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Your Last Meal with Rachel Belle

"What would your last meal be?" On this 2018 James Beard Award nominee for Best Podcast, National Edward R. Murrow Award-winning host Rachel Belle asks every guest this question - but that's just the beginning! Each dish's origins, preparation, and cultural influence are among the many stones upturned as Rachel consults chefs and culinary anthropologists, fishmongers and fry cooks on her quest to explore every facet of Your Last Meal. Every other Thursday. Original music by Prom Queen.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Dorie Greenspan: Ice Cream, Lobster, Ice Cream

Prolific, 5-time James Beard Award winning cookbook author Dorie Greenspan is the queen of cookies. Famous for her beloved World Peace Cookies and many baking books, including one she wrote with Julia Child, it's not surprising that Dorie wants to start and end her last meal with dessert. What's wrong with eating dessert first, anyway? Rachel chats with Ayurvedic counselor Jodi Boone and Food Network host and TODAY show food and lifestyle correspondent Brandi Milloy about the scientific, Ayurvedic and general life-bettering benefits of starting your meal with sweets. And when Dorie told Rachel she ate the same exact lunch every single day for years, the first person we thought of was Donald Gorske. Gorske has eaten almost nothing but McDonald's

Thursday, December 20, 2018

BenDeLaCreme, Lo Mein and Lobster

Drag queen BenDeLaCreme is "sweet as pie and sharp as cheddar." And Ben, who plays "DeLa," has a lot to say about food. So what would this RuPaul's Drag Race All-Star want for his last meal? (Answer: a nostalgic buffet of his favorite New England foods.) Do you order lo mein or chow mein? It probably depends on what coast you live on! We explore the differences between east coast, midwest & west coast American-style Chinese food with “Chinese Soul Food” cookbook author  Hsiao-Ching Chou and “The Search For General Tso“ producer Jennifer 8 Lee (a guest from our very first episode). Also, Ben shares his favorite cartoon foods, the trashy treat his mom used to make him which inspires some very odd childhood favorites from our listeners, and Ben outs his d

Monday, December 10, 2018

Paul Reiser, Onion Bagel with Lox from Barney Greengrass

Comedy legend, author, and actor Paul Reiser (Mad About You, Stranger Things) is a New York native whose last meal is as classic and old-school NYC as it gets! Barney Greengrass has been serving up scrambled eggs with sturgeon, bagels with lox, and black and white cookies since 1908. Rachel talks with 3rd-generation owner Gary Greengrass about the origins of his Upper West Side institution and how they've managed to stay in business, through wars and economic crashes, for 110 years. Rachel also digs into the history of another legendary NYC staple: the black and white cookie. And Paul tells us why he firmly believes that when it comes to food, simpler is better. See Paul Reiser on tour, follow his TV/movie appearances, and buy any of his best-selling books at paulreiser.com. If you don't l

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Tiffani Thiessen, Charcuterie and Cheese Board

Former teen crush Tiffani Thiessen has come a long way since her days at Bayside High. She's a mother, wife, cookbook author, and host of her own show "Dinner at Tiffani's" on The Cooking Channel. And her artistic outlet is also her last meal! We get tips from Tiffani on how to set up the perfect charcuterie board, and then Rachel heads down to Seattle's historic Pioneer Square neighborhood to learn all about the art of cured meats from Martinique Grig and Clara Veniard, owners of Salumi - a beloved salumeria and restaurant founded by Armandino Batali, father of celebrity chef Mario. Tiffani's characters on "Saved by the Bell" and "Beverly Hills 90210" spent a lot of time hanging out at diners, and when Rachel asks Tiffani if the food was better at The Max or The Peach Pit... it

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Maeve Higgins, Fish Pie and Irish Butter

