The Sporkful

We obsess about food to learn more about people. The Sporkful isn't for foodies, it's for eaters. Hosted by Dan Pashman of Cooking Channel's You're Eating It Wrong and the book Eat More Better. A Stitcher Production.


  • Writer Kiese Laymon Wants To Be Heavy

    Jul 04 2020

    On the weight of being Black in America... Kiese Laymon has spent his whole life in conflict over eating and not eating. Over the course of his life, his weight has spiked and dipped. In his book, Heavy: An American Memoir, Kiese weaves together all these experiences. In doing so, disordered eating, anti-blackness, fat-phobia, and addiction all bubble together. "As artists, we got to be able to talk about all of it at once because it always happens at once," he says. "Food to me is a paradoxical...more

  • How To Taste Food Like A Flavor Chemist

    Jun 27 2020

    And why natural flavors are shrouded in secrecy...“Natural flavors” show up on ingredient lists for all kinds of foods. But what does that mean exactly? We get a peek into the secretive science of flavoring when we talk with Marie Wright of ADM Nutrition, who’s created more than 1,000 flavors in her 30 years as a flavor chemist. She explains how natural flavors are made, why lemon flavor doesn’t contain lemon juice, and why flavoring plant-based burgers is so hard. Then s...more

  • A Reckoning At Bon Appetit

    Jun 13 2020

    A beloved brand with a toxic workplace... The videos shot in the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen are among the most popular food videos on YouTube, beloved for their depiction of a workplace that feels cool, fun, and diverse, full of chummy editors who have become celebrities. But that all changed this week when a photo of Bon Appetit editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport in brownface was posted to Twitter. It brought to the fore long-simmering anger about a lack of diversity among the staff and the cuisines t...more

  • When White People Say Plantation

    Jun 08 2020

    The word "plantation" pops up a lot in the food world – Plantation Mint Tea, Plantation Chicken, Plantation Rum. But it's not a culinary term. It doesn't indicate certain spices or cooking methods. So what are white people in food who use this word trying to evoke? Inspired by a piece by food writer Osayi Endolyn, we go on a mission to find out. In the process, we try to learn something about whiteness in America.  Transcript available at www.sporkful.com. This episode is from ...more

  • Can A Restaurant Be For Everyone?

    Jun 01 2020

    "White people are comfortable anywhere," says restaurateur Andy Shallal. "In order for a black person to walk into a space, there need to be signals that say, 'You're welcome.'" In this week's show we decode those signals, which include the decor and music, the staff and other customers, and more. These codes tell you what kind of place a restaurant is, and whether it's for you. So what happens when a restaurant uses these signals to bring certain people in, and keep others out? This week we vis...more

  • What Makes Some Seltzers Sparkle?

    May 25 2020

    How to judge seltzers, plus the science of carbonation... Over the past decade, seltzer has exploded. Sales have doubled, and companies like Coke and Pepsi are buying up brands and creating their own sparkling waters. So in a crowded field, with a drink that doesn't have much flavor to begin with, how do you tell which one is best? We talk with the hosts of the podcast Seltzer Death Match to find out. Then we nerd out on the science of carbonation: What exactly is it, how does it affect the...more

  • The Rigor And Aggression Of The French Kitchen

    May 18 2020

    A middle-aged dad infiltrates the brutal world of high-end restaurants… Bill Buford is a writer who specializes in throwing himself into high-pressure environments that he’s not equipped to handle. For his seminal book "Heat," he spent a few months cooking in Mario Batali’s New York restaurant kitchen, a decade before Batali’s #MeToo downfall. For his latest book, "Dirt," Bill moved his family to Lyon, France, so he could learn to cook French cuisine. He saw firsthand th...more

  • Writer Samantha Irby Is Having Fewer Over-The-Sink Moments

    May 11 2020

    The writer on food, sex, and digestive issues… Best-selling author Samantha Irby specializes in wringing comedy out of her own personal tragedies. Among her favorite topics: poop (she’s got Crohn’s disease), depression (which she also has), and sex. Throughout her writing, food is a recurring character. You can often gauge where she's at in life by what she's eating at the time. This week she takes us from the Oatmeal Creme Pies that got her through a troubled childhood, to an...more

  • New Jersey's Pork Roll-Taylor Ham Wars

    May 04 2020

    A 150-year-old blood feud over processed meat... When the New Jersey State Legislature tried to designate an Official State Sandwich, a fight broke out. Should it be pork roll, egg, and cheese — or Taylor ham, egg, and cheese? Thing is, pork roll and Taylor ham are the same food. New Jerseyans just can't agree on what to call it. And this debate has its roots in a 150-year-old blood feud. We talk with a bunch of locals, a pork roll historian, and comedian Chris Gethard to find out: What is...more

  • What's With All The Broken Dishes?

