Podcast: No Substitutions, Please

  • Episode 83: Waffles

    Now that’s one way to square or circle. Faced with a breakfast food they haven’t covered yet, Noah and Louisa are surprisingly decisive on the subject. Follow us:@NoSubsPlease on Twitter.@NoSubsPlease@mastodon.online on Mastodon.@NoSubsPlease on BlueSky. Noah: @elderrumbao on Twitter, @nsmckinnon@laserdisc.party on Mastodon, @nsmckinnon.bsky.social on BlueSky.Louisa: @louisa@mastodon.xyz. Our theme is Street Food, by FASSounds, and is governed…

  • Episode 82: Coleslaw

    If you treat it right, it’s a lot more than that green stuff next to your ribs. Join Noah and Louisa on this traipse through the cabbage patch.

  • Episode 81: Fried Rice

    We really shouldn’t have used that joke already, huh? Join Noah and Louisa on this tribute to the inadequacy of average kitchen equipment. Follow us:@NoSubsPlease on Twitter.@NoSubsPlease@mastodon.online on Mastodon.@NoSubsPlease on BlueSky. Noah: @elderrumbao on Twitter, @nsmckinnon@laserdisc.party on Mastodon, @nsmckinnon.bsky.social on BlueSky.Louisa: @louisa@mastodon.xyz. Our theme is Street Food, by FASSounds, and is governed by the Simplified…

  • Episode 80: Fettuccine Alfredo

    Last week was great if you liked episodes where Noah doesn’t like the food; this week is great if you like episodes where Noah and Louisa go on an absolutely massive tangent that, somehow, is still relevant to the food in question. Oh, yeah, and we talk about some pasta, too.

  • Episode 79: Baked Potatoes

    No jacket required! Those of you who like episodes where Noah hates the food under discussion, your luck’s in. Ovoids full of perfect fluffy golden potato, or bland and flavorless receptacles in search of toppings? You decide. Follow us:@NoSubsPlease on Twitter.@NoSubsPlease@mastodon.online on Mastodon.@NoSubsPlease on BlueSky. Noah: @elderrumbao on Twitter, @nsmckinnon@laserdisc.party on Mastodon, @nsmckinnon.bsky.social on BlueSky.Louisa:…

  • Episode 78: Deviled Ham

    Good as hell! Noah and Louisa talk about the smooth and savory sandwich spread that gives lunches and party trays the extra piquancy of facing God.

  • Episode 77: Rice Pudding

    What’s better than a bowl of warm, creamy, sweet, spiced rice? Well, a lot of things—especially if you do it wrong. Noah and Louisa find out how surprisingly easy it is to screw up one of the least onerous dishes they’ve ever brought up on the show.

  • Episode 76: Charred Green Beans

    Tired of boiled, olive drab, soft and mushy green beans? Why not perk them up the same way Noah and Louisa like to gild every vegetal lily: artfully burn them in hot oil?

  • Episode 75: Birria Tacos

    From a goat stew in Jalisco to a fried taco in Tijuana, to the food trucks of San Diego and beyond, this complex dish has gained decadence at every stop along the way. Noah and Louisa get into all the different steps and their appurtenant pitfalls and wonders.

  • Episode 74: Fried Tofu

    Tofu: good platform for flavors, decent test of your frying skills, and easy target for jokes if you don’t feel like making an effort. Noah and Louisa get into the methods, the pairings, and most of all, as always, the human-induced horrors of this versatile food.

  • Episode 73: Quesadillas

    Like many other things we’ve covered, you might wonder how it’s possible to screw up putting melted cheese inside a tortilla. Well, as Noah and Louisa have discovered, the simpler a dish gets, the weirder the cooks of the Internet become in response.

  • Episode 72: Boneless Pork Chops

    Or are they porch chops? The humble, versatile, and wonderful lean cut of pork loin finally gets its due on No Substitutions, Please. Louisa and Noah tell you how to cook it properly, wax poetic about its wide range of accompaniments, and demonstrate that people will refuse to get anything right, no matter how simple.

