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!
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.
Another year! The good news is that this blog is still active and luckily keeps being found by those searching for Italian specialties like pizzoccheri or canederli or Italian misconceptions like my 6 Italian myths. The bad news of course is that I haven’t posted any new articles or recipes this year. I know, it’s terrible – but it’s also okay, given that social media has taken the place of blogging in many ways.
But I did resume podcasting (yay!) and produced 16 new episodes with as many guests and collaborations this past year! This continues to be a lot of fun for me and I’ve already started to work on a new round of episodes to hopefully reach my dream milestone of 100 episodes very soon!
Here is a list of the episodes this year. Thanks again to all of my wonderful guests!
On a personal level, we keep well here in southern England, still working from home and enjoying plenty of homecooked food. We pretty much spend our time planning meals, cooking, cleaning the kitchen, and being grateful for having a dishwasher. As the government lifted all social distancing measures exactly two weeks ago, we are far from back to normal, unfortunately. Traveling is still not really possible, including to and from Italy which of course breaks our hearts. But we enjoy our area, which is wonderfully green after a very wet summer, and spending time with our cat Rascal, who just turned 19, overall doing great and still a great source of comfort and inspiration to us both.
I hope you’re all well, wherever you are, and please get in touch for collaborations, to be on the podcast, or just to say hi – I’d love that 🙂
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:
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:
My guest today is Christine from Italian Dish Podcast, a fantastic audio project featuring one recipe per episode from Christine’s point of view of an American in Florence. With that as a premise, Christine’s charming storytelling, fueled by her love for food and her fascination with cooking, brings each dish to life via an uncut chronicle of the cooking process, with digressions on the ingredients and the traditions that surround the dish.
During our chat, Christine and I compare our experiences fitting in into the culture of our adoptive homes and how we found it important to try to master the language, but also the local cuisine. Christine also reflects on how talking-while-cooking helps her be her real self and connect with her audience. Finally, we digress on the difficult task of cooking Italian food for native Italians, with the high bars set by their nonnas and with the brutal honesty they are known for!
In this episode, Bologna-based, food instructor and blogger Tina Prestia talks about Ragù alla Bolognese, arguably the most famous and misunderstood Italian sauce.
Join us to hear Tina Prestia break down Ragù alla Bolognese after she analyzed 50+ recipes and directly tested several of them. What ingredients are non-negotiables? What ingredients can be optional? What are most definitely a no-no?
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.