Last Call: Food podcasts for when staring at a screen becomes too much

Illustration for article titled Last Call: Food podcasts for when staring at a screen becomes too much
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Last CallLast CallLast Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and use the comment section as an open thread. Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching/listening around the office today.

We’ve all been talking an awful lot about bingeing TV shows and docuseries, or catching all the fish in Animal Crossing, or working our way through the Criterion Collection, or whatever else about which we can tweet updates on our progress, under the current stay-at-home orders. That renewed focus on media is only natural, and we are only human. But surely there are others out there like me, folks whose lives mostly take place in front of a laptop already and who don’t want to spend one additional moment looking at a screen when they don’t have to. In those precious offline hours, it’s audio I want. I’d listen to 25 hours of podcasts a day if I could.

Food podcasting is a particularly intimate branch of the medium, for reasons that might be obvious. The act of eating is, by its very nature, deeply personal and culturally rooted. The emotions ignited by food can spill out in all directions, which will always make for compelling entertainment, no matter the type of series or its level of production. Food-centric audio series are presented with the unique challenge of exploring entire cuisines before a listening audience that has no visual frame of reference, no seductive cheese-pull photos like you might see on Instagram, and none of the Food Network’s impossibly gorgeous kitchen sets to kickstart their daydreaming. It’s just the host, the mic, and their best ideas.

Some of my favorite food podcasts aren’t wedded to their format. The Sporkful, for example, is never afraid to go on a wild goose chase to find the best Coney dog or uncover the elusive Donut King; each episode is utterly distinct from the rest in form and function. Meanwhile, Doughboys is a podcast that seems almost painfully wedded to its own conceit, the running joke being that the hosts themselves hate the show and want it to end.


What podcasts are your favorites, and what earns them a spot in your queue? If you make a convincing case, I might just find a 26th hour in the day to give them a listen.

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

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Gastropod is a favorite. Each episode covers a topic (i.e. mangos, mac & cheese, preservatives, general tso’s chicken, etc), and goes in-depth on the history and science of that item. It’s well-researched and features lots of experts. It’s also hosted by two delightful ladies who seem to truly enjoy food and working together.