As some of you may know, I etch gravestones for a living. The nature of this job allows for me to spend hours every day listening to podcasts. And oh boy do I take advantage of that – on average I probably spend about six hours of my work day listening to podcasts. I also listen to them while working on the illustrations for this blog (if I’m not indulging in one of my guilty-pleasure TV shows in the corner of my computer screen). I understand that not everyone has the ample podcast-listening time that I’m accustomed to, but there are plenty of little moments in our daily lives that would be perfect for a podcast: road trips (obviously), dish-washing, laundry-folding and other general cleaning tasks, as well as a long, tedious cooking project (with lots of chopping, stirring, etc.) or caramel-wrapping (for you edible gifters out there) and gift-wrapping are all perfect times to enjoy a podcast. Basically any brainless task that allows your precious mind to wander can be a great chance to get lost in a podcast. And since they don’t require the attention of your eyeballs, they are much better suited to multi-tasking than television.
I know I’ve spread some podcast love here on the blog before and given some random recommendations to people, but I thought it was high-time I shared my extended list with you. I have these organized by loose topics, most of them pretty universal (obviously food is the big one), with one wildcard: personal finance. Yeah … Even though I’m an “artist,” I’m also a math nerd. I could wax poetic about my love for Mint.com, Ally Bank should probably have me on their payroll for how many customers I’ve sent their way, and my high school calculus teacher practically cried because I went to art school instead of going into a math program. I always say that in a parallel universe where I went the “let’s make a lot of money” route, I probably would have gone to business school or something and ended up as an actuarial scientist. Oh well. This is my real life, so let’s start by talking about food podcasts:
The Splendid Table – I have to start here because this is where my obsession with podcasts began. I have my professor-turned-friend, the lovely e Bond (yes, her first name is actually just a lower-case “e,” because she is badass like that), to thank for this. She turned me on to this podcast while I was interning with her the summer after I graduated college. I was helping her fill a wholesale order of handmade blank books for Anthropologie. Needless to say we had a great time together, watching television shows and listening to podcasts as we sewed, glued, folded and stamped our way through the book-making process. It was that summer, while my love of cookbooks and everything food-related was growing, that I developed the idea for this blog. So, in other words, this podcast means a lot to me. I can always depend on this one for countless inspiration in the kitchen and it’s a total classic, discussing all things food-related and supplying recipes that will make your mouth water and provide a strong desire to run into your kitchen. Plus the host, Lynne Rossetto Kasper, is a total doll.
Spilled Milk – This is one of the goofiest food podcasts I’ve found yet. Molly from Orangette and Matthew Amster-Burton discuss various food items or products, focusing on one in each episode, such as sour cream or Brazilian junk food. Sometimes they just taste a bunch of different versions of something, or they will make recipes highlighting a certain ingredient and talk about it in great detail. I love this show because they don’t take themselves seriously at all, and they have a wonderful friendship chemistry. They crack each other up throughout every show, frequently go off topic and have to reel themselves back in, and take every opportunity to turn something into an innuendo. It’s just fun.
FAVORITE EPISODES: The apple episode and the marshmallow episode
Pizza Party – Yes, this podcast is all about pizza. Let’s be thankful for this. (It’s true – there really is a podcast about everything!) Who doesn’t love pizza? Topics have ranged from The Feast of St. Pizza to interviews with pizza bloggers and pizza-focused artists – although my favorite is probably the one with some lovely ladies from Food52 discussing pizza bagels.
FAVORITE EPISODES: pizza bagels and The Feast of St. Pizza
Totally Beverages & Sometimes Hot Sauce – This is a newer podcast hosted by Andy of Totally Married (see below), and it is quite literally all about beverages (and sometimes hot sauce). This probably IS the goofiest food-related podcast you could listen to. Andy and his “intern” Josh interview someone in each show, asking them about their beverage profile (the guest describes their typical day in beverages, which sounds like it could be totally boring but somehow usually ends up being hilarious and somewhat informative), and then do a blind “shootout” or tasting of a couple different beverages. They’ve done shootouts with pumpkin spice lattes, root beers, wine and more. This show is just a weird bundle of laughs and the overarching theme of it that makes it so hilarious to me is how serious Andy really is about his love for beverages.
