I love making dinner. Food is my thing, so I’m happy to mess around in the kitchen whenever, but I look at dinner prep as an opportunity for a tiny slice of me time.
When I’m dying for a break in the day, I let everyone know that leaving me alone in the kitchen briefly will get us all to the table faster. Then I gather my ingredients, make myself a drink (sometimes iced coffee, sometimes wine), and catch up on podcasts while I chop and sauté. It’s lovely.
I know dinner prep is not every parent’s favorite time of the day, so I came up with a list of essential dinner-making podcasts for everyone from the serious home cook to folks who’d rather be ordering take out.
Shoo your family out of the kitchen, pour yourself a tasty beverage, and cue up one of these. You may find yourself opting for dinner duty more often.
If you want to relax while you prep, I suggest:
The Splendid Table began as a Minnesota Public Radio show in 1994. It’s hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper, food writer and cooking instructor, whose cookbook “The Splendid Table” won both the James Beard and Julia Child Cookbook of the Year Awards.
This podcast is kind of the thing that got me cooking dinner for my family after our first baby was born. We started listening to it as background noise to the fussiest time of our parenting day: the dinner hour.
Slow paced and relaxing, we found it soothing to listen to knowledgeable folks discuss cooking delicious food, even if we weren’t doing much of it ourselves. But it was so entertaining, we got hooked. We started listening religiously and eventually even tried some of the recipes.
Ms. Kasper sounds like your grandmother’s stylish friend who wears a ton of jewelry and knows everything about everything. During each episode she talks with a food professional (chefs, cookbook writers, restaurateurs) then takes calls from the listening audience and answers cooking questions.
My favorite segment is always “Stump the Chef,” wherein callers give her three ingredients and she comes up with a dish using all of them. Got only pickles, some yogurt, and a carrot in your fridge? She can tell you how to make dinner with it.
Bonus: guest dispatches from Jane and Micheal Stern, authors of the “Roadfood” books and website, sharing their latest delicious discoveries from the highways and byways of America. I need that job.
If you’re a home cook who can’t get enough of food blogs, try:
More of what you already love (or should check out, immediately) from the ultimate cooking website, food52. Hosted by Kenzi Wilbur with many special guests, Burnt Toast features recipes, conversations, interviews, and more. I recommend starting with the January 13, 2016 episode: When Kids, Parents, and Grandparents Predict the Future of Food.
If you’re looking for smart and inspiring food-centered conversation with cool creatives I recommend:
3 | The Food Seen
This is my current favorite podcast for any activity. Hosted by photographer Michael Harlan Turkell, it explores the ways food, art, and design intersect in the modern world. Often a discussion between Turkell and a chef, photographer, food stylist, or designer, the episodes focus on a single topic but the discussions take off in sometimes unexpected directions. The guests are hip and engaging and I feel like I always come away with a new idea. I recommend starting with Episode 271: Maple Syrup.
Maybe you couldn’t care less about food blogs or celebrity chef fanatics, and just want to tune into something entirely different while you (reluctantly) cook. If so, I humbly suggest the following. Both have taken me through long hours of recipe testing. Also excellent listening while washing dishes or other general kitchen cleaning drudgery!
If you need a laugh, I suggest:
Comedians and writers Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas take listener suggestions of horrible movies, watch them, and report back with hilarious, and NSFK (not safe for kids) reviews and commentary. Ludicrously entertaining.
I suggest starting with Episode 109: Face Off: LIVE! And don’t forget the earbuds.
If you’re looking to lose yourself in something absorbing and don’t mind being mildly creeped out, try:
6 | Lore
Writer Aaron Mahnke explores the true stories behind creepy urban legends, and vice versa. I’ve lost myself mid-chop listening to this. Start with Episode 19: Bite Marks. And watch your fingers.