Mould, Pasta, Bikes, Teens, Habits

Spores Galore

Episode: “Mold” | Podcast: Surprisingly Awesome | 29m41s

Two friends set out to prove that mould is more interesting than it appears. Part science documentary, part amiable conversation, this episode covers a lot of ground quickly but avoids the trap of information overload. The most striking parts deal with the similarities between moulds that can cure diseases and those which are poisonous to humans; we’re all just one mix-up away from a mouldy death. The historical narrative here is worth attending to as well, with the deeper cultural and geopolitical facets of mould woven into the story. These also provide the material for the show’s surprising and satisfying payoff (29m41s)


Dish Of The Day

Episode: “Bolognese and a Glass of Wine” | Podcast: Bon Appétit Foodcast | 52m42s

Chef describes the process of developing a fool-proof yet authentic bolognese sauce recipe. This is an Italian dish that has been reinterpreted the world over, most often adulterated with excess tomato and served with erroneous spaghetti. Here, its background and culinary origins are discussed alongside extensive description of the decisions that resulted in each step of the final recipe. The episode also includes a vegetarian alternative and a guide to wine choices. The passion the hosts exhibit for matters like how to brown ground beef chuck to best advantage is gratifying and inspiring for the more slapdash home cook. Very difficult to listen to and not feel hungry (52m42s)


Wheels Spinning

Episode: “Proof of Passage” | Podcast: Nocturne | 29m00s

Evocative piece of storytelling about “audax” or “randonneuring” races, in which cyclists race vast distances within a single 24 hour span. There is a set route but competitors can travel at their own pace, choosing whether to sleep in bursts or push on around the clock in order to cover the most ground. Such big courses are difficult to adjudicate, so riders must generate their own “proof of passage” by fulfilling set tasks at checkpoints, such as buying a certain item in a shop to get a time-stamped receipt or replying to a question whose answer is only apparent at a certain location. This episode is a relaxing, intriguing listen thanks to the beautiful music and slower pace of narration (29m00s)


Sneaking Out

Episode: “Bypass” | Podcast: Time Well Spent | 24m40s

First of two episodes during which a grown up son tells his parents about his most elaborate piece of teenage misbehaviour. The story cuts effortlessly between scripted monologue, live storytelling in front of an audience, and conversational segments with family members. The stakes are low — he was a good kid who just wanted a little more freedom — but the tension the listener feels heightens as the episode progresses. There are plenty of jokes and nostalgic references to the pop culture of the host’s youth, but underlying it all is a more serious discussion of what a restrictive, religious upbringing can do to a family’s dynamic and relationships in adulthood (24m40s)


Highly Alarming

Episode: “One Time Snooze” | Podcast: Personal Best | 36m03s

Canadian self-improvement podcast with a tongue in cheek style and a non-didactic approach. Robin, the subject of this episode, wants to be able to get up as soon as her alarm goes off, rather than snoozing incessantly. The hosts devise various exercises to try and help her overcome this problem, and in the process dig into some deeper problems. At school, she faked having a serious medical condition to cover her inability to rise promptly in the morning. She still feels guilty that she has been keeping up this pretence with her mother for all the years since (36m03s)