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The 100 Podcasts I Listened to in 2020


2020 was the 14th anniversary of the Food for Thought podcast, and while I’m a podcast creator, I’m also a podcast listener. You may (or may not) be surprised to know that the podcasts I listen to most frequently are those focused on history and language. Aside from relishing the variety of topics within these categories, it’s also how I discover facts that relate to my own work related to animal protection, food, and language.

You can see (below) how many episodes I listened to this past year, and you might be asking how I find the time. I usually listen to an episode each morning while I’m getting dressed — doing my hair, doing my makeup — and getting my morning tea before I sit down to write. 

Also, when I’m not reading or writing, I’m usually walking, hiking, cooking, or gardening, and I usually play podcasts instead of listening to music. What about you?

Here are my favorite podcasts and the episodes I listened to. (I’ve listened to fewer of the language podcasts this year, so I didn’t parse out those episodes.)

History Extra
Episodes, released every week, feature interviews with notable historians on topics spanning ancient history through to recent British to American events. Episodes feature history stories and perspectives on everything from crusading knights to Tudor monarchs and the D-Day landings.

In Our Time
n Our Time Podcast. Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of ideas. Updated: weekly. 

The History of English
A chronological history of the English language examined through the lens of historical events that shaped the development and spread of the language from the Eurasian steppe to the entire world.

Lexicon Valley
A show about language, from pet peeves, syntax, and etymology to neurolinguistics and the death of languages. Hosted by linguist John McWhorter.

A Way With Words
Public radio’s program about words, language, and how we use them. Hosts answers callers questions about grammar, slang, usage, old family sayings, new words, language-learning, idioms, riddles, word games, or anything else related to language.

Practicing Human
A daily podcast hosted by Cory Muscara, offering insights and practices into how to live a fulfilling life. Cory pulls on his time living as a Buddhist monk in Burma, his many years as a mindfulness and meditation teacher, and his work in Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

IN OUR TIME EPISODES I LISTENED TO IN 2020

  • Cave Art
  • Pericles
  • The Great Irish Famine
  • Macbeth
  • Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
  • Coffee
  • The Highland Clearances
  • The Mexican-American War
  • William Morris
  • The Iliad
  • Thucydides
  • The Mytilenaean Debate
  • Crime and Punishment
  • Is Shakespeare History? The Romans
  • Nero
  • President Ulysses S. Grant
  • Alexander the Great
  • Frankenstein
  • The Battle of Salamis
  • The Evolution of Horses
  • Albrecht Dürer
  • Catullus
  • Mary Astell

