Friday, May 27, 2022

Why ‘Roadfood’ Needs a Season 2

Roadfood took PBS programming by storm, grabbing the hearts of fans around the world — partially because of the food, but mostly because of the cast, crew, and people that the show met and followed along the way. At the time this article was written, Roadfood has yet to be renewed. While we wait for an announcement, I thought I’d showcase all of the reasons I think Roadfood needs a season 2.

More food to eat

As I’ve said before, while the show’s not all about the delicious delicacies on our screens, there’s no Roadfood without the food. Roadfood the show grew out of the concept of Roadfood, the iconic books series written by founders Jane and Michael Stern detailing their discoveries of backroad eateries and regional dishes across America. You can read more about Roadfood’s history on their website here as well as by checking out host Misha Collins’ opening spiel below.

Collins and the rest of the crew have carried on the tradition of showcasing these regional dishes of America by taking a meandering journey of their own across the country. While many dishes were tasted and showcased throughout season 1, there are so many more foods and regional variations of classic (and less known) dishes to explore. From midwestern delicacies like cheese curds to the northeastern staple of chowder to the southern tradition of tamales (which, according to original episode listings, was actually supposed to be an episode from season 1), the possibilities are endless, as there are so many more mouthwatering dishes to be discovered and shared with audiences.

More shenanigans to be had

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One aspect of Roadfood that fans claim as a favorite is seeing all of the different shenanigans Collins and the crew get up to throughout the course of an episode. Racing a minivan around a track, gutting squid, learning to polka dance, learning to play dominoes, and riding motorcycles are only a few things that we’ve seen unfold on our screens throughout the season. In addition to fun little detours like these, we also see Collins delve into different historical aspects of the areas through activities like viewing traditional Native American Hoop Dances, visiting cultural museums, and diving into specific topics of regional history with community elders and leaders.

These events don’t just break up the neverending sequences of food rolling across our screens (though let’s be real, our stomachs need a break from rumbling at some point). They showcase aspects of culture that can’t be ascertained through the taste buds, giving viewers a more complete picture of the experience of living in that region.

While food is undoubtedly an influential aspect of what defines a culture, so are the activities we choose to surround ourselves with. These things can indirectly show our values, our collective interests, and our histories. Viewers get a sense of these things by viewing it through the crew’s eyes as we follow their journey. As such, we’re able to expand our cultural horizons from the comfort of our own homes, increasing cultural competency, and expanding peoples’ ideological horizons via exposure as the show (and PBS) is wont to do.

More stories to tell

But most importantly, Roadfood still has more stories to tell. I said it in the paragraph before, but I’ll reiterate it here to drive home my point: food is undoubtedly a window into culture, but culture isn’t solely defined by food. It’s comprised of so many other aspects like language, different social interactions, ideas, traditions, art, shared experiences, and more. Roadfood is doing its part by exposing people to all of these things, maybe even for the first time, by showcasing different people, their passions, and their stories from a variety of places in the United States. And that’s why this show is so important.

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Roadfood works to expand the bounds of people’s minds by introducing them to different cultural experiences and ideological perspectives, ultimately resulting in increased cultural competency, tolerance, and most importantly, empathy. In a modern world where divisiveness has seemed to wedge itself into just about every aspect of life, it’s more important than ever to work to understand one another more completely, find common ground in the shared human experience, and work towards a society built on the fundamental principles of empathy, kindness, and tolerance.

Because when we employ those principles and open our eyes to the realities of others, the world becomes a better place as we celebrate our differences while still finding a sense of unity. I truly believe Roadfood is doing its part, however small, to facilitate these lessons and processes, and I believe that the world would be made that much brighter if the show were to continue on its mission for another season.

Roadfood: Discovering America one dish at a time is now available globally, with a variety of different watch options at your disposal. Not quite convinced you should give the show a go? Make sure to check out our other article on reasons we believe Roadfood should be on your current watchlist. As always, check out our other content related to the show here, Roadfood’s website for additional behind-the-scenes content and other information, and stay tuned for more updates as they become available.

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