  • Episode 71: Risotto

    Who knew a dish this luxurious could be based on simple rice? Well, not just simple rice. You have to get the right kind, and do things in the exactly right order, and pay a lot of attention to what you’re doing—unless you use this one neat trick Noah recently acquired. He and Louisa will…

  • Episode 70: Roast Broccoli

    Sulfurous and delightful, cruciferous and enjoyable. Noah and Louisa talk about one of the simplest green sides to any dish, and why people keep overcomplicating it. Follow us:@NoSubsPlease on Twitter.@NoSubsPlease@mastodon.online on Mastodon.@NoSubsPlease on Cohost. Noah: @elderrumbao on Twitter, @nsmckinnon@laserdisc.party on Mastodon, @nsmckinnon.bsky.social on BlueSky.Louisa: @louisa@mastodon.xyz Our theme is Street Food, by FASSounds, and is governed…

  • Episode 69: Chocolate Fondue

    If there’s something more decadent than a bowl of liquid chocolate, fortified with dairy and perhaps even flavored with assorted sweets, we should probably keep that knowledge far away from the hands of the people Noah and Louisa talk about in this episode. Follow us:@NoSubsPlease on Twitter.@NoSubsPlease@mastodon.online on Mastodon.@NoSubsPlease on Cohost. Noah: @elderrumbao on Twitter,…

  • Episode 68: Seared Scallops

    While everyone else is talking about the Super Bowl, we’re looking forward to Valentine’s Day—and what better way to celebrate the love of your life than making a plate of fresh, sweet, delicately-caramelized scallops? Louisa and Noah discuss all the ways to nail this wonderful dish.

  • Episode 67: Garlic Bread

    There’s a very important question at the heart of this episode: why have bread with your meal when you can have garlic bread with your meal? Noah and Louisa discuss all the different ways to make this restaurant standard.

  • Episode 66: Oatmeal

    You’d think this humblest of breakfast foods would be simply impossible to screw up. Well, you would think that, if you’d just started listening to us. Noah and Louisa discuss the foibles and follies of people who manage to ruin simplicity itself.

  • Episode 65: Potatoes Au Gratin

    Nothing screams “comfort food” more than potatoes and dairy in the same dish, and, well, that’s exactly what this is. Noah and Louisa thinly slice a few fools who somehow manage to make it a difficult experience.

  • Episode 64: Black Bean Soup

    From the down-home kitchens of Latin America to, apparently, the kind of place that thinks every soup is a lobster bisque (more on that in a bit), this humble bean broth has hidden depths Noah and Louisa are all too happy to plumb.

  • Episode 63: Hash Browns

    What’s the problem with simple, deliciously shredded, golden-brown, crispy potatoes? Well, each of those adjectives gives people a way to get extremely mad at a breakfast dish. Noah and Louisa talk about why they might even have a point.

  • Episode 62: Shrimp Cocktail

    Ring in the new year with crisp, delicately-flavored seafood in a rich sauce. Noah and Louisa talk about the importance of keeping your shell on, how to ensure a good brine is had by all, and how Venezuelans like to break their mattresses. Follow us:@NoSubsPlease on Twitter.@NoSubsPlease@mastodon.online on Mastodon.@NoSubsPlease on Cohost. Noah: @elderrumbao on Twitter,…

  • Episode 61: Gingerbread

    What better way to celebrate Christmas Eve than making a flavorful little quick bread to share with your loved ones? Louisa and Noah take their yearly chance to grinch out on the assorted commenters of the Internet. You’ll want to catch this one.

  • Episode 60: Coquito/Eggnog

    Ah, Christmas—that special time of year when we decide to nestle our booze in cinnamon and cream, and in Puerto RIco, coconut into the bargain. Noah and Louisa talk about these two simple holiday libations, which you’d think would be nigh-impossible to screw up, and yet . . .

  • Episode 59: Peas

    We’re back! After a short hiatus, Noah and Louisa talk about the little green spheres that provide splashes of color and sweetness to so many dishes—assuming you don’t cook them to within an inch of their lives. So kick back, download the episode, and find your inner . . . tranquility.

  • Episode 58: Pot Roast

    Such a one-pot meal they put it in the dang name, and yet so much variation in the recipes that no two people make it the same way—which means it’s some fertile podcasting ground. Noah and Louisa take on one of the truest classics.

  • Episode 57: Gnocchi

    One of the softest, tenderest, and most temperamental of potato formats. Noah and Louisa discuss the myriad ways these dumplings can make trouble for the inexperienced or unconfident cook.

