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Was Is Could Be
6 minutes | Apr 6, 2022
Dieting: What's Old is New Again
BONUS EPISODE! From my interview with Michael Lansing, a very truncated history of dieting, and the way that industrialization impacted our understanding of how we should eat.
7 minutes | Apr 6, 2022
To Organic or Not Organic
BONUS EPISODE! From my interview with Michael Lansing - a look at organics and industrialization.
14 minutes | Apr 6, 2022
No One Would Dig a Canal Sober.
BONUS EPISODE! An excerpt from my interview with Derrick Pratt from the Erie Canal Museum. In this episode: the intersection of whiskey and the building of the canal, how out of control canalers influenced temperance, the infamous Bloody Alley of Watervilet, and some beef between the canalers and... well... everybody else.
7 minutes | Apr 6, 2022
From Wheat to Wheaties
BONUS EPISODE! From my interview with Michael Lansing, a look at how industrialization eventually led to product diversification, marketing and advertising, and more sophisticated food distribution.
7 minutes | Apr 6, 2022
"I don't know."
BONUS EPISODE! From my interview with Michael Lansing - a somewhat rude awakening about food choices, virtue signaling with food, and why going local may not be all its cracked up to be when it comes to changing the food landscape of the U.S.
18 minutes | Mar 16, 2022
A Conclusion of Sorts
It's time to admit that I came to the season with some firmly held beliefs that I expected to confirm. But what I learned was far more storied and complicated than I had assumed. In this episode of Was Is Could Be: An inconclusive conclusion.
30 minutes | Mar 9, 2022
Commodity Milk and Some Small Farm Realities
Can we touch on, like, why farming is so unprofitable? In this episode of Was Is Could Be: The world of commodity milk.
24 minutes | Mar 2, 2022
America's Favorite Food Group: Beer
Hops held a special place in my heart and a month into our move we were ready to pick the ones that had been growing on our property. It would end up being the most memorable day of my life so far. In this episode of Was Is Could Be: America’s favorite food group - beer.
25 minutes | Feb 23, 2022
Carbs, Carbs, & More Carbs
People have been milling flour and baking bread variations for literally millenia. The Erie Canal has been moving wheat since day one. And yet, a few miles from the canal and it was almost impossible to find local wheat on my little food journey. In this episode of Was Is Could Be: Some history on the industrialization of flour.
27 minutes | Feb 16, 2022
I can can. Can you?
I have something of a morbid fascination with canning. Every book or blog post you read makes it sound like a death trap, so the same way that true crime junkies listen to 911 calls or look up crime scene photos, I look up videos of outrageous canning accidents or weird things found in canning jars. I don’t do either of those things in this episode, but still… In this episode of Was Is Could Be: The importance of canning in the industrial food movement.
34 minutes | Feb 9, 2022
A Cow and A Pig Get Into a Volkswagen
My Tiguan can fit exactly one half of a cow and one whole pig, once they've been butchered and frozen. They fit best when they're kept in big plastic totes and are slid in one after another, in two rows of three. I know this is a weird level of specificity, but it's knowledge that was well earned. Because once you buy an entire half of a cow, there's actually a lot to be considered. In this episode of Was Is Could Be: Surprising facts about meat and meat history.
27 minutes | Feb 2, 2022
A Little Food History
It was a $1.38 worth of tomato seeds that changed my life forever. I don't remember where I got them. I don't remember what brand they were, but I do remember this: those seeds refused to grow. Which got me to thinking: How hard is it to grow food anyways? And how did food start being something from far away, instead of something from right in our own backyards in the first place? This is Was Is Could Be and on this season: how we get our FOOD.
39 minutes | Mar 12, 2020
It's All Child's Play
What’s in a cardboard box that brings a happiness that money can’t buy? It’s imagination of course! A Buzz Lightyear doll is exactly what it appears to be. But a box? One day it’s a space ship, the next day it’s a shopping cart, and the day after that it’s a doll hotel. Imaginative, unstructured play was the best! But today, it feels like the exciting exception and not the rule - despite the fact that Amazon now delivers us more cardboard boxes than ever! I talk to a toy expert, two family educators, and my own group of friends to answer the question: where did all the free play go and can we bring it back?
32 minutes | Feb 27, 2020
Functioning in Pre-Cell Phone America, Part 2
“A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.” In the first part of this episode, we describe this predication made by Nikola Tesla about the cell phone. But could Tesla also have predicted that these pocket phones would come to take place of watches, of letters, of maps, and of computers as a whole? This is Was Is Could Be and this is the 2nd part of our series on phone communications in America - this time focusing on the cell phones.
51 minutes | Feb 27, 2020
Functioning in Pre-Cell Phone America, Part 1
In 1926, Nikola Tesla - the famed inventor - sat down with John B. Kennedy of Collier’s Magazine for an interview. In it, he predicts that people will be able to carry phones in there pocket, and will be able to see and hear one another as if we were right next to one another. But could he have predicted the way that mobility has changed the way we live? And if he did, would he have approved? In this 2-part series, I talked to a telephone expert and a good friend to ask the question: Has mobility improved or hindered the way we communicate today?
46 minutes | Jan 30, 2020
Extra! Extra! All the Time
In March 1974, a Japanese bookseller flew to the island of Lubang in the Philippines to order the surrender of a Japanese intelligence officer. The officer — Hiroo Onoda — was still carrying out his mission from World War II — nearly 30 years after the war’s end. So why, 30 years later, were Japanese men still fighting in that war? This is, actually is a story about information — how we get it, and what we choose to believe. But as I researched the topic of news history and the rapid changes we’ve experienced in the news, I think the more important question became this: is having a lot of news sources to choose from really all that bad? Could we ever go back to having less information at our fingertips? And should we? Or do we risk ending up like Hiroo Onoda - isolated in a jungle? I talked to a news expert, a news junkie, and an expert on depression to find possible answers to these questions.
47 minutes | Jan 16, 2020
Take a Hike. Seriously.
Spending on outdoor recreation accounts for 2.2 percent of the American economy at just over $400 billion a year! This seems pretty incredible to me, especially since more expensive pursuits, like domestic oil and gas extraction, technically account for less of the economy So why is it that Americans are so willing to spend our precious paychecks to get outdoors? Why not just spent it at the gym? Or just walk outside for free? I talked to an outdoor educator, a fellow hiker, an exercise physiologist and a burnout expert to answer the question — what can being outside really do for us?
36 minutes | Jan 2, 2020
Are Love Letters Dead?
In March 1827, Beethoven's most famous letter - a love letter - was found in his apartment, with no name to identify his past lover. How can a love letter to no one still be regarded as the most romantic love letter of our time? And how can we know the value of love letters if the most beautiful one in the world left a brilliant man alone to his painful death? I talked to a Beethoven scholar, a wedding photographer, a psychologist, and the happiest bride I know to answer the question: are love letters dead? If they didn’t work for Beethoven, can they still work for us - even in this instant world of Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram and text messages?
3 minutes | Dec 13, 2019
Was Is Could Be
By the time I hit 25, I felt like every conversation with my friends was cut from the same cloth - "remember when...?" Armed with a tape recorder and a love for learning from others, Liz tells the stories of how we used to live - finding the joy in things past, plain and simple.
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