The Q&A Episode

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Q&A Notes

Have you ever wondered how an episode of Eat My Globe is put together? Or, do you have questions about our host, Simon Majumdar, or his passion for food history? Or, do you have a question about where a particular food or cooking style originated? Then this is the episode for you. Simon responds to questions that have been put to him by our many listeners on social media. So listen in to find out more about what makes Simon and the Eat My Globe team tick.

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TRANSCRIPT

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

The Q&A Episode

SOMBER MUSIC

 

NARRATOR:

Every year, hundreds of people suffer from it. Fifty percent of middle aged men are diagnosed with it. Dad jokes are nothing to laugh about.

 

SIMON:

Do you know what my idea of a balanced diet is?

 

APRIL:

No, what is your idea of a balanced diet, Simon?

 

SIMON:

Glass of champagne in either hand.

 

So, April.

 

APRIL:

Yeah, Simon.

 

SIMON:

Did you hear about the Roman legionnaire who went into a bar and held up two fingers?

 

He was ordering five beers.

 

[Laughter]

 

APRIL:

I don’t get it.

 

SIMON:

It’s the Roman [indicates “V” with 2 fingers] for 5.

 

APRIL:

Oh.

 

[Laughter]

 

CHILD:

I asked Uncle Simon to make me a sandwich.

 

WOMAN:

And what did he say?

 

CHILD:

Poof, you’re a sandwich.

 

SIMON:

That’s a great joke.

 

APRIL:

Oh.

 

I just don’t find his jokes funny anymore.

 

DOCTOR:

April, there’s a reason for that.

 

APRIL:

But why?

 

DOCTOR:

I’ve been looking over your chart and you suffer from an irony deficiency.

 

APRIL:

[Sighs]

 

NARRATOR:

If you, or someone you know, suffers from this malady, go now to www.Patreon.com/EatMyGlobe. Help dad jokes survivors today.

 

Nine out of 10 injections are in vain.

 

SIMON:

I love those. Maybe we should just do a whole episode just of those jokes. Just all jokes.

 

APRIL:

[Laughter]

 

SYBIL:

No.

 

INTRO MUSIC

 

SIMON:

Hi everybody. And welcome to Eat My Globe, a podcast about things you didn't know you didn't know about food. And today we have a very special episode. This is the first possibly the only ever. . .

 

[Laughter]

 

APRIL:

[Laughter]

 

SIMON:

. . . only ever question and answer episode of Eat My Globe. I often get sent many questions, whether it's on social media or directly to our website, or by email through my own website, asking me questions both about the making of the show and about food history in general, and sometimes about my own personal preferences.

 

So rather than just reply to every one of those, which might take rather a long time, I thought we would take some time today and I'm going to rope in our producer, April, to ask me some questions and I'm going to try and do my best to answer them. So it's a, it's a bit of a free for all. So we'll see how it goes. So I'm winging it a little. So bear with me, but we thought that this might be really good fun.

 

So April, I know this is like people have heard you responding to my bad jokes usually.

 

APRIL:

Yes. Yes.

 

SIMON:

Are you, are you ready to do this?

 

APRIL:

I am. I'm ready to read the question, Simon.

 

SIMON:

Excellent. Excellent. Let's see if you're better at this than producing podcasts.

 

[Laughter]

 

APRIL:

Oh gosh.

 

[Laughter]

 

SIMON:

 

Ok, you need to take that out.

 

APRIL:

[Laughter]

 

SIMON:

Uh, what are we going to talk about first?

 

APRIL:

And just a quick producer’s note, this interview was done pre-pandemic and pre-lockdown so some of the answers are for a different time and place.

 

Okay. So Simon, before we start with the questions, you know, I think this is a good time for people to get to know you. At what point in your life did you realize you were just like relentlessly obsessed with food?

 

SIMON:

Oh gosh. Well, I've always been interested in food in terms of, you know, eating it and eating good things. And I think I just came from a family that was even now obsessed with food. And probably while we've been doing this kind of recording of the season, or I know I've had dozens of emails and messages from my family back in England, sending me pictures of what they're eating and what they're doing. And so we've always had that and we've always traveled.

 

I think most of it began though when I began to travel extensively, probably, probably in my kind of late twenties, because then what I realized is how connected food was. If I went to Spain and then I went to Eastern Europe, there were connections and I was going well, why are there connections between Spain and Eastern Europe? And you go, well, the only reason is history because things moved and people moved and ingredients moved.

 

The same if I go to India and I look at a dish in India, and then I go to North Africa and I look at a dish in North Africa and I go, Oh, there's similarities between pilaf in North Africa and pulao in India. And I go, well, why and the names are similar and then you go, well that again, that's history people traveling down the spice trail.

 

So the more I did that, the more I began to kind of travel and eat. Um, it just really sparked this obsession and why I wanted to know why I wanted to know who traded with who and who met who and the key people are the key ingredients in that. And then what I've found in terms of this podcast was that, you know, I'm lucky enough to do these wonderful television shows that I absolutely adore doing.

 

APRIL:

Um-hm.

 

SIMON:

And I meet amazing people. And I worked with some extraordinarily talented people. But the nature of those shows tends to be about me judging. So I don't often get the opportunity to kind of share this history that I share with people if I'm just sitting down with them and talking about it. So the podcast was the perfect opportunity for me to say to people, “here's my passion.”

 

And so we do it, you know, it's, it's a labor of love. It's a hobby. It's a, it's, I'm certainly not doing this as, as you all know, we're not doing this to make money.

 

APRIL:

Um-hm.

 

SIMON:

We do this to just because I love doing it. And what's really gratifying is the, you know, the many lessons we have now hear this, and they're, they're as interested as I am, which is why we're going to have these questions because they'd been asking me lots of questions about me, about food history. . .

 

APRIL:

Um-hm.

 

SIMON:

. . . and some miscellaneous things as well. So I think that's the reason why it's kind of. . ., uh, Mark Twain, I think, said, “travel is fatal to prejudice.”

 

APRIL:

Um-hm.

 

SIMON:

But I think, which is true, travel support your inquisition, it makes you just want to know more about the world that we live in. And that’s it for me. I just want to know more about why we, what we eat and what it tells us about who we are.

 

APRIL:

The one thing you always say is food is the great leveler as well.

 

SIMON:

Yeah, when you sit down with someone, it doesn't matter what their religion is. It doesn't matter what their politics are. Um, even. . . it doesn't matter what their language is. Um, because you could always point, um, you just share a meal. So it's that great, kind of almost sacramental thing of breaking bread. Once you share a meal with someone you can't really then have an argument with them about something stupid, you know, people try to, and Thanksgiving and things like that. Uh, but I think breaking bread or showing hospitality is one of the great ways of getting to know each other. And quite frankly, I think if all of the kind of international negotiations took place over a meal, they'd probably go a lot easier. Uh, so yeah, for me, I think food is something that's very current for me in terms of me cooking and traveling around the country, doing demos and things like that.

