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The Sporkful

Sunday, September 21, 2014

  • Mo Rocca on Ravioli
    "They were really big." That's humorist and Cooking Channel host Mo Rocca's defining memory of his grandmother's perfect ravioli -- they were 2 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches, to be exact -- which he shares with Dan on the latest episode of The Sporkful. "They were big panes of dough," he adds. "She could have worked in a glass shop." Perhaps in the spirit of grandma Rocca's ravioli, Mo and Dan don't shy away from the big issues, like Chef Boyardee, round vs. square, plural and singular vocabulary (ravioli vs. raviolo), trim-to-pouch ratios, and the anxiety of the unsealed raviolo (yep, that's one single square or circle). Plus, Mo calls his relationship with ravioli a "Madonna-whore sort of thing," identifies the variety that he calls "the Kenny G of ravioli," and relays a ravioli-relate

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

  • This Is The Sound Of Good Chocolate
    Madre Chocolate's Nat Bletter, PhD, explains that you can tell a chocolate's quality by the sound it makes when you break it. Listen for examples of good vs. bad chocolate bars here. And enjoy the full episode at The Sporkful. Subscribe to The Sporkful podcast in iTunes.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

  • Listen To Your Chocolate--It Can Tell You How Good It Is
    Dan learns what listening to chocolate can tell you about it, how our brains play tricks on our tongues, and why charging more for wine can make it taste better. 
  • What Great Chocolate Sounds Like
    Dan learns what listening to chocolate can tell you about it, how our brains play tricks on our tongues, and why charging more for wine can make it taste better. 
  • Wine Chocolate Math Science
    Most of us know what chocolate tastes like. But have you ever paid attention to what it sounds like? Listen carefully and it will tell you its secrets. In this episode of The Sporkful, Madre Chocolate's Nat Bletter, PhD, explains that you can tell a chocolate's quality by the sound it makes when you break it. A crisp snap means the chocolate is well tempered, so it retains its glossy finish and won't melt on your fingers as easily. If, upon breaking, the chocolate sounds meek and sad, it's probably poorly-tempered. That means it's less durable and likely to accumulate that unattractive white dust on its exterior. Listen to this week's show and you'll actually hear the difference. Nat also delineates three types of chocolate eaters: melters (who let it melt in their mouths), chompers (who

Monday, August 25, 2014

  • Hot Sauce with 11-Year-Old Nathaniel Goodyear
    Dan Pashman is not the biggest fan of hot sauce. He doesn't think the eating experience should include pain. He says salsa is over-rated and Tabasco has too much vinegar. And he's ten years late to the whole sriracha party. He's kind of a caliente wimp. Nathaniel Goodyear, founding president of The Sporkful Junior Eaters Society. Enter hot sauce enthusiast Nathaniel Goodyear, who believes Dan has the potential to love spice as much as he does. The 11-year-old founding president of The Sporkful Junior Eaters Society volunteered to serve as Dan's hot sauce personal trainer, increasing Dan's endurance and whipping him into shape as they work their way from the mild stuff to sauce labeled "XXX." How much hot sauce is too much hot sauce? The pair sat down in Nathaniel’s kitchen to p

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • Building Better S’mores, Inside Out Or In Pie Form
    S'mores combine wonderful flavors and textures in a format that's structurally problematic. Graham crackers splinter upon bite impact, resulting in a s'more experience I'd like to have s'less. In my You're Eating It Wrong lab, I recreate an authentic campfire experience and experiment with new and better ways to make s'mores, with help from Keavy Blueher of Kumquat Cupcakery and Allison Kave of First Prize Pies. (They're also the duo behind Brooklyn's forthcoming dessert and craft cocktail bar, Butter & Scotch.)   Recipe: S'mores Pie Allison was nice enough to share the recipe for her s'mores pie, which is in her cookbook and featured in this video. Here it is, with her introduction: The first time I experimented with this recipe, I used a very dark, bittersweet chocolate (as a rul

Sunday, August 10, 2014

  • Morgan Spurlock, Guinness, and Pepperoni Rolls
    Morgan Spurlock is well known for his less-than-flattering portrayals of excess and gluttony ("Super Size Me," "7 Deadly Sins"). But he's no teetotaler. He calls himself a "Guinness drinking, West Virginia hillbilly" and says even the mantra "all things in moderation" should only apply "in moderation." In this episode of The Sporkful he and host Dan Pashman pour themselves pints of Guinness and tear into some West Virginia-style pepperoni rolls, then discuss the perfect drinking weather, Morgan's mom's cooking, and how many beers it takes for him to get his southern accent back. They also discuss Spurlock's new Showtime series, "7 Deadly Sins," and how much gluttony is okay. After that, Dan talks to Beervana's Jeff Alworth about the plastic ball inside cans of Guinness. What is it? How do

