This week, we look at how we have irrevocably shaped the planet through consumption: of fossil fuels, exotic foods, cups of tea. Erika Rappaport talks about how the drive for empire was spurred on by lust for a certain caffeinated plant, which fueled countless wars and colonial expansion. And Alexandra Kleeman and Jen Monroe throw a dinner party for the future, imagining what food will taste like in 30 years’ time.
Go beyond the episode:
- Erika Rappaport’s A Thirst for Empire: How Tea Shaped the Modern World
- Bon Appétit explains how to brew the perfect cup of tea
- Check out Bad Taste, Jen Monroe’s experimental food project
- Read “Choking Victim,” a short story by Alexandra Kleeman
- Explore the unusual artistic encounters of The Bellwether, which put on The Next Menu, and read Jordan Kisner’s essay on the massive aspen grove threatened by climate change
(All photographs by Steven Acres)
Tune in every two weeks to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.
Download the audio here (right click to “save link as …”)
Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes!
Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.
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