Eating History is a new unscripted show coming to the History channel. The purpose of this show is about two people, Old Smokey and Josh Macuga, travelling the USA looking for some of the oldest and rarest food from times since past!
If it’s hard to find, or from the past, they’ll track it down, and they’ll put it in their mouths!
Old Smokey is a vintage food expert, who has made a ton of videos on Youtube already of his adventures in historic food. Josh Macuga, is a collector of classic and aged foods. Together they are going to hunt down and eat the food that has survived through the time.
This show will be a twelve episode half-hour series.
To prepare for this we got a hold of Old Smokey and Josh Macuga, so we could get into the head of someone wild enough to eat food older then themselves!
Eric Seuthe II: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us, here at Nerd News Social, we believe in doing extreme things, For Science, so we respect your desire to test the limits of your own body. How did you decide that collecting, chroniclization, and eating older food would be your calling?
- Old Smokey: Basically, I evolved from a collector of consumables into collecting the experiences of actually trying those consumables. When I realized that I could literally try the exact same food that my grandpa had eaten during WW2 I was then on a mission to do so. My fascination with food has always been there. That’s how you can experience different cultures and places. I realized long ago when on vacation that I remembered the food. If I had the same food again it would take me back in same moment, say sitting on the beach, and the memories were very vivid. In my mind I get to travel through time with food now.
- Josh Macuga: I don’t know if it was exactly ‘my calling’ per say, but I think it truly is the only way to taste history. There’s something truly scientific about how food and drink age over time and more importantly how they taste over time. It’s an amazing adventure. When it comes to science, I was always that kid who liked the experiment, but LOVED to take it to the next level, much to the chagrin of my teachers in school, but now I get to do it on TV!
Eric: Is there a white whale of food, that you wish you could find, but have had a hard time tracking down?
- Old Smokey: I want to get my hands on and try what I think could be the oldest edible food out there. There’s some 5,000 treat old honey they found in a tomb in Georgia. That’s pretty much my white whale.
- Josh: NO Spoilers, but we did get to taste A LOT of amazing items that have been dream items for a while. My dream is to find that EXTREMELY rare shipwreck item… something that has buried for centuries that we could try! I want that!
Eric: Of all of the food that you have eaten, what is the one you regret the most?
- Old Smokey: I don’t have any regrets about trying anything. I take what we do very seriously. Even if it’s bad I still have the experience of eating history to add to my collection of experiences.
- Josh: I don’t know if I ‘regret’ any of the items we’ve tried, because it’s always truly a journey through time and the risk involved and tastes you think you didn’t think were possible are introduced to your flavor palate for life but I don’t think I’ll eat 50-year-old corn chips again or 40-year-old wine coolers.
Eric: What is the oldest food you’ve ever eaten?
- Old Smokey: The oldest food I’ve actually eaten was around 120 years old I believe. It definitely wasn’t the greatest but, wow the backstory and history involved was so amazing that it made it enjoyable.
- Josh: Before the show, because we don’t want to spoil some episodes, I’ve been lucky to find some great items, but I’d venture to say some first-generation corn flakes and vintage Heinz Ketchup from the 60’s. As a Pittsburgh, PA native, if it’s from Pittsburgh or a Pittsburgh-themed item, you’ve got me interested. The vintage beers from the Steelers Super Bowls in the 70’s are also an adventure.
Eric: What’s the oldest Twinkie that you have eaten?
- Old Smokey: That’s funny because I actually have eaten an old Twinkie. If my memory serves me correctly it was around 25-30 years old. It wasn’t really what you’d think either. It had turned into more of a cookie than a Twinkie. It wasn’t what I expected either.
- Josh: The Twinkie… midnight express… we’re venturing at least 30 years.
Eric: Over the course of your journey into eating older food, have you had any health issues as a result of your meals?
- Old Smokey: I take the act of eating vintage food very seriously. To be honest I’ve gotten much more ill from newer food than I ever have from vintage food.
- Josh: Knock on wood. NOT YET. It’s all about safety. We’re not eating food just to gross each other out. We’re eating it to take a journey back in time. If we don’t think it’s safe to eat WE DO NOT EAT IT.
Eric: Are there types of food that generally last longer then others?
- Old Smokey: That’s a very difficult question because there are so many different types of food nowadays. The short answer is yes though. Freeze dried canned food could possibly last indefinitely if stored properly in a nice cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
- Josh: We definitely put food on a danger spectrum. A lot of canned meats and soups can be dangerous, grains and sugars can just taste terrible, always looking for dairies and cheeses, certain ingredients on food labels are obviously very helpful when it comes to knowing if we can try it… Botulism is nothing to mess around with. There are lot of red flags when it comes to certain canned products, like the compromising of seals, bulging of cans, etc., when you watch the show, you’ll learn a lot about what to look for when dealing with older food and drink. But let me say this again, if you find old food or drink and aren’t sure send it to us so we can be the first people to test it, if we!
Eric: Should consumers trust sell by, and best by dates?
- Old Smokey: The answer to that is YES. The companies spend lots of money of research and development finding out exactly how long their food can last with the proper taste and nutrition. If you store food in a nice cool, dry, dark place it can extend most foods shelf life. Usually best by dates are results from tests where the foods weren’t stored optimally. I’d never tell someone to eat old food. What I personally do is if it looks the way it’s supposed to look then smells right I’ll give it a small taste. I’d also say– never eat food from a bloated can because botulism is odorless and has no visual indicators.
- Josh: Sell by dates are suggestions for the brand to guarantee freshness and taste. That being said, I’m not saying ignore the sell by dates. I’m just saying sometimes they can just be suggestions.
Eric: After eating all this old food, and (potentially) getting sick in the process, do you have a second season in you? For Science?
- Old Smokey: That’s the easiest question to answer– absolutely 100% yes. I love doing this, and finding all the historic food. Also getting to meet the people that have kept them for all these years. Finding out their story, and why they’ve decided to keep the item so long is fascinating. I just love every part about our show Eating History and I’d love to dive deep into the Science behind vintage food as well.
- Josh: For science, we have 10 more seasons in us, the possibilities for trying and exploring old, vintage food and drink is endless (for science)! Let’s go!
Eric: Thank you for your time!
I don’t know if you are excited for this show, but we are!
The show starts on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 10:00 p.m. EST/PST on HISTORY!