Monday, July 28, 2014

  • A Meteorologist Ranks Desserts Named After Weather
    There are a lot of desserts named after severe weather phenomena, but not all of them are created equal. We asked tornado alley's top meteorologist, Gary England, to help us rank some of these desserts, based on the severity of the weather they are named for. In addition to Gary England's dessert rankings, the newest episode of The Sporkful includes a conversation Paul Breslin about how weather affects our tastes. Breslin is a professor with the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers University. He also works with the Monell Chemical Senses Center, researching taste perception.
  • Meteorological Eating
    There are a lot of desserts named after different weather phenomena, but while some pack a whollop, others are pretty mild. We asked legendary Oklahoma meteorologist Gary England, who's spent the past 40 years predicting severe weather in Tornado Alley, to help us rank some of these desserts based on the severity of their namesake weather system. Here are his rankings: Blizzard (Dairy Queen) 31 Below (Baskin-Robbins) Cyclone (now called the Friend-Z, from Friendly's) Carvelanche (Carvel) McFlurry (McDonald's) Honorable mention went to: Mr. Misty (Dairy Queen) Frosty (Wendy's) The Sonic Blast was disqualified due to the fact that it is named for an audio phenomenon, rather than a meteorological one. Gary and Dan did invent one more weather-themed dessert especially for Oklahoma: the Shattu
  • Weather and Eating and Desserts Named After Weather
    There are a lot of desserts named after severe weather phenomena, but not all of them are created equal. We asked tornado alley's top meteorologist, Gary England, to help us rank some of these desserts, based on the severity of the weather they are named for. In addition to Gary England's dessert rankings, the newest episode of The Sporkful includes a conversation Paul Breslin about how weather affects our tastes. Breslin is a professor with the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers University. He also works with the Monell Chemical Senses Center, researching taste perception.

Friday, July 25, 2014

  • I Dreamed of a Dairy Queen Blizzard Last Night
    I was eight years old when Dairy Queen introduced their now-famous Blizzard. A perfect concoction of ice cream and candy, it nurtured the young eater that I was, and led me to gain more than a few pounds during that magical summer. Years later, working a dead-end temp job in Chicago, my life had a lot less magic. But the Dairy Queen Blizzard visited me in my dreams one night, giving me solace and hope. The dream was so vivid and so intense, that I spent most of the next day writing a poem about the Blizzard; and I share that fine poem with you now. Dan as a weighty youngster, circa 1987, around the time he discovered the Dairy Queen Blizzard. I Dreamed of a Dairy Queen Blizzard Last Night I dreamed of a Dairy Queen Blizzard last nightWith M&Ms, ice cream and moreIt was filled to the b

Thursday, July 24, 2014

  • Is This A Sandwich? Or #NotASandwich
    Sporkful host, Dan Pashman, throws down over what does and doesn't constitute a sandwich...beginning with his controversial stance that a hot dog is NOT a sandwich. He's joined by participants from a variety of backgrounds, including John Hodgman, Micki Maynard of the New York Times, Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty, and the Planet Money team (who recently reported on why the state of New York defines a burrito as a sandwich). "@WNYC: Is a hot dog a sandwich? @leonardlopate @thesporkful #NotASandwich" NOT. A. SANDWICH. — Dr. Sean (@the7thpoint) July 24, 2014 Hot dogs (&Hamburgers) might fit technical "sandwich" definition, but they're in a league of their own, so NO #notasandwich @thesporkful — Mary Jane (@mjfrombuffalo) July 24, 2014 For those playing catchup, listen to me explain

Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • Spiral Cut Watermelon: A Summertime Treat For Any Size Face
    Melon balls look nice, but they roll all over the plate. Squares and rectangles are fine but boring. Wedges can work well, but if they're too wide your face gets covered in juice, and if they're too narrow they're unsatisfying. Enter the Spiral Cut Watermelon. By employing the same spiral cut technology used for Easter hams and county fair fried potatoes, we can eat watermelon better. This technique allows you to slice off watermelon wedges of varying widths with only a single cut. One watermelon produces many size wedges for many size faces, and everyone goes home happy. Plus it just looks so beautiful.  For more eatovations like this check out my forthcoming book, Eat More Better: How to Make Every Bite More Delicious.

Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Eating While Parenting
    Anyone who takes care of kids knows that eating off children's plates is part of the everyday dining experience. But which kid scraps make for the most delicious eats? How can an eater make these scraps even better? And which touched/dropped/pre-masticated foods are just too gross to consume? Hillary Frank of WNYC's parenting podcast The Longest Shortest Time is disgusted by Dan's answers, but Dan remains undeterred. He talks with Arun Venugopal of WNYC's Micropolis about the role of eating with your hands in Indian culture and how it can help parents find prized morsels in the post-meal detritus. Plus, former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner discusses the scraps he most enjoys eating from his toddler's high chair, and Dan's own daughters demonstrate how they eat and share food with
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