Sidedoor: America’s First Food Spy

In this episode, we find out who’s to blame for the atrocity that is kale chips.


Graphic for Sidedoor episode

In the 1800s, the American diet was mostly made up of meats, potatoes, cheese, and perhaps the occasional green bean. Fruits and other veggies? Not so much. But that all changed thanks to a group of 19th-century food spies—globe-trotting scientists and explorers who sought exotic crops to enhance America’s diet and help grow the economy. A pioneer among them was David Fairchild, who nabbed avocados from Chile, kale from Croatia, mangoes from India, and much more. In this episode of Sidedoor, we learn about Fairchild’s remarkable adventures and take a surprise trip to the Smithsonian’s archives to uncover a rare piece of food-spy history.

Posted: 5 March 2018
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