Climate Cuisine

By Whetstone Radio Collective

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Climate Cuisine is a podcast that explores how sustainable crops are used in similar climate zones around the world. In the hands of different cultures, a single ingredient can take on many wondrous forms. Staple crops are seldomly confined to time or place, and thrive where they can— if climatic conditions allow. Climate Cuisine profiles how sustainable, soil-building crops that share the same biome are grown, prepared, and eaten around the world. As the world faces alarming upward shifts in base temperature, climate-centric conversations about crops become increasingly important to the resiliency and survival of our food systems.

Episode Date
Meet Cilantro's Tropical Cousin: Culantro

Meet culantro—cilantro’s tropical counterpart. It tastes like a more pungent cilantro, and in the right conditions, it grows all year round. This episode touches on how limited our repetoire of herbs are and the possiblities that come when we expand our selection beyond what's just avaliable at the grocery store. We’ll talk to food blogger Reina Gascon-Lopez on how culantro is used in Puerto Rican cuisine and award-winning cookbook author Andrea Nguyen on how she uses it in Vietnamese cooking.

Topics covered in this episode:

  • Min 0:45: Annual plants and their tropical counterparts
  • Min 3:19: Meet Reina Gascon-Lopez
  • Min 4:17: What is culantro?
  • Min 6:11: How Reina cooks with cilantro
  • Min 7:42: Culantro in the US
  • Min 8:46: The downside to culantro
  • Min 9:45: Meet Andrea Nguyen
  • Min 11:37: Three sources of cilantro notes in Vietnamese cooking
  • Min 12:42: How colonization and globalization affect our palates
  • Min 17:24: Expanding the way you think of herbs

Climate Cuisine is part of Whetstone Radio Collective. Learn more about this episode of Climate Cuisine at, on IG at @whetstoneradio, Twitter at @whetstone_radio, and YouTube at /WhetstoneRadio.

Guests: Reina Gascon-Lopez (@thesofritoproject), Andrea Nguyen (@andreanguyen88)

Jan 19, 2022
Why All the Bananas at the Grocery Store Taste the Same

There are more than 1,000 different types of bananas in the world. So why do we only have one type of banana in the grocery store? This episode is an exploration into the rich diversity of bananas and plantains — and why North American grocery stores only sell one type. We talk with biologist Rob Dunn, who wrote a book about this topic, Von Diaz, an esteemed food writer and cookbook author, Meenakshi J., a freelance journalist who wrote an article about sacred bananas, Vidya Balachander, the South Asia editor at Whetstone, and Vanessa Mota, a food blogger behind My Dominican Kitchen, for more.

Topics covered in this episode:

  • Min 0:43: Meet Von Diaz
  • Min 1:53: Differences between bananas and plantains
  • Min 4:29: Meet Rob Dunn
  • Min 8:03: Story of the Cavendish banana
  • Min 13:28: Meet Meenakshi J.
  • Min 14:16: Bananas as divine offerings
  • Min 15:40: Meet Vanessa Mota
  • Min 16:55: Dominican mangú
  • Min 18:30: Meet Vidya Balachander
  • Min 20:04: Cooking and eating with banana leaves
  • Min 24:26: Changing the food system

Climate Cuisine is part of Whetstone Radio Collective. Learn more about this episode of Climate Cuisine at, on IG at @whetstoneradio, Twitter at @whetstone_radio, and YouTube at /WhetstoneRadio.

Guests: Rob Dunn, Meenakshi J. (@polkajunction), Von Diaz (@cocinacriolla), Vidya Balachander (@vidya83)

Jan 12, 2022
How Cactus is Used for Fashion, Fuel, and Food

Cactus isn't just a pretty backdrop in Western movies. It can be used for food, fashion, and biofuel. In fact, some varieties of cacti use 80% less water than traditional crops. We talk with John Cushman, Adrián López Velarde, and Fadi Kattan and explore how it's a crop of the future, how it's been eaten for generations in Mexico, and how it's also a symbol of resistance in Palestine.