FAVORITE EPISODE: pumpkin spice latte shootout
Tyler Florence Test Kitchen – This is pretty much your basic food podcast – discussions with chefs, artisanal food producers and food experts, etc. are often included, as well as answers to listener questions.While it’s not my favorite food podcast, it usually leaves me feeling hungry and occasionally I will find myself really engrossed in a topic I wouldn’t have expected to be interested in.
FREQUENCY: weekly, although it’s been spotty for a few months now
Radio Cherry Bombe – This show is put on by the women-focused food magazine of the same name, Cherry Bombe, and is hosted by Julia Turshen. It should come as no surprise that, yes, this is a show highlighting women in food. Each week Julia interviews interesting women in the world of food, such as chefs, farmers, entrepeneurs, cookbook authors and editors, etc. My favorite part is usually the “Cherry Bombe rapid fire” questions that she asks each guest, with questions like, “What did you have for breakfast today?”
FAVORITE EPISODES: the one with Jenni Britton Bauer, and the one with the team behind the Buvette Cookbook
The Clean Plate Club – There has not been a new episode of this podcast now for over a year, and it makes me very sad. But, it’s worth going back and listening to the sixteen episodes that are available. Adam Roberts of The Amateur Gourmet and his partner Craig host a dinner party in their apartment and record it. I obviously love hearing about what they made for their guests, but it’s also full of fun conversation and you feel like you’re sitting around the table with them as a silent participant. It’s a relaxing one and feels like something that would be good to listen to while making a stew or risotto in your own kitchen.
FREQUENCY: previously weekly, but hasn’t had a new episode since November 2013
FAVORITE EPISODE: with Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen
Chef’s Story – Dorothy Cann Hamilton, founder and CEO of The International Culinary Center, interviews chefs about their journeys in this straightforward podcast. Sometimes these are a little too chef- and restaurant-focused for me, as I am usually more interested in the “home cook” story. However, some of these chefs do indeed have really interesting tales to tell about how they got to where they are, and I especially enjoy hearing about how they did (or did not) grow up in the kitchen and how that influenced their lives as chefs.
FREQUENCY: usually weekly
FAVORITE EPISODE: with Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar
The Food Seen – When I first discovered this podcast I thought, “OH MY GOD SOMEONE MADE A PODCAST SPECIFICALLY FOR ME.” This show is about food and art and where they intersect. Helllooooooo that’s what this blog basically is. (Sidenote – it’s totally a pipe dream of mine to be interviewed on this show one day.) The host is food photographer Michael Harlan Turkell, and the guests range from fellow food photographers to stylists, cookbook editors and authors, restaurant designers, food artists and more.
FAVORITE EPISODE: Shout out to my Color Theory professor from college, Mike Geno, who was a guest on episode 104. He creates fun food paintings like his bacon series. I had no idea when I took his class six years ago that I would one day be creating food art myself.
Eat Your Words – This is another example of a podcast that I feel was created especially for me, as it is all about cookbooks and books about food in general. Cathy Erway is the host, and it was actually her book, The Art of Eating In, that really lit the fire under my butt when it comes to my interest in food and cooking. However, this show used to be called Let’s Eat In (before it was more singly focused on cookbooks as it is now), so dig back into those archives and you’ll find some great episodes there as well. I discovered most of my Smorgasburg obsessions through those older episodes where Cathy interviewed a lot of artisanal food makers in Brooklyn. She used to ask every guest what they thought the perfect date meal was, and some of the answers are great.
FAVORITE EPISODE: Hands down, my favorite episode is with my home-girl Lucinda Scala Quinn. I’ve listened to it multiple times.
