Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 8:55 am
Imaginary countries, from Swift's Laputa to the far lands in the works of Borges and Ursula K. Le Guin, countries we'd do better to just enjoy than try to find on a map — these strike us as mostly places it's better to visit than to live in.
With another holiday shopping season on the horizon, one group of retailers is doing better than you might expect. Despite intense competition from Amazon and big box retailers, independent bookstores are enjoying a bit of a renaissance.
Robert Sindelar, managing partner at Third Place Books in Seattle, says for a couple of decades independent booksellers have been fighting an uphill battle, but now things are finally improving.
The new animated musical Frozen is based — sort of, hypothetically, in theory, or at least according to the Disney studio — on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Snow Queen.
Not in ways anyone would notice, however, and not in ways that will in any way distract moviegoers from thinking about the other works that seem to have influenced its creators; unlike in many animated movies, the borrowings aren't so much in-jokey as structural. Homages, of a sort, and fun to spot.
Mark your calendars: According to some scholars, the next time it might happen is the year 79,811. I'm talking, of course, about the hybrid holiday of Thanksgivukkah, a melding of Thanksgiving and the Jewish Festival of Lights. The Borsch Belt-style Pilgrim jokes and mishmash recipes (turkey brined in Manischewitz, anyone?) are flying around the Internet; but since Jews are frequently referred to as "the People of the Book" and Pilgrims pretty much lived by the Book, Thanksgivukkah seems to me like the quintessential (stressful) family holiday to celebrate by escaping into a book.
Adventurous carnivores from all over New England have been flocking to the Wild Game Supper in Bradford, Vt., for almost 60 years. The fare at this year's event included beaver, boar, moose and buffalo.
Credit Herb Swanson for NPR
Moose patties sweetened with blueberries cook on the grill before the start of the Wild Game Supper.
Credit Herb Swanson for NPR
Diners head into the Bradford United Church of Christ before the start of this year's Wild Game Supper. Food writer Calvin Trillin has dubbed the event "the Superbowl of church suppers."
The wild-game supper has traditionally been a way for rural America to share the harvest before winter sets in. Food historians trace the ritual back to Colonial times, when families had to hunt in order to eat well, and some providers were better shots than others.
If you're headed to the ballet this season, chances are to hear something like the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from "The Nutcracker," this season's dance blockbuster as usual. But dance doesn't always sound this sweet. Sometimes it sounds more like this.
Seventeen-year-old Tonisha Owens stared wide-eyed at the faded script on an 1854 letter. It was once carried by another 17-year-old — a slave named Frances. The letter was written by a plantation owner's wife to a slave dealer, saying that she needed to sell her chambermaid to pay for horses. But Frances didn't know how to read or write, and didn't know what she carried.
"She does not know she is to be sold. I couldn't tell her," the letter reads. "I own all her family and the leave taking would be so distressing that I could not."
Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 12:37 pm
Ah, the old beer-tapping prank: One strong hit on the top of an open beer bottle, and poof! Your IPA explodes into a brewski volcano.
"In one second, most of your beer has really turned into foam," says physicist Javier Rodriguez Rodriguez of Carlos III University in Madrid. "You better have put the bottle into your mouth, because you need to drink whatever is coming out."
If there's one Thanksgiving mistake Jack Bishop sees more than any other, it's people rushing to carve their birds. Bishop is editorial director of the public TV series America's Test Kitchen. He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "Turkey needs to rest before you carve it ... and a lot fewer juices will end up on the carving board."
Bishop and Bridget Lancaster, also of America's Test Kitchen, share their tips for buying, seasoning and cooking a turkey, and describe some of their favorite side dishes.
During a visit to a store last holiday season, Jewish father Neal Hoffman felt bad telling his son Jake that he couldn't have an Elf on the Shelf. The widely popular Christmas toy is intended to watch children's behavior for Santa. Hoffman kept thinking, maybe there could be something similar, but rooted in Jewish tradition.
Hoffman, a former Hasbro employee, decided Mensch on a Bench was the answer. "A mensch means a really good person. It's a person that you strive to be," he says.