 

But what I try to do is while I'm cooking and doing these demos, I try and bring people the history of it. I try and tell them about garlic or I'd try and tell them where a sausage came from or whatever dish I'm cooking. I tell them a little bit about the history and usually there's so much. . . there's such an element to that that they've never heard before and people just go, wow. I had no idea, actually, that wow, I had no idea is one of the most gratifying things you can ever here when you're telling stories on a podcast.

 

APRIL:

Well, we have, um, a lot of questions about the process of your podcast.

 

SIMON:

People are assuming there's a process.

 

APRIL:

[Laughter]

 

SIMON:

Okay, that's funny. Okay.

 

[Laughter]

 

APRIL:

Yikes.

 

So the first one is from Twitter and it's at jukebox Euro 89.

 

SIMON:

Yeah.

 

APRIL:

He asks, how do you study the history of food? What practical habits and resources are available to anyone who wants to learn more and share what they've learned?

 

SIMON:

That's a very good question. So obviously when I sit down to write every episode, I start just with an idea. I think that a subject, whether it's the history of tea or it's the history of beef might be interesting.

 

So first of all, I look at some of the general resources that are available, whether it's the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food, whether it's major books that have been written on the subject. And I go look at those to see if there are actually good answers there. And if there's an interesting story and some things just quite frankly, don't have that interesting a story. Then, as I read through that, I begin to put together a process of what the story is going to be. Whether it's going to start in China, whether it's going to start in the Middle East, whether it's going to start in Europe, whether it's going to start in Africa and I try and bring that together. And I try and think of a narrative that will take it either up to the modern day, often finishing it in the United States because that's where I’m based and try and show how it's relevant to us today.

 

So I put that together. Then obviously, join libraries. Libraries are the best thing in the world. So join your local library. A lot of those books are available by ebook and you can go on. Then go through all the things that are available online.

 

So what you'll see is there'll be maybe stories about a subject like beef or tea or champagne or gin or anything that I'm writing about. And then you'll see some of their sources of these great ones. So then you can go and look at those. So you have to go back as much as you can, starting at primary resources. So people who were actually there at the time and wrote about them, then you could go to secondary resources and then you could go to modern resources. So I think you just have to use your internet, which is very good, uh, use your local libraries, uh, and then, you know, just do as much research as possible. And I spend quite a lot of time researching every episode. And then it's re-researched for me by my lovely wife who checks everything for my resources to make sure that it absolutely works and that I’m citing all the right people. And then it gets checked again by UCLA. So, I mean, we, we really put a lot of effort.

 

APRIL:

That actually goes into our next question from Lisa on Twitter. How do you do your research? I know the UCLA library is a big part, but is it mostly digital books or is there a specific team that does your research or just whoever's available?

 

SIMON:

Uh, uh, I would love the idea that we have a specific team.

 

APRIL:

Yes.

 

SIMON:

No. The specific team is, moi, is me, and then Sybil, uh, then the people at UCLA. So we really do a lot of research that way, finding it.

 

Now, is it digital, I think is often a kind of misleading question because the assumption is that books aren’t digital. But most of the books we're using are online and I download them. So you'll constantly see me reading on my Kindle, a book about the history of something or a general one, trying to find new ideas. So really the team is myself, my wife and the department at UCLA who offer comments on it. And we do it in three stages. So I will write the first episode. It then gets kind of, uh, read by my wife, as I mentioned before. Then by UCLA, who'll offer some modern kind of historical comments, making sure that I'm not using words that are inappropriate these days in history or things like that. So the research takes a long time for each episode, which is why it takes a long time for each season to come out. It's not something that can be done quickly, particularly when I'm having to do other work that kind of makes me money in the meantime.

 

APRIL:

So about how long does it take you to do one, one episode?

 

SIMON:

Well, in terms of writing the whole season, uh, it's the equivalent of writing a book, basically. So it's about a hundred thousand words. So it could do a whole season of about five or six to 10 episodes. Whatever we choose to do is a hundred thousand words. So that can take three to four months just to actually do the research, put it together. And then another month on top of that, for it to be checked for it to be, you know, kind of authenticated by UCLA. So a hundred thousand words, a lot of words we've written so far.

 

APRIL:

So James on Twitter says, do you have a favorite episode or perhaps one that you are particularly proud of? And if so, what, to you, makes it stand out?

 

SIMON:

Thanks, James. That's, I, I really like that question and what it should be like a mother with their children, proud of them all. But, inevitably, there are some that I think turn out better than others.

 

I really liked the episode on Escoffier. I think that's one of the ones that I'm most proud of, uh, just because it's a great subject. And I think it really talks about, uh, the history of someone who was very, very important in cuisine.

 

Of others, the very first episode we ever did on fish and chips is one that still gets listened to all the time. And I think it's just a fun one, but shows you how food history can impact something that we think of as everyday, like a dish of fish and chips.

 

And the other one that seems to have had a great reaction, and I like listening to occasionally – it's the, you know, the, uh, the last meals served on the Titanic, which I did over two episodes [Ed. Note: Part I and Part II]. And again, I think it's just fascinating to see how history impacted on the way people ate on something that we take, you know, very much for granted as the Titanic being part of our history.

 

APRIL:

Okay. Kenneth from Twitter wants to know, is there any episode you already did that once done made you think that you want to take a deeper look?

 

SIMON:

Gosh, uh, yes, there. . . I mean, there are. I have to say there are some where after I finished them, I never want to hear of that subject again. I mean, uh, I think after writing a few of them I've come so far into the depth of it. I was actually really fascinated on the history of tea when I wrote that. Uh, but I particularly certain people. So I talked about Robert Fortune in there, who was one of the great kind of spies of food who stole tea from China and brought it back to India so they could grow tea in India. And this guy was just such an extraordinary person who went in there that I wanted to go and look at him in more depth. So I think it's more than about the subjects. It's about some of the people I hear about – whether it's Maria the Jewess, who they believe created the alembic still back in the third century and all kinds of interesting people like that. So I think it's the people rather than the subjects that I wanted. . . I would like to get into depth more, if I had time.

 

APRIL:

Andrew from Twitter wants to know how did you get such an amazing producer?

 

SIMON:

Uh, well, the one I wanted wasn't available.

 

APRIL:

[Laughter]

 

SIMON:

So we just went for the cheapest option. We just went for the cheapest option, you know, but it's, it's kind of. . . it's a prison release scheme and it seems to be working.

 

APRIL:

[Laughter]

 

Just kidding.

 

SIMON:

You can put that in. I think that's funny.

 

APRIL:

[Laughter]

 

Okay. Um, let's get a little personal here.

 

SIMON:

Okay.

 

APRIL:

Um, so, uh, on Instagram at swomprat asks, what is the best thing and the worst thing about your job career? What do you love? What’s a drag?

