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In season two of Taste the Nation, award-winning cookbook author, host and executive producer Padma Lakshmi, takes viewers on a culinary adventure across American soil, exploring the rich and diverse communities who have so heavily shaped what American food is today. Over borscht, cornbread, pasteles and more, Padma uncovers the roots and relationship between our food, our humanity and our history — ultimately uncovering stories that challenge notions of identity, belonging, and what it means to be American.
S2 Episode 210 ‘Ciao New York’
Padma reminisces about her years in Italy, where she experienced the spirit of la bella vita, the beautiful life. Now, hungry for some life balance, she’s turning to her Italian American friends in NY to reveal their secrets, starting with pizza.
S2 Episode 209 ‘Halal from Dearborn’
Padma visits Dearborn, a.k.a the Arab American “bubble”, during Ramadan, the holiest period of the year for Dearborn’s thriving Muslim community. Cruising in muscle cars and diving into local eateries, Padma discovers the abundance of sweets, treats, and savory meats.
S2 Episode 208 ‘On the Tip of my Kreung’
In the symbolic heart of America’s industrial past, Padma travels to Lowell, Massachusetts and sees how Cambodian immigrants (and their cooking) have become the backbone of this New England town.
S2 Episode 207 ‘Greeks on the Gulf’
Padma eats her way through the seaside city of Tarpon Springs, Florida, which may as well be a Greek Island. From sponge diving to Avgolemono, she takes a deep dive into the Greek time capsule that is Tarpon Springs.…
S2 Episode 206 ‘Ube in the Bay’
Sizzling silogs, sour sinigang…and sweet spaghetti? In South San Francisco, Padma enjoys Filipino food and discovers how the younger generation of Filipino Americans are the latest disruptors in the Bay Area.
S2 Episode 205 ‘Fufu for the Win’
Padma’s spice meter is put to the test by comedian Yvonne Orji and others when she travels to Houston, home to the largest Nigerian population in the US, where she gets an insider experience of Nigerian food and pride.
S2 Episode 204 ‘The Borscht Identity’
Padma heads to New York’s Brighton Beach and the East Village to learn why the debate over who really created borscht symbolizes a larger fight for Ukrainian identity.
S2 Episode 203 ‘Padma and the Beanstalk’
Appalachia is reinventing itself through its most beloved resource – food. Padma eats her way through the Mountain South, unearthing the inventive recipes, humble ingredients, and complex history – and picks up some banjo playing along the way.
S2 Episode 202 ‘From Kabul With Love’
On the heels of America’s longest war coming to an end, Padma joins the Afghan American community in DC as they welcome new arrivals over feasts that remind them of the Afghanistan they left behind, and what can be built anew.
S2 Episode 201 ‘Ketchup or No Ketchup’
Padma gets to the heart (and stomach) of Puerto Rico’s fight for independence by examining a surprisingly controversial topic: does ketchup belong on the beloved Puerto Rican dish pasteles?
S1 Episode 114 ‘K-Town Countdown’
Lunar New Year – a time to look forward while celebrating the old and the new. Join Padma as she dives into Los Angeles’ Koreatown, soaking up a delicious mix of fabulous flavors and toasting a communal birthday.
S1 Episode 113 ‘Mojo-ho Christmas’
If you’re smelling pork in the air, it must be close to Nochebuena! Join Padma as she connects with the Cuban community of Miami to learn about their food, history, and the recreation of their homeland on American soil.
S1 Episode 112 ‘Truth and the Turkey Tale’
Thanksgiving – the all American feast. Or is it? Padma visits Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard to deconstruct the holiday narrative and learn more about the lifeways and food of original Americans – the Wampanoag Nation.
S1 Episode 111 ‘Happy Challah Days’
Padma noshes her way through eight decadent nights of Chanukah on New York’s Lower East Side. Along the way, she explores the origins of Jewish-American identity and learns about the true meaning of Chanukah.
S1 Episode 110 ‘Zen and the Art of Poke’
Padma dives into Japanese culture, ubiquitous in Honolulu, to understand just how far their cultural footprint reaches. She slings fish and rolls sushi where a century and a half ago Japanese immigrants first docked on Hawaii’s shores.
S1 Episode 109 ‘The Pad Thai Gamble’
Las Vegas is home to one of the largest groups of Thai immigrants in the country, many of whom were women who came here after marrying American soldiers during the Vietnam War. Padma hears their stories over delicious food – Pad Thai is just the start.
S1 Episode 108 ‘Dancing in Little Lima!’
Peruvian cuisine hasn’t quite had its moment on the American food scene, but Padma knows the power of a great bowl of ceviche. She visits Paterson, New Jersey, a Peruvian enclave, for a deeper look at this vibrant culture.
S1 Episode 107 ‘ The Original Americans’
What is the original American cuisine? Padma travels to Arizona to eat food that is indigenous to this land. She tries some surprising dishes and explores how Native Americans seek to reestablish a connection to the past in order to protect their future.
S1 Episode 106 ‘Where the Kebob is Hot’
Padma tastes her way through Los Angeles, sampling one of her favorite cuisines: Persian food. The community opens up about the misconceptions some Americans have about Iranians, one kebab at a time.
S1 Episode 105 ‘What is Chop Suey Anyway?’
Chinese food is one of the most popular cuisines in the U.S. but the flavors of a vast country have been simplified over time. In San Francisco, Padma explores how Chinese immigrants and Chinese-Americans are broadening our understanding of this cuisine.
S1 Episode 104 ‘The Gullah Way’
The Gullah Geechee people of South Carolina are fighting to preserve the traditions passed down from their ancestors, West Africans forced into slavery. Padma catches and cracks crab with new friends and old, all working towards reclaiming their heritage.
S1 Episode 103 ‘Don't Mind if I Dosa’
Padma asks family, friends and those she admires how they hold onto Indian culture and pass it to the next generation. In NYC, she cooks the dishes that remind her of her original home and tastes Indian foods near her current home.
S1 Episode 102 ‘The All American Wiener’
Hot dogs, hamburgers, pretzels… Many think these foods are quintessentially American, but their origins are actually German. In Milwaukee, Padma meets descendants of early German immigrants who hold onto their heritage by celebrating and reclaiming it.
S1 Episode 101 ‘Burritos at the Border’
El Paso was once part of Mexico. Its border location defines the region’s identity and the complexity of America’s political landscape. Padma eats her way through this border city while discovering the origins of one of America’s most beloved cuisines.
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