The Sporkful | Podcast Review | October 29, 2015 | By

The Sporkful: Sunny Anderson: From Army Brat To Food Network Star

Bite composition is just a ploy to our hearts and Sunny Anderson’s past.

This week special guest, Sunny Anderson, a TV food personality, joins Dan Pashman on The Sporkful to discuss her army brat past and how it has shaped her world food.

Sunny Anderson, in case you don’t know, is typically on the Food Network co-hosting The Kitchen, or making the rounds on the morning show cooking segments. Pashman quickly delves into Anderson’s past as an army brat, in which she describes her family’s affinity for quickly adopting the food traditions of their new host country.

“Every time we got new orders [to move to a different military base], my parents would do the research and say ‘Look at how they eat there!'”

For me this was a great insight as to why Anderson would often mesh ingredients from different cultures for the food on her show Cooking for Real.

Anderson discusses her techniques for acquiring desert in the Air Force, how MRE crackers should be avoided like the plague, and how to cook Spam 1. When Pashman and Anderson swoon over a Korean dish called bibimbap they discuss the crunchy pieces of rice (called noo roong ji in Korean) that elevate the dish to a whole new level. They then riff on how there needs to be a device that can deliver more of this starchy goodness per square inch, thereby pitching the Bi Bim Bundt pan into existence. As a first-time listener to the show, I really appreciated how Pashman uses the little idiosyncratic preferences likes ratios, mouthfeel, and bite composition to drive conversation and bond with his guests.

When Pashman presses on the thickness of Anderson’s Spam cut he tries to get her to be precise. Anderson gets where he is going saying, “It is all about the ratios and sizes,” and goes on to describe a particular way she loved eating french toast with blueberries. He uses these lines of inquiry not only to understand the personal relationships his guests have with their food, but also to relate to the listener. How many of us love that crunchy corner brownie or the bottom of a congee pot?

Pashman builds great rapport with his guest, as evidenced by Anderson laughing the entire interview, and he relates himself as one of us. Picky eaters that believe that food should have certain components and aspects to make them really worthwhile. It reminds me about how Will and I argue over whether the chip version of a fried pickle is vastly superior to its subpar spear .version 2 This episode was really two food nerds from vastly different backgrounds harmonizing over the little idiosyncrasies that make food worth eating and discussing.

  1. An acquired taste ^
  2. You can guess which side I take. Would love definitive polling done on this issue please. ^

About the Author

Saheel Mehta is a founding writer at Audiologue, where he likes to cover podcasts relating to science, sports, and politics. Right now, his favorite shows are The Memory Palace and Reply All. Find him on Twitter @saheelmehta, or by email at

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