• Padma Lakshmi (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Taste the Nation host Padma Lakshmi is quick to remind us that our cosmopolitan society is much more complex than we think.
Camellia Ling Aebischer

31 Mar 2021 - 11:48 AM  UPDATED 31 Mar 2021 - 12:14 PM

--- Catch Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi, Mondays at 8.30 pm on SBS Food and streaming via SBS On Demand ---


Padma Lakshmi doesn’t want you to be like her. The TV host, model and author can often be found replying to her fans on social media reminding them to be the best version of themselves when they throw down comments of praise on her posts.

Between writing a new cookbook, managing a modelling career and sending out messages of activism, Lakshmi found time to produce a refreshing new food and travel series, Taste the Nation, which debuted on SBS Food on 15 March. Here are a few reasons why we’ll be binging it on repeat via SBS On Demand.

1. She’ll make you think twice about hotdogs

Think about America’s flagship food and drink: hotdogs, beers, hamburgers, pretzels. These items actually came from a long line of German immigrants who came to America around World War I. In the 1880’s it’s estimated some 1.5 million Germans migrated to the US, since then they’ve assimilated into the community so well it’s easy to forget.

2. Her best hosting skill is staying quiet

Taste the Nation isn’t about Lakshmi telling us the stories of America’s food culture, it’s about letting the stories tell themselves. Whether it’s hearing the misconceptions of the Iranian community in LA, or speaking with Maynard, a Syrian refugee and Trump supporter with a restaurant completely reliant on Mexican immigrant staff – Lakshmi puts us in her shoes and lets us hear the unfiltered story straight from the source.

3. There’s so much good food to see

The series has a lot of important messages to send, but remains light and energetic in nature. Lakshmi enjoys the company of all her guests and there is no shortage of delicious viewing. It’s a similar sight off-screen as well where she can be found cooking up home recipes in her kitchen for IGTV.

4. America’s first nations are not forgotten

In Arizona, Padma meets Twila Cassadore an Apache native who shows her the foods of her homeland. To some, the land may look barren but Cassadore sees abundance. They dig up onions and she tells Lakshmi of how reconnecting with this practice has made her feel fulfilled and loved for the first time after being so disconnected from her culture.

5. You'll learn so much, and view Australia’s foodscape differently

Did you know Las Vegas has the biggest Thai population in America? Or that Hawaii’s Japanese food influence only came some 150 years ago? There’s so much to learn from the stories told, and plenty of history and facts sandwiched in between. The cuisines of Australia are not so dissimilar, each stemming from a distinct wave of migration, world event or tragedy. The show will really make you wonder more about our coffee culture, bakery items or chicken shop dim sims.

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