  • Episode 56: Meatloaf

    The dish that defines cafeteria chic—if we’re assuming that “cafeteria chic” is a thing, which it isn’t. Noah and Louisa bat around some fun preparations of this comfort food classic.

  • Episode 55: Chicken-Fried Steak

    You’re telling me a chicken fried this steak? Follow us:@NoSubsPlease on Twitter.@NoSubsPlease@mastodon.online on Mastodon.@NoSubsPlease on Cohost. Noah: @elderrumbao on Twitter, @nsmckinnon@laserdisc.party on Mastodon, @nsmckinnon.bsky.social on BlueSky.Louisa: @louisa@mastodon.xyz Our theme is Street Food, by FASSounds, and is governed by the Simplified Pixabay License. Our cover art includes work by artist Kirsty Pargeter.

  • Episode 54: Guacamole

    For their final entry of Hispanic Heritage Month, Noah and Louisa take a look at the green that’s good as gold, the magical vegetal with the avocado base, yet another thing on which every American has a completely unsolicited opinion: guacamole. Brace yourselves.

  • Episode 53: Dulce de Leche / Cajeta

    Silky, sumptuous, sugar-sweet and sometimes subtly savory, dulce de leche (and cajeta, its caprine cousin) is what the gods would design if they were asked to make the perfect sweet. Noah and Louisa expound on each of this wonderful substance’s many intricacies. Follow us:@NoSubsPlease on Twitter.@NoSubsPlease@mastodon.online on Mastodon.@NoSubsPlease on Cohost. Noah: @elderrumbao on Twitter, @nsmckinnon@laserdisc.party…

  • Episode 52: Empanad(ill)as

    How about a treasure chest where the gold is outside? These fried culinary diplomats come in all shapes and sizes, with all kinds of fillings—yes, even that one you just thought of. What’s not to love? Let Noah and Louisa feed you some dumplings of wisdom. Follow us:@NoSubsPlease on Twitter.@NoSubsPlease@mastodon.online on Mastodon.@NoSubsPlease on Cohost. Noah:…

  • Episode 51: Mofongo

    For our first Hispanic Heritage Month episode, we take on one of Noah’s most beloved exemplars of boricua cuisine: the exquisite combination of plantain fried to its golden peak, sharp garlic oil, and savory pork cracklings that goes with everything—from roast pork or chicken to seafood stews. Follow us:@NoSubsPlease on Twitter.@NoSubsPlease@mastodon.online on Mastodon.@NoSubsPlease on Cohost.…

  • Episode 50: Ground Beef Tacos

    Louisa and Noah knew they had to do something special for the half-century mark, and this episode has everything you could want. Start with a base of classic food almost everyone has experienced; top it with an over-pretentious recipe from a member of our rogues’ gallery; slather on some comments that reveal far, far more…

  • Episode 49: Falafel

    Back after a two-week hiatus! Among the lordliest of the fried foods, these delicious, simple, crispy balls of ground beans and fresh herbs are some of the best things you can put in a pita. Noah and Louisa track down some tips for especial success.

  • Episode 48: Peach Cobbler

    Cobbler by any other name would taste as sweet—which is good, because this stuff has more minor variations than Beethoven. Noah and Louisa get to the bottom of all of them. You know, where the peaches are. Follow us:@NoSubsPlease on Twitter.@NoSubsPlease@mastodon.online on Mastodon.@NoSubsPlease on Cohost. Noah: @elderrumbao on Twitter, @nsmckinnon@laserdisc.party on Mastodon.Louisa: @louisa@mastodon.xyz Our theme…

  • Episode 47: Chicken Parmesan

    Melted cheese, rich tomato sauce, crispy breaded chicken, well-sauced noodles: what’s not to love? Why not ask Noah, who will spend most of this episode telling Louisa he’d rather be eating something different.

  • Episode 46: Corn Salad

    Lend us your ears, and in silk-smooth voices, Noah and Louisa will have you in total amaizement as they describe the shuck and awe of the summer salads, all based on those golden pearls of sweet glory.