HISTORY EXTRA PODCAST EPISODES I LISTENED TO IN 2020

  • The Wars of the Roses: Everything you wanted to know
  • A WW2 story of survival
  • Editor’s Pick: Ron Chernow on Alexander Hamilton
  • Christmas ghost stories
  • Christmas: Everything you wanted to know
  • Ten Things to do with a medieval donkey – history extra
  • Japan and the west
  • Magna Carta: everything you wanted to know
  • The Glorious Revolution: everything you wanted to know
  • Tudor queens on screen
  • Unexpected Irish Tales
  • Ancient Babylon: everything you wanted to know
  • Women in Greek myths
  • 2020: The historians’ verdict
  • Germans who resisted the Nazis
  • Shakespeare: everything you wanted to know
  • Everything you wanted to know about the East India Company 
  • Oswald, the many-headed medieval saint
  • The White Ship: a medieval tragedy
  • Medical history: everything you wanted to know
  • The Wild West: everything you wanted to know
  • Viking warrior women and the ethics of excavating the dead
  • War and society: a tangled relationship
  • Ingenious medieval science
  • Women in black: the surprising history of widows
  • Personal stories of the Second World War
  • Inside the Viking mind
  • The Russian revolution: everything you wanted to know
  • The ‘ordinary’ Nazi
  • The Regency era: everything you wanted to know
  • An Atlantic slave war
  • Enslaved women and resistance
  • At sea with the Vikings
  • Moving, medieval style
  • The French Revolution: everything you wanted to know
  • The dispossession of Native Americans
  • Ghosts of Viking London
  • An Anglo-Saxon warlord
  • Ancient wisdom with Neil Oliver
  • Everything you wanted to know about medieval daily life
  • Sparta
  • Should I stay or should I go: the problem with historical monuments in 2020
  • Everything you wanted to know about the history of Japan
  • The Spanish Flu epidemic
  • Everything you wanted to know about Roman Britain but were afraid to ask
  • Medieval rebellions
  • Viking genes unravelled
  • JFK: the path to power
  • The Mayflower
  • Scythians: Warrior Nomads of the Steppe
  • The problems with the Anglo Saxons
  • Isabel Wilkerson on caste in America
  • Everything you ever wanted to know about the legends of King Arthur
  • Crusaders: An Epic History of the Wars for the Holy Lands
  • Everything you ever wanted to know about the Hundred Years’ War
  • Edward the Confessor
  • Revisiting the Kindertransport
  • Everything you ever wanted to know about the Aztecs
  • The story of the Freemasons
  • Africa’s cultural liberation
  • The history of seduction
  • Could D-Day have failed
  • The women killed by Jack the Ripper
  • Rethinking the crusades
  • What’s in a medieval name?
  • Everything you ever wanted to know about the American Civil War
  • Peter Frankopan on global history in 2020
  • Everything you ever wanted to know about the Ancient Greece
  • Stonehenge: History’s Greatest Mysteries
  • The fate of Jesus’ body: History’s Greatest Mysteries
  • Unburied treasures
  • African American abolitionists in Britain
  • Everything you ever wanted to know about the Cuban Missile Crisis
  • A history of magic
  • Everything you ever wanted to know about medieval queens
  • At home with the medieval aristocracy
  • Lionheart of stone: the medieval statue debate
  • The Abdication crisis
  • Nero: Rome’s Antichrist?
  • The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles
  • Museums and colonialism
  • Everything you ever wanted to know about the Georgians
  • Everything you ever wanted to know about the Scottish Wars of Independence
  • California’s century of change
  • Women and the Crusades
  • William and Cnut: a tale of two conquerors
  • World War Two: the challenge of commemoration
  • A history of pandemics: from Spanish Flu to Covid-19
  • From Allies to enemies
  • The Auschwitz volunteer
  • Why black hair matters
  • Working mothers
  • Henry III: inside the mind of a medieval king
  • Indian soldiers at Dunkirk
  • Medieval prisoners of war
  • Living on the edge in Victorian Britain
  • Everything you ever wanted to know about the English Reformation
  • The Corn Laws crisis
  • A new view of Africa’s past
  • Everything you ever wanted to know about D-Day but were afraid to ask
  • Everything you ever wanted to know about the Tudors
  • A history of celebrity
  • Blitz spirit
  • News in the Middle Ages
  • Resistance in the British empire
  • Food and war
  • Burglary: a modern history
  • The bombing of Dresden

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE PODCASTS?

 

