gastropod: what it is and why you will love it

Have you ever found something new and then wondered where it had been all your life? Like it was something you were secretly looking for?

That happens to me all the time because, let’s face it, I’m a voracious consumer of information. I’m always reading or watching or listening to something to feed my desire for learning. Particularly about food. Because I’m a voracious consumer of that, too.

And my love of good food even predates my love of healthy and sustainable/just food. I started to consider myself a foodie when I learned to cook and then subsequently learned that I love it.

So when I stumbled across an article somewhere that mentioned a new podcast about food called Gastropod, I had to check it out.

I got used to listening to spoken word programs by listening to NPR on my commutes several years ago. When I transitioned back to driving instead of taking the bus for my current job, I learned to use the time in the car for audiobooks, so that I could increase my book consumption. But podcasts never floated my boat, partially because all my electronics are Android/non-Apple and always associated iTunes with podcasts. Plus, the few podcasts I had tried were just boring. Bad narrators/hosts, people who couldn’t translate their love of the subject matter to others, and just boring info in general.

But I’m cooking some dinner last night, and instead of watching a TV show, I decided to listen to Gastropod.

And holy buckets, am I glad I did. It was awesome. If you love food, and you don’t mind listening to people talk as a form of consuming information, you will love this.

Here’s what it’s about, as they explain it on their website:

Gastropod looks at food through the lens of science and history.


Co-hosts Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley serve up a brand new episode every month, plus a bite-sized interlude and articles to tide you over in between.


Each episode, we look at the hidden history and surprising science behind a different food and/or farming-related topic, from aquaculture to ancient feasts, from cutlery to chile peppers, and from microbes to Malbec. We interview experts, visit labs, fields, and archaeological digs, and generally have lots of fun while discovering new ways to understand the world through food. We think these stories are fascinating, and we hope you will too.


In between, we catch up on the news that caught our attention and the places and ideas we’ve been thinking about: these snack-size podcasts are a quick hit of brain candy to keep you going through the month, until our next full episode is ready.

The co-hosts, or narrators or what have you, are SO good at this. You’d think this podcast has been around forever, because it feels like they already worked the kinks out. Their voices are easy to listen to and have that soothing effect that many NPR people have – the one that calms me in rush hour. Though I think it was fitting to listen to this podcast not in my car, but at my kitchen counter, chopping onions and garlic for the venison stew I was making.

So far, they have two full episodes and two bite-sized ones. The first episode was about considering how the utensils we eat with affect taste. (Apparently gold utensils are where it’s at? I’ll get right on that.) Some interesting people were interviewed, including Bee Wilson, the author of a book called Consider the Fork that is now on my TBR list.

The second full episode interviewed Dan Barber, author of The Third Plate. (Which if you recall, I loved.) Even though I’ve already read the book, the episode was still engaging and interesting, with some new information. Plus, who can’t get swept up when Barber talks about the Dehesa?

The two bite-size episodes? So cool. It is aptly named, because it was a small taste of interesting ideas. My particular favorite was the one where Nicola Twilley discusses living on nothing but Soylent for a week. (Ew.)

You can access Gastropod it on iTunes, or if you’re an Android person, you can use SoundCloud, like I did. Sign up for emails on their website that will alert you when a new episode is live.

I can’t wait for the next episode. I wonder what I’ll be cooking while I listen…