Jason is back on the podcast for one last, final episode! Yes, Thoughts on the Table ends today as it hits its 100th episode with the biggest topic we could think of: the meta of food, i.e. anything that has to do with food besides the physical sensations of actually eating it. Join us in our journey through this fascinating subject as we touch on the concept of authenticity and on how culture influences our appreciation of flavor.
Conversely, in the second part of the episode, Jason and I discuss some cooking trends that affect the flavor of food. These include the tendency to finish cooking pasta in its sauce and to alter traditional recipes to make them visually pleasing for sharing on social media, more so than with our guests!
I’d like to thank all of you who have been listening and the 65 amazing guests that I had the pleasure of interviewing and collaborating with. I’d like to make a special mention to those who have bought into the project and really helped drive it, starting with Jason, and including Gino De Blasio, Manu, Frank Fariello, Diana Zahuranec, Raffaella De Amici, Rick Zullo, David Scott Allen, Nick Zingale, Mark Preston, Simon Pagotto, Melinda King, Tina Prestia, Sim Salis, Eva, Diana Pinto – who also contributed to this last episode with her precious research and insight.
- Marcella Cucina, by Marcella Hazan, William Morrow Cookbooks, 1997
- Millericette, by Erina Gavotti, A.Vallardi, 1995
- Mangiare e Bere all’Italiana, by Luigi Carnacina and Luigi Veronelli, Garzanti, 1962
- Recipes and Memories, by Sophia Loren, GT Publishing Corporation, 2000
- Le Quattro Stagioni in Cucina, by Lisa Biondi, AMZ Editrice, 1981
As Thoughts on the Table approaches 100 episodes, I chose to dedicate episode 99 to the series’ beginnings, dating back to August 2013. I was an avid podcast listener and, inspired by great productions like This American Life and Stuff You Should Know, I involved my friend and then-coworker, Jason, and branched off from my blog to try the more colloquial format of a podcast.
Today’s issue contains extracts from the first six episodes where Jason and I discuss taste and flavor, as well as cultural differences between Italy, North America, and Japan. Among other topics, we touched on why as an Italian I would never try to put salt on pasta, whether eating spicy food can damage our taste buds, the reason why desserts tend to end the meal, why many people learn to appreciate “spoiled” foods like Gorgonzola and Nattō, what exactly astringency is, and the path to appreciating subtle flavors. To wrap up the selection, I couldn’t help but include extracts from episode seven, a recording that took place right in the center of Milan on Jason’s impressions from visiting Italy for the first time.
After these seven episodes, Jason could no longer continue as a co-host. So I started looking for a new podcast partner by enlisting some of my dearest blogger friends as collaborators. This eventually gave me the idea to turn the podcast towards the format of the interview. I enjoyed it a lot. With practice, I learned to connect with my guests in a way that would capture their spontaneity in entertaining and informative chats, and I made many lasting connections as a result, for which I’m grateful. My guests included food bloggers, writers, cookbook authors, chefs, food professionals, food photographers, event organizers, cooking instructors, and fellow podcasters. Overall, in nearly nine years of activity, Thoughts on the Table saw a total of 65 collaborators for a combined playback time of 39 hours, 19 minutes, and 13 seconds.
Bread and Spirits is a successful Instagram project made of one measure food and two measures drinks that unites Italian cuisine and cocktails enthusiasts around the world.
Born out of the March 2020 lockdown from the combined talents of Jasmina and Stefano, Bread and Spirits is visually stunning, informative, entertaining, and very much unique. In this episode, I have the pleasure to record Jasmina and Stefano’s first audio interview and capture their incredible energy and passion for food & drinks, but also for human connections and communication.
You can connect with Jasmina and Stefano on Instagram: instagram.com/breadandspirits
The music in the episode is by www.purple-planet.com.
Is a cookbook on a cuisine a mirror of what takes place in its people’s kitchens? Or does it reflect more the desires and needs of its intended audience? And if that’s the case, are these desires of a practical nature, or for something that people like to dream about? What is the relationship between cookbooks and the people they were written for?
These are some of the questions that Diana Pinto has been asking herself while going through lots of cookbooks as part of her “2-week cookbook project” – less-known cookbooks, cookbooks from the past, cookbooks written in Italian for Italians, cookbooks that were translated and adapted, and just plain out bad cookbooks as well!
Join us in our conversation and let us know your thoughts by adding your comments here or by connecting directly with Diana on Instagram.
To learn more about Diana Pinto, please check out her interview in Episode 92 – The Quest for Authentic & Original Recipes .
In this new episode of Thoughts on the Table, Eva from Electric Blue Food is back to help me break down a massive topic: What makes a dish Italian?
To non-Italians, Italian food may be what appears on the menus of Italian restaurants or anything tagged as Italian that goes viral on social networks, like Carbonara, Amatriciana, Neapolitan Pizza, egg-yolk ravioli. To the Italians, Italian food is what they naturally cook at home, and maybe the only thing they are able and equipped to cook. These are potentially two very different things!
