Ah, American Thanksgiving, the dividing line between fall’s spooky season and the winter holidays of December. Nothing is better than crawling under a big blanket with a belly full of turkey and stuffing and tucking into your favorite media. And if you’re reading this, your favorite media is podcasts. But we can’t enjoy true crime on a full stomach! We need cozy podcasts.
Now, here is where I set the rules for this list.
1) A cozy podcast is a show that is enjoyable and fun, but doesn’t ask too much of you. This doesn’t require posi-vibes only or disqualify challenging content, but the podcast lays it out for you so you’re focused on what the hosts have to say.
2) Each cozy pod is paired with a Thanksgiving dish. I apologize in advance if I leave off your family’s Thanksgiving meal (but it’s probably weird and bad anyway) (I’m kidding. Invite me to your house.) (I’m kidding. My mom is expecting me).
This is Good for You as the Turkey
A show explicitly about what people love is our main course. The brilliant, warm, and curious Nichole Perkins asks people what they do just for pleasure—and gives us all permission to do the same. Stop monetizing your hobbies, take the day off, and subscribe right now.
No Bad Food as the Stuffing
Of course, we’re going to have a food podcast on this list. But as some food podcasts deep-dive into the mechanics and history and (no pun intended) crunchiness of gastronomy, No Bad Food is good food talk. NBF is talking thoughtfully and lovingly about food, and every guest brings a new meal for us to consider, just like the specific type of stuffing you have at your table. Whether it is the audio equivalent of stuffed inside the turkey, cornbread stuffing, seafood stuffing, or something else, you’ll find the episode that hits the spot.
Low Culture Boil as the Mac and Cheese
I don’t know how I can recommend it better than the summary of the show on host Rax King’s website: “If you like big titties, fried food, animal print, water parks, Guy Fieri, frosted lip gloss, belly chains, and hair metal, click here to enjoy our takes on all the trash that makes life worth living.” That’s cheesy, delicious, and cozy as hell.
Anime Sickos as the Cranberry Sauce
Listen, not everyone loves cranberry sauce. But if you love cranberry sauce, you LOVE cranberry sauce. So with Anime Sickos, a show about “the four pillars of modern misery: anime, gaming, posting & jobs,” if you identify with the title, you will love the show. I find it incredibly comforting if someone talks to me about diving into chapter 951 of the One Piece manga, but I don’t have to read One Piece. And when I’m weighed down by meat and bread, I do not want to do anything, and Anime Sickos do it for me. Bonus points for arguing about which fruit is best in the recurring (when they remember to do it) Fruit Annihilation Tournament.
Exolore as the Green Bean Casserole
Exolore might seem like vegetables; if you’re listening to a science worldbuilding show, you’ll remember that you’re not writing your thesis or novel. But Dr. Moiya McTier is the cream of mushroom soup and french onions that make it warm and cozy. Dr. Moiya’s enthusiasm and knowledge about folklore and fictional creation pull the best ideas out of both her scientific and creative guests. She asks the questions you want to ask, so you can sink into the couch and concentrate on being full.
Insert Credit as the Pumpkin Pie
If most video game shows are pumpkins, Insert Credit is the pumpkin pie. Almost all video game shows follow the same format: the news and what’s hot right now, asking the hosts what they’re playing, a dip into the question bucket, fin. But Insert Credit takes the pumpkin and makes it a delicious pie. The show turns the video game podcast on its head with snappy seven-minute-or-less rounds, answering 10 questions every single episode. And the hosts have an incredibly deep knowledge of video game errata that will just wash over you -- you will learn what a Wonderswan is fast.
Eric Silver is a writer, audio producer, game designer and teacher based in Brooklyn, NY. He is the Dungeon Master for Join the Party, Head of Creative at Multitude, and produces a bunch of other podcasts. He likes the fall, sandwiches, and being five minutes early.