 

SIMON:

Oh, that well, I'm, I have to say I'm very fortunate. There isn't very much about my career that I would consider a drag apart from maybe sometimes the journeys and the early mornings having to get to places to do events.

 

But, if I'm having to get up early to get on a plane, to go to somewhere rather wonderful to do an event, then it's not really that much of a drag. So I don't think from that point of view, I can't really complain too much. I'm very, very fortunate, I think from the best things for my job, uh, you know, just getting to meet lots and lots of people doing the events where I do demos and talking. I really enjoy when I get to do the shows, whether it's “Guy's Grocery Games” or “Cutthroat Kitchen” or any of those, I actually just really like hanging out with the crew who are usually amazing and with the other chefs or the other people that when I'm doing those shows, we often hang out together.

 

Um, and when I'm doing the podcast, actually, I really like those moments of solitude where I'm sitting on my own, just researching and writing. And it gives me a little bit of chance to take a breath. So those are the areas. If I'm honest, I don't really have many downsides to it. I think I'm very fortunate, very blessed.

 

APRIL:

So Miles from Facebook wants to know, um, what are your thoughts on Reay Tannahill?

 

SIMON:

So Reay Tannahill was an amazing woman. If anyone listening has never heard of her, she wrote a number of fantastic non-fiction books, but one called, “Food in History,” which I think came out in the early ‘70s, I think is one of the seminal works in food history. So if you get chance, go and read it. I mean, I really enjoyed that book. I don't know a massive amount about the rest of her life, if I'm honest. Uh, but that book is very, very important.

 

APRIL:

So Christina from Facebook wants to know what boggles your mind most about food, cooking, baking, eating, a method, an ingredient, history?

 

SIMON:

Wow. That's, uh, I mean, it's a big question.

 

APRIL:

Uh-huh.

 

SIMON:

But it's a very good question.

 

APRIL:

Yeah.

 

SIMON:

I think part of the reason that I'm actually doing this podcast is there's so many things that boggle me about food history. I think one of the things is that, you know, we think here as we sit in our kind of modern world, that we're so sophisticated and that we're so much better than those people in ancient times. But if you go back to the ancient Greeks or the Mesopotamians and you see how they were living and the things that they were doing – apart from having some of the technology – they're very similar. Some of the recipes they were doing, some of the things they ate, some of the things they believed about food are so important and they were incredibly sophisticated often in societies in the way they live. So that I think is one of the things that if you go back in history, you can kind of see that human kind hasn't changed very much.

 

I think one of the things that boggles me, things like colonialization and its impact, both negative and positive. And I talk a lot in a lot of episodes about the Columbian exchange – Alfred Crosby's view of how ingredients and animals moved around the world as we colonialized worlds and also took diseases and also created things like slavery because of it. Uh, and that boggles me because it completely changed every nation. You know, you wouldn't have had chilies in China without that. You wouldn't have had tomatoes and chili in India. You wouldn't have had garlic going to the Americas. You wouldn't have had potatoes or corn coming to the West. So I think that does. And I think the other thing that boggles me is just how many important, incredible people. And I've talked about that in one of the other questions, but these incredible people who did one thing that changed the world, the man who invented canning Nicholas Apert. Or, um. . .

 

APRIL:

Um-hm.

 

SIMON:

. . . you know, all of these people who did. . . one, Veuve Clicquot. His widow Clicquot, who took Champagne to Russia and really kind of promoted Champagne there. So I think there's so many. It's a great question, but I, I could sit and talk all day about some of these things.

 

APRIL:

SuziQZ57.

 

SIMON:

Yeah.

 

APRIL:

What's your favorite childhood memory about food?

 

SIMON:

Oh, well, I think it's probably hard to limit it to one. Uh, I think I'm going to give a couple just because I can, it's my show.

 

APRIL:

[Laughter]

 

SIMON:

Uh, I think one is a dish that I still make today, which is the “Life Saving Dahl,” which is this red lentil dahl that my mum used to make and just the smell of it. And it's kind of like our chicken soup. And we call it in our family “LSD” – “Life Saving Dahl.” And it's just nourishing and smelling that as I make it just takes me back, you know, back to the times when I was a kid.

 

I think the other one is, um, probably the reason why I chose it for the first episode was on fish and chips. And I still remember as a kid, we would drive to the fish and chip shop in Yorkshire, in England, pick up the fish and chips. The whole car would smell of fish and chips as we drove home. And then we would kind of eat it from the paper when we got home with salt and vinegar, and all of that. And those smells now – of great fish and chips – just fill me with amazing childhood memories. And that's why I think I chose it for the very first episode of Eat My Globe.

 

APRIL:

No, I want to eat that.

 

Stephanie from Facebook asks, what would be the one food you would have to have if it were your last meal?

 

SIMON:

Oh my gosh. Um, it changes, but I have to say, right now, I'm in a very carnivorous mood. So I think if it was my last meal, I would go to a great American steakhouse. I'd have a big ribeye, I'd have a martini enough to drown myself in made with gin and a twist, very cold. Um, I’d probably have some creamed spinach and I'd probably finish it with a big slice of apple pie. I've gone very American, all of a sudden.

 

APRIL:

[Laughter]

 

You have.

 

SIMON:

It used to be. . . it used to be fish and chips. Now, I’ve become. . . obviously now. . . since I've become an American citizen, I've changed. But yeah, big old steak, big old martini, a slab of Apple pie, maybe some, uh, maybe a shrimp cocktail beforehand. That sounds like a good way to go out.

 

APRIL:

Jack Carroll from Facebook asks what your favorite mushroom is? And what's your preferred method of, uh, prep?

 

SIMON:

Oh, well, I’m actually a great fan of the old button mushroom. You know, we can talk about wild mushrooms. We can talk about all kinds of things like morels. And I love, love, love morels, and I love all kinds of different mushrooms. But I think I have got a real kind of little soft spot for the button mushroom and you know what I do, simple, simple, simple, uh, butter and olive oil in a pan, a few shallots, a little bit of garlic, and then throw in the mushrooms, a tiny bit of balsamic, let them roast down. So not too much. And then at the end, just lots and lots of parsley and just eat them like that, just, and then put that just over toast. A piece of toast.

 

APRIL:

Mmmm.

 

SIMON:

Button mushrooms on toast. Again, great memory from my childhood. Really lovely way to try them.

 

APRIL:

Oh, I'm getting so hungry.

 

Jamie from Facebook is asking, what is your favorite comfort food?

 

SIMON:

Oh my gosh.

 

APRIL:

I know it's gin.

 

SIMON:

Gin, it probably is.

 

[Laughter]

 

APRIL:

[Laughter]

 

A martini.

 

SIMON:

It probably is.

 

APRIL:

[Laugher]

 

SIMON:

Actually, you're not far away in the sense that it's actually a drink, not a dish. It would be a cup of tea.