Top o' the mornin' to ya! On this Emerald Isle themed episode of Your Last Meal, Rachel talks to Irish comedian and writer Maeve Higgins about why Irish butter is better, the food that confused her most at her first American Thanksgiving, and of course - her last meal! You'll get the history of the fish pie from Ireland's Michelin starred chef and food columnist JP McMahon. We also have a butter battle with Brian Cleer, marketing director for Kerrygold North America and Stella Parks, Senior Editor at "Serious Eats" and author of the James Beard Award-winning cookbook "BraveTart." Is European butter really superior or is store brand American butter just as good? Then, Rachel talks about one of the biggest Christmas traditions in Japan - getting a bucket of KFC fried chicken - with KFC Japan

Friday, October 12, 2018

Lyrics Born, Chicken Katsu and Kimchi

Japanese-born, Berkeley-raised rapper/producer Lyrics Born has been in the music business for 25 years, but just the rich, deep purr of his speaking voice will make you swoon. LB (as his friends call him) is a blend of Asian and Western influences, and so is his last meal! Rachel also talks all things kimchi with four-time James Beard Award nominated Chef Rachel Yang. From the history of "bloody lettuce" to its ubiquity in Korea to tips on improving your store-bought kimchi, the two Rachels explore it all. Oh, and in the process of researching the history of chicken katsu, Rachel falls in love with a tanktasu sauce website. For reals. It's a little weird. Get Lyrics Born's latest album "Quite a Life" and go see him live - he's on tour now. Info at lyricsborn.com. And if you're in the Pacif

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Tacocat, Cheesesteaks and S'mores

Bree McKenna and Emily Nokes are 50% of the Seattle-based band Tacocat and represent the yin and yang of the food world: one leans sweet, the other savory. Bree and Emily consider each other family, but differ on one thing: Emily is a candy coated, sugar monster and Bree prefers her meals wrapped in pizza. On this episode of YLM, we will coat ourselves in Cheez Whiz and take a trip to Philly to talk to the owners of the country's most famous, and rival, cheesesteak shops: Pat's and Geno's. Rachel chats with Pat's 4th generation owner, Frank E. Olivieri about how his family invented the cheesesteak and how to properly order one, and Geno Vento reveals a fizzy fact about his family's operation. If you've ever wondered how marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate became best friends, we'll

Monday, September 17, 2018

Keiko Agena, Hawaiian Food

Honolulu's own Keiko Agena, best known as Rory's BFF Lane Kim on Gilmore Girls (one of Rachel's "comfort food" shows) has inspired a Your Last Meal first - Hawaiian cuisine! Pile your plate with two scoops of rice and one scoop mac salad  as we get the history of two of the islands' staple dishes: plate lunch and loco moco with Hawaiian food experts Hi'ilei Hobart and Ligaya Malones. And then, did you know Hawaii eats more SPAM per capita than any place on Earth? Rachel talks to Hormel's brand manager Brian "Spam Man" Lillis about the disputed history and incredible success of the iconic 81 year-old canned precooked luncheon meat product. Check out Keiko's book "No Mistakes: A Workbook for Imperfect Artists" wherever books are sold. It's an activity book for artists of all types and s

Friday, August 31, 2018

Dan Pfeiffer, Dim Sum

"Pod Save America" co-host Dan Pfeiffer ate approximately 520 meals inside the White House when he worked 24/7 as President Barack Obama's Senior Advisor. What was the White House menu like? We will explore! Spoiler alert: the butter is molded into the shape of the Great Seal of the United States, and senior White House staff are eating PB&J for lunch. On this week's episode of YLM, we take a deep dive into dim sum with Clarissa Wei, a Hong Kong based food writer and senior reporter for Goldthread. She explains why dim sum carts are going out of vogue and dumpling-obessed Rachel confesses that the carts give her anxiety. Plus, the TV show Dan watches to decompress when news and politics get him down.  Pick up Dan's new book, "Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitt

Friday, August 17, 2018

Allen Stone, Nachos

Allen Stone is an absolute delight! In fact, the only thing that might be more universally beloved than the R&B/Soul singer is what he chose as his last meal: nachos!   On this episode of YLM, Allen tells Rachel about his musical roots, the dish his fiancee cooked that inspired his song VooDoo, and what it's like to tour with an organ player who is also an amateur chef. (Sous-vide steak in the Motel 6 bathtub anyone?)   And in case you didn't know, 'chos aren't just chips and cheese anymore! Rachel chats with former Food and Wine magazine editor Gina Hamadey about some of the genre-defying recipes she compiled from celebrities and chefs in her weird and wonderful cookbook, "Buenos Nachos."   This year also happens to be a big anniversary for nachos! Rachel talks to Derek

