A selection of trifles Little stories from the year just past

Having started this autumn to do little trailers for upcoming shows, I thought it would be an interesting way to prevent absolute silence over the holidays to adapt that format and revisit some of 2014’s episodes. Some of these mini-episodes represent a reworking of the original in much cut-down form. Others are stories that for one reason or another had … Read More


Another helping of turkey More than there ever were

The domestication of the turkey probably first took place around 2000 years ago in south central Mexico, possibly for their feathers and ritual value rather than their meat. Their rise to the top of the American festive table came much later, not with the Pilgrims but with Charles Wampler, whose efforts to promote turkey raising started Rockingham County, Virginia, on … Read More


A partial history of the turkey Where and when were they domesticated

As Thanksgiving ebbs into memory and Christmas looms on the horizon, Eat This Podcast concerns itself with the turkey. For a nomenclature nerd, the turkey is a wonderful bird. Why would a bird from America be named after a country on the edge of Asia? The Latin name offers a clue; the American turkey is Meleagris gallopavo, while the African … Read More


The festa dell’uva of the 1930s Italy's fascists celebrate the grape

These days, every little town and village in Italy has its sagra or festa, a weekend, or longer, in celebration of a particular local food. Although they have a whiff of tradition about them, most of these are relatively recent inventions, designed to attract tourists as much as honour the food and cement community relationships. I was surprised to learn, … Read More

Extra matter

Future of agriculture


Will biotechnology feed the world? Can organic agriculture? Ford Denison is a research scientist who has thought clearly about the future of agriculture and what, if anything, it can learn from nature. Right now, he’s worried.

Cheese in aspic


There’s a thin line between protecting the authenticity of a fine traditional food and preventing the kinds of living changes that allowed it to survive long enough to become traditional. Zack Nowak, a food historian, looked at the rules governing the manufacture of genuine Parmigiano-Reggiano DOP cheese and the cheese’s actual history. The rules say you can’t, but could you make an equally good parmesan somewhere else?

Extracted from the original episode broadcast after the 2nd Perugia Food Conference.

Music by podington bear.

Turkeys and globalisation

Of all the turkey’s misnomers, the official Linnaean name from 1758 must qualify as the wrongest: Meleagris gallopavo gallopavo. It crosses Greek roots with Latin to mean “guinea-fowl chicken-peacock chicken-peacock”. Wrong on five counts, but typical. The only thing the turkey’s namers have got right consistently is that the bird is not-from-here.

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