Once a week, Verily Table subscribers receive a tidy roundup of recipes and podcast episodes that we’ve curated from around the web. But behind the scenes, it’s a little more complicated. Sometimes we listen to a podcast episode only to discover that it’s not as interesting or informative as we hoped. Sometimes a recipe just flat-out flops. And sometimes, we do like a recipe or podcast episode—but not quite enough to recommend.
So, to offer some insight into our process, the following are recipes and podcasts that didn’t make the cut—and why.
Healthy Fettuccine Alfredo
The food blog world is rife with vegetables masquerading as dairy, so I figured it was about time to try a “healthy” (i.e., cauliflower) take on a cream sauce. And really, this recipe didn’t turn out too bad—once I got over the sensation that I was eating soup-coated noodles and added bacon (it definitely needed bacon), it was pretty good. But the dishes. Oh, the dishes. Not only were you supposed to use two pots and a skillet at the same time, which my stovetop doesn’t accommodate very well, you were left with those and a food processor to clean up. Not worth it. – Laura Loker
Chicken White BBQ Potatoes
“White BBQ” piqued my interest, but there wasn’t anything “BBQ” about it: it was essentially chicken salad over baked potatoes. That’s not a bad idea, really—when it comes to variations on familiar foods, I’m all ears—but it was just a little too boring to merit a Verily Table slot. I’ll keep it in mind if I find myself with leftover chicken and potatoes, but I won’t be going out of my way to make this one again. – LL
Baked Ziti with Eggplant
I don’t know why I didn’t follow my gut when I was making this recipe. Lasagna is layered. Ziti is not. Not only did making a large eggplant-slice pasta parfait stress me out when I was putting it together—the eggplant would have been so much more evenly distributed if it had been diced and all mixed up!—the dish as a whole was ultimately a little dry. Next time, I won’t abandon my two usual rules for ziti (you always need more sauce than you think, and you can’t overdo it on cheese), and I’ll be adding a third: if you’re going to add anything extra, my goodness, just mix it in. – LL
Science Vs: “Sleep: All Aboard the Snooze Cruise?”
This podcast, produced by Gimlet, had a lot of promise. After all, Gimlet has produced excellent podcasts like StartUp, Without Fail, and Reply All, and this episode offered research that would help us to get more sleep (who doesn’t want that?). But, I couldn’t get past the banter between the host and guests, which I felt distracted from the content. Science is challenging to consume in audio format, and I imagine the casual conversations to introduce guests or transition between topics was meant to lighten the episode. Instead, I found myself losing track of where I was in the content, and I gave up about halfway through. – Meg McDonnell
What I Wore When: “Alison Roman: What I Wore When I Interviewed at Bon Appétit”
Alison Roman is just so cool, and this episode was not a total fail, but ultimately, I felt it wasn’t “on brand” enough to earn a spot in Verily Table. If you’re not familiar with Roman, she’s a food columnist at NYT Cooking and Bon Appétit and author of the cookbooks Nothing Fancy and Dining In. Hearing how Roman went from being a restaurant chef in NYC to working for a food magazine is fascinating. She got her start in publishing at Bon Appétit, and her description of her nerves for that first interview is relatable, as is her discussion about the struggle to become financially stable in her low paying industry. I internally cringed a little, though, when the host, Perrie Samotin, digital director at Glamour and Roman start talking about all the “things” they bought when they became financially stable. I have nothing against treating ourselves with nice things, but the conversation felt light and just not as interesting as hearing about Roman’s career and approach to cooking. – MM
Next Question with Katie Couric: “How did Julie Andrews become the icon she is today?”
Just the sound of Julie Andrews’s voice is relaxing to me, and that fact alone made this episode a strong contender for a spot in Verily Table. But Couric’s hosting is tailored for TV not podcasting, and you can tell in this episode. The show is full of clips of Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and My Fair Lady, which would be even more fun to watch than to listen to. I’m also a big fan of the more produced style of podcasts, and this show is more conversational. For these reasons, I just didn’t think it’d ultimately help a woman relax as she cooked dinner. – MM
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