Audible Edibles

Ten radio food shows that will leave you salivating

By Kate Ramos

The Open Line
The Food Chain
NPR Food Podcast
Once upon a time, when Julia Child hosted the only cooking show on television, radio was the king of the gourmet media world. Back then, you could find housekeeping and cooking shows at several spots on the dial. As the selection on TV became more varied, food programs on the radio eventually fell by the wayside. In recent years, however, as the hosts on the idiot box have become more interested in sizzle than substance, radio and podcast food shows have flooded the airwaves. Here are some of our favorites.

1. The Splendid Table.
Hosted by Lynne Rossetto-Kasper, this culinary and cultural show on public radio, XM, and Sirius celebrates food and the lives it feeds. On each hourlong program, Rossetto-Kasper leads a conversation with notable chefs, authors, and food enthusiasts as they discuss their passions.

2. Hidden Kitchens.
Produced by the Kitchen Sisters, Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva, this 10-minute show explores how communities and people come together over food. The biweekly series, which can be heard on NPR’s Morning Edition as well as via its own podcast, chronicles an array of kitchen rituals and traditions from back alleys, car washes, and church basements across the country.

3. Beyond Organic.
This hourlong show—which is no longer in production, but is well worth perusing via its downloadable archives—covered such broad food-related topics as marketing Froot Loops to preschoolers and how to turn vegetarian cooking from boring to satisfying. In roughly 150 broadcasts, producer Michael Straus and host Jerry Kay also interviewed chefs, organic farmers, and food activists to find out how to promote sustainable cooking and eating in the United States.

4. Good Food. Tune in to KCRW in Los Angeles on Saturday mornings—or download the podcast and listen from anywhere—to get LA restaurant reviews from Pulitzer Prize–winning writer Jonathan Gold, reports from the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, and in-depth interviews by host Evan Kleiman with guests ranging from the topical to the obscure (such as a toothpick historian who recently appeared on the program). CHOW columnist Helena Echlin also appears semiregularly.

5. The Open Line.
Hearkening back to the recipe-sharing broadcasts of the 1940s and ’50s, this show—which streams live online on Saturday mornings—is still going strong after 40 years. Listeners call in and exchange their favorite recipes for such delicacies as Tater Tot casserole and calico beans.

6. The Food Chain. Hosted by agriculturist and journalist Michael Olson, this hourlong online talk show highlights serious issues that may otherwise fly beneath the media radar, such as how switching livestock from grass to grain drastically reduces Omega-3 fatty acids in our diet.

7. A Chef’s Table. Mix together a smattering of interesting interviews with chefs and food writers, a sprinkle of cooking tips, and a few cookbook reviews and you have A Chef’s Table, an hour each week with Chef Jim Coleman. The program can be heard live on Philadelphia’s WHYY or via downloaded podcast from iTunes.

8. NPR Food Podcast.
Each week NPR gathers all its food- and drink-related content into one podcast, usually about an hour long. A given collection might contain stories from a variety of programs, all with the professionalism and intellect you can expect from National Public Radio. Recent installments have covered the tomato/salmonella scare, Chef Grant Achatz’s tongue cancer, and cooking the perfect chicken with Christopher Kimball of Cook’s Illustrated.

9. The Food Programme. The BBC hits the streets, gathering intriguing tales about food and drink from the field. Recent editions have covered the return of New Orleans’ farmers’ market as well as the kitchens of Buckingham Palace.

10. Dining Around. On this San Francisco institution, which spans three hours every Saturday morning on KGO, happy-go-lucky host Gene Burns bounces between interviews with local chefs and food writers, regional goings-on, Bay Area celebrity gossip, and a few old-timey commercials (done by Burns himself).

CHOW’s The Ten column appears every Tuesday.

Kate Ramos is the associate food editor at CHOW.

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