Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 11:17 am
If you still have your Christmas tree up in your living room because you just can't bear the thought of throwing out all that fine pine scent, then you may be an evergreen addict. If you still have it up because you're too lazy to take off the ornaments, then you may be a hoarder, but that's another post.
Fear not, conifer connoisseurs. You don't have to wait for the holidays to surround yourself with spruce. American chefs from coast to coast are using evergreens to develop unique flavors in dishes, from white fir and sorrel broth to pine needle vinegar to smoked mussels.
Today, the voices of Roebuck "Pops" Staples and his four children — Cleotha, Mavis, Pervis and Yvonne — are woven into America's DNA. As the Staple Singers, the family created a sound that was part blues, part gospel and part folk, breaking down musical walls and inspiring civil rights leaders.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary. Way back in 1985 when I was hosting WEEKEND ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, I found myself interviewing Robert Redford about a new film festival sponsored by the Sundance Institute. Redford was enthusiastic about his film festival, showcasing independent film. He described it as far from Hollywood.
ROBERT REDFORD: It's free from the meter ticking of money and people in suits walking around looking at watches.
Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin has written a series of presidential histories — covering Lyndon Johnson, Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. Her book about Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals, helped inspire the movie Lincoln, and her latest book, The Bully Pulpit, is about Teddy Roosevelt.
A lot of writers can be fairly easily stereotyped. They write stories about dysfunctional families, star crossed lovers, endearing losers; they write historical fiction, literary fiction or crime novels. But Jay Cantor's body of work defies categorization. His fiction has been inspired by topics as wide-ranging as the revolutionary life of Che Guevara and the comic strip world of Krazy Kat.
The nominations for the Oscars were announced this week, and while many of the big contenders, such as 12 Years A Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street, weren't a surprise, there were some controversies in different categories. Top among the film-world controversies was India's submission for best foreign language film, The Good Road, a drama about a truck driver in the western Indian state of Gujarat.
Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City began as a newspaper serial in the 1970s, and grew into a beloved series of books that stand as a chronicle of life in the city of San Francisco. And it began in the decade after the Summer of Love, before anyone had ever heard of AIDS — now, it will end in the era of marriage equality.
Sarah Wendell is the author of the book, Everything I Know about Love I Learned from Romance Novels. She is also the cofounder of the romance-reviewing website, smartbitchestrashybooks.com.
With French President Francois Hollande the focus of international headlines for cheating on his partner, Valerie Trierweiler — who is in the hospital due to the shock — a happy resolution to their problems seems unlikely.
It's 1972, when we meet 11-year-old Byron Hemmings, an English school boy living with his mother and sister in a country house. Byron's father Seymour works in the City (the financial district of London) and only comes home to see his family at the weekends. Though his work pays for the big house, the Jaguar that his wife drives and the private education his children receive, he is, in reality, only a visitor in their lives. Within several chapters one begins to believe that this is perhaps for the best — they don't seem a happy family.
Richard Powers' new novel, Orfeo, tells the story of an avant-garde classical music composer who finds himself dabbling in DNA. Like the Orpheus myth that inspired the book's name, this story takes its hero, Peter Els, on a journey. He becomes a fugitive accused of bioterror, but what follows is also a walk back into the recesses of his own memory told through the music and people he's loved and lost.
Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 11:17 am
If only dropping pants sizes were as easy as switching from Coke to Coke Zero.
Sure, you're cutting out empty calories when you ditch the sugar-sweetened drinks in favor of artificially sweetened ones. But there's a growing body of research that suggests this isn't really helping in the battle of the bulge.
This week's show (which we taped before the Oscar nominations were announced, so you can bet we'll be getting to those later) catches us post-Golden-Globes for a conversation about awards hosts, speechifying, satisfying victories, and the odd surprises that keep us tuning in to the season's drunkest ceremony of them all.
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 7:07 am
When a federal ban on slaughtering horses to produce horse meat was lifted several years back, ranchers including Rick De Los Santos, a New Mexico rancher and owner of Valley Meat Co., stepped up to start operations with an aim to export the meat.
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 1:00 pm
E.L. Doctorow's 19th book, Andrew's Brain, is a real head-scratcher. This short, perplexing but occasionally potent novel presents particular challenges to a critic, as it's difficult to discuss its enigmas without giving away its odd twists. What I can say is that what starts out as a tale of lost love ends up taking a baffling political turn into rather biting commentary on post-Sept. 11 America.
Oscar nominations were announced this morning, and though lots of the slots went to the expected titles — Gravity, American Hustle and 12 Years A Slave led the pack — there were certainly some surprises.
There's black comedy, and then, in the darkest corner of an airtight box buried deep underground, there's the humor of Big Bad Wolves, a new Israeli thriller from writer-directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado.
Tokyo filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda is known for deft work with kids, sometimes in scenarios with little or no adult presence. But the English-language title of his latest movie, Like Father, Like Son, is a little misleading. There's no reference to a child in the Japanese title, which means "And So He Becomes a Father."
Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:44 pm
Given the feel-good themes of the average kids' movie — be yourself, follow the golden rule, love each other, blah blah blah — it's refreshing to see an animated comedy chuck that guck and focus on a real jerk. Not a misunderstood Princess Elsa, or a Wreck-It Ralph with a heart of gold, but an out-and-out, two-bit, sell-you-down-the-river-if-it-would-save-his-own-fur shyster.
A franchise is what we used to call a Burger King or a Shell station, but nowadays the word appears more often in relation to movies: the Star Wars franchise, the Hunger Games franchise, the Jack Ryan franchise — or in the case of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, the Jack Ryan franchise reboot. I don't know what's more depressing: that what fires up studio execs is the hunt for a new franchise or that critics have adopted this business lingo uncritically.
Oscar nominations are in. They were announced this morning in Beverly Hills. And "American Hustle" and "Gravity" are the early front-runners. Each of them got 10 Academy Award nominations, including best picture. "12 Years a Slave" was close behind with nine nominations. For more, we're joined now by Linda Holmes, who writes and edits NPR's entertainment and pop culture blog Monkey See. Good morning.
When Sandy Pollock and Crystal Cook go to work on a traditional recipe, they usually like to bring it up to date with a modern twist or two. After all, they call themselves the Casserole Queens, specialists in making a classic quick-fix dish fit for today's dinner mat.
But when it came to changing the King Ranch Casserole, Sandy wouldn't hear of it. "There are just some things that you don't mess with," she says. "It's the way Mama made it!"