“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.”
There are a couple of different ways to talk when we talk about food. First, there’s the way in which overly-serious foodies and restaurant critics talk about food. In a review of a restaurant by, say, Michelin or The New York Times, you’ll probably read about flavor notes and profiles or pairings. Think something like the description on the back of a bottle of wine and apply that to the restaurant’s food. “Notes of hibiscus, plum, and Caribbean sea salt,” or something like that. It requires a special, technical vocabulary. It’s the sort of thing that the average person can make neither hide nor hair of. It’s the sort of thing you say when you want to sound intelligent, or the sort of thing you hear and nod along with to look intelligent, but secretly you know that it’s probably mostly just bullshit. That’s the first way.
The second way is the way the rest of us talk about food. It doesn’t require any special esoteric knowledge or vocabulary. It’s subjective, unscientific, and more often than not arbitrary--but at least it doesn’t make any claims to the contrary. It consists of conversations that hinge largely on whether you like a thing or you don’t, and tasting notes and mouth feel don’t really come into it. It often also consists of deeply held, silly, and fun opinions on such things as whether cereal can be considered a soup. That’s the sort of way the podcast The Sporkful talks about food. It’s very everyman. It’s fun. And it actually makes sense (you don’t have to pretend to like it to look smart or cool!).
The Sporkful is a podcast that takes on the topics (and morals) of food consumption in the same way that you and your (non foodie) friends do. As the podcast proclaims in each and every episode, “The Sporkful isn’t for foodies, it’s for eaters!” Which, I think, all of us are.
One thing I love about The Sporkful is its willingness to take on any topic in the food world, serious or silly or otherwise, and deal with it fairly. It’s the kind of show that discusses with equal gravity not only the morality of which condiments should or should not go on a hotdog, but also the politics of how eating Muslim food could help end intolerance.
Is it ever okay to eat your pizza with a knife and a fork? What about eating it backwards? And what about pineapples as a topping?? If these kinds of questions and more haunt your dreams and plague conversations with friends, then The Sporkful is for you, and Dan Pashman along with a special guest each episode will get to the bottom of them so that you and your friends can finally eat in peace.
Excellent. Shows take place both in-studio and on-location.
Pretty solid. More often than not you can pretty easily screen out the occasional uninteresting episode though.
Dan Pashman is great. In a world that takes itself far too seriously (the world of food and beverages), Pashman’s approach is refreshing. He’s both knowledgeable and entertaining, and he seems to genuinely enjoy what he’s doing.
It’s not really that kind of show.
The Sporkful recently moved from WNYC to Stitcher, so we’ll have to wait and see if that affects anything, but as long as Dan maintains artistic control then I’m sure the show will remain excellent.
Overall Score: 8.3/10
Because they’ve recently switched production studios, the full archive is currently unavailable, but when it’s back I’ll recommend episodes.
If you like this podcast, you’ll probably like:
- The Splendid Table
- More to Come!