Podcast: Play in new window | Download The Butter Museum in Cork, Ireland, features on some lists of the world’s quirky etc. food museums but not others. It ought to be on all of them. This is a seriously interesting museum for anyone who likes butter, and in my book, that means just about everyone. (I refuse absolutely to say anything about the impact – if any – of butter on health, not least because there’s nothing certain one can say.) It sits next to the grand Butter Exchange, built when the Cork Butter Market sat like a colossus astride the global market. The Irish butter traded through Cork was done in by refrigeration, fell to the lowest level possible, and then emerged again after Ireland joined the European Union, by returning to the principles that made the Cork Butter Exchange great. The Butter Museum tells the whole story. This episode tells a bit of it.
Tagged with “food” (207)
People accused me of being a tease when I originally published that banner photograph up there and said that it was not a zucchini. It was, I admit, a deliberate provocation. It all depends on whether we’re speaking English or Italian. Because in English it isn’t, strictly speaking, a zucchini. It is a cocozelle, a type of summer squash that differs from a zucchini in a couple of important ways, one being that it hangs onto its flower a lot longer. So a flower on a cocozelle is not the guarantee of freshness that it is on a true zucchini. In Italian, however, it is a zucchini. Or rather, a zucchina. Because in modern Italian, all summer squashes are zucchine.
Teresa Lust is a linguist and food writer. Harry Paris is a plant breeder who specialises in pumpkins, melons and the like. Together, they have just published a paper that pushes back the known history of the zucchini. They guided me through the somewhat convoluted history of true pumpkins in Italy.
It’s a story of exploration, aristocracy and promiscuity. What more could you want?
In this episode, we continue our look at the gradual emergence of Middle English from the linguistic rubble left in the wake of the Norman Conquest. English remained fractured and broken, and foreign influences continued to come in. We explore the changing language of the Peterborough Chronicle. We also examine how a merchant’s failed attempt to buy some eggs shaped the history of the English language.
This week Sue Lawley’s castaway is the award-winning cookery writer Claudia Roden whose Book of Middle Eastern Food revolutionised Western attitudes to the cuisines of the Middle East. Her Book of Jewish Food has been described as ‘the richest and most sensuous encyclopaedia of Jewish life ever set in print’. She chooses eight records to take with her to the mythical island.
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the chef Heston Blumenthal. He is one of only three chefs working in Britain today to be awarded three Michelin stars and last year his restaurant, The Fat Duck, was named the best in the world by a panel of 5,000 food experts.
His speedy rise to the top of his profession is little short of extraordinary. He has only ever spent a week in a professional kitchen and taught himself classical French cookery. He became fascinated by the science of cooking and has become the Willy Wonka of modern cuisine - dishes he’s created include mango and douglas fir puree, salmon poached with liquorice and, most famously, snail porridge. But he acknowledges his success has been largely due too to his wife’s support and now wants to change the balance of his life towards spending more time with his young family.
A kitchen wizard and a nutrition detective talk about the perfect hamburger, getting the most out of garlic, and why you should use vodka in just about everything.
Chef Michael Solomonov sees his mission as connecting people to the food of his homeland. "That, to me, is my life’s work," he says. Solomonov’s new cookbook is Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking.
Aleks Krotoski explores whether or not the digital world is changing food culture.
Food is a universal necessity, human brains light up more for food than any other experience, so it’s little wonder that food culture has exploded online. Social media is festooned with pictures, recipes, cooking videos and we can’t seem to ever get enough.
But, is the digital world doing more than getting our mouths watering? Could technology be changing the very way we taste?
In this episode, Aleks Krotoski explores how food trends develop and shape our culture and spread on social media, as well as exploring new tech that may change the way we eat - from 3D printed delights, to Chef Watson who creates recipes in the cloud, and even how we might manipulate our brains to change how we perceive flavour.
How do our assumptions about people affect our assumptions about their food? And how do their assumptions about our food affect how we feel about ourselves? What happens when chefs cook a cuisine they weren’t born into? And what happens when there’s a backlash? Our friend Dan Pashman, host of WNYC Studio’s The Sporkful, has launched a special series of episodes called "Other People’s Food," which aims to explore exactly these questions. Dan talks with Brooke about the project so far.
That sink is where Rachel Roddy, an English woman in Rome, prepares meals to share with her partner Vincenzo, their young son Luca, and a horde of appreciative readers of her website and, now, her first book.
Five Quarters: Recipes and Notes from a Kitchen in Rome, features the sink on its front cover. That probably makes it one of the most famous sinks in Rome. So naturally when Rachel and I got home from our meeting in the new Testaccio market, it was the first thing I wanted to see. And photograph. Our conversation ranged widely, from book titles and domain names to the links between the food of Rome and the food of Manchester. And although she says she’s a romantic and prone to nostalgia, it is also clearly the case that Rachel Roddy loves learning about food and cooking, loves sharing what she’s learned, and loves telling stories. Simple ingredients, for a satisfying cookbook and website.
A couple of other links. Rachel mentioned her friend Fabrizia Lanza and the farm and cooking school she runs in Sicily. Here’s what Rachel wrote recently about a wonderful idea called Cook the Farm. If you decide to follow the link, do give yourself time to pursue Rachel down all her intriguing rabbit holes.
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