Listen up: New podcasts review, from Ottolenghi to Blindboy
Yotam Ottolenghi’s cooking philosophy, therapy and Blindboy’s NSFW musings
The Blindboy Podcast: self-aware but not cynical
Milk Street Radio
Episode 143: Ottolenghi’s Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Desserts
There’s little enough in this world as pleasurable as listening to passionate people talk about what they’re fascinated by, such as finding useful answers to good questions. Milk Street Radio, hosted by Christopher Kimball, is a variety hour about food. This episode opens with a discussion about the power of journalism and cake in the Trump era, then moves into something I hadn’t yet experienced on my podcast adventures – a phone-in section.
Questions about chicken stock and parsley seeds with callers lead to the title interview with Yotam Ottolenghi that looks philosophically at what the nature of cooking actually is, how geography defines the meaning of cooking and what colour can bring to a dish. Discussion of flavour expands to the possibilities that lie in Middle Eastern desserts such as tahini, rosewater, star anise and pineapple. The chat is light but illuminating: Kimball and Ottolenghi look at where desserts from across the globe meet, and what we can achieve when we move away from all-purpose flour to almond and buckwheat.
Milk Street Radio broadcasts on public radio in Boston which gives it a totally different feel to most podcasts that deep-dive a particular subject, but makes it a no less fascinating hour that will leave listeners itching to add new flavours to their spice rack.
The Bright Sessions
Episode 1: Patient #12-D-10 (Sam)
Part of the joy of listening to podcasts is that the audio form can bring you places you could never go, breaking all the boundaries of reality. In The Bright Sessions we may not be out hunting ghosts or in a magical medieval realm but we’re somewhere truly transgressive: in a therapist’s office. In this delightful, brief pilot, we eavesdrop on the first session between Dr Bright and a new patient, Sam. The characterisations are endearing, almost cartoonish – the reserved psychiatrist and the jittery, over-defensive new patient. However, Dr Bright specialises in therapy for the strange and unusual, and in these 15 minutes we discover exactly how strange and unusual Sam is. Her condition? She’s a time-traveller. Not the suave Doctor Who type, think more a girl in her mid-20s who has panic attacks and finds herself in Victorian London.
Dr Bright’s therapeutic approach is surprisingly holistic and the episode gives us more to think about than what would happen if we could warp through history at random; what if we just tried to enjoy the things that make us different to everyone else? (Even if they are strange and unusual.)
New Podcast Of The Week:
The Blindboy Podcast
Episode 3: Scaphism
At three episodes deep, Blindboy is sitting at the top of the Irish iTunes charts for the second week in a row and for a great reason. We are a long way from Éamon de Valera double dropping yolks, but the horse is still outside for sure – Blindboy’s gift is an undeniable tenderness, juxtaposed with his shocking (and absolutely NSFW) way with language. Usually, if I was asked to sit down and listen to a comedian monologue for 50 minutes, I would point-blank refuse but Blindboy holds none of the smugness usually present in this free-reign format. He’s self-aware but not cynical about what he’s doing. There’s almost a confessional audio-diary element. He may be talking about getting wrecked in a pub in Dublin one second, but he will gently segue into the history of the Mai-Tai and then back out again before you know it.
“There’s a bed of slow tinkling jazz underneath this week’s podcast, because I wanna create a hug for ye listening,” he says. Continue in this vein and I am fully signed up for a weekly warm embrace.