Because your Zoomed-out eyes deserve a break. 

By Tracey Minkin
April 06, 2020
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Is your screen time hitting an all-time high since we began coronavirus social distancing? It’s understandable: Working from home, schooling kids at home, and staying home overall has put our screens front and center in our lives. And that’s not all bad: We’re learning more about the world of food and cooking, binging on craveable food shows, and relishing some of the best food movies ever made.

However: all our beloved podcasts—those wonderful capsules of ears-only education, information, and entertainment—might have been a bit overlooked since we all stopped commuting and running loads of errands in our cars.

But there’s never been a better time to reengage with your favorite podcasts and add some new, tasty ones to the mix. For one, they’re super-portable—whether your phone is in your pocket for a fresh-air break or you’re just streaming in your home—there’s no screen to keep an eye on. For two, many podcasts are quickly produced, which means that the content streaming now is already in response to coronavirus, social distancing, cooking more from home, and generally keeping your sanity. Third, a number of these podcasts encourage listeners to call in and leave questions and messages, which means you can quickly feel connected to your favorite hosts, and perhaps even hear your own voice on an upcoming pod.

Forget the commute! You can listen to podcasts while you clean your kitchen, brush your teeth, sit in your backyard or on your balcony, prep the veggies for dinner, or while you take a social-distancing-appropriate walk. Give your eyes a break and let your ears do the work with these 11 fantastic food podcasts for right now.

Chowhound’s Table Talk

Chowhound Executive Editor Hana Asbrink hosts this warm and expansive series of conversations with leaders on the culinary landscape. It’s a wonderful range, including Benjamina Ebuehi, the London-based food stylist, cookbook author (The New Way to Cake), and Great British Bake Off vet; Sonoko Sakai, the California-based food writer and cookbook author (Japanese Home Cooking); and Gaz Oakley, the Avant-Garde Vegan and cookbook author (Vegan 100, Vegan Christmas, and the upcoming Plants Only Kitchen). 

Start listening to Chowhound’s Table Talk.

The Food Seen

Even though you’re listening to a podcast to take a much-needed break from the blue light of your laptop and assorted devices, this creative Heritage Radio Network podcast hosted by Michael Harlan Turkell looks at how we see food, which makes it a surprising visual feast for our senses. Turkell, himself a photographer, brings on industrial and interior designers as well as food stylists and photographers to look at topics like “That Photo Makes Me Hungry” to an interview with Korean food YouTube superstar Maangchi. Best news: There's a deep (as in more than 400 episodes) backlist that can easily get you through even a longer-than-expected shutdown.

Start listening to The Food Seen.

From Scratch with Michael Ruhlman

The James-Beard-Award-winning author brings his deep curiosity (and remarkable network of chef friends) to a podcast inspired by his 2019 book of the same name. Here, in 13 episodes in the first season, Ruhlman examines a foodstuff (eggs or bacon, say) or kitchen technique (mise en place) with both a chef and an expert from outside the kitchen who adds a fresh and illuminating point of view. Listening to From Scratch is a bit like having the best seat at a dinner party (where the chef pulls up a chair right next to you).

Gastropod

Need something substantial to chew on for a break? This biweekly pod from Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley tells a food story with a hidden history or some surprising science. Look no further for proof than the recent episode, “White vs. Wheat: The Food Fight of the Centuries,” that dives deep into the ultimate bread break, including the invention of sliced bread and the science behind “Wonder Bread’s curious bounce.” Want to emerge from quarantine smarter as well as a better home cook? This is your pod.

Start listening to Gastropod.

Gravy

This national treasure that is half of a dynamic pairing of print journal and podcast from the Southern Foodways Alliance examines food and culture in the American South. Be prepared to have your eyes opened to the complexities of the region: This is no treacly homage to fried green tomatoes, but a fascinating series (with more than 100 episodes to leaf through) that touches on everything from planting sorghum to the Wetzel County (West Virginia) Future Farmers of America Ham Bacon and Egg Show.

Start listening to Gravy.

Home Cooking

In response to current quarantine living, the forever fabulous Samin Nosrat (of the Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat cookbook and Netflix series empire) and immensely likeable Hrishikesh Hirway (creator, producer, and host of numerous podcasts, including the West Wing Weekly podcast) team up to talk about—yes—home cooking, with lots of engagement with listeners. Get in on this creation at the beginning, if only to see how this talented team develops the pod, and also, just to listen to Samin Nosrat’s inimitable laugh—itself a balm for turbulent times.

Start listening to Home Cooking.

The Kitchen Counter

Launched as a podcast by Oregon-based host Roger Anderson in 2014, this welcoming show that is sweetly low key and informative in equal measure breaks down recipes for the most inexperienced home cook. Check out the Let’s Cook-themed episodes for making quarantine-ideal dishes like colcannon (the soul-satisfying Irish potato dish), shakshouka, mac & cheese, and pork fried rice.

Start listening to The Kitchen Counter.

Proof

If you’re an America’s Test Kitchen nerd, this one’s for you. A four-season-old podcast from that venerable brand with exacting focus on the art (and science) of recipe development and cooking technique, the weekly show is hosted by Bridget Lancaster. Get ready for Season 4’s deep dives into 4,500-year-old yeast, atomic peanuts, and a cheating scandal at a chili cook-off. Sign. Us. Up.

Start listening to Proof.

Spilled Milk

What’s so funny about yeast? Plenty, it turns out, when writer/comedians Molly Wizenberg and Matthew Amster-Burton take it on (Episode 431). Since 2010, the duo has been riffing on a single food topic from grilled cheese and shrimp cocktail to kiwifruit and beets, and these 30-minute, super-snackable listens are just the comic relief we need right now.

Start listening to Spilled Milk.

The Splendid Table

A classic of the genre, this show from American Public Media has been a radio weekend companion for listeners for more than 20 years (and helmed since its inception by Lynne Rossetto Kasper). It expanded to podcasting (and was honored with awards beginning in 2016) and has thrived, particularly with the 2018 arrival of award-winning food journalist Francis Lam, who leads weekly explorations of food culture and technique, including taking listener calls and questions. Since the advent of coronavirus, Lam has focused on home-bound topics like how to shop and eat safely as well as how to make your own sourdough starter.

Start listening to The Splendid Table.

The Sporkful

“It’s not for foodies, it’s for EATERS,” proclaims Stitcher’s 10-year-old, James-Beard-Award winner for Best Food Podcast, and it’s true: Host Dan Pashman’s roving mind means episodes as diverse as how best to layer peanut butter and jelly in a sandwich (November, 2014) to an examination of American artist Georgia O’Keeffe’s recipe box going up for auction (March, 2020).

Start listening to The Sporkful.