Podcast Explorer Project Kylie Kamba When did food become a by-product of science? When did ingredients start popping up on food labels that we can’t even pronounce? When did food become a foreign thing? After searching for different podcasts related to food, these are some of the questions that I was left pondering over. The three podcasts that I chose to analyze are all very unique, however, they all prove a point; that our food isn’t just food anymore. My first podcast is entitled Savor Flavor, and it takes a look at what is really going on with these mysterious things called artificial flavors. My second podcast is called Burgers of the Future; in this podcast the speaker talks about how burgers are no longer just patties of meat, you can now eat burgers that contain zero meat content and even some that are created in a petri dish. My last podcast is entitled Food Labels and it really analyzes all these weird claims one can now see on food labels. What does it really mean for a food to be natural, pesticide-free or organic? Overall, these podcasts show that our food has transformed into a quite complex thing. The podcast Savor Flavor was created by the food podcast station, Gastropod. The two speakers addressed several questions such as what exactly are artificial flavorings and how one can tell if they are used in a product. Before getting into those questions they first discussed the fact that seventy percent of flavor is actually based on smell. When creating artificial flavors the smell of the food is actually just as important, or perhaps more important, than the taste itself. That brought the speakers to their next topic, how exactly can you tell if something is a natural or artificial flavor? They provided one main rule of thumb- if a flavor additive is seen on the ingredients list, then it’s not natural. An artificial flavor is really just a combination of chemicals that are used in order to mimic a natural flavor. To stretch this idea even further some food scientists are exploring fantasy flavors, in which the flavors they are creating have no boundaries and are quite different from anything one has tasted before. The bigger idea of this podcast is the question of why are these techniques of altering our food even needed? This podcast proved that our food culture is really taking a turn. No longer are fresh, natural foods enough. We now have to put chemicals into our bodies in order to be satisfied with the taste of our foods. This podcast left me wondering: are artificial flavors harmful? I can’t say I necessarily enjoy the idea of putting chemicals into my body, especially when these chemicals are popping into all kinds of food. Although this podcast included a good amount of information I wouldn’t say I necessarily liked the mechanics behind it. First, I thought the podcast was a little lengthy, at almost fifty-three minutes long. Some bits of information could have been left out and would not only shorten the podcast, but also keep it more on topic. Second, although the speakers attempted a casual, funny style it came off as more cheesy and rehearsed. Third, I wish they used more music and background noises to spice things up and keep the listener entertained. One thing I do applaud the creators on was their use of interviews. They had a couple different speakers which really was effective and provided useful information. My second podcast, Burgers of the Future was created by the makers of The Sporkful. This podcast focused on two kinds of burgers; veggie burgers and burgers made out of lab-grown meat. Veggie burgers are starting to become more popular for they are not only healthier but are better for the environment. The speaker discussed how chefs are really starting to get creative regarding veggie burgers, making them taste like and resemble real meat. A new form of eating burgers is also surfacing: where the meat is actually grown in a lab. In these types of burgers, scientists are taking cells from cows and learning to duplicate them. This provides the consumer with the same meat taste without the consequence of killing any animal. However, this process is still extremely expensive and requires a couple more years of research. If this is possible, could this be one of our solutions to global warming? Livestock is one of the planet’s main sources of greenhouse gases. I also have to wonder what the creators of Food Inc. would say about these methods. Could they bring about positive change? I have to admire how The Sporkful put together this podcast. One element that I liked in particular was that the speaker gave a quick introduction of what he would be covering in the podcast, it gave the listener a glimpse at what was to come. I also thought that the length was perfect. At thirty minutes it provided the listener with enough information but didn’t drag on. Throughout the podcast the speaker also interviewed different chefs and actually included the recipes of the dishes they were discussing. These recipes could be found within the link of the podcast, and I really thought that this got the listeners involved. My last podcast was Food Labels and was created by the food podcast, Eat Feed. This podcast was informational and discussed some of the confusing terms that have surfaced as food has evolved. Some of these terms include organic, pesticide-free, cage-free, free range, and natural. Not only were these definitions provided but it was also explained that there are many loopholes regarding these terms. Since when did we need definitions to the words that describe our foods? This podcast proves that our food system is becoming a complicated science experiment.By using specific wording most companies can advertise that their foods are more fresh and natural than they truly are. We are getting tricked into thinking were eating healthy foods when in reality our foods are becoming more and more processed. This podcast really provided a summary to some of the topics we have covered thus far in class, and some of the problems regarding the food industry. The production of this podcast was mediocre. I didn’t think that it had any major issues but it also wasn’t exceptional. One fault of this podcast was that there was only one interview, which really limited the possible information that could’ve been provided. Another factor that could have been improved was the music choice; it was very old-fashion and boring. I think using upbeat music could really spark the listener’s interest and get them excited about the podcast. One thing the speaker did well in this podcast was have a very casual and relaxed style. Nothing seemed forced and the podcast seemed to flow very naturally. Although these podcasts were all about different topics, they are all still related to one another. They all prove that food has been transformed over time. Our foods now contain chemicals and artificial flavors rather than just simply being grown. Food is now a product of science and is being created through complex research. Foreign words are being placed on food packaging, words that we don’t even know the meaning of. When did food become such a confusing thing? These podcasts also have similar designs. In all of the podcasts that I listened to there was at least one interview and they all incorporated music. Also, all of the podcasts were very informational but also allowed for opinions and conversation. The main reason as to why I chose these specific podcasts is because they all relate to our class. Savor Flavor took a component of Pandora’s Lunchbox and deeply analyzed it. The speakers took artificial flavoring and food additives to a new level and provided a ton of information. The podcast Burgers of the Future really reminded me of the film Food Inc.. Similar to this film, this podcast also discussed how wasteful meat processing is and how bad it is for our environment and for the animals. It showed that there are other methods for eating meat that are more beneficial to us and to the environment. The podcast Food Labels reminded of the film La Cosecha and Tracie McMillan’s article The American Way of Eating. All three of these sources showed that a lot goes on behind the scenes regarding farming. From advertising, to manual labor, to packaging, farming isn’t a one-step process. These podcasts allowed me to research industrial eating on a deeper level. I not only learned more information pertaining to how our food systems are changing, but also learned about the design and mechanics of different podcasts. Although similar, all these podcasts had different elements that either played in their favor or in some cases, hurt their overall production. Overall, this project gave me the opportunity to learn about food is a new way.