This podcast features short bios on lots of interesting historical figures, but this one is about a lesser-known but equally important person. Toussaint LOuverture was a free slave who led the only successful large-scale slave revolt in history, conquering and eventually becoming ruler of the society that had enslaved him.
The role of African Americans in the White House is unfortunately a lesser known aspect of U.S. history, from running the White House kitchen operations to feeding many American presidents, their families, visiting politicians and international guests.
As a peanut butter addict, I had to listen to this. I was surprised to learn the round-about way that peanuts got to North America: originally grown by the Incas in the foothills of the Andes, peanuts were then brought by the Spanish and Portuguese conquerors to Africa, and then African slaves brought peanuts to North America. Just one of many interesting facts in this episode.
Who knew that the Dutch Sinterklaas was the inspiration for the North American Santa Claus of today? And pretty crazy how many foods that are considered to be quintessentially American actually come from the Dutch influence in the US: doughnuts, apple pie, cookies, pancakes, coleslaw...
This episode focuses on the placebo effect. Fascinating discoveries, such as how patients reported better outcomes when they saw doctors who had secretly been coached by the lead researcher of this study to spend 20 seconds "thinking" about what the client told them before giving the client their diagnosis. It talks about really interesting research from Ted Capchuck, who is focusing on placebo research at Harvard.