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Spoon The Band On Spoon The Utensil (Live in Chicago Pt. 2)

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Aug 10, 2015

This week's episode of The Sporkful podcast is up! Listen through the player or iTunes/Podcasts app. (And please subscribe!)

This week on The Sporkful, it’s Part 2 of our live show from the 35th annual Taste of ChicagoIf you missed Part 1 last week, you’ll still be able to follow this week’s show, but I think it’s more fun if you listen to the whole thing in order. So you may want to go back and listen to that episode first.

When Eric Harvey and Alex Fischel from the band Spoon stopped by our stage at Taste of Chicago, I didn't shy away from the tough questions, like: Which is better -- fork or spoon?

Turns out they both prefer forks. Scandal! And the shocking revelations didn’t end there:

“Definitely I’ve thought about post-show food during a show,” Alex admitted. “Like a piece of pizza.”

Yes, the next time you see Spoon in concert, when Alex is up there rocking out, just know he may be thinking about pizza...or his favorite tour bus snack, frozen PB&J sandwiches with the crusts removed -- called Uncrustables:


(Apparently this is for people who are just too busy to MAKE A PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY SANDWICH.)

The band also enjoys microwave popcorn after shows, so I asked them for their take on a classic issue. If you leave it in the microwave long enough to pop almost all the kernels, some will end up burnt. If you take it out when the popped kernels are at their prime, you'll have lots of unpopped kernels left.

So which is better? Some perfectly cooked popcorn with lots of unpopped kernels, or more popcorn, albeit partially burnt? Alex weighs in with his take, tell me what you think in the comments.

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Meanwhile, Eric works hard to eat healthy -- even making his own fresh juice backstage.

“We travel with a juicer,” Eric said. “The hard part is figuring out who’s going to clean it up at the end of the day because nobody really wants to do that.”

Another guest in this show, however, is perfectly willing to go to great lengths for deliciousness. Mathematician Dr. Eugenia Cheng joined me on stage, where she sliced a bagel into a Mobius strip. Watch her technique here:

“When you put cream cheese all the way around [a Mobius bagel], you will achieve maximum proximity of cream cheese to tongue,” she explained.

Dr. Cheng is currently scientist-in-residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and she wrote How to Bake Pi: An Edible Exploration of the Mathematics of Mathematics. She spends a lot of time thinking about how food and math overlap.

I was so inspired by her tutorial that I undertook some additional research, and my results have already been published! (Digg is sort of like a peer-reviewed journal I think.) Behold my double Mobius cut bagel and lox:


See how it's done here.

And how could we tape a live show at the Taste of Chicago and not talk about navigating summer food festivals?

For people who love to eat, food festivals offer great opportunity but also great danger. Approach a food festival without a good strategy, and you’ll spend too much time in line, fill up on the wrong foods, and go home defeated.


Christina Seo and Loreen Targos, members of the sketch comedy group Stir-Friday Night, joined me on stage at the Taste to share their food festival strategies -- which run the gamut from mobilizing the whole extended family to gather food intelligence to fighting crowds with a plastic sword.

The bigger your numbers, Loreen advised, "the more nephews you can sacrifice to food poisoning."

And we also got the food vendor's take on eating well at festivals.

Richard Drews, president and CEO of Chicago-based Dinky Donuts, told us how it feels to be at the other end of those interminable food lines.

“Sometimes are lines can get quite long, and a person will come up and say, ‘I don’t know what you’re serving here but I saw the line, so what do you got?'" he said. "I love that!"

These days, Richard's passion is fried dough, but he spent 25 years touring the world as a opera singer -- that's Richard (front and center) back in the day:

Lucia Miami Opera Edgardo (far right)

So, Eaters, you know what that means: Donut Opera!

Listen in to the full episode to hear Richard's donut-centric take on Verdi's "La donna è mobile" from the opera Rigoletto.

This week's episode of The Sporkful podcast is up! Listen through the player or iTunes/Podcasts app. (And please subscribe!)

Connect with me on TwitterInstagram and Facebook!

Interstitial music in this episode by BWN Music:

- "Scrambloid Remix" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt

Photos: Amy Pearl, Flickr/CC, and courtesy of Richard Drews. 

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