There’s something about listening to a food show on the radio.
TV cooking shows have it easy. We can be endlessly entertained by the the flashy knife skills and high drama of competitive cooking shows, or cozy up to the pseudo-cooking of our favorite celebrity host. It’s cooking as performance, and it washes over its slack-jawed viewing audience like one more Law and Order marathon.
Radio is different.
There’s an intimacy and immediacy to the disembodied voice in your ear, a connection that is rarely found through the high-gloss visuals of television. Radio knows it has to try harder to entice and excite, and it succeeds by telling a story. Fans of the genre claim that at its best, radio taps deep into their memories, pulling imagery from their brains in a way that video never does.
There’s a food show on the radio for every taste, from the big city polish of Los Angeles’ Good Food to Eastern Iowa’s recipe-swapping Open Line, with its repertoire of icebox cookies and new uses for canned cream of mushroom soup. Niche podcasters play to cultish audiences with the practical, the edgy, and the narrowly focused.
Tune in through the FM dial or satellite service, stream shows live online, or download podcasts. Here are some of the best of the radio:
The Splendid Table goes mainstream, mixing recipes, personalities, and lifestyle; Good Food covers similar ground, but with an edgier, west coast perspective; and A Chef’s Table meanders conversationally through trends, travel, cookbook reviews, and interviews.
Will Communication looks at the science of food and cooking; Eat Feed takes a scholarly approach toward its history and geography; and the BBC’s Food Programme can always be counted on for thoughtful, in depth explorations of a broad range of culinary topics.
Share a recipe or track one down on The Phone Club.
Hidden Kitchens explores the past and present of U.S. food culture.
The Heritage Radio Network produces nearly two dozen shows that explore food from a variety of perspectives. The roster includes Brooklyn Eats’ (audio tours of culinary New York), We Dig Plants (gardening), Hot Grease (southern cooking), and The Food Seen (food in art and media).
A special mention goes out to Listen to the Mrs., which has been dishing up kitchen tips for a staggering 59 years.