Goose - the squatted, more flavourful, dark meat alternative to their dry, white-melted fowl cousin the turkey. The custom and popularity of eating a goose during autumnal and winter harvest and holidays stretches from when they were domesticated by the Egyptians over 4000 years ago. This episode looks at traditions throughout the ages including the long-running Tavistock Goosey Fair, Michaelmas, the Smithfield's Market Christmas Eve Sale and the goose/turkey dynamic of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.
It works sweet or savoury and can be oh-so overpowering if you let it. I have to say, it’s not my favourite spice and is one that I use sparingly so that it doesn’t dominate a dish, but properly balanced, cinnamon brings warmth and depth of flavour to dishes all year round but particularly at Christmas.
These small, round, bright-red berries are more tart than sweet which makes them a perfect accompaniment to roast meat and dinners bringing a nice bright dash of Christmas red to ones plate. This week we look at how these North American fruits have become part of Christmas, gained status as a superfood and the many ways they can be enjoyed throughout the holidays and year-round.
When I was little I was sure that someone with magical powers had shrunk cabbages into bite size portions. If you don’t think they taste delicious, you’re probably cooking them wrong! And if you’re just eating them at Christmas…well lots of people do but they deserve a place at the table beyond the Christmas holidays and sprouts are a £650,000,000 business with loads of varieties to try and inventive pairings and ways to prepare them. Artwork from Amedee Varin
Mincemeat and mince pies are markers of Christmas. Mincemeat is the filling baked inside pies and they originally contained dried fruit, spices, vinegar and meat when they first appeared in the 15th century. There’s the old wives' tale that you should eat a mince pie on each of the 12 days of Christmas for good luck in the upcoming year. Listen and see below for more information, tips and recipes.
This week I sat down with Tim Parker the Web Developer, Designer, DJ and host of the NTS radio programme You'll Soon Know. We discussed food and music memories, travel, design and how we approach and share all of the above.
Before my chat with Tim I look at the history of plates from our pre-history days as humans and their quick evolution from functional pieces to decorative, artistic and even space exploring items. The work of Judy Chicago, Chloe Wise, Dr Amanda Furman's The Ascent of Woman, the Voyager Golden records and more are discussed.
Figs reverence surely stems from their historic connection to our own agricultural journey and they are a symbol of abundance and important to ancient peoples, cultures, art, cookery and religions. They are symbols of fertility, wealth, youth and the brevity of life. This episode will look at the Greek etymology behind 'sycophancy' and the Roman Apicius' recipe for fegato. Artists discussed include Giovanna Garzoni, Albrecht Durer, Clara Peeters, Suzanne Valadon, Vivienne Westwood and Figs in Wigs.
This episode will focus on the Chinese dumpling, and look at how this ancient food is the epitome of a food so steeped in art, history and design that, when done properly, is a little edible works of art. I will focus specifically on jiaozi, guotie, zongzi and wonton dumplings and look at stories of the Silk Road, the Chinese physician Zhang Zhongjing, the poet Qu Yuan and how dumplings, family and festivals are always linked together. Then I will be talking with Tongtong (Tungtong) Ren and Peiran Gong - the owners and chefs of Chinese Laundry Room. We’ll discuss the originality behind both their restaurant and the path that has taken them from their native China to London. Art by Shaoqiang Chen, Qi Baishi, Nishikie.com, Yiying L and more.
Grapes are one of the first plants to be grown domestically by people and this cultivation cycle . One only needs to look at the symbolic, religious and cultural importance of grapes to get a small fathoming of what they must have meant to the early peoples who first fermented them to what they mean across the world today. We'll also look at the art of Zeuxis, Juan Fernandez El Labrador, Louise Moillon, Luca Forte, Georgia O'Keeffe, Alfred Steiglitz and Grimanesa Amoros.
A look into the art, history and design of ice cream and celebrate this food that is so connected to our pleasure senses. Tara Esperanza of Tara's Organic Ice Cream and I chatted about ice cream, food culture, memories, trends and the artistry of food. You can find T.O.I.C. at their two California shops (Oakland & Berkeley) and an offering of over 173 flavours which are made with limited availability or seasonal ingredients.