 

APRIL:

Mmm.

 

SIMON:

More than anything, my favorite thing in the world is a cup of tea. And when I go out for a long walk in the morning, which I try and do every day, I come back. Have a shower. Sit down. Play some classical music. And the first thing I do is have a big, and I mean a big cup of tea. My favorite tea is from England. You can get it here in the U S called Taylor's Yorkshire Gold, not sponsored. We are not sponsored and, uh, I have it with a splash of milk. And I just sit there and I catch up with my emails and drink tea. And I'm never happier.

 

APRIL:

Steven from Facebook wants to know, balut or a century egg?

 

SIMON:

Well, so just in case people don't know. So a balut is from the Filipino cuisine and it's, uh, a duck egg that has been kind of fertilized. So there's almost like a baby duck inside and there's juice and it’s. . . and you boil it. It's warm. It's really delicious. Um, I actually really like balut.

 

Century egg, usually as, as, as a garnish in Chinese cuisine. And it's, uh, uh, has been aged for a short amount of time, not for a century. . .

 

APRIL:

[Laughter]

 

SIMON:

. . . I hasten to say, um, and often used as a sprinkle, as a garnish to add. I've actually seen one episode of a show where someone ate it by mistake, like, ate the whole thing. And they were very, very ill because it, it is very powerful and you would actually crumble a little bit over food. I think they're both terrific, but I, I actually rather like balut to which I think a lot of people get upset by it cause they just don't, haven't tried it, and it can be quite frightening when people describe it. But it's actually really delicious.

 

APRIL:

Uwe from Facebook, wants to know if you've ever experienced that somebody recommended a dish that you found so disgusting, you didn't finish it.

 

SIMON:

[Laughter]

 

Um, no. I mean, people have recommended restaurants that I've found really disappointing as a critic and I'm going in and reviewing them for, you know, various things. And, uh, that could be a challenge because then they ask you what you thought of it. And you have to just be honest, you know, I have no filter. So I just tell them.

 

Um, in terms of dishes that are disgusting, I don't think I ter. . . . I don't often get disgusted by dishes. I have dishes, oddly enough, that I just don't like as much. And bizarrely, I'm not the biggest fan of pizza.

 

APRIL:

Yeah.

 

SIMON:

So I just, I just don't order it or very rarely will touch it if I see it because. . . It's odd, it just doesn't appeal to me. So that's. . . it sounds bizarre. A lot of people get very upset by me go that I don't like pizza. Um, but no, not really disgusting.

 

APRIL:

Is it like the texture you don’t like?

 

SIMON:

Yeah. I, I don't know.

 

[Cross-talk]

 

SIMON:

No, it's one of those odd things of just that kind of the cheesy tomato-y thing on bread that people love about it. . .

 

APRIL:

Yeah.

 

SIMON:

. . . is one of the things that for whatever happened, the mouthfeel that I have when I eat it.

 

APRIL:

Well. . . well. . . That, that brings me to another question, Simon. How do you feel about pineapple on pizza?

 

SIMON:

I don't give a. . . I, well pizza. . . .

 

APRIL:

[Laughter]

 

SIMON:

. . . isn't important enough for me to have an opinion on whether you put, if you're going to eat something. . . .

 

APRIL:

There’s a huge debate though, on social media that I've read and it's like pineapple on pizza, do you do it or you don't?

 

SIMON:

It's like. . . I have the same opinion. . .

 

APRIL:

Do you love it or hate it?

 

SIMON:

. . . with people go, what's your best? You know, what, what is the best hamburger? And I go, I like hamburgers, but they're not important enough for me to have an opinion what's the best.

 

APRIL:

Yeah, do you put an egg on it or avocado?

 

SIMON:

I don't care. If it makes you happy, go and do it. It’s a hamburger.

 

APRIL:

I will eat it all.

 

Okay. Ace from Facebook wants to know, what's the one dish you think every kitchen warrior should know how to make?

 

SIMON:

Oh, um, there are certain, well, again, it's hard to get one, but I think everyone should know how to cook eggs a number of different ways, because that's something you can always have in the kitchen. Uh, so to make an omelet, to make a great fried egg, to make a great poached egg. So to learn how to cook eggs.

 

And the one that most challenges chefs, even great professional chefs, particularly in the West – obviously not so much in Asia or South Asia, where people are cooking it all the time – is rice. So many chefs I've worked with doing dinners and all are petrified of cooking rice.

 

APRIL:

Why, why do you think?

 

SIMON:

I, they just either overcook it or they under cook it and it's, you know, there's only a kind of a key point where rice is still good. Um, and so I think if you’re, as I do, come from a South Asian background or, you know, my wife does from a Southeast Asian background, we kind of have rice in our background. Um, but then you learn the secret that they all have in those countries. They will have rice cookers. And I think that's a piece of equipment that I could never not have in the kitchen. I love a rice cooker, not an expensive one. I think the one that we use at the moment, I think my wife's had for about 25 years and is still, kind of, going strong, but it's perfect. . .

 

APRIL:

Um-hm.

 

SIMON:

. . . for cooking rice. I love rice cookers.

 

APRIL:

Okay. Let's talk about food history.

 

SIMON:

Okay. Let’s talk . . .

 

APRIL:

Yours, your, your obsession food.

 

SIMON:

That's why we're here.

 

APRIL:

Tophcooks from Instagram asks what's the history of chef's coats and hats?

 

SIMON:

Well, I think what, what he or she is talking about is the, the white coats and the hats that classical French hats. And those really go back to the period of someone who I mentioned in the Escoffier episode, who I consider, um, this person to be the first celebrity chef. And this was a guy called Antonin Carême. This was a guy who cooked for Talleyrand and was part of the society during the period of Napoleon and the Russian invasions of France and all of that kind of period. Really, really remarkable man, and actually created a lot of the mother sources that Escoffier really went on to kind of codify. He wanted to take the kitchen away from it being this rather dirty sweaty place where people kind of didn't keep good hygiene. So he really cleaned up the kitchens and everywhere that he worked. And one of the things he wanted to do was have the chef kind of appear as pristine and clean. So he created what's now become the famous double breasted chefs white coat that you see most chefs wear. So that was the classic sign of that, that you could see the chef. The trousers often were a kind of checkered horse-checkered pants we've seen. Chefs wear that. It's part of a traditional design of Western chefs. Those kind of pattern trousers that you see, or sometimes now they're just black trousers.

 

And then, of course, there's the famous hat. And the hat is known as a toque. And that chef's hat was one that traditionally now you will see it has a number of pleats on it. And those plates are supposed to represent – there's a lot of mythology around this – are supposed to represent the number of ways that you could cook an egg. So we've talked about cooking eggs earlier in the show. Um, but those pleats that you often see in that long, tall hat were the ways that you cook it.

