Review: Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi – Updated for the holidays

Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi

Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi is a 10 episode wander through regional food in the United State with Padma Lakshmi. It’s on Hulu and is yummy delicious. Look for the update at the end about a holiday special for 2021.

Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi asks the question, “What is American food?” Padma Lakshmi is herself an immigrant, an Indian American. She looks at food and culture brought to this country in numerous immigrant communities. She also looks at food and culture in Native American communities. She covers a lot of the country in the process and eats some amazing food.

The point of view that immigrant communities make America what it is and inform our eating habits is important, perhaps as important as the food.

The episodes are short – about 30 minutes. Padma Lakshmi finds the best and most creative cooks in every location, and cooks with them. She’ll try anything, put her hands in anything, and appreciates every bite.

Lakshmi is a good judge of food. She’s written cookbooks of her own and been the host of Top Chef for years.

Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi goes to El Paso for burritos and eats German food in Milwaukee. Padma cooks dosa with her mom. In North Carolina she eats with Gullah people, who might actually be the origin of what we call “American food.”

She goes to San Francisco for Chinese food and Los Angeles for Persian food. She eats with Apache and Navajo cooks in Arizona. In New Jersey she learns about Peruvian food, then goes to Las Vegas for Thai food. She finishes up in Hawaii with some poke.

Padma Lakshmi is a terrific host – friendly, eager to learn, knowledgeable. She has a point of view on immigration, but I happen to agree with her, so that felt right to me. So many people she talked with mention that food is love, feeding people is love, and preparing food is an act of love.

Poster for Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi

Here’s the trailer.

I am not a dedicated cook and don’t watch cooking shows, but I loved this series. It’s full of warmth, humor, love, and good food.

UPDATE! A Taste the Nation holiday series

Taste the Nation Holiday series poster

A 4-part Taste The Nation: Holiday Edition will arrive on Hulu on November 4, just in time for holiday cooking. Each episode will highlight unique traditions through the lens of a different immigrant culture and city, like Korean New Year in Los Angeles and Cuban Christmas in Miami.

Here’s an advance look. Yum.

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