• Dan Pashman's The Sporkful tackles everything from interracial eating to pancake philosophy. (Picture: Scott Gordon Bleicher)
They'll surprise you, make you hungry or just take the yawn out of your daily commute. Try these doses of audible excellence.
By
Kylie Walker, Lauren Sams

11 Aug 2016 - 9:24 AM  UPDATED 11 Aug 2016 - 2:04 PM

Ingredipedia

Hosted by food writers Emily Naismith and Ben Birchall, this Aussie podcast is fun, quick (most eps are around 20-25 minutes) and focusses on one ingredient each week. From why coriander is so polarising, to the history of coffee (and of course there’s an episode on bacon), this is a must for food buffs. And if there’s an ingredient you’d like to see put under the spotlight, there’s a slot on their website for suggesting food for them to focus on.

Serving suggestion: Beef Guinness pie with blue cheese pastry, with the podcast’s fascinating episode on blue cheese.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry

Lee Tran Lam has been running her popular podcast since 2012, and it’s still one of the best out there. Featuring interviews with cool people from all over the food world - the spectrum runs from Christina Tosi to Annabel Crabb - Lam’s interviewing style is both probing and casual, making for excellent listening. Her latest interview is with the Sydney blogger Helen Yee of Grab Your Fork.  

Serving suggestion: Cake. There are a lot of talk about baking on this show! But you could also settle in with an ice-cream, a hot-dog or a bowl of your favourite Asian soup. She covers so much ground that pretty much anything would feel right.

The Mitchen

Another Aussie podcast, this one is primarily for Sydney foodies. Hosted by food writer Andrew Levins and ACME chef Mitch Orr, it’s not super-regular, but it is fun - kind of like having a conversation with your friends… if your friends owned the coolest restaurants in town.

Serving suggestion: Beer. This podcast is pretty laidback. Go with it.

The Sporkful

Billed as a podcast for “eaters, not foodies,” The Sporkful is a mix of food science and food tribute. Guests like Margaret Cho and Maria Bamford join host Dan Pashman to talk about everything from the sound of crispy potato chips to pot brownies and why vanilla ice cream is so popular. And if you've ever had a lunch go missing in the office, you’ve got to check out their parody of Serial. It’s genius. 

Serving suggestion: Something on trend, like ramen or fried chicken.

BBC Food Programme

This podcast is a smart investigation of all kinds of food issues - many of which aren’t explored elsewhere. We’re talking everything from how ultra-marathon runners prep their bodies for races to what Syrian refugees feed their kids. A recent episode, on the impact Brexit might have on British food, was literally food for thought, while others uncover unexpected news on familiar ingredients – disease in bananas, or a threat to the global strawberry industry.

Serving suggestion: a mug of tea and Eccles cakes, a buttery English treat.

Know Your Food with Wardee

If you’re keen to embrace traditional food ways – either all-in, or just to find some expertise on a particular topic – the calm, friendly and reassuring Wardee Harmon is the woman you want. Harmon, who lives on a small acreage in Oregan, in the US, runs the on-line Traditional Cooking School. Her podcast covers everything from fermented foods and sourdough breadmaking to how to banish stress from your kitchen and find more joy in cooking. Importantly, she regularly reassures listeners that it’s all about small steps - while she shares a huge range of tips and advice, she’s realistic about time pressures and the challenges of learning new ways.

Serving suggestion: Homemade sourdough bread and cultured butter

Living Homegrown

You like the idea of farm life, but you don’t live on a farm? Theresa Loe is the podcast host for you. Her show is about how to “live farm fresh without the farm”, and her practical advice will have you hankering to fill planter boxes on your balcony with food plants or whip up a batch of preserves. She’s US-based, so there’s a fair number of episodes about “canning” (preserving in jars) – the pressure canning’s not so relevant for an Australian audience, but there’s plenty of other preserving nous to take advantage of. Fave eps include an early one on different types of pickles (fermented pickles, quick pickles and refrigerator pickles) and why you shouldn’t adjust the amount of vinegar in recipes and one devoted to freezing garden produce.

Serving suggestion: Anything preserved or pickled –  this quick cucumber pickle salad is great with rich winter dishes.

Radio Cherry Bombe

This podcast of indie food mag Cherry Bombe is hosted by editors Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu, and focusses on women and food. Listen in for interviews with Nigella Lawson, Madhur Jaffrey and Alice Waters, among many others. The topics range from mental health issues in the food industry to new new cookbooks.

Serving suggestion: Apple pie. This podcast is endearingly American in all the best ways.

Spilled Milk

Molly Wizenberg and Matthew Amster-Burton chat, debate and hurtle down entertaining culinary side-roads on topics as diverse as Taiwanese Junk Food (and just recently, New Zealand Junk Food), Cough Drops and Brussels Sprouts.  

Serving suggestion: Ginger ale hot toddy – because yep, they’ve done an episode on ginger drinks. 

Gastropod

Like your food with a squeeze of science, a hit of history? Writers Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley bring both to their podcast, in unexpected ways: a recent ep on kombucha ropes in both German POWs and Lindsey Lohan; earlier podcast topics include food crime, kelp and Jewish food.

Serving suggestion: Maple and soy sauce chicken (as they say, there’s more to maple syrup than pancakes).  

Dinner Party Download

Appropriately, given the theme, this one's like a podcast degustation: lots of bits making up a fast, fun whole. Celebs and personalities - everything from Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany to comedian Jim Gaffigan - chat, advise and amuse, making it a good listen even if you aren't planning to gather a group around your table. 

Serving suggestion: Adam Liaw's Viking salmon - one of those big platter dishes perfect for sharing. 

Fringe Foodies: Giulia Bernardelli
For self-taught Italian painter Giulia Bernardelli, a white tabletop spells a blank canvas for artworks created using black coffee. From her kitchen in the northern city of Mantua, she creates whimsical scenes whose characters appear to have materialised from the brews all by themselves, sharing each creation via Instagram.
Fringe Foodies: Turning food scraps into works of art
Lauren Purnell is a Canadian living in London who likes food and art and has turned her passions into a delightful blog, Culinary Canvas. While food art isn't a new phenomenon, Purnell has added a twist to hers: she uses mostly food scraps to create her works of art.
Fringe Foodies: Big Appetites
He's enjoyed freshly baked bread with the bedouins of Jordan, eaten his way through Michelin-starred menus in New York and snapped tiny figurines climbing up a pineapple. Meet Christopher Boffoli, the Liberal Arts major-turned-photographer behind fun food art series Big Appetites and this week's Fringe Foodie.