Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 3:48 am
The first I ever heard of soup dumplings was 15 years ago in this New York Times story, which described xiao long bao as "the star of the show" at Joe's Shanghai in New York's Chinatown. It was a different era of New York food, when Szechuan peppercorns were still contraband, and the selection of Chinese restaurants was less diverse.
As a journalist and essayist, Bob Shacochis has covered conflict in the Balkans and Haiti, the abuse of American power overseas, spycraft, and the sexual politics that divide men and women. He is also a novelist and the winner of a National Book Award. His new novel, The Woman Who Lost Her Soul, was a long time coming, but critics are saying it was well worth the wait.
The Woman Who Lost Her Soul is a 700-page work that spans continents and generations. It's been compared to the work of Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene and Norman Mailer.
Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink have the news of the weird covered: they're the creative masterminds behind the popular sci-fi podcast Welcome to Night Vale. Though only a year old, the spooky Night Vale — which channels David Lynch, Orson Welles and H.P. Lovecraft in its descriptions of a small, weird desert town — has rocketed up the iTunes ratings list to claim the number one most downloaded spot.
Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 10:15 am
As we pause this Labor Day weekend to celebrate the Great American Worker, we can't help but wonder: Whatever happened to the Great American Slacker?
It wasn't that long ago that slackers ruled the earth. OK, maybe ruled is a bit over the top because slackers, by definition, didn't really rule — or try very hard or take full responsibility. Whatever. But they sure were omnipresent there for a while.
It's the time of year when people are flocking to their farmer's market seeking out fresh fruits and vegetables for the summer picnic basket. But what about meat for the sandwich? One Rhode Island chef collects all of his ingredients at the farmer's market, including the meat, to make the perfect pork loin sandwich.
Providence chef Matt Jennings' sandwich gets its start down a gravel road, around an old, red barn where a couple of light pink pigs roll in the mud to keep themselves cool in the midday heat.
After a varied career as a computer repairman and yacht captain, Hugh Howey turned his hand to writing. He'd self-published several novels and stories when the sci-fi dystopia WOOL, originally just a novella, found sudden runaway success in 2011. Howey found himself writing sequel after sequel to keep up with reader demand — the latest volume, Dust, was released in August.
Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 12:25 pm
Without meaning to, I seem to have sparked a "small #chickensh*tstorm," as food writer Michael Ruhlman put it, with my recent post about why you shouldn't wash your raw poultry. The strong, even vituperative responses to the post surprised me. I didn't anticipate that Americans would be quite so passionate about poultry hygiene.
This week we're recording at Tanglewood — the outdoor music venue in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts — and we thought it would be a good time to talk with classical pianist Emanuel Ax, who has won seven Grammy awards and recorded with the world's greatest orchestras.
We've invited Ax to play a game called "You make men irresistible to women!" Three questions about Axe body spray.
Originally published on Mon September 2, 2013 10:03 am
Designer Ozwald Boateng became the first black designer on London's prestigious Savile Row. Since then, he's made quite the name for himself; his tailored suits cost as much as 40 grand. Host Michel Martin speaks with the so-called 'Statesman of Cool' about his career, style and Ghanaian heritage. This segment initially aired June 12, 2013 on Tell Me More.
Originally published on Mon September 2, 2013 10:03 am
Jamaica is known for beaches and warm weather, but for many gay and lesbian people living on the island, it's a place of hatred. A documentary, The Abominable Crime shines a light on homophobia and anti-gay violence in Jamaica. Host Michel Martin finds out more from filmmaker Micah Fink and human rights activist Maurice Tomlinson. This segment initially aired July 22, 2013 on Tell Me More.
Most kids leave Santa cookies. My brother and I would try to bribe him with an extra treat: a couple leftover pierogi from our Christmas Eve dinner.
Instead of sugar plums, pierogi danced in my head. And while I never admitted it in my letter to Santa, I was an accomplished pierogi thief. While they were kept warm on the stove ahead of our guests' arrival, I could lift the cover to the pan that cradled them without making a sound, liberating one to scarf down before my Polish mother walked back into the kitchen. My lips gleamed with a mix of butter and Bonnie Bell lip gloss.
A pivotal moment in Passion, Brian De Palma's resplendent erotic thriller, centers on a splash of red.
An obvious color, maybe, but one that matters because the scene leading up to it — a tour de force of suspenseful montage that cuts between one character watching a ballet and another preparing for bed — is defined visually by the dark-blue canvases of the dance piece's set, and by the way they blend into the increasingly conspicuous blue filters used to film the rest of the scene.
Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 8:24 am
Some movies can be ruined by thinking about them too much. Then there are the movies you ruin by thinking about them at all. The former can be fun exercises in effortless diversion. But when concerted effort is required not to ask any story-deflating questions about what's up on the screen, it kind of flattens the fun.
Rebecca Hall, a veteran of films like Vicky Cristina Barcelona and The Town, is the star of the new surveillance-state thriller Closed Circuit, playing an English barrister charged with monitoring top-secret, closed-to-the-public evidence hearings involving a terrorist bombing.
A zoo in central China's Henan province swapped a dog — a Tibetan mastiff like the one shown here — for a lion, in another story that recently swept Chinese cyberspace.
Credit Ed Jones / AFP/Getty Images
A police officer tickets a young woman for parking a Maserati (estimated to be worth more than $300,000) on the double yellow lines in the middle of the street in Chongqing, China. Stories like this one that go viral in China are increasingly available to English audiences, thanks for a new breed of websites such as ChinaSMACK.
The hour continues as host Ophira Eisenberg and puzzle editor Art Chung unearth notorious stumpers from the Ask Me Another archives. How well do you know your "qwertyuiop"? We ask contestants to create words using letters found on the "Top Row" of a computer keyboard. Mental math meets pop music in "Algebraic Music" (with an assist from house musician Jonathan Coulton) and the names of esteemed world leaders get reduced to animal-related puns in "Imperial Pets."
This hour, revisit some of Ask Me Another's hardest games with host Ophira Eisenberg and puzzle editor Art Chung. If Nietzsche and Kierkegaard were actually hacky comedians, their jokes might sound a little like those told by puzzle guru John Chaneski in "The Philospher's Comedy Club." Find out from Art the original conceit of this game (hint: it involved people in tights), then try mashing up notable names in "Presidential Middle Names"--it may prove to be more brain-melting than enlightening.
It's late-night week on FRESH AIR. One of the big late-night changes scheduled for early next year is Seth Meyers moving to NBC's "Late Night," replacing Jimmy Fallon when Fallon moves to "The Tonight Show." Seth Meyers has been the head writer and co-anchor or anchor of "Weekend Update" since the fall of 2006.
In Tarquin Hall's novels, Vish Puri's detective office is located in Khan Market, near shops like this one.
Credit Julie McCarthy / NPR
Tarquin Hall, shown here near the Rajpath in Delhi, is a British-born journalist and author. <em>The Case of the Missing Servant</em>, the first book in the Vish Puri series, was his first mystery novel.
Credit Julie McCarthy / NPR
Delhi, India's second-most-populous city, is home to over 16 million people. It's a metropolitan region that includes the capital, New Delhi, as well as other nearby cities.
Credit Francisco Anzola / Flickr
Khan Market is an upscale shopping district in Delhi. The wide streets are filled with luxury cars, and motorcycles line the narrower alleys.
Credit Geoff Stearns / Flickr
The India Gate, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, stands at one end of the Rajpath in New Delhi.
For an introduction to India's cultural and culinary delights, you might hop a flight to Delhi or book a trip to Mumbai. But to meet the country sans passport free of airport indignities, you could just curl up with the crime novels of Tarquin Hall.
Vish Puri, Hall's opinionated private investigator, is a 50-something Punjabi super sleuth with a fondness for family and food. The mustachioed detective cracks open India's underbelly with a caseload that delves into forbidden love, corruption in Indian cricket and the deadly clash between science and superstition.
All week, we've been talking about dumplings — from tortellini's sensual origins in Italy to kubbeh's tasty variations in Israel.
But perhaps no country has a longer history or greater variety of dumplings than China. Dumplings come in all shapes and with every imaginable filling. They are served at everything from a humble family meal to elaborate works of culinary art.
Before Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert became establishments in news satire, there was The Onion. Thursday, "America's Finest News Source" turns 25.
Two college students founded the fake news organization, which began as a newspaper in Madison, Wis. "It really started as something very local that was intended mainly to ... sell pizza coupons," Editor-in-Chief Will Tracy tells Morning Edition host Renee Montagne..
A massive explosion rocks a covered market, but Central London still looks mighty handsome in the British thriller Closed Circuit. So does the actress Rebecca Hall. Decked out in blacks, creams and grays, she and her city both are sleek, elegant and more than a little forbidding, even if they're softened by pockets of olde worlde soul.