REAL TALK, GIRL TALK & COMEDY
Totally Married – I’m currently in the middle of a binge-listening phase with this one. The hosts Andy (from Totally Beverages, see above) and Elizabeth are a married couple who start off the show by talking to each other about random stuff going on in their lives and their marriage, and then go on to take listener questions. This is NOT just about marriage or just for married people – the discussions center around friendship, dating, in-laws, pets, mental illness, and general life questions in addition to marriage. I love this show because Elizabeth and Andy are just real people. Sometimes one or both of them are in a bad mood, and they podcast anyway because that’s real life. They treat their lives like an open book to their audience and they aren’t afraid to have real, hard discussions with each other on air about big topics. There’s incredible chemistry between them, and they’re great at accepting criticism from each other and letting things roll off their shoulders, and say things to one another like, “Oh my god you’re so stupid.” With love, of course. My favorite parts are when they’re laughing so hard that all you can hear is Andy’s cackling in the background and Elizabeth’s snorting as she is laughing so hard she’s crying and cannot breathe. They’ll be the first to admit that they give terrible advice, but that’s the other great part of this show – they get tons of great listener feedback through comments and emails, and they share updates to topics in subsequent episodes. It has become a way for people to crowd-source life advice. This is honest-to-goodness one of my favorite podcasts, and I probably feel closer to this couple than I should. Totally Married is a spinoff show from their original podcast, Totally Laime, where they interview comedians and the like, which is ending shortly after five years. (If you like The Nerdist – see below – you would probably enjoy Totally Laime.) It’s only a matter of time before I’m binge-listening to that one as well. And for those of you who are parents – they have another spinoff show called Totally Mommy.
The Nerdist – Comedian Chris Hardwick, along with friends Jonah and Matt, talk to other comedians and actors “usually more famous” than all of them, as they like to point out. They’ve built quite the empire around this podcast and have had lots of notable guests on the show. This is not your typical interview format – although they occasionally talk to a guest about an upcoming project, film, or whatever, they mostly just shoot the breeze and talk about whatever comes up naturally. It’s a refreshing way to get to know some A-list people.
FREQUENCY: multiple times a week
FAVORITE EPISODES: with my boys Tom Hanks and Joseph Gordon-Levitt
You Made it Weird – I haven’t listened to many of these yet, but I really enjoy them. I usually turn one on when I’m ready to zone out for a long time because most episodes are quite lengthy (about two hours long). Pete Holmes, the host, is kind of an odd bird, but I like that. He’s not afraid to be himself and he has an incredible laugh. It’s very similar to The Nerdist where it’s a laid-back interview style with fellow comedians and actors, but Pete digs more into their personal life and spiritual beliefs, etc. I think he uses his podcast sometimes as a way to search for the meaning of life. It will make you think, for sure.
Slumber Party with Alie & Georgia – This is one heck of a silly interview show. Alie and Georgia are best friends (you might know them from The Cooking Channel), and they interview someone while wearing pajamas and sitting in a teepee. They have a handful of questions that they ask most guests, touching on topics like ghost stories, midnight snacks, your perfect day and more. It’s one of my favorites.
FAVORITE EPISODE: with Joy Wilson, aka Joy the Baker
The Joy the Baker Podcast – Duh, of course I love this one. If you’re a food blogger and you don’t listen to this one … well, I just don’t know about you. You should get on that. Joy and Tracy are besties, and they chat every week or so about their lives, things they’re obsessing over, what they’re making in the kitchen, booze, cats, instagram booties, etc., as well as answer some listener questions about food, love and general life advice. These ladies are super busy so it’s not always the most consistent podcast, but that just makes it so much sweeter when they come out with a new episode – it feels like a special treat.
