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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.


Balsamic Ground Turkey and Apple Breakfast Hash

Where you’d expect potatoes, this recipe subs diced apples—which I found intriguing—and I tend to be up for anything with a fried egg on top. But the only spice called for was cardamom. If you’re not familiar, you might recognize the taste in chai tea or a pumpkin pie spice blend. If you’ve ever overdone it (as I have, in pumpkin oatmeal gone very wrong), you know that this spice is to be treated with caution. Unfortunately, in the absence of any other spices to balance it out, I found it just too potent. – Laura Loker

Indian Spice Rubbed Chicken Thighs

This one is on me. I used boneless skinless thighs instead of bone-in, skin-on, a substitution that usually makes little difference except for baking time. In this recipe, however, something about the spice blend directly on the chicken (without any liquid ingredients like olive oil to smooth it out) made the texture a little gritty. The taste, however, was incredible, so I may revisit it in the future—and while I can’t recommend it without trying it again, you may have more success than I did if you follow the recipe exactly. – LL

Simple Pork Stir-Fry

I liked the idea behind this recipe; ground pork, frozen broccoli, and a homemade stir-fry sauce sounded like a winning combination. But they didn’t quite hit a home run—the dish didn’t have a lot of flavor. I added ginger when we re-heated the leftovers, and that helped a little bit, but not enough to make me want to recommend the recipe. – Kellie Moore


RadioLab: “Octomom”

When using a robot submarine to explore the deep sea, scientist Bruce Robison noticed a deep sea octopus—but he didn’t think anything of it. However, when he and his team returned to the spot later, that same octopus was attached to a rock, brooding on some 160 eggs. They nicknamed her “Octomom,” and decided to check in on her every so often, to see what would happen—little is known about the brooding habits of deep sea octopuses, so they really weren’t sure what to expect. Little did they know they’d be checking on that same octopus for the next four years (for context, the typical octopus—not of the deep sea variety—tends to live about one year, with about a month-long brooding period). This compelling story was told with such emotion and heart, and it made me marvel at nature—and at the sacrifice octopus mamas make to bring their young into the world. However, early on, there was a digression about octopus sex, which involved rather sensationalized descriptions of the act, as well as a joking reference to pornography. Though it was meant to be lighthearted, that’s not Verily’s taste, and for that reason, I didn’t feel comfortable with Verily recommending it. – KM

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