APPLE PODCASTS • RSS • SPOTIFY • RADIOPUBLIC • GOOGLE • MP3
When recipe writing is done well, the skill and effort involved might not be evident. But explaining the different steps clearly so that people of varying culinary abilities and equipment can cook it, and indeed want to make it, and translating flavour and physical actions and sensory experiences into words - all that takes work.
Recipe writers MiMi Aye and Felicity Cloake and cookbook editor Rachel Greenhaus consider the verbal ingredients of a well-written recipe.
This is the first of a miniseries of food-related episodes. Next up: turning words into food. No, not like Alphabetti.
Another Allusionist episode about trying to translate gestures into words is an oldie but a goodie: Architecting about Dance.
And here’s another lovely thing from Allusionist alum Nikesh Shukla: “After my mother died, nowhere felt like home – until I tried cooking the Gujarati food of my youth.”
Shut up and give me this breakfast banh mi.
That pastry deer I mentioned wasn’t a concoction of my imagination - I read the recipe in Peter Ross’s Curious Cookbook, a collection of a hundred historical recipes. It’s interesting to see how much they change over the centuries!
I learned a lot from Nicola Humble’s Culinary Pleasures, a history of Britain’s culinary evolution via its cookbooks, which as well as documenting food reflect how society was changing.
One of my favourite things to read each week is the Grub Street Diet food diaries. The best ones are by the people who are great at conveying why food is interesting and fun and social (a few recent highlights: Jia Tolentino, Nicole Rucker, Japanese Breakfast, Greta Lee - and look, here’s our friend Phoebe Judge from Criminal!)
The transcript of this episode is at theallusionist.org/transcripts/food-into-words.
Hey, remember last year when I released an episode from hospital and my voice sounded like a rusty fart? I appear on the latest episode of Radiotopian sibling ZigZag talking about how I ended up there, making the show - which mostly is a joy, but sometimes is not. Check it out HERE.
I’ve got several events coming up, including a London performance of the new touring show No Title, as well as guesting on a couple of other shows at the London Podcast Festival; and, next week, a languagey chat in San Francisco with author and lexicographer Jane Solomon - it’ll be fun and it’s free! Find out more at theallusionist.org/events, which I’ll keep updated with every new fixture.
YOUR RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
MiMi Aye is the author of two cookbooks: Noodle! 100 Amazing Authentic Recipes for all your noodle-based desires (mine are manifold and strong), and Mandalay: Recipes and Tales from a Burmese Kitchen, which made me desperate to visit Burma and also to eat all the Burmese food. She’s @meemalee on Twitter.
Felicity Cloake writes the How To Cook the Perfect column in the Guardian, trying out multiple different recipes to deduce the best way to prepare a dish. As well as several cookbooks, she is the author of the new recipe-laced memoir/food odyssey One More Croissant For The Road, in which she cycles 2000km around France in search of the best versions of classic French foodstuffs. She’s @FelicityCloake on Twitter.
This episode was produced by me, Helen Zaltzman. Martin Austwick makes the music that you hear in every episode. Download his songs at palebirdmusic.com and listen to his new podcast Year of the Bird about the songs he writes.
The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.
In August 2019, the Allusionist is sponsored by:
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.
• Bombas, socks that won’t let you - or themselves - down. Buy your expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and get 20% off your first purchase.
• Babbel, the language-learning app that will help you speak a new language with confidence. Visit babbel.com to find out more, and text ALLUSIONIST to 484848 to try it for free.
• Progressive. Get your car insurance quote online at progressive.com and see how much you could be saving. Discounts not available in all states and situations.