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Deb Perelman, Artichokes

Deb Perelman is the creator of the award-winning food blog Smitten Kitchen and a New York Times bestselling author whose cookbook holds Rachel's personal record for most recipes used. On this episode of YLM, we find out how Deb turned her 2003 blog into a full-time empire, how she met her husband in the comments section, and of course, her last meal, which happens to be an ancient aphrodisiac enjoyed at Roman orgies (!!). Rachel also talks to Italian travel writer, the absolutely delightful Susan Van Allen about an overly dramatic Rabbi who caused an artichoke controversy that rocked the Jewish/Italian food world only a few months ago. Bonus: hear Susan's beautiful pronunciation of "carciofi alla giudia!" Support your favorite neighborhood bookstore and pick one up Deb's books, "Smitten Ki

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Adam Carolla, Hungarian Goulash and Chicken Paprikash

Former radio & TV personality and current host of the most downloaded podcast of all time Adam Carolla has never forgotten where he comes from. On this episode of Your Last Meal, he takes Rachel back to his grandfather's roots in Eastern Europe to explore a type of cuisine that's not all that easy to find in the US: Hungarian. And he shares the origin story behind his sweet, high-octane signature drink Mangria. Rachel also talks to Carolyn Banfalvi, a food writer and food tour operator living in Budapest, Hungary, about some of the country's most classic dishes like Goulash, Chicken Paprikash and sweet dessert wine Tokaju Aszu. And the traditional goulash of Hungary is nothing like the goulash Rachel ate in 90s, hanging out at her middle school best friend's house. Rachel reconnects wi

Friday, June 29, 2018

John Hodgman, Eggs and the Best Pizza in Maine

Prepare to fall in (even deeper) love with John Hodgman! Rachel talks with the reliably wry and clever comedian, author, actor, and podcaster about everything from whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich to the dangers of vacationing in Maine to the egg-istentially steadying quality of a hot plate of scrambled eggs. Speaking of a plate of eggs... how many can you hork down? Rachel and Producer Aaron head to Seattle's legendary Beth's Cafe to attempt to conquer their infamous 12-egg omelette, and they chat with owner Chris Dalton about owning one of the last 24 hour greasy spoon diners in the city. And when egg-xactly did everyone starting eating eggs for breakfast? And why? Rachel Khong, author of "All About Eggs" has the answers. Pick up John's book "Vacationland: True Stories from Painful

Monday, June 18, 2018

Boots Riley, All-You-Can-Eat Unagi Buffet

Boots Riley is a musician, writer, filmmaker, and activist. He's fronted the political hip hop group The Coup since 1991 (a favorite of Rachel's in her 20s), is the vocalist for Street Sweeper Social Club with Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, and just wrote/directed his first feature film "Sorry to Bother You" which has been receiving rave reviews at festivals and hits theaters nationwide on July 6. But what about the food?? Don't worry. We've literally got as much as you can possibly fit in your face hole... That's right! On this episode we celebrate the "all you can eat" buffet - from its humble Scandinavian origins to the gluttonous Las Vegas sized American adaptation we know today. And Taichi Kitamura, chef/owner of Sushi Kappo Tamura - one of Seattle best sushi restaura

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Zach Braff, Chicken Parmigiana

Actor, filmmaker and restaurant-owner Zach Braff (Scrubs, Alex Inc, Garden State) was born and raised in New Jersey - home to the highest percentage of Italian Americans in the country. And for his last meal, he's sticking close to his roots!   On this week's YLM, Rachel digs into the cheesy, saucy and fascinating history of Italian food in America with Krishnendu Ray, Department Chair of the Food Studies Program at NYU. Then she talks with cookbook author and Long Island native Amy Pennington about how to make the perfect red-checkered-tablecloth-and-Chianti-bottle-candleholder chicken parm.   Watch Zach in Alex Inc, now streaming at abc.com.   Check out Krishnendu Ray's book "The Ethnic Restaurateur," an academic look at the immigrant perspective of working

