Nordic Food Lab Radio

Nordic Food Lab Radio

United States

Nordic Food Lab Radio charts the influences behind the lab's work to investigate the edible potential of the Nordic region. Conversations, questions, and stories from the lab explore the role of taste in food diversity, ecology, sensory perception, and identity. We strive to bring you sound-rich stories that take you out to learn in the field and then combine those ideas in the kitchen. Featuring a range of content from short snacks to long meals, Nordic Food Lab Radio is about listening to the world with curiosity. And wondering: does it tastes good?



Ruminants chewing and re-chewing their cud has shaped human civilization. By grace of their unique four-chambered stomach and its microbiome, plant material indigestible to humans is transformed into food for the animal—and by extension, for others. Yet the rumen itself, the chamber of the stomach responsible for this microbial break-down of plant matter, contains a nutritionally-dense slurry known as 'green soup' that has been eaten as a last-minute supplement by herders and hunters around the world. Roberto and I wonder if we can interact with this process in vitro to create new dishes, or to render edible new ingredients. But a question begins to gnaw at us, forcing us to some rumination of our own: When it comes to food traditions, is there a line between surviving and thriving? Or is it less a line than a loop? And what is the value is in trying to translate ephemeral, in-the-field food experiences into dishes in the kitchen?

Charisma and conservation  

In this episode, we explore how non-human charisma colours the tension between deliciousness and conservation. Our main story takes us to the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic sea, the site of a troubling drama between cod, local fisherman, a lot of worms, and an overpopulation of protected grey seals. But first, we take you back up into Sápmi where, for Sami reindeer herders, the endangered golden eagle is less majestic treasure, more economic hindrance—and even sometimes a vital threat.

The Old New Superfood  

The chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus, in latin and Báhkkečátná in Sami language) that grows on birch trees has become a trendy 'superfood' in recent years, often marketed as the mystical Siberian tonic for many ailments. But, in fact, it has also been a traditional medicine used for thousands of years in Sápmi, the territory of the Sami people in northern Scandinavia. While the traditional use of chaga underwent a decline in recent generations, researchers began studying the fungus for its positive health benefits- eventually leading to its 'superfood' status. And now young people have started to take back an interest in chaga: not in pill form, but in harvesting it themselves. In this episode, we hear Sami teacher Laila Spik Skaltje talk about both the uses and cultural meaning of báhkkečátná and Sami journalist Máret Steinfjell shares her perspective on its youth-driven renaissance.

I would kiss them before I eat them  

This Short features a conversation with Sami teacher Laila Spik Skaltje and producer Anna Sigrithur on her lived experience with Sami entomophagy, or the practice of eating insects. Her father taught her how to eat the larvae of the Reindeer Warble Fly, a parasite that lives beneath the skin of the reindeer.

Sun, Wind and Pine Bark  

The Sami are known as the people of the Sun and Wind; named for the elements that they harness to survive and thrive in a sometimes challenging environment. Sami foods instructor Laila Spik Skaltje talks about the breads of her childhood, which her mother would bake with a diversity of dehydrated forest plants ground into flour. Some of the most interesting of these flours were made from the outer and inner barks of the pine trees that blanket the mountains in Sápmi. In this episode Laila tells us her mother's bread story, and we take a forest walk to learn about the harvesting of pine bark for flours.

We must let them taste  

We must let them taste by

Desert Eggs  

The Thoughts in the Field series has brought us all over the world. In this last installment, the lab unearths one of Mexico's most sought after delicacies – escamoles – and reflects on the methods and potential of semi-cultivation practices.

Two White Flies  

Roberto Flore and David Pedersen chat about their experiences and views on hunting. The chef and hunter talk about the perception of hunting in popular culture and describe how their work has influenced each other in the kitchen and in the forest.

A Not So Simple Staple  

Jonas Astrup Pedersen combines three simple ingredients (flour, water, and salt) into an object of great gastronomic complexity: bread. We go back to bread's origins in grain and talk about the microbial and molecular transformations that make bread possible. Voices: Jonas Astrup Pedersen and Per Grupe Music: The Bankrupt! Diaries by Phoenix

The Proust Effect  

Jonas reminisces about his days studying at Danish folk high school (højskole), and how reading Proust there shaped how he interacts with food today. Voices: Jonas Astrup Pedersen Music: One More by Cymande

Bush Coconuts  

Josh and Ben discover a delicious insect that's completely new to them...well maybe it's an insect. Voices: Josh Evans, Ben Reade, Andreas Johnsen, and Rahab Spencer Music: Packaging by Pollen RX and AR AK by Pollen RX Field audio from Andreas Johnsen

Honey Ants  

In this second installment of Thoughts from the Field, Josh takes us to Yuendumu, a remote town of a few hundred people in the middle of the Central Australian desert. Often times, the lab's work in the field is nothing like what they had in mind. What does it mean to go into another culture and ask questions? What are some of the challenges and obstacles in fieldwork? And what are some of the unexpected rewards? Voices: Josh Evans, Ben Reade, Andreas Johnsen, Wendy Baarda, Coral Kelake, and Tess Napaljarri Ross Music: It's Cold and Beautiful by Magical Mistakes Field audio from Andreas Johnsen

Thoughts From The Field - Tom The Termite Man  

For some, eating insects sounds strange. But for many, insects are everyday staples and sometimes treasured delicacies. The lab is in the midst of a 3-year project that aims to learn from cultures around the world and explore the gastronomic potential of insects. The project, Discerning Taste: Deliciousness as an Argument for Entomophagy, is funded by the Velux Foundation. Our first insect story takes place in the lush hills of central Uganda, in an area called Kisoga, west of Kampala. Voices: Josh Evans, Ben Reade, Tom Lugeba, and Rogers Sserunjogi Music: Strobe Lights by King Pleaxure Field Audio from Andreas Johnsen

Complex Sandwiches  

Tom's wife, Ritah, makes roasted termites for Josh and Ben. Voices: Josh Evans, Ben Reade, and Tom Lugeba

Seaweed Foraging  

Forager and teacher Thomas Laursen describes foraging for seaweed along the Danish coast.

In Search of Sea Lettuce  

Roberto Flore, Head Chef of Nordic Food Lab, goes on a quest to find fresh seaweed in Copenhagen's Torvehallerne market. Music: Short Selling by Pollen

What's Your Favourite Seaweed?  

Seaweed foragers, scientists, farmers, and chefs share their favourite seaweed dishes. Voices: Thomas Larson, Ole Mouritsen, Susan Holdt, Peter Schmedes, Josh Evans, and Roberto Flore. Music: Travelling Light by Dr. Fidelity

Tang Tango  

Seaweed, or tang in Danish, is so much more than the smelly stuff you find on the beach. Marine algae form a fascinating underwater world of jungles, forests, meadows, and plains. Algae hold tremendous power, and our relationship with them dramatically shapes the marine landscape, whether we are aware of it or not. Asian cultures have been cultivating seaweed for centuries, but seaweed farming is a new frontier in Danish waters. Can taste shape the future of seaweed in Denmark? Voices: Daniel Conley, Peter Schmedes, Ole Mouritsen, Josh Evans, and Roberto Flore. Music: Frog & Toad by Archie Pelago

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