In the introduction to his new cookbook, Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food , Nik Sharma writes: “Mine is the story of a gay immigrant, told through food.” Nik was born in India, but left his native country for the United States in part because he wanted greater opportunity to be himself. In his cookbook, popular food blog, and columns for the San Francisco Chronicle, he does just that. Nik takes American classics like egg salad, and experiments with incorporating the Indian spices and cooking methods of his childhood. On this episode of Bite, Maddie talks to Nik about identity, chai, and why he cringes whenever he hears the word “fusion.”
71 – When Food Stamps "Turn Your Life Around"
Thanksgiving is a time when we talk about what we’re thankful to have—and remember that not everyone has a lot. In this episode, we hear from some people who are very grateful to have had the support of SNAP benefits—which used to be called food stamps—during a hard time. Then, Maddie catches up with a researcher who found a troubling decline in the use of SNAP among one group of particularly needy Americans.
70 – Sheriff Corndog
Mother Jones’ reporters bring you food-adjacent stories from this year’s midterm election. Madison Pauly fills us in on the history of an Alabama sheriff who got rich off his jail inmates with the help of a truckload of corndogs, and how voters will decide whether it could happen again. And then Tim Murphy takes us to Nevada, a crucial swing state, where members of the culinary workers union have mastered the art of political organizing—and could have lessons for the Democratic party nationwide.
69 – Samin Nosrat Gets Salty
Have you ever wondered if there's a secret to salting your food to bring out its best flavor? On this episode, we catch up with chef and writer Samin Nosrat, who’s kind of an expert on the subject. Her hit cookbook, Salt Fat Acid Heat, was just turned into a riveting Netflix series. Samin tells Maddie all about making miso in Japan, and what it was like to turn her cooking advice into TV. And she schools us on how to use salt. Plus: Addicted to Lacroix sparkling water? Here’s what the wacky press statements released by the company’s founder reveal about his political vision—and the essence of the drink.
68 – The Godfather of Mexican Wine
When we think Mexican booze, tequila and limey beers come to mind. But people have been producing wine there for hundreds of years, ever since Spanish missionaries first brought grapes to the country in the 1500s. Meet the Godfather and Godmother of Valle de Guadalupe, an arid region near the coast of Baja known for its marine flavors and rocky soil. Valle’s wine renaissance has breathed life into the valley's economy and brought it worldwide attention. But in such a fragile ecosystem—the attention comes at a cost.