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Introduction to Eat My Globe

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EMG Introduction Show Notes

Simon Majumdar welcomes you to the “EAT MY GLOBE: Things You Didn't Know You Didn't Know About Food” podcast.


Our host, Simon Majumdar, explains that over the course of this podcast, he shall be examining some of the great stories of food history, the origins of some of your favorite dishes and drinks, and the people who helped to create them.


He will also share fantastic trivia that you can use to bore people with at parties.

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TRANSCRIPT

EAT MY GLOBE: THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT FOOD

SHOW INTRO MUSIC

SIMON:

 

Hi Everybody. I’m Simon Majumdar, and welcome to the very first episode of “EAT MY GLOBE: A Podcast About Things You  Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know About Food.”

 

Like for so many people, food has always been an obsession for me. My first thoughts in the morning are about what I am going to eat for the day, my first words to my wife each day are about what she would like me to cook for supper, and my last thoughts at the end of each day are about meals past and meals yet to come. My calendar is filled to bursting with restaurant reservations. Just about every vacation I take with my wife will be predicated on places where we know -- or at least hope -- the food is going to be great, and if you look at my social media accounts -- @simonmajumdar, on everything, by the way -- you will see that the majority of my posts are about food I have either eaten or prepared.

 

Food has been the focus of just about every conversation I have ever had with my family. We swap e-mail pictures of the meals we eat each day, whether they be cooked at home or eaten at a restaurant, and I think it would be fair to suggest that just about every meaningful conversation I have ever had with any family member has been carried out over a meal.

 

I’m also fortunate enough that food is what I get to do for a living. I work as food writer, I write for Time Out Los Angeles as their food critic, and those of you who watch The Food Network may have seen my wizened face as I dish out what I am told are rather tough judgments to chefs on shows such as Iron Chef America, Beat Bobby Flay and Cutthroat Kitchen.

 

But, for as long as I can remember, food has always meant far more to me than just what I put in my mouth and my stomach. I have always been just as interested in the impact food has had on culture and civilization and the impact that culture and civilization have in turn had on food.

It’s hard to overestimate the relationship between food, civilization and culture. Along with the need to defend themselves, it was the ability to raise crops and domesticate animals for milk, flesh and hides that first allowed man to form into social groups that later became cities and nations. From the earliest records we have of civilizations and the beginnings of the great empires of ancient times, food was an important tool to keep the populace happy, a source of trade and vast wealth, and even a way to pay troops – for example, Roman soldiers were partly paid with hugely valuable salt giving us the Latin “Sal Dare” to give salt, which we still use today in the word “salary.”

 

Formalized routes for the trading of food became established -- I am sure we have all heard of the Spice Trail -- and as people migrated along these routes, they took their food, ingredients and cooking styles with them, interacting with the original inhabitants of each land in a symbiotic way that led to the creation of new dishes. This still goes on to this very day. You only need to drive around the United States of America and you will see the impact that the cuisine of new arrivals has on restaurants in our main streets, shopping malls, and on TV, just to see the power food can have. Which of you out there doesn’t crave BBQ -- the result in different regions of the United States of slavery and the immigration of German refugees. Who fails to think of chicken soup when they are ill or depressed – that’s thanks to the influx of Ashkenazi Jews. Even the All-American hamburger has a long history that dates back to the Roman empire and the Mongolian warlord, Genghis Khan.

 

Wars and riots have been fought over food that we might now treat as cupboard staples. The stock exchanges we now look to every day to check our shares or our 401(k)s were founded to sell options and futures in spices, and excesses and shortages in food supplies can still create vast wealth or shameful poverty.

And this is what “Eat My Globe” is going to be all about. Not just sharing our joy for food, but also looking at some of the stories that make food one of the great sources of understanding our history. So each week, we will take an ingredient, a dish, a theme, a person, a nation and look at the fascinating story of how they became part of the world that we often take for granted.

 

So make sure to check out the website associated with this podcast – EatMyGlobe.com – where we will be posting recipes inspired by the series, the transcripts from each episode, along with all the references and resources we used putting episodes together, in case you want to delve deeper into each subject. There’s also a contact button, so please do push it and let us know if there are any subjects that you would really like us to cover.

 

And, if you like what you hear, please don’t forget to subscribe, recommend us to your family and friends and give us that all-important good rating on your favorite podcast provider.

So, thank you and goodbye from me, Simon Majumdar, and we will speak to you soon on EAT MY GLOBE: Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know About Food.

SHOW OUTRO MUSIC

The EAT MY GLOBE Podcast is a production of “It’s Not Much But It’s Ours” and “Producer Girl Productions” and is created with the kind co-operation of the UCLA Department of History and its Public History Initiative Director, Karen Wilson, PhD. We would also like to thank Sybil Villanueva both for her help with the research and in the preparations of the transcripts.

For the annotated transcript with references and resources, please click HERE.