Audible Edibles: radio food shows

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There’s something about listening to a food show on the radio.

Of course I am endlessly entertained by TV cooking shows: a little pseudo-cooking from a well-coiffed celebrity host in a pristine, Sub-Zero-sponsored kitchen; or maybe the high drama of competitive cooking looking all too easy with flashy knife skills and careful editing. It’s performance television, and most of us view it with the same slack-jawed passivity we assume when watching a CSI marathon.

But there’s just something about listening to a food show.
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. 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.

Radio is accessible just about anytime, anywhere: you can tune in the local station through the FM dial, subscribe via satellite service, stream shows live online, or download podcasts to numerous devices.There are shows 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 strange like the dairy discourse of Cutting the Curd, irreverently feminist Girl on Girl Cooking, and school cafeteria reports from the Renegade Lunch Lady.

Some of the best of the radio:

American Public Media’s the Splendid Table combines cooking tips, chef interviews, and lifestyle segments.

Hidden Kitchens is a twice-weekly feature of NPR’s Morning Edition. The segments chronicle the ways in which people and communities come together over food.

The Heritage Radio Network launched earlier this year as a series of live webcasts. The network has an eclectic lineup aimed at the hip, green-leaning, culinary do-it-yourselfer. Shows include Urban Foragers, Snacky Tunes (food and music), Greenhorn Radio (agricultural issues), and The Main Course (sustainability).

The BBC’s The Food Programme produces thoughtful, in depth explorations of a broad range of culinary topics.

A Chef’s Table meanders conversationally through recipes, culinary trends, travel, cookbook reviews, and interviews with chefs, producers, and other experts.

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