After considerable background work, Media for Change is ready to launch New Old Eats – a podcast exploring the new avatars of old foods in the Americas and elsewhere in the world. The project, lead by Media for Change board member Nina Mukerjee Furstenau, aims to promote “kitchen diplomacy” by bringing to light the diverse influences that inform what we eat today. “Recognition of the special histories that help make up our culinary and agricultural story is cause for celebration–as well as a satisfying way to acknowledge the inherent diversity around us,” Furstenau says. “New Old Eats reveals migration of flavors and people, and how our resulting palate sweeps the history of the world.”
The project will launch in 2021 with a pair of podcasts titled New Old Eats. The English version will feature Nina’s research and conversations with culinary experts. The Spanish version, Nuevo Viejo Comer, will be hosted by Chilean journalist and a recent graduate in science journalism from the Columbia Journalism School, Muriel Alarcon Luco. While the two language versions will be topically parallel, they will be adapted by each host into their respective voices for their own audiences.
“Since the pandemic has not allowed us to travel in-person to other places, a trip today is possible through food,” says Muriel Alarcon Luco, who received mentorship from the Pulitzer Center On Crisis Reporting in 2020 to work on a story about how Latino organizations are promoting healthy eating habits across New York City’s Latino neighborhoods, to help build up immune systems amongst a population hit disproportionately by COVID-19. “Many scientific studies say that consuming processed foods can increase the risk of diseases that make us more vulnerable to the threat of the virus. An invitation to travel on a path to our ancestors to revisit what they ate is also way to learn from their wisdom to stay healthy in times of illness.”
“In a polarized world, conversations about what is shared among people, rather than their differences is sorely lacking. New Old Eats proposes to introduce just such a conversation to the public sphere,” says Media for Change founder Sanjeev Chatterjee, who plans to contribute short films to the project as it develops.
The audio podcast format is ideal for the launch due to the convenience of producing polished content even during COVID 19 restrictions. With time, the plan is to create documentary films, publish articles and books and build a robust social media reach. At this point, follow @newoldeats on Instagram to support the project and updates.