Do you ever find yourself at work, or driving in your car and can never find anything you want to listen to? Did you listen to KSR live or already knock out the podcast for the day? How about you try some other podcasts (once you’re finished with KSR’s of course)? Each week I’ll take a look at 2-3 podcasts that might strike your interest, especially if you’ve found your way here to Funkhouser.
This week we take a look at some food based podcasts. Maybe you’re looking for something to eat when you get home. Maybe you don’t know when you’re going to get to come home for dinner, and want to satiate your hunger by listening to someone else talk about food. Either way, these podcasts might be what you’re looking for.
Hosts: Matthew Amster-Burton & Molly Wizenberg
Typical Day of Release: Once Every Two Weeks
Average Length: 15-20 Minutes
Recent Topics: Instant Coffee, Radishes, East Coast Chips, Pasta Shapes, Salmon
Best First Episode to Start With: If you’re in need of a good laugh (and by good laugh I mean, good immature laugh) start with the Hard Tacos episode.
I’ll start this week’s “Guide To Podcasts” off with a quick hitter. I recently found Spilled Milk in a search to find my girlfriend something to listen to on her long drives to work. In looking in the food podcast section on the iTunes store, we found Spilled Milk. Hosted by Molly and Matthew, two food writers, who should go into the comedy business as well because they’re pretty funny, this podcast takes a look at one food or one group of food per episode.
In the most recent episode, Molly and Matthew take a look at Instant Coffee, where they talk about their memories growing up with instant coffee, instant coffee commercials and just the nostalgia of the product in general. This is what you can usually expect from the podcasts, as the first few minutes of some of the episodes I’ve listened to have started with, “Well let’s talk about what we remember about this from our childhood.” The other half of the show consists of the hosts making the food that they are talking about and trying it. Sometimes you might get a recipe too, which is great if you’re looking for something to make when you leave work.
Again, even though it only comes out once every two weeks, and it’s only 15-20 minutes long, the back catalog of 99 episodes should keep you entertained for a while.
Hosts: Alton Brown (of course…)
Typical Day of Release: Fridays
Average Length: Approximately 1:15
Recent Guests: Giada De Laurentis, Geoffrey Zakarian, Ted Allen, Bob Tuschman & Susie Fogelson
Best First Episode to Start With: Episode 8: Damaris Phillips (Louisville, KY) Food Network Star Winner
I’ll start with this: I used to not be a big Alton Brown fan. I didn’t understand his humor, I didn’t get why he seemed so snooty, and I just didn’t care for it. But when Alton started working on Next Food Network Star, and I got to see that a lot of the things that I didn’t like about him was mostly sarcasm I didn’t get, then I started to turn. (It also helped that I found out he’s a Doctor Who fan…) Anyway, Only 12 episodes in, The Alton Browncast is starting to hit its stride.
The show started with the formula of: Food Quote, Food Fact about the food of the Episode, Food News, Interview, Calls from Listeners, and Wrap-up. Starting around episode four, when he interviews Alex Guarnaschelli, I think Alton started to understand that people are coming for the interviews, and the other stuff is secondary. Don’t get me wrong, all the information you get in the non-interview portion is brilliant. But, the real meat of the podcast is the interview. You get to hear some of your favorite Food Network personalities talk about things you’d never think they did. The aforementioned Guarnaschelli talks about how her mom was a cookbook editor and Bobby Flay talks about his strong love of horse racing (he talks a little derby, too).
If you do start with one, I’d go with the Damaris Phillips episode. She currently resides in Louisville and is a cooking instructor. She recently won the Next Food Network Star competition, and may be just one of the most delightful people you’ll get to listen talk. She’s so very country, but has a great personality, and makes the hour of the Alton Browncast so very enjoyable.
Hosts: Michael Ian Black & Tom Cavanaugh
Typical Day of Release: Very Sporadic (but there are 60+ Episodes)
Average Length: 30-35 minutes
Recent Topics: Tim’s Cascade Style Potato Chips, Astronaut Ice Cream, Popcorn Indiana, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup
Best First Episode to Start With: Any are good to listen to, search through the listing and find your favorite snack
Michael Ian Black (Ed, The State, Wet Hot American Summer) and Tom Cavanaugh (Ed, Snow, Royal Pains, Scrubs) do exactly what it says in the title of their show. They don’t hide that fact from you that Mike (and Tom) will be eating snacks on their podcast. The series started on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 when the pair went toe to toe over Cheetos. If you’re familiar with their work, then this podcast is right up your alley. These two improv comedy, dare I say, masters, go back and forth over the food item at hand and decide whether it would make a good snack.
Most recently, Mike and Tom have been taking submissions from their viewers (they know you’re not viewers). They will read the letter that comes along with the snack, dissecting it trying to figure out why the person would send this item (“Do they work for the company?” is a good one). The first 10 minutes of the podcast is usually just the pair improving off the cuff about random stuff, which as they’re good friends, it’s almost worth the (free) podcast to listen to just those 10 minutes. Then they will bring out the snack and discuss it for the next 20 minutes. They do work on a very strict system though, one that should never be messed with. I’m talking about the P.E.R. system. Where they Pick a snack, Eat that snack, then they Rate that snack. And if they’re eating one of your favorite snacks (mine was Keebler Fudge Stripe Cookies) don’t expect them to have the same score as you would (2.5 and 1.0… out of 10).
Look, it all sounds pretty silly, but that’s because it is. I will say this is probably more for the people who like Michael Ian Black or Tom Cavanaugh and the work that they’ve done in the past. If you do, you’ll find yourself laughing at everything that goes on in each of the episodes, because they bring it every time.
Do you have a favorite food podcast? Let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter @rbramblet and we’ll try to feature it in future editions of Funkhouser’s Guide to Podcasts.