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Jennifer Pharr Davis, Red Curry and Eating Outdoors

Jennifer Pharr Davis is a long-distance hiker, speaker, and author who's hiked over 14,000 miles on 6 continents. In 2011, she set the Appalachian Trail record by walking the 2200 miles from Georgia to Maine in only 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes - a feat that takes most people 5-6 months! So what does this, as Rachel calls her, "complete badass" want for her last meal? And what does she and her fellow nature enthusiasts eat while conquering the outdoors? Rachel also consults rock climber and James Beard Award winning chef Maria Hines, and "Dirty Gourmet" author Emily Nielson about how to step up your outdoor food game, whether it's hiking, backpacking, or car camping. Check out Jennifer's book "The Pursuit of Endurance" and all of her other projects - including Blue Ridge Hiking Company

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Kenny G, Toro with Balsamic Teriyaki Sauce from Nobu

Kenny G is the most famous saxophonist playing today. He has sold over 75 million albums, tours all over the globe, and holds the Guinness Book of World Records record for holding the longest note on a saxophone. On this episode of YLM, Rachel gets the facts (not the fake news!) behind Kenny's contribution to creating an iconic menu item at the world's most popular coffee chain, learns which supermodel gave him his much-celebrated pie crust recipe, and she ponders a potentially life-changing question: Is Kenny G her real dad? Rachel also talks with the Seattle native about his jazz band days at Franklin High School, his first gig playing with Barry White (and their subsequent meeting in a Soul Train Awards bathroom), and what product he uses to tame those luscious locks! Special thanks to

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Linda Perry, Vegan Donuts and the Science of Sonic Seasoning

You may not recognize Linda Perry by name, but you definitely know her music. She is a singer, songwriter, and producer behind massive hits for Adele, Weezer, Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani, Pink, and many more! She's also the writer/singer behind the 90s hit (and solid karaoke jam) "What's Up" by her former band 4 Non Blondes. But what would this musical maestro choose for her last meal? Spoiler alert: She's way more into music than food. Which got us thinking - is there any correlation between music and taste? To get answers, Rachel talks with Professor Charles Spence of The University of Oxford about what he calls "Sonic Seasoning," his 15 year study of how sound and music can affect the enjoyability of food, and why people drink so much tomato juice on airplanes. Linda i

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Lindy West, Smorkage and a Six Course Seattle Feast

Lindy West is an author, activist, and contributing opinion writer for The New York Times whose work focuses on feminism, social justice, humor, and body image. On this episode of YLM, Lindy details a six course last meal feast that features smorkage, a flaky, buttery, custardy Danish pastry only available at a single bakery in the United States. Rachel travels to Seattle's Larsen's Bakery (larsensbakery.com) to taste the impossible-to-pronounce Danish pastry. Lindy, a self-described "fat" person, talks about what it's like to eat in public, why she grudgingly ordere honeydew, and shares a humiliating story that involves a personal pan pepperoni pizza and an episode of This American Life. Then things get "hyggely." The Scandinavian concept of "hygge" (pronounced "HOO-guh") is all about coz

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Maria Shriver, Hamburger and Crispy French Fries

Maria Shriver has spent a lifetime in the public eye, but there's one thing none of us know about the award-winning journalist and author... until now: What she would eat for her last meal! On this episode of YLM, Rachel gets to the bottom of perhaps the most iconic American food of all - the hamburger. She learns about the earliest origins of the dish from burger authority, documentarian, and tv host George Motz, whose book "The Great American Burger Book" is about to release its 3rd edition. Thrillest writer Kevin Alexander traveled the USA and ate 330 burgers in a year, then compiled a list of the 100 best burgers in the country. Which burger is best? You'll have to listen to find out! Buy Maria's new book "I've Been Thinking: Reflections, Prayers and Meditations for a Meaningful L