  • Episode 45: Brownies

    The perfect lunchbox dessert, without which no bake sale is complete. Noah and Louisa reminisce about these fudgy squares, whose present as a no-fuss baked good would surely astonish the people who (supposedly) invented it as a fine dining treat.

  • Episode 44: Pulled Pork

    A beloved mainstay of many a summer barbecue, whether you like it with spicy vinegar, grown mustard, or that thick brown ketchup Kansas City calls barbecue sauce. Louisa discusses the importance of making an effort, while Noah tries to hang on to his faith in humanity.

  • Episode 43: French Toast

    Have you ever wondered why this breakfast food is associated with the French? Well, Noah and Louisa have no answers for you there—but they’ll spend plenty of time talking about how to make a delicious little bread dish, and all the ways people have failed to improve upon it.

  • Episode 42: Fish and Chips

    Were you expecting hot dogs? Hamburgers? Some other American food that might be appropriate for the 4th of July? What podcast did you think this was? Noah and Louisa take you back to the Eastern Hemisphere on a journey through Britain, Portugal and Japan to wax poetic about the wonders of battered cod and haddock.…

  • Episode 41: Potato Salad

    No summer barbecue or 4th of July cookout is complete without someone bringing a big container of this stuff. Which is interesting, because if you’ve ever talked to anyone about it, you quickly learn two things: 1) everyone has their own recipe, and 2) no one seems to actually like it all that much. Noah…

  • Episode 40: Shrimp Scampi

    There are few pleasures in life as simple as butter, garlic, and good shrimp—or so you’d think. Noah and Louisa discover that a lot of people have rather interesting ideas on how such a classic combination can be . . . well, is “improved” the right term?

  • Episode 39: Eggs Benedict

    The preferred breakfast of traitors, Popes with weird egg deficiencies, and white people getting their weekend drunk on. Noah and Louisa break down every facet of this brunch staple. Follow us:@NoSubsPlease on Twitter.@NoSubsPlease@mastodon.online on Mastodon.@NoSubsPlease on Cohost. Noah: @elderrumbao on Twitter, @nsmckinnon@laserdisc.party on Mastodon.Louisa: @louisa@mastodon.xyz Our theme is Street Food, by FASSounds, and is governed…

  • Episode 38: Key Lime Pie

    The Florida Keys: bright sun, blue waves, warm sand, haunted dolls—all things that go perfectly with the cool, refreshing taste of key lime juice swathed in rich condensed milk. (We’re assuming here. Neither of us have been.) Noah and Louisa tell you about their agreed-upon favorite pie, and the occasions where it might be served.

  • Episode 37: Greek Salad

    If the Sirens had sung of sweet tomatoes, glistening with rich olive oil, paired with refreshing cucumber, and scattered with pearl-white feta, to the illustrious Odysseus, he would have never returned to his rocky island home. Fortunately, it would be several millennia before all of those things came together in a salad bowl—which means it…

  • Episode 36: Wedge Salad

    As we all know, food is at its most delicious when it is served in triangles. This salad, with its bacon and chives and its creamy blue cheese dressing, conjures the fantasy of eating an entire head of lettuce. (You can’t make Noah mention the tomatoes.) It’s our third episode of Salad Days. You know…

  • Episode 35: Caprese Salad

    Basil. Cheese. Tomato. Oil. Long ago, the four ingredients sat together in harmony. Then everything changed when a bunch of people chucked some balsamic vinegar in there for some reason. Noah and Louisa investigate why people can’t just leave well enough alone. Follow us:@NoSubsPlease on Twitter.@NoSubsPlease@mastodon.online on Mastodon.@NoSubsPlease on Cohost. Noah: @elderrumbao on Twitter, @nsmckinnon@laserdisc.party…

  • Episode 34: Cobb Salad

    The only thing Noah likes less than cherry tomatoes and hard-boiled eggs in his salads are people who supposedly like those things finding ways to get around the fact that they’re key ingredients. So, for the first episode of our Salad Days, he and Louisa talk about all the different ways people try to get…

  • Episode 33: Flan

    It’s the king of custards, the despot of desserts, the envy of every other meal-ender—and, as Louisa and Noah discover, the bane of a lot of cooks cursed by iffy ovens or too willing to cut corners.

