We all know the trope of the “gateway drug.” It’s a crowd-pleasing, easy-to-get-into and oh-so-satisfying morsel of a thing that builds and builds into an addiction or obsession. Four months ago, I had never listened to a podcast. Now, I rarely take a trip in the car—near or far, to the corner store or 45 minutes to the office—without starting up my Stitcher app. My husband will tell you he’s been trying to get me into podcasts for years. But the only thing that finally did it for me was Serial.
Whenever I spot something becoming a cultural touchstone, I have to give it a try. It’s in my DNA. So I started up Serial on our drive to the Tennessee mountains for Christmas, and (like many of you, I’m sure) I became obsessed.
In addition to my fear of missing out on tapping the zeitgeist as it’s happening, another thing solidly in my DNA is getting totally into things. Like, diving head first and scouring the web for any sort of podcast that might interest me. And I found a lot. (Here’s a list of my favorite creative podcasts on Apartment Therapy.)
In case you’re not so obsessive studious, here’s a quick list of my favorite episodes of my favorite podcasts. Like Serial was the gateway to the podcast medium for most people, each of these episodes can be your gateway into these awesome series, each of which I’ve found really entertaining, fulfilling and fun to listen to.
Longform Podcast #133: Adam Platt
This is a podcast about long-form writers—the kinds of people who write magazine features or short stories, and this most recent episode centers around the experiences of New York magazine food critic Adam Platt. Foodies, take note, this episode features more exposition about the NYC restaurant scene than writing. My favorite takeaway: The idea that, just like rock and roll was to ’60s, this generation’s cultural “moment” is all about great food.
The Sporkful: What Kind of Kitchen Are You?
That last recommendation was a food episode on a writing podcast, this one from The Sporkful is a lifestyle and marketing episode on a food podcast. Host Dan Pashman normally covers hard-hitting issues for eaters (like, what’s the best way to eat a jelly donut?), but in this episode, he pays a visit to Campbell’s Test Kitchen to discover how the soup company gets to know their customers’ cooking styles and how it uses that knowledge to develop and sell products to them.
Slate’s Culture Gabfest: “America’s One Night Stand With Robin Thicke” Edition
You know Slate as an online magazine, but I’ve grown enamored with their pop culture podcast roundtable. This week, the recent copyright verdict, in the case of whether or not Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams ripped off Marvin Gaye, inspired a lengthy discussion about music, inspiration, law, intellectual property, and what we’re actually trying to protect when we protect copyrights.