Culinary History

Beer History with Erik Lars Myers

Erik Lars Myers, founder, CEO and head brewer at Mystery Brewing Company, talks about the history of beer, including how it connects to charity, nutrition and humans' first development of agriculture.

Interview: Anne Byrn's 'American Cake'

Baking expert Anne Byrn joins Holly to talk about the place of cake in U.S. history, from the early colonies right up to the modern era. The relationship between kitchen and culture is evidenced in Anne's research about sweet treats in America.

Butter v. Margarine

Industries and governments had a really weird preoccupation with protecting people from margarine way before it was made with the hydrogenated oils that led to its unhealthy reputation in more recent years. There's even bootlegging involved.

A Brief History of Moonshine

People have fermented foods to make alcohol for much of human history. For this episode, when we refer to "moonshine," we're talking specifically about illegal liquor North America.

Good Humor v. Popsicle

There was a time when Popsicle and Good Humor couldn't stop suing one another about frozen treats on sticks. Many legal battles were fought over milk fat, the shapes of the desserts and the definition of the word "sherbet."

A Brief History of Peanut Butter

Peanut butter got its name in the 18th century, but it's been around in some form for hundreds and hundreds of years. The more modern history of the spread features changes to the recipe and even a little litigation with the FDA.

The American Hippo Ranch Plan, Part 2

Once the effort to import hippos to the U.S. got the backing of a politician, two men with wild and intertwined histories, Frederick Russel Burnham and Fritz Duquesne, were brought on board to serve as experts and advocates. Read the show notes here.

The American Hippo Ranch Plan, Part 1

In 1910, the U.S. had a meat shortage and a water hyacinth overgrowth problem. The obvious solution to the double dilemma: Import hippos from Africa.

The History of Halloween Candy

Candy and Halloween go hand-in-hand, but when did candy become the standard for trick-or-treating, and who invented the holiday's most famous sweet treats like candy corn? Read the show notes here.

A Culinary History of Spam

This famous Hormel Foods product was invented in the 1930s to make use of a surplus of shoulder meat from pigs. Not only was it an instant hit in the U.S., it also played a huge role in WWII and shaped the cuisines of many Pacific Island nations.