  • Episode 32: Roasted Asparagus

    Let’s welcome spring into our lives with a tribute to one of the greenest vegetables around—and, we think you’ll agree, one of the most variegated episodes we’ve ever done. Noah and Louisa discover that there are some people who just shouldn’t be allowed near a produce section. Follow us:@NoSubsPlease on Twitter.@NoSubsPlease@mastodon.online on Mastodon.@NoSubsPlease on Cohost.…

  • Episode 31: Meatball Subs

    Anchors aweigh! Noah and Louisa cast off to take on these treasure-laden galleons of the sandwich fleet—or, more accurately, some of their worst captains. Do they land a broadside?

  • Episode 30: Deviled Eggs

    Whether at a cocktail party or a down-home family picnic, these little vessels for mayonnaise and paprika are the picture of midcentury elegance. Noah and Louisa take on the most ovoid, and therefore most seasonally appropriate, of Easter foods.

  • Episode 29: Blueberry Muffins

    We know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking we all know how blueberry muffins are made. Well, would that it were so simple. Noah and Louisa talk about how, for some people, there is no recipe so easy or so forgiving that it can’t be turned into a quagmire of quick bread.

  • Episode 28: Shepherd’s Pie

    If you’re the weirdo who thinks we haven’t done enough British food, well, this one’s for you. Noah and Louisa discuss the classic comfort casserole that dares to say: is there anything better than a blanket of mashed potatoes over ground meat? Follow us:@NoSubsPlease on Twitter.@NoSubsPlease@mastodon.online on Mastodon.@NoSubsPlease on Cohost. Noah: @elderrumbao on Twitter, @nsmckinnon@laserdisc.party…

  • Episode 27: Scrambled Eggs

    If you’ve been listening for a while, you know Noah tends to recoil when Louisa breaks out descriptors for eggs—so, naturally, we figured it was time to take the bull by the curds. Whether you like your scrambles French-style or nearly omeletted, we’re sure you’ll find someone to annoy you in this sojourn through the…

  • Episode 26: Buffalo Wings

    The rare episode where both hosts have made the food in question. If you’re one of the three people left who doesn’t know where Noah lives, let him regale you with the tales of every petty argument he’s had to hear about this food. It’s chicken wings in orange hot sauce. It is not that…

  • Episode 25: Nutella

    For this exciting milestone, Noah and Louisa decided to do things a little differently. This time, we cover recipes made with Nutella—decadence in a jar or overrated slop? Let them tell you all about it.

  • Episode 24: French Fries

    How is this the most sacrilegious episode we’ve done yet? Noah and Louisa discuss that most quintessential of fried-tuber side dishes, that most incorrectly-named of fast-food staples: the French fry.

  • Episode 23: Cheesecake

    Picture it: the Internet, 2023. Noah and Louisa discuss the dense and delicious dessert that, despite the doughtiest deeds of this delegate for the duty of description . . . does not start with a D. Look, it’s cheesecake. We love it. Let us tell you all about it.

  • Episode 22: Squash Soup

    Did you know squash soups don’t have to taste like you puréed a pumpkin spice latte? Did you know Noah has actually made some of the foods on the show? This time, he and Louisa get to talk about all the different ways you, too, can make your soup as gourd as possible.

  • Episode 21: Minestrone

    Hearty soups, full of beans and tubers, are a regular feature of cucina povera—and, precisely because of that, are particularly susceptible to dinguses who want to overcomplicate things for no reason. Noah and Louisa get to talk about a soup one of them does not, in fact, particularly like.

  • Episode 20: Clams Chowder

    Bowlful of red, bowlful of white, or possibly a secret third bowlful: whatever kind of mood you’re in tonight, Noah and Louisa discuss the soup that will one day draw battle-lines across the Northeast.

  • Episode 19: Chicken Noodle Soup

    At its best, a wonderful savory restorative; at its worst, an unevenly-seasoned mess of mushy vegetables and bad meat. Noah and Louisa talk about that most famous of broths for the convalescent.

  • Episode 18: Donuts

    We hear what you’re saying: wouldn’t it be easier to just buy some donuts at your local shop? Is it really worth making your own? As Noah and Louisa discover, some people tried—very few of them, as it turns out, with any real understanding of what they were doing.

