[Thoughts on the Table – 50] Balance in Food – 50th Episode Special with Jason

Jason and I used to be co-workers and in our lunch breaks we often talked about food, trying to explain the logic behind it, and comparing North American, Italian, and Japanese cultures. Being an avid podcast listener, and missing the days when I was an amateur radio host in Italy, I pitched to Jason the crazy idea of making a podcast from our chats. Of course he accepted without hesitation! As a result, Thoughts on the Table was born just over three years ago.

Even though Jason is no longer a co-host, the podcast continues to thrive, thanks to its notable guests and loyal listeners – including Jason himself, of course. In fact, I’m very happy to be publishing episode number fifty (that’s five-zero!) today.

In this special episode, Jason is back on the show with one of his topics. With our usual investigative approach, Jason and I theorize on why North Americans seem to focus on high ranking foods (the so-called “proteins”), relegating the rest of the dish to mere accompaniments, whereas the Italians – and the Japanese – value dishes in which the various components are paired harmoniously, and they have meals in which the dishes follow one another in a balanced progression.

As always, please join us in our discussion and let us know what you think by commenting on the episode. Thanks to everyone for your support and feedback!

The music in the episode is by: www.purple-planet.com.

Paolo Rigiroli

Author: Paolo Rigiroli

Now based in the UK, Paolo is an Italian who lived in Canada for nearly 18 years and blogs about Italian food and its many aberrations.

4 thoughts on “[Thoughts on the Table – 50] Balance in Food – 50th Episode Special with Jason”

  1. Congrats on the milestone, Paolo! And great to see Jason back. You guys have a great rapport and it makes for great podcast listening.

    As you well know, I totally agree that balance is key to good cooking and eating. As you may know, the Chinese have similar concepts based on balancing heating and cooling foods based on Taoist philosophy quite similar to the ancient Western concept of “humors”. I always find it fascinating that these ideas can be found in such different cultural contexts. However unscientific they may be, I think it shows there is some underlying truth these ideas are getting at.

    1. Frank! Thanks so much, also on behalf of Jason – your encouragement throughout is a big reason why the podcast is still going. Very interesting about the Taoist philosophy of balance… Of course I knew of Yin and Yang, but I never thought of it applied to food and cooking – though of course it makes total sense. At the very least, I think that these concepts could be the manifestation of the search for an underlying equilibrium, which over time happened to prove beneficial to people’s appreciation of food, and to their well-being. There you go, I’m throwing in evolution as well!

    2. It’s funny that you mention the Taoist philosophy of balance. Just the week after we recorded, a Chinese friend of mine caught a cold, and when I recommended ice cream–it’s my panacea–she replied, “Oh no. Chinese doctors would not like that!” and gave and explanation much like the “humors”. While I can’t condone a philosophy that, at times, prohibits ice cream, I also found the parallel striking.

      The two of us, Frank, may be a couple of Paolo’s biggest fans. It would be great to meet one of these days and have a long conversation. Thanks for your comment, and take care!

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