We launched Gastropod in September 2014, which means we're turning five this month, and that's approximately 100 in podcast years. We're celebrating our birthday with a special episode featuring highlights from the past five years’ worth of episodes, as chosen by you, our listeners—served up alongside a generous slice of cake science and history. Join the party and listen in now as we revisit fan favorites and behind-the-scenes highlights from our first half-decade, and then sit down with this souvenir list: 25 of our favorite fun facts from Gastropod, or five for each of the five years we’ve been making the show!
The Mafia got its start in the 1860s, in the lemon groves of Sicily. (At the time, growing lemons was the most lucrative form of agriculture in Europe, thanks to scurvy and the British Navy.
True wasabi (most wasabi in the U.S. is just colored horseradish) has a flavor “window”: it has no taste for the first five minutes after being grated, then the flavor explodes—but it fades after another ten to fifteen minutes. You have only a few minutes to enjoy wasabi at its peak!
In England in the 1600s, a special breed of dogs were used to turn spits of roasted meat in front of the open fire. (These turnspit dogs are now extinct; their closest relation is thought to be a corgi.)
The story that carrots are good for eyesight was World War II military disinformation, spread by the British to prevent the Germans from realizing that the Royal Air Force were shooting down so many enemy planes because their cockpits were now equipped with radar and red lighting.