In Review

Podcasts of the week: pop culture, food, and Harry and Meghan

Featuring Home Cooking, Millennial Love, The Breakup Monologues, and Archewell Audio

For those listeners still mourning the end of The High Low last month, here are three podcasts to help fill the gap left by Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes’s weekly pop-culture fix, said Katie Strick in the London Evening Standard. Fortunately… With Fi and Jane is “the closest you’ll get to Alderton and Sykes if they were in their 50s”. Jane Garvey, Fi Glover and assorted guests offer their light-hearted but thought-provoking take on the world. The Independent’s hit dating series, Millennial Love, is “comfortingly relatable” whether you’re single or in a relationship. There are 93 episodes on offer, dating back to 2017; recent topics range from body dysmorphia to arranged marriages. And in The Breakup Monologues, the comedian, author and “accidental relationship guru” Rosie Wilby gets a rotating cast of performer pals to tell their best, worst and funniest break-up stories.

The Home Cooking podcast is the “audio equivalent of comfort food”, said The Atlantic. “If you’re cooking for one or for four, or not at all, the long, lovely episodes will remind you that you’re not alone.” Its hosts are Hrishikesh Hirway, the creator of the acclaimed musical podcast Song Exploder, and Samin Nosrat, the author of Salt Fat Acid Heat (which, like Song Exploder, is now a Netflix series). In Home Cooking, they put their “delightful friendship on display” and answer listeners’ questions about food and cookery. Another recommended food podcast is Desert Island Dishes, said Hollie Richardson in Stylist. Chef and food writer Margie Nomura’s series returned late last year, with guests including Nadiya Hussain and healthy-eating author Alice Liveing. Listening to them “talk about food glorious food” in loving detail will make you “feel very, very hungry”. 

I didn’t have high hopes for Archewell Audio, the new podcast series from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, said Fiona Sturges in the FT. Famous people who lack broadcasting experience often talk over their guests or ask blandly unsearching questions. Also, the freedom to cut loose that many find in podcasting doesn’t apply here: this pair may no longer be “senior royals”, but they still have to “mind their Ps and Qs”. But despite all that, Harry and Meghan have come up with a podcast “which, while not reinventing the medium, is definitively not terrible”. In the first Holiday Special episode, their famous friends (Elton John, James Corden) and celebrity guests (including spoken word performer George the Poet) reflect on the challenges and tragedies of the year. There’s no “toe-curling celebrity chumminess”, the spirit is optimistic, and though “the tone is often sentimental, as we knew it would be, there are moments of genuine poignance”.

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