In Podmass, The A.V. Club sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends the previous week’s best episodes. Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments or at email@example.com.
It’s no secret that film commentary and criticism are in dire need of diverse voices. Luckily, there are podcasts like Homies Of Horror, one of a number of POC-run horror podcasts that was included on a list recently put out by Dread Central. Hosted by Erika and Roshane, two Black horror and pop culture aficionados, this episode takes the opportunity provided by their discussion of 2016’s The Witch to talk about the portrayal of witches in pop culture over the past few decades. By looking at the darker and more historically vilifying portrayal of witches in the movie, the hosts are prompted to revisit their first and most impactful memories with witch narratives and the contemporary themes of female empowerment associated with most modern fictionalized portrayals of witches. One of the signs of a great movie podcast is that it makes listeners want to give the film being discussed a rewatch, and hearing Erika and Roshane revisit the iconic A24/Robert Eggers film is definitely going to prompt some screenings. [Jose Nateras]
As the flagship pop culture podcast offering from the Crooked Media Network, Keep It! boasts a rare quality among chat casts of any stripe: The interview segments are so good that you’ll be engrossed by them even if you’ve never seen or read anything by the interviewee. This episode features a conversation with rising star and 2021 Oscar Best Actor nominee Steven Yeun, and hosts Ira Madison III and Louis Virtel ask thoughtful questions about the actor’s shift from comedy to prestige drama—a course that must be all the more deliberately charted by a non-white performer seeking roles beyond “plucky assistant” and “punchline-delivering sidekick.” Still, Yeun emphasizes that he is not precious about his roles; he’ll still do a Tim Robinson sketch about poop and have a great time. Beyond the Yeun interview, other highlights of the episode include guest host Michelle Collins, a discussion of play-to-film adaptations, and Ira and Louis debating whether the latest Diana movie Spencer soared or sucked. [Marnie Shure]
My Family Recipe
Cake, Intimacy & An Asian-American Experience with Coral Lee
There are no neatly tied-up-with-a-bow lessons in My Family Recipe, Arati Menon’s superb culinary podcast inspired by the Food52 column of the same name. Since the series’ launch last month, Menon and guests have embraced all of the complications and contradictions inherent in discussing closely held recipes and their connections to family, shared experience, and identity. The show’s willingness to engage with nuance is particularly important for guests and food writers of color, who—as noted by author Jenny Dorsey—are often pressured within the personal essay format to lead with vulnerabilities that aren’t expected or demanded out of their white colleagues. That free-flowing, come-what-may approach has resulted in some great conversations in the series so far, including the therapeutic role that baking chocolate birthday cake has played in Lisa Ruland’s experience with grief, and Khalid El Khatib’s cherished Iowa potluck memories of cheesy bread (canned mushrooms are vital, he insists). This week’s conversation with Food52 Podcast Network producer Coral Lee about her grandmother’s extravagant Saturday lunches, particularly the cotton-candy-like paper-wrapped cakes (纸包鸡蛋糕), gets at the heart of what makes My Family Recipe special, as does the touching moment when Lee wells up listening to responses from readers who were moved by her piece. [Dan Jakes]