  • Episode 17: Pesto

    The perfect time to discuss fresh summer flavors: in the bleak midwinter. Let Noah and Louisa take you on a journey to the Mediterranean coast, where people get extremely het up about what goes in their green sauces.

  • Episode 16: Nachos

    What’s great about nachos is how modular they are: no matter what protein, type of cheese, or toppings you prefer, there’s a plate of nachos out there you’ll like. And yet, somehow, there are people—quite famous people, of some renown in the recipe world—who have managed to screw them up. Noah and Louisa discover that,…

  • Episode 15: Fruitcake

    Whether it’s steamed or baked, dense or light, a full-meal wedge or a dessert slice, there’s one thing both sides of the Atlantic ocean agree on: everyone absolutely hates this garbage food. Noah’s first fruitcake foray came on the same week as this episode was recorded, so Louisa gets to explain to him—and laugh at…

  • Episode 14: Pernil

    Something like half of Puerto Rican Christmas carols involve the key subject of cooking pork. There is a good reason for this: it’s absolutely delicious. Let Noah and Louisa tell you about this magical dish and all the ways in which it’ll make you happy.

  • Episode 13: Roast Beef

    Whether a Sunday dinner staple or the centerpiece of a beautiful holiday dinner, whether eye of round or prime rib, a roast beef treated well is a memorable treat. Louisa’s got the reins on this episode, as Noah asks her how to choose a good cut, tricks to combat shrinkflation-induced lean roasts, and more. Plus,…

  • Episode 12: Stuffing

    Right now, a number of you are yelling the word “dressing” at your phones, and people think you’re being weird. Better to listen and find out how Noah and Louisa like this side dish, so often oddly restricted to Thanksgiving despite its many wonderful qualities. Plus: our second mailbag, sent in by another loyal reader,…

  • Episode 11: Turkey

    If you went to a Thanksgiving dinner this coming week (*brag*), chances are pretty good the centerpiece of it was a turkey cooked to crispy and golden perfection. Or so we hope. For the people who didn’t quite get to enjoy that, Noah and Louisa have some things to say.

  • Episode 10: Mac & Cheese

    As a tenth-episode bonus, they also do two firsts: dunk on a recipe they found on the Internet, and discuss a comment received from a reader!

  • Episode 9: Potato Leek Soup

    In the fall, a home cook’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of spuds—and, perhaps, leeks cooked in butter. Noah and Louisa discover that, no matter how simply a dish may be named, you can’t stop some people from overcomplicating it.

  • Episode 8: Spaghetti and Meatballs

    What could be more Italian than spaghetti and meatballs? Well, to hear some people tell it, lots of things—and they might be right. Noah and Louisa attempt to defuse this source of ongoing cross-Atlantic tension.

  • Episode 7: Pumpkin Pie

    Our spookiest episode yet . . . well, if you’re scared of autumnal whiffs of mortality. Look, there’s not a whole lot of homemade Halloween foods, okay? Noah and Louisa did their best to be respectful to a serviceable pie. Some other people did not. These are their stories.

  • Episode 6: Fried Chicken

    Whether breaded, battered or even dredged—depending on your recipe—delicious poultry covered in equally tasty starch and goldened in oil is beloved the world over. Unless it’s made by some of the people Noah and Louisa tripped over in their research.

  • Episode 5: Rice and Beans

    Like all classic comfort food, they’re infinitely customizable in flavor, seasoning, texture, technique . . . and yet Noah and Louisa managed to find the one thing you probably shouldn’t do to them.

  • Episode 4: Caesar Salad

    Anchovies, mustard, torn lettuce—what is it with Caesars and causing arguments about classics? Noah and Louisa wade into the comment sections of the Internet to see what’s what.

  • Episode 3: Grilled Cheese

    One cannot live on bread and cheese alone. Or can one? To answer that, Louisa and Noah toast up more of the Internet’s finest home cooks.

  • Episode 2: Chili

    Whether it’s about beans, tomatoes, onions, or garlic, no food seems to cause arguments with more frequency, or more vehemence, than good old chili. This week, Louisa and Noah try to get to the bottom of the bowl.

  • Episode 1: Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Who doesn’t love the classics? For our first episode, Noah and Louisa take a look at that most famous and shareable of baked goods, regardless of breadth, crisp, or chew: the chocolate chip cookie.