Padma Lakshmi breaks down cultural cuisine in ‘Taste the Nation’
Padma Lakshmi tours the country in her new Hulu series “Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi” where she examines different cultures and its culinary influences on American or Americanized fare. Lakshmi opens each of the 10 episodes by reminding viewers that she immigrated to the United States from India as a child before talking about the individual episode’s cultural focus.
As the food-revering host savors different dishes she speaks with people from different cultures to share their immigration story or about how a dish connects them with their culture. Lakshmi experiences authentic (pre-Spanish colonization) Mexican food, Navajo dishes, Gullah cuisine and more as she tries to identify what American food actually consists of. Instead of finding a particular dish, Lakshmi shatters the idea that any one food is distinctly American as all of the recipes are rooted in other cultures.
Viewers watch as Lakshmi reveals different dishes that delve deeper into cultural menus. In one episode when Lakshmi is discussing authentic Indian cuisine, she and a friend who are from two different regions in India discuss how the flavors and base ingredients used within Indian recipes vary from northern and southern India. In another episode she learns about the Japanese influence on Hawaiian food and on how the two cultures are often embraced in Hawaiian restaurants. Lakshmi even reveals that hamburgers and hotdogs, often considered to be iconic American food, are actually German as she discusses how Germans living in America had to assimilate and tone down their traditions during World War II.
While Lakshmi’s series is educational, it’s never dull as she jokes around in kitchens and savors different ingredients and meals. Lakshmi is a bright and effervescent host as she delights in trying new things like cutting sugar cane, spearfishing and trying rodent for the first time.
“Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi” has 10 episodes available on Hulu. The series is rated TV-14. Viewers might also enjoy watching Netflix’s “Nadiya’s Time to Eat,” which follows chef and author Nadiya Hussain as she aids busy Brits create easy and healthy meals.
Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi
Episode length: 30 minutes
Similar series: Nadiya’s Time to Eat