Each week I will publish the most Delicious Ingredients of my Audible Feast … the scrumptious, delectable, savory, rich, sweet, spicy, and best podcasts that have fed my ears this week. They’re listed in no particular order. You can see what I’ve been listening to here to see the competition these shows beat out to make the best of the week.
Rumble Strip: Robert Ford Last Ambassador (4/13/17): What it’s about: “Robert Ford served as the last U.S. Ambassador to Syria. He arrived in the country right before the protests began there in 2011 and he was witness to the beginnings of the civil war. In 2012 he was pulled out over security concerns, but he continued to work on the crisis in Syria back in DC until 2014, when he left the Foreign Service. Robert Ford now lives with his wife Alison in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, which is about as far from the Middle East as you can get. We met in his living room on a rainy day last week, right after the chemical attack in Syria and right before Trump’s military response. We talked about his personal experience in Syria and the role of diplomacy in the Middle East.” Why it’s great: This is a great interview, and it’s not going ot leave you feeling happy or hopeful about what may happen next in Syria. This type of story is why I love Rumble Strip – I love that host Erika Heilman finds people from all across Vermont and pulls fascinating stories out of them. These people could be your neighbors, and they have remarkable pasts worth sharing. (34 minutes) Twitter: @rumblestripvt
Terrible, Thanks for Asking, Mini-Season Ep. 5: To Michael (4/17/17): What it’s about: “When someone dies, you’re supposed to say something. Someone is supposed to say something. Someone is supposed to summarize this person, prove that they existed, that they mattered. But what do you say when a complicated person dies after a complicated life?” Why it’s great: This was a really touching episode about true grief, how it is sometimes so awkward, and yet in those moments of grief when you can’t find the words to say anything, you may regret not speaking. So poignant. (19 minutes) Twitter: @ttfapodcast
BBC Documentary: Mirrored (4/18/17): What it’s about: “From childhood to old age, a journey through life reflected in the mirror – via a series of interviews recorded with people as they confront their reflection. What do they see? How has their face changed? What stories lie behind the wrinkles and scars? We hear the initial wonder of the small child give way to the embarrassment of the teenager and the acceptance of later-life. Created by multi-award-winning documentary-maker, Cathy FitzGerald, this moving programme hops from home to home in contemporary Britain, catching its subjects in bedrooms and bathrooms and lounges, to hold up a mirror to the ageing process itself.” Why it’s great: This is a perfect story for audio with no visual accompaniment. FitzGerald starts with the youngest subject and works her way up to the oldest, asking each along the way what they see in the mirror. You don’t need to see what the people look like, because the point is that they describe what they see. I absolutely loved this documentary and thought it was really beautiful and tender. (27 minutes) Twitter: @BBCWorldService
Q’ed Up: Sorry, The Therapist Can’t See You – Not Now, Not Anytime Soon (4/18/17): What it’s about: “Natalie Dunnage lives in San Francisco, a place where you think it would be easy to find a therapist. But when she needed one, she couldn’t find any who took her insurance. Insurance companies say there is a shortage of therapists. What the heck is going on here? KQED’s April Dembosky does her own search across the state to find out if therapy is becoming a hobby for the wealthy, rather than a necessity for the mentally ill.” Why it’s great: Two weeks in a row on the Delicious Ingredients is a feat not achieved by many – and Q’ed Up is just killing it right now. I really enjoyed their inaugural series on the flipside of gentrification in Antioch, California, a suburb in the Bay Area. Now they have released two human interest stories in a row that had sharp production and culturally relevant topics. The two episodes felt a little like Only Human, but more documentary-ish. Check out the last two episodes if you’re into that show, and if you liked There Goes the Neighborhood (or really any local-ish podcast that talks about race and why people live in a place, or why they move away) you’ll love the American Suburb series. (26 minutes) Twitter: @KQEDNews
Our Americana, S3E05: Austin, Indiana (An Interlude) (4/19/17): What it’s about: “We pause the story in Austin, to talk more personally about HIV.” Why it’s great: Our Americana looks at life across the United States with one person’s story at a time. We are connected to where we live, and the show explores those relationships. In episode 4 of season 3, producer Josh Hallmark visited Austin, Indiana where a drug epidemic became an HIV crisis. There are three parts to this story, and the second part is the episode that came out this week. It is the producer’s personal story about HIV that he was brave enough to share with the world. Hallmark recounts a sexual assault in a personal flushing of emotion; he lets it out and if you listen, you will feel it wash over you. Your heart will swell and you’ll feel the tear ducts around your eyes start to warm as you hear what Hallmark endured. But much like The Heart’s Mariya and Silent Evidence series, and in the vein of Our Americana, this story is worth telling. Hallmark did endure, he persisted, and he’s here. Josh: You have worth. (37 minutes) Twitter: @OurAmericana
The Lonely Hour, Episode 19: The Invisible Chef (4/19/17): What it’s about: “This story is all about Kat Turner, who is at a real turning point in her professional life. As her friend, I have been watching this happen for the past couple years, and now, just at the time we got her to participate on the show, she’s gaining confidence, taking charge of the change she’s been toying with making. Terence Mickey, host of the Memory Motel podcast, talks to her about that—the loneliness of being a private chef, and how it doesn’t exactly fit her out loud and proud nature—and what Kat plans to do about that.” Why it’s great: This show is about the feeling of loneliness – it may be positive or negative, and can cause complex feelings including sadness and peace. I loved this personal chef’s story – she explained what it meant to feel alone in some of the most exotic, populated, and fascinating places on earth and why the very nature of her job prevented her from connecting with people. She couldn’t share what she was doing, at least not specifically, because she was working for someone very famous. (19 minutes) Twitter: @lonelypodcast
All episode descriptions and artwork come from the linked sites. What else was fantastic this week? Send me a note! firstname.lastname@example.org or @audible_feast on Twitter.
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