In Search of "Real" Food

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Original Air Date: 
June 30, 2018

What makes food "authentic"? Do we need to feel close to where it's made? Know the complete history of where it comes from? Be able to diagram the chemistry of how it dances along our taste buds? How can we quantify the romance between eaters and the food they love?

In this hour, we talk about what it means to truly love what you eat and drink — and we ask why it matters.

Lots of choices

153 flavors of ice cream. An acre of cold cereals. Why do supermarkets have so many choices? Or do they? Where we might see hundreds of flavors, varieties and brands of food, food journalist Simran Sethi sees a scary kind of sameness.

Michael Twitty

Michael Twitty can trace his family’s food history back to the slave cabins and Antebellum kitchens of the South. Honoring his diasporic heritage — he’s both black and Jewish — lead Twitty to the practice of identity cooking. He calls it Kosher/Soul.

Salt, fat, acid, heat

Over time, Samin Nosrat developed her own philosophy of cooking, based on a few universal principles: Salt, fat, acid and heat. Haleema Shah wondered: Does boiling all cooking down to basic elements like that lead to more authentic food?

A five year vertical of Bourbon County Brand Stout. Older, pre-brewery sale style bottles are on the left, while the newer bottle design is on the right. 
Photo Gallery

Back in 1995, Goose Island created one of the most iconic craft beers of all time — Bourbon County Stout. Which — as Chicago Tribune beer writer Josh Noel explains — was why it was such a shock when they sold the brewery to Anheuser-Busch.

lemon and kale

After listening to the food mavens and masters in our show on chasing "authentic" food, you might be mentally gathering tips on how to better enjoy food in your own home. So let’s gather our guests virtually for a summer party. This would be fun as a picnic, or backyard lazy afternoon brunch, or a light dinner on a hot day.


Show Details 📻
June 30, 2018
Simran Sethi
Author and Journalist
Michael Twitty
Author and Culinary Historian
Josh Noel
Journalist and Author
Last modified: 
July 03, 2018