    Apr 27 2020

    Plus the art of escapism cooking... We asked for your stories about broken dishes, and you delivered. This week we wonder why we all seem to be breaking so much stuff — Dan's math says it's not just that we're home more — and hear the personal stories behind some of your most treasured items. Cartoonist Liana Finck, whose work you might have seen in The New Yorker or on Instagram, tells us about the special significance of two items recently broken in her home. Then, Mandy Lee of the...more

  • Dorie Dreams Of Cookies

    Apr 20 2020

    Why some people's recipes work better... When you decide to bake something, where do you start? Most of us google around, then pick one of the first recipes that pops up. But experienced home bakers often turn to cookbook author Dorie Greenspan. "Dorie does rock solid recipes," says Chandra Ram, who judges the prestigious IACP Cookbook Awards. So what's Dorie doing that makes her recipes better than others? This week, in a show taped pre-quarantine, we travel to her home in Connecticut to find o...more

  • From Fart Jokes To Cancer With Comic Eugene Mirman

    Apr 13 2020

    "Bob's Burgers" star cures salmon in quarantine... In comedy and cooking, Eugene Mirman loves a project. He has a stand-up bit about how he bought a laminating machine to make fake signs to leave in restaurant bathrooms, next to the hand washing signs. (One example: "Do not use your cell phone ever again.") In the kitchen he cures his own salmon, makes soup dumplings, and attempts to whip up hand-pulled noodles from scratch. For Eugene, comedy and cooking are outlets — ways to cope in diff...more

  • This Southern Baptist Is A Matzah Expert

    Apr 06 2020

    The science of crackers... Ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover, we nerd out on matzah with help from the man who runs one of the biggest matzah factories in the world. Turns out those little holes in the matzah cracker (and other crackers like Ritz and Saltines) serve a very important purpose. Then Dan debates kosher law with a rabbi and shares his favorite ways to eat matzah, whether you're Jewish or not! Get 500+ more great Sporkful episodes from our catalog and lots of other Stitcher goo...more

  • Bringing Georgia O’Keeffe To Life, One Recipe At A Time

    Mar 30 2020

    The painter's recipes go up for auction... Sotheby’s is about to put a trove of Georgia O'Keeffe items up for sale. While the auction will include paintings likely to go for millions of dollars, we're interested in something less valuable, but to us, way more exciting — O'Keeffe's box of grease-stained, handwritten recipes. This week Dan goes to see the recipes himself and talks with art experts, O’Keeffe scholars, and a woman who cooked for O'Keeffe towards the end of her life...more

  • Marc Maron And Kenji Lopez-Alt Will Help You Get Through This

    Mar 20 2020

    Cooking and panicking in quarantine... Most weeks we plan on providing you with a nice distraction during these times, but this week, in a show recorded in Dan's basement, we're here with commiseration. For that Dan turns to two old friends. Marc Maron, comic and host of the podcast "WTF," may be an expert on panic. He's spent much of his life expecting the worst, and his new Netflix stand-up special is called "End Times Fun." Marc and Dan explore "Diminishing Buffet Syndrome" — a satirica...more

  • The Art — And Joy — Of Recipe Writing

    Mar 16 2020

    Why writing a simple recipe is complicated... When you follow a recipe and it doesn't work, how do you know when it's your fault and when it's the recipe's fault? Why do some writers' recipes just work — while others' are hit-or-miss? And is there a better way to write recipes? This week Dan talks with author Chandra Ram, who judges one of the nation's most prestigious cookbook awards, and John Becker and Megan Scott, who revised and developed 2,400 recipes for the latest edition of "Joy O...more

  • American St. Patrick's Day, Through Irish Eyes

    Mar 09 2020

    Comic Maeve Higgins shares her Michael Fassbender Diet... Comic Maeve Higgins loves living alone in New York City, her home since she left her native Ireland in 2014. But sometimes, living alone leads her to eat foods she calls "bizarro." This week, she shares her solution to this so-called "problem." (Hint: Michael Fassbender is involved.) Plus, she talks with Dan about her complicated relationship with Irish-Americans, and the struggle to enjoy your food while dining with someone who has sad n...more

  • "You Can't Hate Yourself Constantly" Says Comic Fortune Feimster

    Mar 02 2020

    Comedian Fortune Feimster on using her body to get laughs... "I've always been a fan of food," comedian Fortune Feimster says in her new stand up special, "Sweet and Salty." She joined the swim team in grade school just for the snacks. As a chubby kid who became a chubby adult, she often played her body for laughs. But in recent years her approach to both comedy and food has evolved. In this week's podcast, she talks about struggling to hold back when you really love to eat. She also shares the ...more

