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Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley

Food with a side of science and history. Every other week, co-hosts Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley serve up a brand new episode exploring the hidden history and surprising science behind a different food- or farming-related topic, from aquaculture to ancient feasts, from cutlery to chile peppers, and from microbes to Malbec. We interview experts, visit labs, fields, and archaeological digs, and generally have lots of fun while discovering new ways to think about and understand the world through food. Find us online at, follow us on Twitter @gastropodcast, and like us on Facebook at

300 - The Interstitium (Radiolab)
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  • 300 - The Interstitium (Radiolab)

    Guest episode: In this episode we introduce you to a part of our bodies that was invisible to Western scientists until about five years ago; it’s called "the interstitium," a vast network of fluid channels inside the tissues around our organs that scientists have just begun to see, name, and understand. Along the way we look at how new technologies rub up against long-standing beliefs, and how millions of scientists and doctors failed to see what was right in front (and inside!) of their noses. We also find out how mapping the anatomy of this hidden infrastructure may help solve one of the fundamental mysteries of cancer, and perhaps provide a bridge between ancient and modern medicine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Tue, 23 Jul 2024
  • 299 - Are Hush Puppies Racist? Is A2 Milk Really Healthier? And What's Up With Wedding Cake? Ask Gastropod!

    You asked, and we’re answering—again! Ask Gastropod returns to answer some of our listeners’ most pressing culinary queries: how did elaborate, expensive cakes become the standard dessert for weddings? Did the deep fried cornmeal blobs known as “hush puppies” get their name from Confederate soldiers or racist stories from the plantation-era South? And could a trendy "new" variety of milk (that's actually ancient) allow the dairy-intolerant to snarf down cheese and ice cream without digestive consequences? This episode, we’re diving deep on the science, dispelling some myths, and correcting the historical record with the help of a team of experts. Listen in now! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Tue, 09 Jul 2024
  • 298 - Why Does Everyone Have Food Allergies These Days?

    It's not your imagination, food allergies are really on the rise. One recent study found that severe allergic reactions to food have increased by more than 300 percent over the past decade. And they don't just affect Americans or kids—they're on the rise in adults around the world. Even pets are getting food allergies. So what's going on? Why would your body decide that food—something that's actually essential to keeping you alive—needs to be attacked like a dangerous invader? And why would we evolve a defense mechanism that can end up killing us? This episode, we've got the history and the latest scientist on food allergies: what they are, what causes them, how they're different from food intolerance and sensitivity, and what we can do about them. Join us on a wild journey from ancient Pharoahs to the future of medicine, via jellyfish, Calvin Coolidge, and "rose fever," as we figure this all out. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Tue, 25 Jun 2024
  • 297 - The Bagelization of America (encore)

    Today, it’s a breakfast staple, but, as recently as 1960, The New York Times had to define it for readers—as “an unsweetened doughnut with rigor mortis.” That’s right, this episode is all about the bagel, that shiny, ring-shaped, surprisingly dense bread that makes the perfect platform for cream cheese and lox. Where did it come from? Can you get a decent bagel outside New York City? And what does it have in common with the folding ping-pong table? Come get your hot, fresh bagel science and history here! (encore edition) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Tue, 18 Jun 2024
  • 296 - The Birth of Cool: How Refrigeration Changed Everything

    For as long as we’ve been making Gastropod, co-host Nicky has also been working on another project: writing a book all about refrigeration. Well, time to pop the champagne you’ve had stashed in the icebox, because that book comes out June 25—and we’re giving Gastropod listeners an exclusive preview! This episode, Cynthia and Nicky talk about how a high school dropout's get-rich-quick scheme, some deadly explosions, and lots and lots of beer brought us the humming boxes of cold now ubiquitous in the modern kitchen—and how the proliferation of this portable, on-demand winter has transformed our food (not always for the better) while heating up our planet. It's almost impossible to imagine living without a fridge, but Nicky’s book totally changed the way we look at preserving food. Is there a better way? Listen to find out, and for the rest of the story, be sure to pre-order Frostbite: How Refrigeration Changed Our Food, Our Planet, and Ourselves! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Tue, 11 Jun 2024
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