Point of Origin

Point of Origin

Point of Origin is about the world of food, worldwide. Each week we travel to different countries exploring culture through food, examining its past and present, and what it teaches us about who we are and how we came to be. Join Whetstone Magazine co-founder host Stephen Satterfield as he connects with those most immersed in defining and preserving global foodways. Along the way we’re drinking natural wine in Australia, sipping tea — Taiwanese Oolong and Sri Lankan Ceylon — and eating frejon, a Nigerian staple with Brazilian origins. The power of food is that it has a story to tell. Point of Origin is a podcast that enthusiastically uplifts the voices of women and people of color. We believe that this diversity isn’t just noteworthy but part of what makes our work essential and distinguished. When the gatekeepers are diverse, so too are the stories, its tellers and their experiences.

Episodes

November 25, 2020 52 min

Point of Origin friends this is our last episode of the season and a very special one to capstone the season. Today we’re talking about justice in food systems, its absence within those systems and the circumstances that lead to lacking. Now, maybe you've heard heard of the term “food desert” as a means of describing these circumstances, but food apartheid is more forceful, more succinct and frankly, more accurate language. 

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What does it mean to eat meat in 2020? What it means to consuming it, to abstain from it and how, as always on matters of so called morality are murky, and impossible to detangle from the influence of culture, society, and privilege.

To lead the conversation we're joined with writer Alicia Kennedy, one of the clearest and most compelling voices in food media today on, among other things, veganism, and more broadly the politics o...

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November 11, 2020 47 min

So often in “specialty” food and coffee, those are being marketed to and those on the ground who is a commentary on who gets to indulge and who must labor. Reclaiming stories of origin helps erode the idea that those who labor are helpless, and ideally, should push us to ask, why those with the history, knowledge and craft are relying on consumers — who rarely share any of these attributes — are the ones who ultimately uphold these...

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November 4, 2020 46 min

In many ways, no other food represents the center of culinary and communal life more than bread. It is likely the most consumed food in the world, but as it has been a staple food over the millenia, when we think of "bread", the images that come to mind are as diverse as the cultures of the world. Though it is a staple of just about every culture on earth, the contents of the bread we eat have become wildly disconnected to ...

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What do we mean when we say anthropology? And specifically food anthropology? We're talking about a word we use often and a word embedded in Whetstone lexicon and ideology. But it's also a word we have never defined. While it is a generous term that at its core is about the relationship between human beings and the world, we recognize the problematic history of the genre, one historically comprised of white male academics w...

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October 21, 2020 35 min

You're familiar with those "Got Milk" commercials. You've seen the billboards a hundred times. Those milk mustaches seemed innocuous enough. What you may not have considered is how Americans have been coerced into believing milk is an essential part of our healthy diet. We discuss how milk is the perfect microcosm for the many maladies plaguing our corporate food system. Currently, in the US an estimated 2.7 million...

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October 14, 2020 42 min

The Hass avocado boom has driven significant change, both positive and negative, in the communities of those growing and harvesting the fruit. While the revenue created by this cash crop has led to improvement in living conditions for many, its popularity is threatening avocado's biodiversity and the business has become deeply entwined with political corruption and violent crime. We're learning about the history of the avoc...

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October 7, 2020 29 min

Whetstone contributor Mónica R. Goya takes us to La Palma, part of the Spanish archipelago of the Canary Islands, to meet winemaker Victoria Torres Pecis. Pecis owns and runs the oldest winery on the island and is one of the few women winemakers in La Palma using a vinification process that relies on spontaneous fermentation and natural yeasts to produce “free” wine. Join us as we learn about colonial expansion and its effect on wi...

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September 30, 2020 39 min

Host Stephen Satterfield connects with Chef Binta, an ambassador for the ancient grain fonio and self described modern nomadic chef. Her Fulani roots, classical training from the Kenyan Culinary Institute and love for rural life and nature inspire her dishes and pop up “Dine on a Mat” events, resulting in a modern, and environmentally engaged experience. Chef Binta helps us answer: What is Fulani food? 

