show about the magic of cooking with simple pantry ingredients.
Home Cooking has a conversational, familiar quality that tends to feel like the show is happening right there in your kitchen. It’s a nostalgic feeling for those of us sorely missing the days when we could invite a few friends over, open a few bottles of wine, and catch up around the kitchen counter while one of us chopped zucchini and another fanned the fire alarm with a coffee table book or whatever. <Insert wistful sigh here>
Listen to the first few episodes of Home Cooking and you’ll never again be too quick to pass judgement on a podcast episode about beans.
The Kitchen Counter
I’m a pretty visual person who constantly gets distracted by everything, so an audio-only cooking class is a tough sell for me. Besides, when my recipe execution is inevitably a massive fail, I really want to be able to SEE that someone else was able to make it correctly.
Regardless, I gave this cooking podcast a try, and I’m happy to report back that an audio cooking lesson was not as fruitless for me as I’d anticipated.
Per the show’s description, The Kitchen Counter is a “show that’s dedicated to helping aspiring home cooks grow their skills and confidence in the kitchen so they can start cooking up memories with their family and friends. Whether you want to learn to cook or just need some simple food inspiration, we will cover recipes, kitchen tools, and interviews with experts to help you on your home cooking journey!”
The Kitchen Counter is hosted by a very low-key guy named Roger who rarely surfaces on the internet with a last name. This leads me to believe that either (a) Roger has some type of mysterious secret life (#intoit); or (b) he’s not narcissistically obsessed with his online resume like the other 99.9% of us (also #intoit). In most episodes of The Kitchen Counter, Roger is there to walk you through a recipe, step-by-step, in real time.
And fear not — if the audio isn’t sticking in your brain, you can always head to his blog for the recipes featured in every episode.
The Splendid Table
The Splendid Table is a prime example of a radio program that has made a natural transition into the podcasting space.
The Splendid Table began as a radio show in 1997 on Minnesota Public Radio and was hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper until her 2017 retirement. With a new host in award-winning food journalist Francis Lam (pictured above), The Splendid Table continues to provide radio and podcast listeners alike with information on food preparation, appreciation, and culture.
Fun fact: The radio show was named “Best National Radio Show on Food” by the James Beard Foundation in both 1998 and 2008, and you have to respect that type of street cred.
If you miss traveling (and who doesn’t?), you can do a deep-dive into The Splendid Table’s travel-related material on restaurants and cuisine from around the country and the world. Another fun feature: the retro-feeling talk radio segments featuring the host taking calls from listeners with food-related questions.
Fun fact #2: The show served as an inspiration for a popular Saturday Night Live skit named “The Delicious Dish”.