 

There's another myth that I rather like, I . . . there's no proof whether it's true or not, but Antonin Carême was a very short man. He was about four foot 11 or something very tiny. But if he was in these vast kitchens in like Parisian palaces and aristocratic houses, it was hard for people to see him. Traditionally, chefs wore, and you'd still see chefs wear, a rather floppy hat that flops down at the side. So the myth is that he starched his so it was upright. And so people could see where he was in the Parisian kitchens. I just think is such a good idea. I just want it to be true.

 

What is true though, is that the height of the toque will tell you your hierarchy in the kitchen. So the lower the height of the toque, the less kind of far up the scale you are and the head chef would supposedly now wear in a French kitchen, the tall hat. We don't see it so much anymore –people wearing the white and the toque, unless you go to a culinary school where they still teach that kind of classic French style. Um, but I rather like it. And if you go to a restaurant where you see it, I just think it's, you know, apart from serving a practical purpose – keeping hair and sweat and, uh, out and the apron, I think, protecting you from spills – I just think there's something rather wonderful about it. So yes, it has its history back in the 18th century, early part of the 19th century with Antonin Carême.

 

APRIL:

Fascinating, fascinating stuff.

 

Ali Khan.

 

SIMON:

Hey Ali. We know Ali.

 

APRIL:

Yes, from Twitter. It says what's the most fascinating food fact that you've unearthed while researching Eat My Globe?

 

SIMON:

So I think it's all these little facts that I call. “facts you can bore people with at dinner parties.” I think it's facts like the fact that Maria the Jewess a third century mystic created the alembic still that gave us, you know, the alcohol we have today, or certainly the, one of the big bangs of that.

 

I think it's the fact that Wall Street in New Amsterdam, which of course became New York, was one of the areas that pigs used to try and kind of dig under. So Wall Street was one of the protections for that fought from pigs and they used to write home and complain about it. So why they built it?

 

I think it's the facts that the first stock exchanges were created to sell things like pepper and how important spices are. So I think there's lots of those. And as you go through them, when you listen, I'll, I'll often point them out as things you can bore people with at dinner parties.

 

I love the fact that the man who invented canning, as I mentioned before, Nicholas Appert, was a champagne maker who first started creating canning for Napoleon's army and use old champagne bottles that he put tomato sauce in that then Napoleon could send to his troops in Russia.

 

Just so many of these different little facts when you go through food history that just illuminate what we eat today. There's something that we take so much for granted. You know, something like a piece of garlic or a cup of tea. Again, I've told so many stories about them.

 

APRIL:

Um-hm. Um-hm.

 

SIMON:

So, unfortunately, Ali, I can't just give you one answer because I know Ali and I have sat down together and he knows I could bore at an international level on this stuff.

 

APRIL:

[Laughter]

 

Goldberry from, uh, Twitter wants to know, is there a longer history of fad superfoods in quotes, or is that the result of commercial advertising in the 19th and 20th centuries?

 

SIMON:

Well it is now a product of, you know, social media and marketing and companies using their brands to get them out there. But the notion of fad diets has gone on forever.

 

APRIL:

Um-hm.

 

SIMON:

So going back to ancient Mesopotamian times, they would talk about eating garlic for a certain thing, and certain people were supposed to eat it.

 

Going back to the ancient Egyptians, they ate certain things because they were rich because they were poor, because they, you know, they were diets that they believed. So the, uh, workers who built the great pyramids in Egypt were fed garlic. And that was a fad in a sense, but they believed that it gave them strength, that they fed them that, and it was a big part of their diets. Same thing with the athletes who competed at the ancient Olympics in Greece, they were given garlic because it believed that it gave them strength and vigor. So that was a fad diet for those all the way through.

 

So it depends how you define fad. I mean, in the modern sense, yes. You know, I was suddenly doing fasting and all of this. But actually we've gone through that all the way through history. One of the joys of food history, again, is seeing how little we’ve changed.

 

APRIL:

And, and the, uh, the definition of superfood as well, because essentially, you know, a lot of medicine has come from certain foods varies.

 

SIMON:

I think one of the things that's very similar is that if you go back in history, if something was known to be by the aristocrats or particularly the royalty that it would catch on throughout the rest of society. You have mentions of Charlemagne informing everyone that they had to eat garlic or Frederick of Prussia telling everyone they had to eat potatoes. He was obsessed with potatoes and he got everyone else in the country to eat potatoes and potatoes became a thing. And even now people still go to his gravestone and they leave potatoes on top of it as a tribute to this is however many hundred years after he passed away. So I think once you get like famous people. . .

 

APRIL:

Right.

 

SIMON:

. . . of the time doing something, everyone copied them. And that hasn't changed through history,

 

APRIL:

Not one bit, not with the chefs today, even in trends.

 

SIMON:

Absolutely. So they, they, everyone tends to copy each other. And I think human history hasn't changed that much.

 

APRIL:

Um-um.

 

Cameron from Twitter says, you often speak into the origins and lore of foods. Are there any particular mythical or fantasy origin stories that you enjoy the most or find ridiculous?

 

SIMON:

So what Cameron, I think, is really talking about that there are so many stories. So for example, one are the stories that I think he might be referring to is a goat herder in Ethiopia who saw that his goats were eating these berries that had fallen from a plant and they were getting very active and lively. And that turned out to be the coffee berries. And, you know, often these stories, you see it all the time, you see them in, for example, in the story of cheese. And they say that someone had milk and a sheep skin, and they were riding across the desert, or they were doing something that it churned up inside. And when they finished, they created cheese. And so a lot of these stories are often just a romantic kind of introduction to how something was because quite often, people didn't know. And as we found in food history, it's very often very difficult to give a big bang to something and say it happened here. Sometimes you can, but very rarely.

 

Often, as well, particularly in the form of that coffee, they're trying to show that it came from a natural source and one place and to try and give an origin to something. So I don't mind them, but I don't take them with any historical kind of accuracy because they're just in that case, they're just stories, they're myths. And they're great ways to talk about the origins of something. But you have to tell you that I've taken with a big old grain of salt when you listened to them. But they're fun.

 

APRIL:

Russ from Twitter says I would love a podcast on the topic of military rations, including modern MREs.

 

SIMON:

Yeah, I think that's a really great idea. And we've talked about military rations through history a little bit in relation to the ingredients rather than the relationship to the military. Uh, and because obviously this is a food history podcast, but I think that's a very good idea. So for example, we talked about the fact that Roman soldiers were fed with garlic to give them energy. We've talked about the fact that during the Civil War, one of the things that really gave the Union kind of more energy over the Confederacy is that the Union had real coffee. And the Union was able to bring that in; the Southern soldiers, the Confederate soldiers had to use almost like a chicory coffee. And there're actually statements from generals going, you know, if you give your soldiers coffee in the morning, they will hold the line. So something like coffee being used on there, everyone during the Civil War.

