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Have you ever wondered where your food comes from? Not just where it’s grown today, but where it originally popped up in the world? Have you ever bit into a delicious ripe fruit and wondered, hey – why is it this color? What’s responsible for this amazing flavor? Is this good for my health? Could it even be medicinal?

Foodie Pharmacology is a science podcast built for the food curious, the flavor connoisseurs, chefs, science geeks, plant lovers and adventurous taste experimenters out in the world! Join American ethnobotanist Dr. Cassandra Quave on this adventure through history, medicine, cuisine and molecules as she explores the amazing pharmacology of our foods

Jun 22, 2020

Throughout human history, food was frequently procured from the wild – whether fished from the sea, foraged from meadows, or hunted in biodiverse rich forests. What once was the norm is now something all too often reserved for the wealthy. In my own work on the medicinal food traditions of southern Italy,  I worked with a research team to document countless wild bitter greens that were commonly blanched and sautéed in olive oil with salt as a centerpiece to meals. Nowadays though, much of this foraging tradition has been lost at the household level, and these antioxidant laden bitter greens are more restricted to fancy restaurants that keep foragers on staff. My fascination with foraged plants and mushrooms, as well as hunted game has endured since my childhood and you can imagine just how thrilled I was to discover our guest, Gina Rae La Cerva’s book:Feasting Wild: In Search of the Last Tamed Food. 

Gina Rae La Cerva is a geographer, environmental anthropologist, and award-winning writer who has traveled extensively to research a variety of environmental and food-related topics. A National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow, La Cerva holds a Master of Environmental Science from Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a Master of Philosophy from the University of Cambridge. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Cassandra Quave

Dr. Cassandra Quave is best known for her ground breaking research on the science of botanicals. Scientists in her research group work to uncover some of nature’s deepest secrets as they search for new ways to fight life-threatening diseases, including antibiotic resistant infections. Working with a global network of scientists and healers, Cassandra and her team travel the world hunting for new plant ingredients, interviewing healers, and bringing plants back to the lab to study. Besides research, Cassandra is an award-winning teacher, and has developed and taught college classes like “Food, Health and Society” and “Botanical Medicine and Health” at Emory University. 


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