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Eating History exclusive: Old pantry foods are fair game in historical look back at what we ate

Old Smokey, Josh Macuga
Expired old food in pantries has met their match with Eating History stars Old Smokey and collector Josh Macuga. Pic credit: History

Are you a bit obsessed about your pantry these days?

History has a brilliant new nonfiction television series called Eating History that will fascinate you to no end.

It’s great timing for a series that poses the questions: Should we eat this? Why were we even eating this at all? And “Who in the heck would even eat this?

Meet two extreme food collectors, described as “vintage food experts.”

We join Old Smokey and collector Josh Macuga, two friends, on their mission to uncover, unbox, and eat the oldest, most nostalgic, and shocking foods to have survived history.

Think vintage Twinkies from the days of our childhood to canned and tinned foods from your grandmother’s era.

We hear you salivating. You know you have had those internal conversations before cracking open something that has been nestled in your food pantry for…who knows how long.

If the can isn’t exhibiting signs of distortion from botulism gases, it might be fair game.

Let’s dive in.

What is the series Eating History about exactly?

Old Smokey and collector Josh Macuga
The guys are eating 45-year-old beef and rice Vietnam military rations. Pic credit: History

We join Old Smokey and collector Josh Macuga, two friends who are archivists in the realm of food.

The two take us back in time to find foods believed to have been lost to the past. With every bite, they learn a whole backstory on what eats have conquered and lasted throughout time, revealing times-gone-by and eras that seem quaint compared to today’s news feed.

Then the two unearth the stories behind the old food resurrected, and they explore history through this discovered food from the days of yore.

The ten-episode, half-hour series airs this Wednesday and examines how we preserved food by salting, smoking, jarring, fermenting, and canning.

But the dates on the cans and boxes, are they accurate, or can you eat something well past its expiration date?

It’s a game of Russian Roulette we are all playing right now in our kitchens as we carefully test the limits of what our families will eat.

In each episode, Josh and Old Smokey tackle the taste buds of history. They take road trips and explore collections of vintage food and then learn the fascinating stories behind those who collect it.

A bit like American Pickers, but focusing solely on archaic and arcane old food.

Historical eats unsealed this season include the guys finding a vintage box of Wheaties from 1947, a ’40s-era can of grasshoppers, some old Korean War rations, as well as Star Wars C3PO’s cereal from 1984.

There is also ’40s-era Pepsodent toothpaste, vintage NASA rations, and even the scourge of the 1980s…New Coke, a variation of the tried-and-true soft drink that fizzled faster than Geraldo Rivera’s hyped-up reveal of Al Capone’s Vault on live TV.

What History is saying

History says:

Many foods from our past … still exist sealed in their original packaging, waiting to finally be opened … Potentially dangerous to eat, it’s being rediscovered, shared and traded amongst passionate collectors to see if it really has survived the test of time.

Eli Lehrer, Executive Vice President and General Manager for History said:

“Viewers will be immersed in captivating historical takeaways, learning mind-blowing information about food and its personal connections to all of us.”

The brains behind Eating History

Eating History is produced for the network by Industrial Media’s Sharp Entertainment, which includes executive producers Matt Sharp, Dan Adler, Bonnie Biggs, and Matthew J. Braley.

For History, we have Mary E. Donahue, Jim Pasquarella, and Max Micallef serving as our guides in exploring extremely old pantry foods.

Our exclusive previews of Eating History

First up, the general sizzle:

Then in the exclusive preview, the two eat a REALLY old corn chip.

The oils in any food go rancid pretty quickly. Especially in nuts and chips. “Maybe it won’t taste the way it smells!” says Smokey:

Eating History airs Wednesday, March 25, at 10 PM ET/PT on History. The ten-episode, half-hour series premieres Wednesday, March 25 with two back-to-back episodes

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April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer and television critic. She is a current member of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment... read more
April Neale
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