 

And then if you go into the Second World War, the fact that you had Spam®, millions and millions of cans of Spam® – being given out to not just to the American soldiers who took it then around the world, which is why you see it now in the Philippines, you see it, obviously in Hawaii, you see it in Guam where they eat many cans of spam, but you also see Spam® being given by the Americans to the Russians. And Khrushchev actually said, be a President Khrushchev of the Soviet Union actually said afterwards that they would not have won the war without cans of Spam® to feed the Russian soldiers during the, you know, the Battles of Leningrad and Stalingrad and those big, big wars.

 

So rations for soldiers and for the military have been vitally important throughout history. Uh, I think that's a really good idea. I might have to look at that as, uh, through history or maybe do an interview with someone on that. In terms of the kind of modern rations, that's really a process of, of the, you know, the development of science. A lot of those military rations came out of things like the NASA space, uh, explorations to the moon and to other space travels, as they began to create foods that could be desiccated and dried and were portable.

 

APRIL:

Shelby from Twitter wants to know how did World War II impact the nutritional and dietary intake of the UK?

 

SIMON:

Oh, that's a really, really interesting question. So I think there's two sides of it. One is the impact during the time of the Second World War. And that was because it was one of the first times that people were really looking at the nutritional needs of their, you know, populace. So things were rationed and those people realized during the Second World War, you were given a ration book. I remember seeing my mum had an old one from when she was a child during the Second World War. And I saw it. You had coupons in there that you took into your butcher, your grocer, your fishmonger, whatever. Those were the days before big supermarkets. You took it to get your, your product each week and you’re each allowed however many ounces of butter, how many ounces of bread, you know, it was all very rationalized in the sense of rations and people would stand in lines for hours. It became a big thing to stand in line to go and see your butcher to get you a little bit.

 

So what happened, I think, on one hand, is there was actually an improvement in health because they were very careful about the amounts of fats and what they were eating because they just didn't have them. So there was actually an impact and there are arguments that people have said, and I haven't done enough to understand fully that probably Britain was at its healthiest in, you know, during the Second World War because they weren't eating so. . . such massive amounts of red meat and other things. And they're eating more vegetables because everyone, you know, could turn their garden into a, an allotment to grow vegetables and people were eating a lot more fruit and a lot more vegetables that they could get. Um, so I think nutritionally, there were some elements that, that obviously did well.

 

Uh, I think there was a lot less pleasure in it, obviously, because people just couldn’t go waste food. But I think also there's two other elements. One is that I think people became a lot more creative. So, you know, instead of doing a meat pie with beef or whatever kind of savory pie, they might have to do a potato pie. They did all kinds of things. And there are wonderful books by chefs from that period where they talk about using everything. So there was very little waste, which I think is one of the important things that we really didn't waste food in the way that we, we often do now. And here in the United States, we waste about a third of our food. And so I think from that side, we were much more creative or certainly a lot of very creative than, about creating food in England, but it was very kind of what I call solid food.

 

It was food to feed you during war. There was certainly nothing creative about it in that sense, but I made in terms of using ingredients. And I think the third part though, is a long-term negative impact because food had to be functional. Food wasn't there to really create joy. Um, and so a lot of the ways we produce food in the United Kingdom at that time changed the way that we ate. So before that period of the First World War into the Second World War and rationing, we had a wonderful cheese industry. We had, you know, great. . . . Nothing. I think Britain has always been a nation that just enjoyed food for being a fuel more than anything else. But we had lots of artisanal producers in different areas.

 

What happened during the Second World War, they became much more kind of rationalized solidified by the government. You've got things like government block cheddar. And so for years afterwards, up until the end of rationing and then right on until the ‘80s, British food really struggled. Really struggled to come out of this shadow of rationing that it put over Britain for maybe 30, 40 years afterwards. And it was only in the 1980s, really, when I first moved down to London, you began to see Britain emerge from there. So the artisanal cheese producers coming back and the, the you know, the great restaurants beginning to emerge again. So it had both a positive impact on the health side, but it had a negative impact on the way that we ended up eating for a long period after that.

 

APRIL:

Compassion cooking on Instagram says, I've always been curious about food revolutions. Can you pinpoint some of the biggest advancements revolutions in food and what might be the next one please?

 

SIMON:

Well, I think, again, we think about kind of food revolutions and trends as being a very modern thing, but let's go back to some of the biggest trends, uh, you know, the Romans taking over most of Europe and taking with them, their vineyards into France or taking, or bringing ingredients into Britain or taking over our, or bringing ingredients into North Africa. So I think first of all, food revolutions could go all the way back to early days. And we, we actually read about trade in between ancient Rome and, you know, even places as far as the, you know, the Far East or the. . . certainly, India. So I think food revolutions could start there.

 

I think the ones that we need to look at that are really, really important – things like, uh, the Renaissance food revolutions, food coming in from the Arabic world through Venice, things like coffee and chocolate being brought in through Venice.

 

Those are big food revolutions and changes. The Renaissance. I think the other big ones are things like, um, the industrial revolution. So the middle of the 19th century, where we change where we live, we change how we had to produce food because the population grew, everything went from being rural, to being more urban. We had to change how we did everything from giving someone a pint of beer to delivering milk, to kind of those rules. So that's a big food revolution.

 

The Second World War, particularly the First World War, to an extent, but the Second World War changed everything because we look at how women took part in the workplace rather than being at home and being housewives. They were now in the workplace as well, if they wanted to be. And that changed the way that we produce food. So that led to processed food, that led to TV dinners, that led to a lot of packaged food, for better or for worse. So that was a big food revolution.

 

And then we see things like, I think one of the biggest, is towards the tail end of the 1960s, we began to see a lot of foreign travel. Before that period, foreign travel was a big thing that was just for the rich. And you would read a book about, you know, my travels in Provence or my travels here. Now travel within reason is open to most people unless people are really struggling for money. Most people could travel around their own country or they can travel around the world reasonably easily. And with that, they're bringing food in. So if you look at the food of Britain now or the food back to the ‘60s, it would be very, very different. So those are the big revolutions.

 

For me, I think what we're seeing is actually kind of going back from that slightly, there's a rediscovery of craft. That's the big revolution right now. So by that, I mean craft baking, craft brewing, craft distilling, craft butchery. I think now, as well as looking abroad, people are beginning to look back at their, their own histories and trying to rediscover some dishes that we've lost touch with. And I think that kind of artisanal historical look at food, there'll be something for the future.

 

APRIL:

Fifi cookie on Instagram wants to know, what's the ultimate food city that you've been to, and how has it changed over history?