FAQ

Each cooking class is fully interactive. While I am demonstrating, you can chime in with comments, questions, and ooohs and ahhhs the entire time. Not only does this increase connection among the students, both my assistant and I see your questions and make sure we answer all of them.
You can participate in the class using Zoom on your computer, tablet or mobile device.
Upon completing your registration, you receive your confirmation email, which includes the link to our Zoom class, along with information and recipes. Each class is officially a go once a minimum number of slots are filled — at which time the recipes appear on the document. My goal is to have the recipes available to you at least 5 days before the class to give you enough time to order / shop for ingredients, should you choose to cook along.
While I love to see the faces of my students, the use of video during the live class is optional. NOTE: Even if you opt to show your video, for the class recordings, which go out to the general public as on-demand classes, NO ONE'S video is shown except for mine.
We do our best to prepare you in advance so you are ready for when the class begins. If you have issues during the class, my assistant is there to help you. Sometimes it's an issue on the user side, and when there's an issue on my side, we do our best to mitigate it right away. One of the benefits of live classes is that they're in real time, which means it's a live feed. Sometimes technical issues are out of our control, but so far, we've never had any real issues that took away from the purpose of the class.
Absolutely! Unless something goes horribly wrong (and it rarely does), each class is recorded, and students receive the class recording within 2 days of the live class.
While I do send a reminder email out a couple days before our class, I encourage you to add the class to your calendar as soon as you register.
Some students love being able to cook along; some students love to just watch. It is entirely up to you how you want to enjoy the class.
You can decide in advance which dishes you want to cook along with. You might choose to cook along for just one of the dishes or all of them. Whatever you decide, I suggest you have your mise en place all ready. That is to say, have all the ingredients measured and prepped as much as possible. (Mise en place is a French culinary phrase meaning "everything in its place.”)
Ultimately, what we take away is based on what we give, so I encourage you to be present and engaged in the class. But, for my part, if you know me, you know I'm pretty passionate about many things, and I can’t help bringing my love of food, history, language, animals, film, literature, and food lore to each class. My aim is that you walk away with a richer understanding of food, cooking, and eating than before you arrived. More than that, you will get helpful step-by-step instructions about each dish I'm demonstrating and a clear up-close view of all the ingredients and procedures. The best part is that I, too, make mistakes, and you see me make them live in real time. That's how we learn the most.
I'm thrilled to say that many students are regulars and repeats, and you will no doubt get to know some fabulous people when you attend these classes. I encourage engagement and follow-up, including posting photos, questions, and comments on our private Facebook page. Many friends and family members join from different cities, then share a virtual meal with each other once the class is over. (That makes my heart sing.) So, yes, despite being online the classes foster connection.
I have found that 60 minutes is the ideal amount of time to spend in a virtual class. Sometimes we stick around a little longer to finish something up or to enjoy a bonus cocktail by our resident mixologist (my adorable husband), but we like to honor your time and keep the classes to 60 minutes. (Some special / holiday classes are scheduled for 90 minutes, but they’re the exception.) If we go over and you need to drop off, you can always view the video later.
Absolutely! Once you are registered and the class is a go, you are officially enrolled. That means the recipes, resources, video recording, and even the chat transcript are yours to enjoy. You will receive a follow-up email whether you are in the live class or not.
Because the value of the classes includes exclusive recipes and resources as well as the live class / video recording, once a class is officially a go and you get access to the recipes, you cannot be refunded. However, if the class does not meet the minimum sign-up threshold and I cancel the class, you have the option of getting a full refund or switching to a different class. (This is one of the reasons I don't share the recipes until I know we've reached the minimum threshold.)
After the live class is over and enjoyed by students in real time, each class gets converted into an on-demand class so that others may enjoy the recipes, resources, and video recording. Most live classes become on-demand classes within 2 days.
No animal products are ever used in my recipes, so yes, all the classes are vegan / plant-based, which means nothing that comes out of or off of an animal. I've written three cookbooks (The Joy of Vegan Baking, The Vegan Table, and Color Me Vegan), and two lifestyle books (Vegan’s Daily Companion and The 30-Day Vegan Challenge), which also include recipes. I'm also always testing and developing new recipes (as well as modifying and perfecting old ones) to make sure students get the best, clearest, easiest-to-follow recipes — qualities that have become trademark in my work.
While living compassionately and consciously is not about being perfect, and while some students may not have access to the same bulk stores and package-free ingredients as me, I make an effort in my classes to use (and promote) as little packaging and plastic as possible, which is why so many of my recipes and menus are for how to cook and bake homemade and from-scratch!
My classes span a huge range, and your suggestions are always welcome: *Different types of cuisines (Italian, Thai, Asian, Mexican, etc.) *Particular ways of cooking and eating (Quick & Easy, Oil-free, By Color/Phytochemicals, ) *Cooking with specific appliances (Air-Fryer, Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker / Crockpot, etc.) *Homemade from scratch (Seitan, Tempeh, Tofu, Miso, Nut Cheeses, Nut Butters, etc.) *Various holidays and seasons (Mother’s Day, Easter, Passover, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Summer, Fall, etc.) *Focused on meals (Packed Lunches, Breakfast, Brunch, Fancy Dinner, Quick Dinner, etc.) *Cooking with specific foods/ ingredients (Aquafaba, Beans, Spices & Herbs, Greens, Lentils, Grains, etc. *Baking from scratch (Pizza Dough, Breads, Pretzels, Bagels, and Biscuits, Cakes, Pies, Cobblers, etc.) *And everything in between.
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