Topics covered in this episode:

  • Min 0:36: Meet Fadi Kattan
  • Min 3:39: The symbolic resilience of cactus in Palestine
  • Min 7:27: How Fadi cooks with prickly pear
  • Min 11:53: Meet Alan Bergo
  • Min 12:25: What is a barrel cactus and what can you cook with it?
  • Min 14:22: Meet John Cushman
  • Min 17:03: Cactus’ potential as a source for feed and biofuel
  • Min 20:14: Meet Adrián López Velarde
  • Min 20:45: Origins and spread of cactus
  • Min 23:20: Farming cactus sustainably

Climate Cuisine is part of Whetstone Radio Collective. Learn more about this episode of Climate Cuisine at, on IG at @whetstoneradio, Twitter at @whetstone_radio, and YouTube at /WhetstoneRadio.

Guests: Fadi Kattan (@fadi.f.kattan), John Cushman, Alan Bergo (@foragerchef), Adrián López Velarde (@desserto.pelle)

Jan 05, 2022
The Heart-Shaped Tuber That Created Humankind

Taro is the basis of many Polynesian creation stories and one of the world's oldest food crops. In fact, it is so important that the Polynesians carried it with them on their boats as they migrated across the Pacific Ocean. Every part of the tuber can be eaten, from the leaves to the tuber, and back in the day a healthy taro patch meant a clean and vibrant waterway. This episode dives into the reason taro is such a staple crop, a bit about all the varieties, and why you cannot eat it raw. We chat with Arthur Wierzchos, chef Lance Seeto, and Ryan Nebeker from FoodPrint for more.

Topics covered in this episode:

  • Min 1:02: Taro’s role in the creation story of Hawai’i
  • Min 3:30: Meet Arthur Wierzchos
  • Min 4:33: Why you should never eat taro raw
  • Min 9:18: Meet Lance Seeto
  • Min 11:15: Different ways of cooking the entire taro plant in the Pacific Islands
  • Min 13:17: Challenges to taro cultivation over time
  • Min 17:11: Meet Ryan Nebeker
  • Min 17:48: The importance of FoodPrint
  • Min 20:55: Ways to cultivate taro
  • Min 21:28: Why taro can be important in the face of challenges posed by climate change

Climate Cuisine is part of Whetstone Radio Collective. Learn more about this episode of Climate Cuisine at, on IG at @whetstoneradio, Twitter at @whetstone_radio, and YouTube at /WhetstoneRadio.

Guests: Arthur Wierzchos, Lance Seeto (@lanceseeto), Ryan Nebeker (@foodprintorg)

Dec 15, 2021
The Tropical Starch Behind Fufu and Boba

Around the world, farmers are increasingly planting cassava rather than other crops to mitigate the effects of drought. Due to cassava’s drought-resistant qualities and ability to survive defoliation, it's an ideal crop for communities impacted by climate change and food insecurity.

In today’s episode of Climate Cuisine, we’re discussing how cassava has been feeding people throughout South America, Africa, and Asia. It is one of the most resilient starches out there and can be processed into bread, couscous, and even boba. We’re speaking with Pierre Thiam and Andrea Castillo to learn more about this incredible crop.

Topics covered in this episode:

  • Min 1:26: An intro to Climate Cuisine
  • Min 2:14: What is cassava?
  • Min 2:44: Meet Tammy Turner
  • Min 3:59: Figuring out one’s natural ecology
  • Min 5:53: What happens when you don’t eat in accordance with your climate
  • Min 9:36: Meet Andrea K. Castillo
  • Min 11:02: The surprising toxin in cassava
  • Min 11:39: Steps to make Belizean cassava bread
  • Min 15:38: Meet Pierre Thiam
  • Min 17:12: Ways cassava is used in West African cuisine
  • Min 19:44: How Pierre decolonizes his cuisine
  • Min 21:54: The ills of monoculture cassava farms
  • Min 24:45: Increasing interest in African food cultures

Climate Cuisine is part of Whetstone Radio Collective. Learn more about this episode of Climate Cuisine at, on IG at @whetstoneradio, Twitter at @whetstone_radio and YouTube at /WhetstoneRadio

Guests: Tammy Turner, Pierre Thiam (@chefpierrethiam), Andrea K. Castillo (@andreakcastillo)

Dec 07, 2021
Trailer - Climate Cuisine

Check out the trailer for #ClimateCuisine hosted by Taipei-based journalist Clarissa Wei. Launching this Wed, Dec 8!

Dec 06, 2021