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About Gastropod

Gastropod is the award-winning podcast that looks at food through the lens of science and history. Co-hosts Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley serve up a brand new episode every two weeks. Each episode, we look at the hidden history and surprising science behind a different food and/or farming-related topic, from aquaculture to ancient feasts, from cutlery to chile peppers, and from microbes to Malbec. We interview experts, visit labs, fields, and archaeological digs, and generally have lots of fun while discovering new ways to understand the world through food. We think these stories are fascinating, and we hope you will too.

Food Files

Taming the flame: How humans became cooks

Humans are the only animals that cook their food, an innovation that changed the course of our evolution and the…

Food Files

Fishy tales: The impact of omega oils on our bodies and oceans

You’d be forgiven for believing that the fish oils known as omega-3s are the solution to every problem – heart…

Food Files

Meet sharbat: Ancestor of sorbet, syrup, shrub and sherbet

Many of you won’t have heard of sharbat, the delightfully tangy, refreshingly icy Persian drink. But most of you will…

The Big Issues

Keeping it fresh: Preservatives and ‘The Poison Squad’

More than a century ago, enterprising manufacturers added brand-new chemical preservatives into food to keep it fresh as it traveled…

Food Files

Cartels, postmen, and testicles: The story of the avocado

Avocados are on a roll. More precisely, they’re on toast. But how did this humble fruit, originally named after testicles,…

Food Files

Wiggle wiggle: The story of jelly

We’re talking about jelly – the kind that shimmers on your plate, wiggles and jiggles on your spoon, and melts…

Food Files

Why do we eat THESE animals?

In the West, when it comes to which meat is for dinner, we nearly always choose beef, pork, or chicken….

The Big Issues

Do sugar taxes work? View from the USA (part 2)

Over the past five years, more than forty cities and countries around the world have passed a tax on sugar-sweetened…

Food Files

Expresso and whisky: How time influences food

Why does fish cook so fast? What’s the “wasabi window”? And can you really make 20-year-old aged whisky in six…

Food Files

The science and history of the incredible egg

We love eggs scrambled, fried, or poached; we couldn’t enjoy a quiche, meringue, or flan without them. But for scientists…

Food Files

Super Fry: Who invented fries?

Shoestring, waffle, curly, or thick-cut: however you slice it, nearly everyone loves a deep-fried, golden brown piece of potato. But…

Food Files

Eat this, not that: The surprising science of personalised nutrition

We’ve got the exclusive on the preliminary results of the world’s largest personalised nutrition experiment. Genetic epidemiologist Tim Spector launched…

The Big Issues

Do sugar taxes work? View from the USA (part 1)

Public health researchers agree: The evidence is clear that people consume way too much sugar, that sugar contributes to weight…

The Big Issues

Guts and glory: The science of eating

What does it mean when your stomach rumbles? How do our bodies extract nutrients and vitamins from food? Does what…

Food Files

Pudding Off: The history and science of the British pud

Four bakers, one evening, and one challenge: Who can steam the best spotted dick? On this week’s action-packed episode, Tom Gilliford, Selasi…

Food Files

Pick a pawpaw: America’s forgotten fruit

In 1916, agricultural experts voted the pawpaw the American fruit most likely to succeed, ahead of blueberries and cranberries. But…