  • The Great Data-Driven Restaurant Makeover

    Feb 24 2020

    One table can make all the difference... The owner of New York's Adda Indian Canteen has one table in his restaurant that's underperforming the others. And in a business with razor-thin margins, that's a real problem. In this special collaboration with Sally Helm and NPR's Planet Money, we enlist the help of a tape measure-wielding professor to try to turn the loser table into a winner. It turns out that how a restaurant treats its real estate is more important than how it cooks its fo...more

  • Cooking In An Immigrant Time Warp With Maangchi

    Feb 17 2020

    Home-cooked, glammed-up Korean food... In 2007, Maangchi was 50 years old, a single mother of adult kids, and addicted to online gaming. Her son suggested she post a cooking video to YouTube. Today she has 4 million subscribers and has taught fans all over the world how to cook traditional Korean food. This week she tells us her story, and talks about cooking when you’re in an “immigrant time warp.” Plus we hear her take on a popular Korean dish that was renamed for the Oscar-w...more

  • A Very Halal Valentine's Day with Taz Ahmed

    Feb 10 2020

    Beef ribs + pizza = love... We're celebrating Valentine’s Day with Taz Ahmed, a writer, activist, and co-creator of the podcast #GoodMuslimBadMuslim. Over halal beef ribs at Big Al's Pizzeria outside L.A., Dan and Taz talk about Taz's #MuslimVDay cards, her efforts to recreate the Bangladeshi home cooking she grew up with, and her advice for sharing food on a first date. (Hint: Don't get handsy with the tacos!) Get access to 500+ more Sporkful episodes and lots of other Sti...more

  • Jamie Oliver Says Sunday Lunch Saved Him

    Feb 03 2020

    From dyslexic kid to best-selling author... Despite being one of the best-selling authors in UK history, Jamie Oliver didn't read a whole book until he was 38. He's dyslexic, and writes by dictation. Growing up, school was a huge struggle for him. When he began cooking as a kid it was the first time he thought, "I'm good at something." Later, when he became a celebrity chef and tried to use cooking to help others, he was met with skepticism from the press, and his parents. In this week's show he...more

  • Why Candidates Shouldn’t Eat Corn Dogs

    Jan 27 2020

    One false bite could cost you the presidency... Every four years, presidential candidates flock to the Iowa State Fair for a stump speech and a photo op. But one wrong food-related move, and their campaign could be in jeopardy. This week, Dan talks with current and former presidential candidates about the perils of eating on the trail. How do you use food to win over voters? Plus, Sean Rameswaram, host of Today Explained, joins us to analyze what the 2020 candidates' eating habits say about them...more

  • 2 | Live: Chef Kwame Makes His Comeback

    Jan 20 2020

    Kwame Onwuachi climbs the culinary heights and takes a big fall... After starting his own catering company and going to the Culinary Institute of America, Kwame enters the world of fine dining. Soon, investors want him to open his own restaurant. But when he does, things go wrong – fast. His comeback involves a secret restaurant, Black Mirror, and a white guy named Mufasa.

  • 1 | Live: Notes From A Young Black Chef

    Jan 13 2020

    Kwame Onwuachi learns to cook in the middle of the ocean... In the past year, Kwame Onwuachi has become one of the fastest rising star chefs in America. His DC restaurant, Kith and Kin, is widely considered one of the best in the country. But he went through countless twists and turns to get there. His story is so wild that he wrote a memoir, Notes From A Young Black Chef, that's now being made into a movie starring Lakeith Stanfield. This week Kwame shares the first half of that story live on s...more

  • Trailer: Welcome to The Sporkful

    Jan 01 2020

    This podcast isn’t for foodies, it’s for eaters. We have a ton of fun obsessing about food to learn more about culture, science, history, and most importantly—people. In every episode of The Sporkful you’re going to learn something, feel something, and laugh. Winner of the James Beard and Webby Award for Best Food Podcast. Hosted by Dan Pashman, who also hosts Cooking Channel’s “You’re Eating It Wrong.” Subscribe or favorite now and join us!

  • My Food History Wasn't Lost. It was Stolen.

    Nov 04 2019

    Poet Tommy Pico tells the story of building his own indigenous food history from scratch... A few years ago, Tommy Pico, a queer indigenous American poet, and lover of junk food, set out to learn how to cook. But rather than turn to the past to find an indigenous food history, he turned to friends to build his own. His new book FEED, an epic poem, chronicles that journey. Tommy and Dan chat about the horrors of airport vegetarian options, what it’s like when the food you grow up with is co...more