The Secret Ingredient In each episode of The Secret Ingredient, we chose one food to investigate. Hosts Raj, Tom and Rebecca talk with the people whose life's work has been to understand the complex systems of production, distribution, marketing and impact these foods have on our lives. Join us, and dig in! We won't tell you what to eat, but we will tell you why you're eating it.
The Secret Ingredient

The Secret Ingredient

From KUT 90.5

In each episode of The Secret Ingredient, we chose one food to investigate. Hosts Raj, Tom and Rebecca talk with the people whose life's work has been to understand the complex systems of production, distribution, marketing and impact these foods have on our lives. Join us, and dig in! We won't tell you what to eat, but we will tell you why you're eating it.More from The Secret Ingredient »

Most Recent Episodes

Democracy (Ep. 31)

"Our enemy is apathy." –Yanis Varoufakis In 2015 today's guests were propelled onto the global stage by their efforts to take on the European banking establishment and restructure the Greek government's financial system. For 5 months they worked to negotiate alternatives to further austerity measures; trying to extend loans while moving Greece toward a more solvent state. Their efforts to confront the Eurozone and proceed democratically to carry out the wishes of the Greek people were ultimately defeated, but it was this battle lost that was the impetus of their current endeavor—to reform Europe and institute a transnational, pan-European democracy called DiEM25 –Democracy in Europe Movement. Yanis Varoufakis is the former finance minister of Greece, author of Adults in the Room: My Battle With the European and American Deep Establishment, and co-founder of the DiEM25 –Democracy in Europe Movement. James K. Galbraith is an eminent economist, an assistant to Mr. Varoufakis while he was the Greek finance minister, and he chronicled his time in Greece with the book Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice: The Destruction of Greece and the Future of Europe. They were in Austin for a conference on Democratic Reform in Europe at the LBJ School for Public Affairs.

Cheap Food

On this edition of The Secret Ingredient hosts Tom Philpott and Rebecca McInroy turn the tables on Raj Patel to interview him along with Jason W. Moore about their new book, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and The Future of The Planet.

Tomatoes: Coalition of Immokalee Workers (Ep. 29)

"The work we do is too important to the nation. We are the people who make it possible for every meal to exist. We feed the nation and we ask, have always asked, for the possibility to feed our own families in a dignified way without having to be in a vulnerable position all the time...Right now our community is in need and that is going to be the case for a while...but then the most important thing is not how to go back to normal necessarily, because normal for us it's poor, it's vulnerable, it's all the things that make it really scary when hurricanes hit our area." –Gerardo Reyes Chavez, Coalition of Immokalee Workers When hurricane Irma hit the Florida coast in September of 2017, one place under siege was Immokalee, FL; the center of the region's agriculture industry and home to many immigrant and migrant families, where almost 90% of the nation's tomatoes are harvested during the winter months. In this edition of The Secret Ingredient, Raj Patel and Tom Philpott talk with Gerardo Reyes Chavez and Julia Perkins from The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, about not only about what is needed now in the aftermath of this devastating hurricane, but also about why this population is so vulnerable, underserved, and exploited, and what they have done to transform the food industry through the Fair Food Program.

Sidney Mintz (Extended Interview)

"Most of all I would like more coming to terms with what happened...I think what needs to be done is for all of my fellow citizens in this country to understand what happened and to be able to say, this is what was done and now we must think about how to make the playing field level for all of us in this country, and by some ways for all of us eventually in the world. Because we can't live by ignoring that past." –Sidney Mintz In this bonus edition of The Secret Ingredient, Raj Patel, Tom Philpott and Rebecca McInroy revisit the conversation with anthropologist Sidney Mintz about his seminal work "Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar In Modern History." The interview took place in September of 2015 and later that year on December 27th Dr. Mintz passed away. In this extended interview, Mintz not only takes us through our prehistoric relationship to sweetness–from the bloody history of slavery and sugar production to our current state of the mass production and consumption of sweetness worldwide, but he also talks about his development as an anthropologist and thinker. He discusses his time as a student of anthropology and how he was able to study in Puerto Rico, along with who was influencing his thinking at the time. He also talks about how factories developed on the sugar plantations and the way slavery developed in the New World, as well as the role this brutal past plays in current volatile racial relations in the U.S. As hurricanes continue to wreak havoc on the Caribbean and our hearts go out to all those who are suffering, we look to Mintz for wisdom and guidance in the days ahead.

Land Reform: Suzan Erem (Ep. 28)

"We have to do something to take us off this treadmill of ratcheting up land prices." -Suzan Erem, The Sustainable Iowa Land Trust On the latest edition of The Secret Ingredient Raj Patel, Tom Philpott, and Rebecca McInroy talk with Suzan Erem about the future of US farming. Erum is the president and co-founder of...

Strawberries: Julie Guthman (Ep 27.)

"Strawberries is kind of the quintessence of industrial agriculture in California. It's the fifth highest value crop in the state. It also got the most heavy pesticide regime, by far, of any other crop in the state. And it kind of captures so much of the dynamics of what's going on in California."-Julie Guthman In this edition of The Secret Ingredient Raj Patel, Tom Philpott and Rebecca McInroy talk with Dr. Julie Guthman about strawberry production, what's happening with chemicals and fumigants in the strawberry fields today, and where she sees hope in the food movement.

Seed Saving: Janet Maro (Ep. 26)

"Life begins with the seed germinating...we depend on seed and most of the seed is the seed we will produce, have it, save and use in the next planting season. That's what most of the farmers in Tanzania still do... It was inherited for generations and generations." –Janet Maro The seed exchange system that Maro...

Nutritionism: Aya Kimura (Ep. 25)

James Baldwin said, "the purpose of art is to lay bare the questions that have been hidden by the answers." When considering this sentiment in relationship to "nutritionism" one might look at Aya Kimura's book, Hidden Hunger: Gender and the Politics of Smarter Foods, as a work of "art" as she explores the questions that...

V&B Extra: Food and Trump's Border Wall

The Lorano Long Conference brought many great thinkers and activists to the campus of The University of Texas in February to talk about, "New Perspectives on the Contemporary Food System in Latin America." The Secret Ingredient Podcast's Raj Patel, Tom Philpott and Rebecca McInroy took that opportunity to talk with Dr. Alexis Racelis from the...

Nutrition: Joan Gussow (Ep. 24)

"Once in a while, I thin I've had an original thought, then I look and read around and realize Joan said it first." -Michael Pollan We take for granted now that part of being healthy is eating a variety of whole foods, but not so long ago talking about food was taboo in the field...

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