FREQUENCY: weekly (mostly)
FAVORITE EPISODES: the ones about road trips and red flags, plus The Wisdom in Our Wisdom Teeth and Daily Afflecktion, and of course the one where Robert called in to wish me a happy anniversary
We’re About to Be Friends – This show only has 7 episodes, but they’re all worth listening to. Joy [the Baker] started this one back in 2011 and it kind of fell by the wayside BUT there are rumors that she might be starting it up again. Essentially Joy interviews people she likes or thinks are interesting and then she can call them her friends. It’s a fun and laid-back interview style. I hope she brings it back.
FREQUENCY: non-existent, but you should listen to the ones that are out
FAVORITE EPISODE: with the Gluten-Free Girl
This American Life – This has been one of the most popular podcasts out there for a long time, and for good reason. Ira Glass is a magician with his radio production abilities and his ability to craft a story. This podcast features first-person stories and short fiction pieces that are sure to leave a mark on you in some way. The newest episode will only stay in the iTunes queue until the next one airs, but if you purchase the This American Life app you can access the entire archive. I believe you can also listen to them through the web site for free.
Serial – If you had to pick one podcast to listen to right now, it should be this one. It’s the number one podcast on iTunes even though it’s only ten weeks old. Created by the people behind This American Life, Serial tells a true story, week by week, over the course of a “season.” So in other words, you need to start with episode one and work your way through it. Season one follows the story of Adnan Syed, a man who was accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend when he was seventeen and has been in prison for the last fifteen years. Sarah Koenig, the host of Serial, has been investigating his case because she feels it wasn’t played out fully during the trial and there’s a good chance that Adnan never committed the crime in the first place. This story is playing out in real time, too, as Adnan’s case is currently in a stage of appeal, so jump in now while you can. There will be a season two of the podcast, but they have not determined what it will be about yet.
The Moth – This show features recordings of true stories being told live and without notes to a standing-room-only crowd full of strangers. Some will make you laugh, others will make you cry, and a lot of them will leave you feeling like you got hit upside the head. They only keep 5 episodes in their iTunes queue at any time, so you have to keep up with them if you want to hear them all.
INSPIRATION & BUSINESS SMARTS
The Lively Show – This has been one of my FAVORITE podcasts ever since I started listening to it this past February (a few weeks after it launched). Watching the support for this show grow has been so gratifying to witness because it is extremely well-deserved. Jess Lively is a gifted interviewer with the ability to draw profound insights out of her guests. Her show topics have ranged from personal finance to fashion to eating disorders, to relationships and more, but her overarching theme has to do with her message of living with “values-based intentions.” She’s also started publishing the occasional shorter Tuesday episode (the long-form interview episodes are on Thursdays), a “mini episode,” where she discusses something from a more personal standpoint. Every episode is bound to leave you feeling inspired.
FREQUENCY: once or twice a week
FAVORITE EPISODES: the ones with Caroline Rector, Lara Casey, Jessica Merchant, Joy Wilson, Lindsay Ostrom, Clara Artschwager, Dana Shultz, … okay I should stop now
One Part Podcast – I’ve only listened to a couple of these so far but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them. I found it because Jessica Murnane, the host, was a guest on The Lively Show, and then she had Jess Lively on this show. (I know, it’s a confusing Jessica-podcast web.) Hers is an interview-style show very much in the same vein of The Lively Show, so if you enjoy that one you would like this one as well. I appreciate the laid-back interview style in this show because Jessica just sounds like a “regular person” trying to get to know another “regular person.”
FREQUENCY: usually weekly
FAVORITE EPISODE: with Sarah Gidick of PFW
After the Jump – This show is hosted by Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge, someone I would refer to as a Queen of the Blogging World. She interviews people of the creative community, like artists and designers, store owners, entrepreneurs, etc. and explores their day-to-day lives while discussing the challenges they face. She also hosts some independent episodes where she talks about the creative world and how it interacts with business from her own perspective.
FREQUENCY: usually weekly
Microblogger – Jim Wang interviews people about how to build successful online businesses. If you have a blog and you’re interested in turning it into your job, you’ll find some great advice through this podcast. That said, I’m sure a lot of this information could be helpful even if your business is not online.