 

SIMON:

Gosh. Well, it's different from what I think my favorite city is. Because if I, if I have to choose one city to go to visit to eat, it's Madrid. Uh, and I just love, I love Spain, uh, probably more than any other country in the world and I love Madrid and I just think it's my favorite city to go and eat in. In terms of history, yes, it's got a fascinating history, but I don't know that it's got the most extraordinary history. Uh, to me, I think from that point of view, it'd be Rome. And not just because of Rome with the food, but just because everywhere you go in Rome, you are seeing extraordinary history. So from a historical point of view, I would say Rome, although it obviously has incredible food too. Uh, and, and the other one is, uh, Amsterdam is another incredible place because Amsterdam was so important in trade. You know, the first stock exchanges.

 

APRIL:

Right.

 

SIMON:

The first, uh, the first great trading nations outside of, you know, Portugal and Spain, Amsterdam was a huge one. The Dutch East India company that changed the world. So those are amazing cities to go to from that point of view.

 

But just in terms of me going to fill my stomach, then it would be Madrid.

 

APRIL:

Lots of Jamon Iberico.

 

SIMON:

Yes, lots and lots of Jamon Iberico.

 

APRIL:

Oh. Okay. Kathy Thompson from Facebook. Oh, this is a great question. Who looked at an artichoke and said, yeah, let's eat that.

 

SIMON:

[Laughter]

 

APRIL:

[Laughter]

 

SIMON:

Well, it was actually. . . So the artichoke actually has a fascinating history. It was first cultivated by the Northern African kind of Moorish community, the Arab community. Uh, they took it with them wherever they went. So particularly into Sicily, uh, with the Saracens who took it into there. And from there, it kind of spread around the world. Um, and they would traditionally roast it or they would steam it, or they would use the hearts of it in many ways that we still do today. Um, it's, it's I like artichokes. They're not my favorite thing to eat in the world. Although I quite like artichoke hearts.

 

Out of interest, nearly a hundred percent of all of the artichokes that are grown today in the United States, all grown in California. So. . .

 

APRIL:

Oh, wow.

 

SIMON:

We are, where we're recording now, we’re the home of the artichoke. I think if you like them and stuff, and people really get into them. For me, it's never something, I particularly order.

 

APRIL:

It's a beautiful vehicle for butter.

 

SIMON:

Yeah. It's a vehicle for. . .

 

APRIL:

Melted butter.

 

SIMON:

. . . lots of other stuff. And just having it. . .

 

APRIL:

Salt.

 

SIMON:

. . . having it stuffed with, you know. . .

 

APRIL:

Mmmm.

 

. . .in between the leaves and having that, or like I said, eating a nice soft, uh, artichoke heart can be really delicious on a salad, but it's not, it's not high up in my top 10 anyway, of, uh, vegetables,

 

APRIL:

[Laughter]

 

April from Twitter wants to know, is cereal soup?

 

SIMON:

Yeah, I. . .

 

APRIL:

I just had to ask the question.

 

SIMON:

Can we block her?

 

APRIL:

[Laughter]

 

SIMON:

She's, she’s garbage. Can we block her? She doesn't know anything about anything.

 

APRIL:

[Laughter]

 

It’s me.

 

It’s a good question. Maybe I have to ask Alton.

 

Andrew from Twitter says, I have a fairly broad question, but I've always wondered why some items are eaten regularly by some cultures, but considered taboo or disgusting by others. Like for instance, bugs, dogs, horses, just a random thought, he says.

 

SIMON:

Well, I, I think the answer to that is almost kind of time and place. So a lot of cultures will eat what you have. So if you have a source that has a lot of protein, like bugs and I've eaten bugs in places in Africa, I've eaten them in, you know, Southern and Central America. Um, I've had actually terrific meals using crickets in Mexico city, you know, eating them around the world. But I think it's a case of what you had originally and what you could use and your sources. So I think that's part of it. It's just kind of the pragmatic approach to food.

 

Obviously, there's a religious impact. We actually talk about this in the episode, on the history of pork. And we talk about why, you know, the Abrahamic religions of Judaism and Islam don't eat pork. And there are lots of reasons. They're both spiritual and they believe cultural, uh, for reasons why they don't eat it.

 

Uh, and I think also it's just a case of preference. So if you go to some countries, we might look at things like horses, and we might look at dogs and we look at them as pets. But you go to other cultures and they don't have that kind of, what's the word I'm looking for, but they don't have that kind of, uh, overview of them. They're just animals that are there to be part of the process of eating. So you will find cultures where they will eat dogs. Um, I'm not saying I would particularly eat them, but that you just have to understand that in those cultures they do. Where you go to France and you will still see in some of the smaller towns, chevaliers, that are selling horse meat. And so I think you just have to look at how they evolve through history. Uh, that horses were very much part of, say, for example, if you went to Mongolia during the time of Genghis Khan, horses were incredibly important to them and they rode them everywhere and they, you know, they were important. They milked horses and all of that, that they still do in Mongolian culture. But at a period in time where the horse couldn’t provide anything else, it became dinner. So I think there's a lot of different reasons why people eat. Um, I think sometimes even though some of it can be quite shocking to us, obviously, particularly when we're talking about things that we might consider as pets, just trying to understand why those might fit into people's culture, I think is, is an interesting way to look at food, even if you're never going to order that food as I would never eat dog and cat. Uh, but I think it's important that you go and try and understand it.

 

APRIL:

Well, and it's the basic survival, you know, it's, it's, uh, remembering why we eat in the first place.

 

SIMON:

Yeah.

 

APRIL:

Okay. Craig from Twitter says out of all the countries, states, cities, districts, neighborhoods that you've visited, where do people seem the happiest and healthiest?

 

SIMON:

So I, I think, and I have to say, and this is not supported by kind of any scientific experiment, but everywhere where I think the Spanish have been, they seem to have a real joy about the food. So when I go, . . . that's not to say that the Spanish going everywhere was a joyous experience for those people, but I'm just talking about the impact it has on their love of food. So if you go to areas where you have like parts of Latin America, if you go to areas like the Philippines, if you go to areas, obviously like Spain, other areas of Spanish culture, they seem to have such a joy in their food that it seems to be, you know, it's. . . they don't eat food to live, they live to eat food. And that seems to be true, particularly, I know if I've gone to different areas of Mexico, just the passion for food or in Spain itself and in the Philippines, you know, I, I always say I'm Filipino by marriage now because I'm married. . .

 

APRIL:

[Laughter]

 

SIMON:

. . . I'm married to a Filipino American. And when you go there, just the, their obsession and their joy of food during any event is something that I've never seen. Now, of course, there are many other cultures that I'm sure have that as well, but I'm just talking about the ones that I really know. So for me, it's kind of, I think the Spanish have taken they joy of food all over the world. They've made, they've taken some bad things all over the world as well when they were colonials, but that joy of food, they certainly took with them.

 

APRIL:

Mondo from Twitter, wants to know, why does garlic make you gassy. . .

 

SIMON:

[Laughter]

 

APRIL:

. . . asking for a friend, hashtag, asking for a friend.

