Thanksgiving is a time when we talk about what we’re thankful to have—and remember that not everyone has a lot. In this episode, we hear from some people who are very grateful to have had the support of SNAP benefits—which used to be called food stamps—during a hard time. Then, Maddie catches up with a researcher who found a troubling decline in the use of SNAP among one group of particularly needy Americans.
70 – Sheriff Corndog
Mother Jones’ reporters bring you food-adjacent stories from this year’s midterm election. Madison Pauly fills us in on the history of an Alabama sheriff who got rich off his jail inmates with the help of a truckload of corndogs, and how voters will decide whether it could happen again. And then Tim Murphy takes us to Nevada, a crucial swing state, where members of the culinary workers union have mastered the art of political organizing—and could have lessons for the Democratic party nationwide.
69 – Samin Nosrat Gets Salty
Have you ever wondered if there's a secret to salting your food to bring out its best flavor? On this episode, we catch up with chef and writer Samin Nosrat, who’s kind of an expert on the subject. Her hit cookbook, Salt Fat Acid Heat, was just turned into a riveting Netflix series. Samin tells Maddie all about making miso in Japan, and what it was like to turn her cooking advice into TV. And she schools us on how to use salt. Plus: Addicted to Lacroix sparkling water? Here’s what the wacky press statements released by the company’s founder reveal about his political vision—and the essence of the drink.
68 – The Godfather of Mexican Wine
When we think Mexican booze, tequila and limey beers come to mind. But people have been producing wine there for hundreds of years, ever since Spanish missionaries first brought grapes to the country in the 1500s. Meet the Godfather and Godmother of Valle de Guadalupe, an arid region near the coast of Baja known for its marine flavors and rocky soil. Valle’s wine renaissance has breathed life into the valley's economy and brought it worldwide attention. But in such a fragile ecosystem—the attention comes at a cost.
67 – The Shocking Reason Why Millions of Animals Drowned in North Carolina
This episode takes listeners to eastern North Carolina to see how Hurricane Florence has walloped massive chicken and hog farms. Millions of animals have died, and waste from hog farms is seeping into local waterways. Tom talks to local water advocate Matthew Starr, whose team has been documenting submerged farms, about the worsening situation. Then, Tom catches up with retired North Carolina poultry farmer Craig Watts, who’s seen firsthand how severe storms can lay waste to the region where Florence hit—and leave farms reeling.