FREQUENCY: usually weekly
FAVORITE EPISODE: with Lindsay and Bjork Ostrom of Pinch of Yum
The Fizzle Show – The three guys who host this podcast are the people behind Fizzle.co, an online business training web site. Their podcast is obviously for people who want to build a business online, and they cover topics like email marketing, work-life balance, creating quality content, building your brand and audience, and more. For many of the episodes it’s just the three hosts talking about topics based on their own experiences, but they also have a lot of guests come on the show.
Smart Passive Income – As far as I know, Pat Flynn is one of the big guys in the “business of online business” world. He’s all about creating multiple streams of “passive income” so you can sit back and relax, letting your online business do the hard work for you. Or something like that… I’m still learning here. Pat’s show is always a joy to listen to because he just sounds very humble and relatable, and he makes his guests feel comfortable, which in turn makes the listener more comfortable. Topics include the usual subjects like search engine optimization, marketing tips, social media, affiliate marketing and more.
Pencil vs Pixel – I just discovered this podcast on Friday and I’m already hooked. Cesar is a calm, cool and collected interviewer as he talks to professionals in the art and design fields. It’s full of great advice about running a design business or freelance career straight from people who do it all day long. He begins every show by asking the guest “pencil or pixel?” I enjoy hearing their answers as I would have a hard time answering myself, seeing as most of my illustrations are created with a combination of pencil AND pixel.
FREQUENCY: weekly, although I think he might be taking break for a month or two
FAVORITE EPISODE: with Jessica Hische
The Suze Orman Show – Nothing will make you feel poor faster than listening to this show. Suze Orman is a tough cookie and she will tell you exactly how it is. The show, which is just the audio of the CNBC television show, features one-on-one segments where Suze dives deep into someone’s financial problems, plus answers to basic listener questions, and the ever-popular “Can I Afford It” segment by which you will realize that you can’t afford anything you want (or need, for that matter). Or at least that’s how it is for me. I like to listen to this first thing on Monday mornings as a reset button to keep my brain on track throughout the week when it comes to my spending habits.
Marketplace Weekend – This show is not just about personal finance, but also discusses general financial and economic news. Technology is also a frequent topic. More importantly, however, it approaches these topics in regards to how they affect the average person’s everyday life. They present economic news in a down-to-earth, comfortable way that makes it easy to digest. For a show that’s about pretty sterile topics, they make the podcast feel very human. They used to take listener questions (back when it was called “Marketplace Money”), which was my favorite part because it was so relatable, so if you listen to older episodes you should be able to find some of those.
Listen Money Matters – This is my new favorite personal finance podcast, and I think it’s the most relevant to millennials. Hosts Matt and Andrew are two dudes in their thirties discussing personal finance, completely uncensored. Andrew has a better history with personal finance and has been helping Matt to turn his financial life around. This is nice because Matt is often learning right along with the listener and has a tendency to ask the questions the listeners need the answers to. They’re also beer nerds, so they discuss what they are drinking at the top of every episode. So if you’re into beer, there’s some bonus content for you. It’s an extremely down-to-earth podcast about real-life topics like student loans, how to make a budget, what apps they love using, buying a home, how to invest when you’re not a millionaire, etc. They’ve had guests on like Mr. Money Mustache and Jim Wang, but some of my favorites are the “This Financial Life” episodes where they interview listeners of the show, aka ordinary people, and talk to them about their money and what they could be doing better.
FREQUENCY: several times a week
FAVORITE EPISODE: When She Makes More with Farnoosh Torabi
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Is that enough podcasts for you? Holy crap. I hope you were able to find something new to listen to and get obsessed with. If you have a favorite podcast that’s not on here and you think I’d like it, please share! I’m always looking for new ones to binge-listen to.
Illustration at top created with Photoshop and Illustrator.
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