If you know me in real life, you know I LOVED the West Wing when it was on t.v. It’s one of the few commercial tv shows that would have played perfectly on PBS. That matters to me, because it means the show has a fabulous cast, pays reasonable attention to small details and is superbly written (ok, there were some bad episodes, but overall…). I rarely like “banter” between “on air personalities,” but this podcast does not specialize in drive-time road-rage inducing idiotic giggling. It just discusses the show and does so while having a great deal of fun. I have too many favorite episodes to count, but most of the ones with Mrs. Landingham and all of the ones with Lord John Marbury or Ainsley Hayes rank up at the top. I don’t listen every time, but enjoy it when I remember it. Here’s a sample of the show on Lord John Marbury. West Wing Weekly.
The Splendid Table, in all its forms, is an oasis for folks like me. You see, if I had the budget for it, I’d be a truly over-the-top foodie. I love food. I’d place Sonoma County, Provence and Tuscany up there with this show in terms of heavenliness. I love to cook. I could garden–and fantasize about it, but….. I love the freshest possible everything–which means I eat what much of the world would throw out as too old since I’m stuck in Southern Ohio where “fresh” usually has to mean Supermarket Fresh. (Hey, we at least have the fabulous Jungle Jim’s International Market and a top-of-the line outrageous Kroger).
This show takes me out of my hum-drum life of work, gym, read, write, read, sleep, repeat. For about an hour they take you to a fabulous new place and make your drool over the food–all without pictures. It’s that well done. Of course the website does have a few pictures and recipes and “other.” But listening is the key. Somehow each episode makes me smell, feel and taste the location. Like with the West Wing Weekly, I listen when I can and sometimes pick one I’ve missed to be on in the background when I’m making dinner. It always makes dinner come up sadly lacking though. Even when it’s my killer kale salad with avocado (which makes life worth living) and blue cheese (ditto) and Julia Child’s vinaigrette! Other stories cover chefs, trends, special diets, books and cookbooks–all kinds of fascinating stuff. Here’s a recent spot on some new foodie books, making pie and other topics. Episode 608. The Splendid Table. (Note: Just clicking on the link to the left has been known to induce ravenous hunger).
Public Radio International’s The World is like NPR’s All Things Considered–International Version. It’s fascinating, current and very, very well done. Here’s a short example story on Refugee Students in Germany.
Like all things Lonely Planet, this podcast feeds my never-dormant desire to travel. Again, if I had the budget, I’d spend a year or two as a travel nomad. This show covers simply everything travel. Everything. Here’s a link to their discussion of doing Berlin in a Day (#304). Great accents, great tips, great companies introduced, great, great, great. Giggling kept to a respectable (and appropriate) minimum. Indie Travel Podcast. This is more independent type travelers.
I also thoroughly enjoy sweet, polite Rick Steves, who has guided legions of panicky Americans thru do-it-yourself European travel, even with kids. His shows point out what you would probably want to see, how to do it cheaply and efficiently, how to get some local experience and not just see tourist traps, but he makes it all fee SAFE. These days he’s all over the world–here’s the Great Barrier Reef, Kiribati and Vanuatu. He also has downloadable tours you can listen to–like St. Stephen’s Cathedral in The Sound of Music’s own Salzburg. Plus he has a Robert Bathurst-y vibe that I adore. Travel With Rick Steves.
See why I don’t miss television?
Do you have a favorite podcast? Leave me a link and I’ll give it a listen!