The best thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them while you’re doing other things: Washing dishes, going for a run, coloring, and especially, driving. But there are so many podcasts these days that it’s simply impossible to keep up. New ones are debuting all the time, and it’s hard to know whether they deserve a spot in your feed.
Every week, we highlight new and returning podcasts we couldn’t put down. Whether you’re looking for the latest and greatest or you’re just dipping your toe into the vast ocean of podcasts, we’ll find you something worth listening to. This week, we’ve got podcasts about the restaurant biz, a mysterious condition, and Ronan Farrow.
It’s not always a guarantee, but anecdotally you’ll often find that people who have worked in food service will tip well barring almost anything. The food arrives cold or the waiter is surly, and they’ll still leave 20%. Waitstaff often get blamed for factors beyond their control, and the money they make that night could mean the difference between paying the electric bill or not.
It’s also pretty common knowledge that restaurant profit margins are thin, and there are a lot of invisible costs that go into the burger’s price tag on the menu. Katy Osuna is trying to shed some light on what goes on behind the scenes in season two of Copper & Heat. In the first episode, she explains the profit margins at State & Lemp, a now-closed restaurant in Boise, Idaho. Episode two is all about staffing issues. The industry relies heavily on immigrants, and good help is so hard to find, that owners are willing to look the other way when it comes to workers who are undocumented.
Every couple of years, there are news stories about someone turning orange from eating too many carrots. No one freaks out, because it’s a harmless condition, carotenemia, with a known cause: An excess of beta-carotene.
Episode one of Tycho Newman’s new audio drama, Black Friday, is titled “Acute Spontaneous Melanization.” It’s a very scientific name for a fictional condition. If the name Sam Gregor makes you think of the main character in The Metamorphosis — Gregor Samsa — it’s likely not a coincidence. Sam awakens to find he’s undergone a transformation. His skin has darkened overnight. Everything else is the same, but now he looks like a black man. At first, the world seems to treat it with the same nonchalance as it does carotenemia, though there doesn’t seem to be any clear cause for Sam’s increased melanin. It barely rates a mention on the local news. But Sam has to navigate a world that treats him differently, and, the first episode hints, he’s not alone.
Ronan Farrow is 31 years old and has written two books, to which I say a hearty congratuwelldone. His latest is Catch and Kill, and there’s a new companion podcast.
While investigating accusations of sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein, Farrow had some frightening experiences. He was being followed, and in the first episode, Farrow speaks with Igor Ostrovskiy, one of the people doing the spying. Ostrovskiy became a source for Farrow and appears in the book. The podcast gives more of the private investigator’s background, explaining why surveilling reporters made him uncomfortable. Future episodes will feature more audio Farrow taped along the way, including what he recorded when he said NBC tried to squash his story on Weinstein.
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