With many cuisines, we see a set of iconic dishes that become famous around the world through some kind of selection (like Pad Thai, Chicken Vindaloo, Salmon Teriyaki). Despite helping to make those cuisines accessible to many, these dishes are really just a small sample of the foods originating in their native regions. Eva and I argue that the (often ill-formed) quest for “the original” or “the authentic” version of these recipes may contribute to weeding out all variations of those dishes except for their dominant ones. This is probably why abroad there tends to be only one kind of Tiramisu (the coffee/cocoa one), whereas in Italy important spin-offs happily co-exist.
Join us in this episode to hear more about the true cuisine of Italy by going over some unexpected Italian dishes, such as Mostarda, Bagna Cauda, Prosciutto and Cantaloupe, as well as evidence of many dishes sometimes labeled as “non-authentic” that are eaten daily all around the Peninsula, like Spaghetti alla Bolognese, Gnocchi al Pesto, Lasagne al Pesto, Carbonara with Pancetta, and Strawberry Tiramisu.
Finally, Eva describes her experience with the Polish cuisine of her grandmother and her encounter with Blueberry Pierogi, a sweet variation of the iconic potato dumpling that is equally unexpected outside of Poland.
You can learn more about Eva by visiting her website Electric Blue Food. You can also follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Please also check out Eva’s interview in episode 87!
My guest today is Chicca Maione, an extraordinary cooking instructor for both in-person and online classes on Italian cuisine. Based in Castagneto Carducci – Bolgheri, Tuscany, Chicca and her partners have created a community of people from all over the world who love Italian food and participate in workshops, share their experiences, and create connections.
During the episode, Chicca invites everyone to attend their free cooking workshop on October 2nd. Please follow this link for all of the details and to register.
Besides talking about her classes, Chicca shares her fascinating story, from her Neapolitan origins to the amazing experience of cycling all over the world for over ten years, before settling in Tuscany and seeing her love for food and cooking materialize into a new career.
In the episode, Chicca Maione also goes over her philosophy on food, how to bring joy into the kitchen, and the benefits of cooking every day. Finally, she talks about the food she cooks the most (Italian-Mediterranean), which was studied for its links to health and wellbeing (as I had touched on in a previous episode with Diana Zahuranec).
To know more about Chicca and her Cooking Club, please check out her website: cookingintuscany.cc as well as her page on Facebook, TripAdvisor, YouTube, and Instagram.
This episode’s guest is sound designer, musician, podcast editor, and producer, Geoff Devine.
When I chatted with Becca and Sarah from Dietetics After Dark, we talked about sound design and about the amazing work that Geoff Devine has been doing for their podcast, both with the audio editing and with the soundtrack. As an amateur audio editor myself, I invited Geoff to be my guest on the show. He accepted enthusiastically and was very kind to answer all of my questions and give me a glimpse into the fascinating world of professional audio production.
You can hear Geoff sound design and original music in amazing podcasts such as:
You can learn more about Geoff’s work on his website Earworm Radio and follow him on Instagram @ewradio as well as on Linked In.
The music used for demonstrative purposes in the episode is by www.purple-planet.com.
This episode’s guests are podcasters Becca and Sarah from Unsavory (formerly Dietetics After Dark), a highly trending podcast on food-related scandals, misconduct, fraud, and drama.
In the episode, we learn more about Becca and Sarah, how Unsavory came to be, and how it’s made behind the scenes.
You can find Unsavory anywhere you listen to podcasts and on unsavorypodcast.com. You can follow Becca and Sarah on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Thoughts on the Table is back with a new guest, Diana Pinto, and a very special episode. As she describes it, Diana became interested in noting recipe variations across different cookbooks. Incidentally and unexpectedly, this brought her to challenge the concept of authenticity or at least the implication that there’s one true way to cook traditional Italian dishes, a claim that we see so frequently on social media and that risks having a deeply damaging effect.
Diana mentions several cookbooks and authors (though she doesn’t endorse them all necessarily!) Here is a written list for your reference, in order of “appearance”.
- The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
- Anna del Conte
- La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene by Pellegrino Artusi
- Il Talismano della Felicita` by Ada Boni
- Il Cucchiaio d’Argento / The Silver Spoon
- Sauces and Shapes by Oretta Zanini de Vita
- Popes, Peasants, and Shepherds by Oretta Zanini de Vita
- The Italian Baker by Carol Field
- Le Ricette Regionali Italiane by Anna Gosetti della Salda
During the show, we also mention bloggers Frank Fariello (Memorie di Angelina) and Tina Prestia (Tina’s Table) who were previous podcast guests and also touched on the theme of authenticity:
You can follow Diana Pinto on Instagram @cremafrangipane and on YouTube.
The music in the episode is by www.purple-planet.com.