Eating the Rainbow: Or, the Mystery of the Orange Oranges, the Red M&Ms, and the Blue Raspberry

From stripy fuchsia beets to unicorn doughnuts, the foods available today on grocery store shelves and in cafe displays are more brightly colored than ever. But this hasn't always been the case. This episode of Gastropod, we offer three stories that explore the colors of our cuisine: How did a food fight between Florida and California turn oranges (the fruit) that perfect bright orange (the color)? Why did US consumers freak out about the food dye Red #2, and what was the impact on our M&Ms? And finally, who invented the blue raspberry? All that, plus one very sexy indigo-hued blossom.

Episode Notes

Ai Hisano and Visualizing Taste

Ai Hisano is a senior lecturer at the Graduate School of Economics at Kyoto University, Japan. Her new book is Visualizing Taste: How Business Changed the Look of What You Eat.

Nadia Berenstein

Nadia Berenstein is Gastropod's favorite flavor historian. You can read more of her work online here, as well as listen to her in our Savor Flavor episode.

David Kastan and On Color

David Kastan is a professor of English at Yale University. His most recent book is On Color, co-authored with the painter Stephen Farthing. His article, "Color or Fruit: On the Unlikely Etymology of 'Orange'" is a fascinating read.

Tracy Kahn and the UCR Citrus Variety Collection

Tracy Kahn is the Givaudan Citrus Variety Collection Endowed Chair at UC Riverside. We visited the Citrus Variety Collection for our episode Museums and the Mafia: The Secret History of Citrus.

Vintage California citrus crate label, Los Angeles Public Library.

Katie Rountree, DDW The Color House

Katie Rountree is a senior applications scientist at DDW The Color House, a natural food color company.

Cathie Martin

Cathie Martin is professor of plant sciences at the University of East Anglia, and a researcher at the John Innes Center.

Indigo tomatoes, courtesy Cathie Martin.


Click here for a transcript of the show. Please note that the transcript is provided as a courtesy and may contain errors