November 23, 2013 9:12 am

For Thanksgiving, catch up on this classic, yet tasty episode: A Seat at the Table with Anthony Bourdain (Part 1)

Photo Credit: Leslie Mullen

Photo Credit: Leslie Mullen

This Sunday, for Thanksgiving, we’re revisiting a classic episode of StarTalk Radio that’s all about food, and might feel a little like some of your holiday meals.

That’s because your host, Neil deGrasse Tyson, has invited two very different kinds of foodie to the feast: celebrity chef, author, world traveler and host of Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain, and Marion Nestle, the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University.

The pair come at food from two different directions, and thanks to these differing perspectives, the episode provides a rich and well-balanced meal of science and personal experience. (Although nobody has too much to drink and throws a turkey drumstick at anyone else!)

Anthony explains how getting a job in the food industry and writing his first book changed his life and gave him the freedom to see the world. It’s also given him a wide-ranging understanding of the role food plays in people’s lives. He describes some of the most disgusting things he’s ever eaten, and how desirable flavors and textures vary from culture to culture. For instance, did you know that in the Philippines they add bile to some dishes to achieve a bitterness we tend to dislike here in the U.S.? His descriptions are heavily flavored with personal experience, and in some cases, you can feel yourself gagging on their realism, especially when he describes some of the most disgusting things he’s ever eaten on his adventures, from African bush meat to rotten, fermented shark. (His description of “pink slime” back here in the US is no better.) He and Neil also discuss the business of food, the worldwide embracing of fast food culture, and the impact that regional diets have on health.

Marion focuses more on the scientific aspects of nutrition and diet, such as the way that evolution and physiology encourage us to make unhealthy food choices. Together with Marion, Neil and co-host Eugene Mirman touch on some of the more political aspects of food in America, from corn and soy subsidies to NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s attempt to limit the serving size of soda. Marion discusses cultural relativism and the nutrition transition occurring in developing countries, from the older problem of hunger to the newer problem of Type 2 Diabetes.

It’s an episode guaranteed to leave you stuffed to the brim and bursting with knowledge about food, nutrition, science and culture.

Catch up to “A Seat at the Table with Anthony Bourdain (Part 1)” this Sunday, November 24th at 7:00 PM ET on our website, iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!

–Jeffrey Simons

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