 

SIMON:

Asking for a friend? Well, I'm not going to answer that. I'm going to say, if you haven't listened to our history of garlic, then you need to go and listen to that. Hopefully that will give you some answers. And do what the Romans did – take a sprig of parsley when you eat garlic and that stops you getting bad breath. And it will also settle your stomach.

 

APRIL:

That's fascinating.

 

SIMON:

Yeah.

 

APRIL:

Eabayma from Instagram wants to know, what is one food or dish that's fallen out of favor that you wish would come back into modern restaurants.

 

SIMON:

Uh, great question. I'm, I'm not going to talk just about a dish. I'm going to talk about a style of cuisine.

 

APRIL:

Ooh.

 

SIMON:

And for me, I think classic old school French fine dining is something that we've moved away from a lot. And, and that's fine because it was quite kind of, um, dependent on how wealthy you were. And it comes from a time when restaurants were only available to those who had a great deal of money. But there is something wonderful about classically done French dishes prepared by classically trained chefs. And I think we've moved away from it now. We, we dine out, we dine a lot more casually, uh, and it's louder. And it's, it seems to me less grown up. There was something about going to those restaurants – when I first started to have money enough to go on my own or when my parents took me – that just felt very wonderful and very special.

 

So there were one or two restaurants beginning to come through now that are really trying to recapture that. Uh, and I hope they have an audience for them. And I will want to add in, I will add in one other as part of that as a kind of subsection, I want to see tableside preparation come back.

 

APRIL:

Oooh, I love that.

 

SIMON:

So we see a little bit of it now with a tableside Caesar salad. But what I'd like to see is a tableside Dover sole or tableside carving. And we're seeing that slowly come back again because it's theater. And one of the things that I think we have sometimes forgotten is that food is also about theater. It's an ad, it's a form of entertainment. You know, people spend money come into a restaurant when they could go to a cinema or they could go to the theater or they could stay at home and watch Netflix, all of which is fine. But when they come to a restaurant, they should be entertained with the food and with the service and just have something really special. And I think classic French dining did that. And tableside dining, I think was the kind of ultimate expression.

 

APRIL:

Okay. Christine from Facebook says, is there any other recipe for haggis other than the very traditional one?

 

SIMON:

So let, let me talk about it. So basically a haggis is made with what's known as the pluck, which is inside of a sheep. Once they've kind of gutted it, you'll see left hanging from the windpipe and you'll see the, the heart of the liver or the kidneys and all of that stuff. That's pulled out, it's ground up with fat, suet it from the kidney. It's ground up with some barley, some oats, different flavor, a lot of black pepper. And then that's put inside the stomach casing of the lamb sewn up, uh, and then it's, it's steamed or boiled. And then you serve it with neeps [Ed. Note: turnips are also known as neeps], parsnips or tatties [Ed. Note: tatties are potatoes] and a big glug of Scotch. And that's rather wonderful stuff. And you can do it particularly on Burns Night is when people talk about it most. It's hard to get a haggis here in the United States, obviously, because of the FDA laws and people challenging it.

 

Um, to me, it's really delicious and I don't mind eating offal. I mean a lot of people kind of worry about eating hearts and livers. I come from a period where my grandmother used to cook with everything. So she'd been around during the Second World War and I, I really like it.

 

Uh, there are vegetarian versions. There are kind of slightly more kind of accessible versions, but it's a little bit like not tasting the real thing. It's like fake versions. So, I'd rather just wait until I'm back in Scotland and have it again.

 

APRIL:

[Laughter]

 

SIMON:

So I say I've made it, I've got a picture of me somewhere on Facebook of me making my haggis.

 

APRIL:

Tammylynna from Instagram wants to know what is the allure of pickles and cheese sandwich?

 

SIMON:

[Laughter]

 

Oh, that's a fun one to finish with.

 

Uh, so the cheese and pickle sandwich is it's delightful, but you've got to have the right cheese. You got to have the right pickles. So to me, the, the idea of pickle working against cheese is because you've got the acid in the pickle. Obviously you're using vinegar to make pickles using spices. So you've got a little bit of kind of punch in there against the fattiness of the cheese. You know, obviously the cheese is made out of dairy. And so you've got to have that fat in it. So it works very well. So I think you either like them or you don't. So if people don't like them, I get it.

 

But for me, the perfect sandwich or cheese and pickle sandwich is going to be white bread. Thick, whi. . . soft white bread. Spread one side with butter. And then on the other side, you spread with your pickle. Now, like, or you might use a relish, like a relish from England. That's very different. So not, I'm not talking about a big old Gherkin, a big old kind of dill pickles style, like pickled vegetables, where it's very well pickled carrots. There's actually a thing in England called, piccalilli, that's wonderful. It's yellow. And it came out of kind of India and using turmeric. Put that on.

 

And then the cheese to me has to be a big thick slab of cheddar cheese.

 

APRIL:

Mmmm.

 

SIMON:

And then you put those two together and I think it's perfect. And you have it with a pint of good British beer and you have a cheese and pickle sandwich. Cheese and pickle is one of my favorites.

 

April, was that the last question?

 

APRIL:

Yes. I believe we are finir.

 

SIMON:

Well, thank you. You could go back to your editing duties now.

 

APRIL:

[Laughter]

 

SIMON:

And by the way, you're not getting paid for that.

 

APRIL:

What?

 

SIMON:

No, no money for you.

 

APRIL:

Oh, I just want food.

 

SIMON:

That, we could do.

 

BREAK MUSIC

 

SIMON:

So, everyone, I, I hope you enjoyed that. It was a slightly unusual episode, but we had so many questions that we really wanted to try and answer as many of them as we could, which we thought hopefully was fun for you all. We couldn't get to all of them. So I do apologize for that. We had limited time. But, if this is a success and you liked it, then reach out. Tell us, and we will do another question and answer episode soon because it was a lot of fun for me, not so much for April, I don’t think.

 

OUTRO MUSIC

 

SIMON:

Do make sure to check out the website associated with this podcast at www dot Eat My Globe dot com where we will be posting the transcripts from each episode, along with the references and resources we used putting the episodes together, in case you want to delve deeper into each subject. There is also a contact button, so please do let us know if there are any subjects that you would 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 a good rating on your favorite podcast provider.

 

Thank you and goodbye from me, Simon Majumdar, we’ll speak to you soon on the next episode of EAT MY GLOBE: Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know About Food.

 

CREDITS

The EAT MY GLOBE Podcast is a production of “It’s Not Much But It’s Ours” and “Producer Girl Productions” . . .

 

[Pah, pah, pah, pah, pah sound]

 

. . . and is created with the kind co-operation of the UCLA Department of History. We would especially like to thank Professor Carla Pestana, the Department Chair of the Department of History and Doctor Tawny Paul, Public History Initiative Director, for their notes on this episode. Also, a huge thank you to Sybil Villanueva for her help with the  research and the preparations of the transcripts for this episode, which can be found on the website.

 

Published Date: November 23, 2020

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