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September 23, 2020 28 min

Most people have heard of ouzo from Greece, pastis from France or Italian sambuca but few know that they're all derived from the mother spirit, arak - the oldest spirit in the world. Nader Muaddi, a Philadelphia-born Palestinian, is working to change that while restoring arak to it's former glory. Join us as we launch season 3 of Point of Origin, in conversation with journalist Lyric Lewin as she travels to Muaddi's dis...

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September 18, 2020 3 min

Food is, and always has been, political. If that wasn’t clear before, the events of 2020 have revealed this truth in spectacular fashion. So this season, we’re diving deeper, learning about the nomadic roots of the Fulani people and the cultural significance of the mat, we travel to Palestine to taste the milky distillate, arak. And then to La Palma in the Canary Islands to drink local wine froma woman winemaker, while considering ...

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Recent media attention surrounding native indigenous foodways has brought to light what a decolonized diet means. This is in part thanks to individuals like Sean Sherman, the Sioux Chef, places like the Ohlone Cafe in Berkeley, Ca, Andi Murphy the host of Toasted Sister podcast and Brit Reed who works at Tulalip clinic. Through their work, and the work of many other indigenous people, they are revitalizing and bringing attention to...

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April 22, 2020 53 min

Over last 20 years, there is perhaps no name more important in the world of contemporary dining culture than Chef René Redzepi and his restaurant, Noma. After two decades, many of the same people who helped create the phenomenon are asking: Does the movement need to live to continue or die? On this episode of Point of Origin from Whetstone Magazine, we speak with Jeff Gordinier, author of "HUNGRY: Eating, Road-Tripping, and Ris...

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April 16, 2020 53 min

Did you know that the coconut is one of the only seafaring, self-propagating crops? Or that most of the world’s olive oils are produced in Spain, but end up blended, imported then exported, far from their country of origin? How about the fact that organized crime infiltrated the Italian food system for decades? Climate, locality and even human welfare by way of Fairtrade have all seeped into the consciousness of many well informed ...

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April 8, 2020 55 min

Diasporic foodways looks at the ways identity and food evolve in new home countries. Join Whetstone Magazine’s Point of Origin podcast as we speak with Asleigh Shanti, Aarohi Narai, and the team from Third Culture Bakery on the power of diasporic foodways. 

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April 1, 2020 56 min

Just days before her second restaurant was set to open, we spoke to Bay Area-based chef and restaurateur Reem Assil. We discussed her feelings on the precipice of opening, but also, about the industry at large. Her answers about the state of the restaurant industry would prove painfully ominous. What they revealed are some of the pitfalls of the industry prior to its COVID-19-related collapse and underscores some of the challenges ...

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March 25, 2020 46 min

In part 2 of our series on natural wine we delve deeper into the what makes the term natural wine controversial, why the qualifier alludes us and if natural wine is trend or here to stay. In part episode of Point of Origin from Whetstone Magazine, we’re joined by New York based sommelier Amanda Smeltz, who currently works as a wine director at both ESTELA and Cafe Altro Paradiso, who breaks down the cultural significance of natural...

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March 18, 2020 28 min

Natural wine is farmed organically biodynamically, using permaculture, and made without adding or removing anything in the cellar. No additives or processing aids are used, and the naturally occurring fermentation process is kept to a minimum. Neither fining nor filtration are used. The result is a wine that’s truly “alive”, full of naturally occurring microbiology. In this two part episode of Point of Origin from Whetstone Magazin...

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March 11, 2020 46 min

Guided by the stories of Sonja Swanson, Seoyung Chung of Bburi Kitchen and Ji Hye Kim of Ms Kim restaurant, this episode explores ancient Korean recipes and how they are taking on modern adaptations. Swanson came to Korea to learn about her cultural heritage, and a one-year stay became a seven-year journey. Together, Swanson and Seoyung are using food to tell a story about the culinary history of Korea, through adaptations of ancie...

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March 4, 2020 45 min

Travel with us to the rolling hills of Sri Lanka and the high mountains of Taiwan to sample teas and learn about their origins. We explore how decisions like harvesting, processing and fermentation impart flavor, and how its consumption is deeply ingrained in Asian cultures. Meet our guests Elena Liao from Te Company a premium tearoom in New York City, as she discusses Oolong tea is and how Taiwan’s history plays a role in its tast...

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