FoodStuff

The stuff we eat and drink is part daily necessity and part cultural identity. Every mouthful represents millennia of human collaboration and innovation. On FoodStuff, Anney and Lauren bite into the juicy stories – and science – behind everything that nourishes us.


This textured vegetarian protein is fairly new to a lot of the world, but tempeh's history goes way back. Anney and Lauren dig in, plus explore the amazing fungal chemistry that makes tempeh tasty, nutritious, and safe to eat.

In researching our previous episode, we spoke with salt expert Suzi Sheffield about where different salts come from, and how they can provide a palate of flavors to play with in your cooking. Join us for the full interview in this bonus episode.

Salt -- necessary for human life yet easy to overeat -- has sparked wars and innovations alike. We dig into the complex history and science behind this edible mineral, plus talk to expert Suzi Sheffield about salts’ amazing flavor properties.

The same things that make bacon delicious also made it safer to eat in the era before refrigeration -- but they're also the same things that make it less than healthy. Learn the history and science behind bacon's popularity in this episode of FoodStuff.

The martini (and its glass) are American icons -- but why? How? And should you order it shaken or stirred? Anney and Lauren dip into the shaky history and storied science behind the martini.

Nutrient dense and easy to grow, kale was a culinary staple long before it was labeled a superfood. Anney and Lauren go behind the trend to explore kale's rich history and savory science.

Process cheese (aka American cheese) is an innovation that's affordable, reduces factory waste, and melts like a dream -- but is it really food? Anney and Lauren dive into the science and history behind this cheesiest of products.

On film, many foods are made of non-food items and many non-food items are made of food. Movie magic! We speak with SFX technician Vii Kelly about inexpensive edible gore, plus go into the history of food effects in movies and television.

Brewing is microbiology at work, and the bacteria and yeasts that make sour beer are notoriously tricksy. We went behind the scenes at Orpheus Brewing to see how it happens.

The Irish don't eat much corned beef, but it's a staple of American St. Patrick's Day celebrations. Anney and Lauren explore how this happened and why corned beef is commonly canned, plus the science behind how it's cooked.

Black pepper is ubiquitous these days, but throughout history it was a prized commodity, traded like gold and responsible for family fortunes. Anney and Lauren explore where peppercorns come from, how they're processed, and why they became commonplace.

Figs aren't actually a fruit -- they're an inside-out cluster of flowers -- but they're one of humanity's oldest food sources. Anney and Lauren dig into the long history and bizarre reproduction cycle of the fig.

The concept of having food delivered to your home is centuries old, but technology and culture are constantly changing what -- and how -- we order. Anney and Lauren explore the history and tech that drive delivery.

The story of Spam is one of war and peace, nostalgia and necessity, all-American innovation and greed. Anney and Lauren explore the history and science behind Spam.

Frozen, on the rocks, or straight up, there's science behind every sip of margarita -- and some seriously muddled history. Anney and Lauren explore in this episode of FoodStuff.

For what seems on the (toroid) surface to be a humble bread product, bagels can inspire a lot of nostalgia -- and strong opinions. We explore the history and baking science behind bagels.

This is an episode of the podcast FoodStuff. Its continuing mission: to explore strange (blue) beverages, to seek out new foods and new replications. To boldly go where -- well, where lots of fans have gone before: the food & drink of ‘Star Trek.’ Engage!

Mushrooms are a delicious, nutritious part of our diets, but they’ve more traditionally been a medicine -- and you definitely shouldn't eat wild mushrooms without an expert. We dig into the history and science of the fungus among us.

That stuff you probably dip your fries in descended from Chinese fermented fish sauce, and it had a hand in creating the FDA. We explore the non-Newtonian science and surprisingly fascinating history of ketchup.

Added flavors feature in as much as 90% of our groceries, so the science of creating them is a serious business. We unpack the difference between natural and artificial flavors and explore how some of the most famous (blue raspberry! MSG!) came to be.

The Lunar or Chinese New Year celebration, also known as the Spring Festival, is a 15-day marathon of family, friends, food -- and puns. We share some of the holiday's most popular traditions -- and welcome our friends Stuff to Blow Your Mind to come chat.

Chalky candy hearts printed with sweet (or salty!) messages are apparently the most prolific candy of Valentine's Day. Anney and Lauren explore the past and present of the product, plus some of its strangest messages.

B-A-N-A-N-A-S. The most popular fruit in the world has driven food technology and military coups alike. It's also in danger of being wiped out. We peel back the disturbing history and science surrounding bananas.

The cupcake caused quite a culinary kerfuffle in the early 2000s. Anney and Lauren explore how cupcakes (and their cousins, muffins) became what they were then, and what they are today.

Banned for a century throughout the Western world, absinthe is officially back on the market. But was it ever dangerous in the first place? Come drink in the history and science behind the Green Fairy in this episode of FoodStuff.