There's a popular misconception that literary fiction is supposed to be staid, boring, realistic to a fault. Like all stereotypes, it's deeply unfair, but it endures, perhaps because readers keep having traumatic flashbacks to novels, like Sister Carrie, that they were forced to read in high school.
Domenica Ruta's memoir, With or Without You, chronicles her youth in a working-class Massachusetts town, the daughter of a wildly flamboyant mother who drove a beat-up lime green hatchback, and held impromptu storm-watching parties on the porch.
If you can't find pennette, use the small bulging crescents that are chifferi, or regular elbow macaroni, instead.
Credit Courtesy Random House
Instead of going to the butcher and asking for a huge hunk of steak cut specially, you can make one supermarket strip steak (it still should be good meat, or don't bother) stretch to feed two of you with no suggestion of scrimping.
Credit / Courtesy Random House
Serve this handmade coffee ice cream with a chocolate sauce, or squidge it into little brioches, like sweet burger buns, as they do in the south of Italy.
Credit Courtesy Random House
Don't be tempted to let the cheesecake come to room temperature before serving. It slices and eats better with a bit of refrigerator chill on it.
Before the roses and the romance, Valentine's Day commemorated the Roman Saint Valentine — Valentinus, in Latin. And in her new cookbook, Nigellissima: Easy Italian-Inspired Recipes, chef Nigella Lawson offers up simple recipes that celebrate the cuisine of the country Saint Valentine called home.
Lawson joins NPR's Renee Montagne to share some recipes for a romantic dinner for two, and describes the time she spent in Italy.
Kentucky is bourbon country. Bar shelves in Louisville are stocked with a crowded field of premium bourbons; the city's Theater Square Marketplace restaurant alone carries close to 170 different brands. So when news trickled out that longtime distillery Maker's Mark plans to water down its bourbon, locals were stunned.
Bourbon has to be aged at least two years — and that's where Maker's Mark got in trouble. Chief Operating Officer Rob Samuels says the company simply didn't make enough.
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and Detroit native Charlie LeDuff says that the city must forget the future and instead focus on the present. His new book is called <em>Detroit: An American Autopsy.</em>
For some, Detroit may be a symbol of urban decay; but to Charlie LeDuff, it's home. LeDuff, a veteran print and TV journalist who spent 12 years at TheNew York Times, where he shared a Pulitzer Prize in 2001, returned home to the city after the birth of his daughter left him and his wife — also a Detroit native — wanting to be closer to family.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. It's almost Valentine's Day and we realize that, along with the avalanche of pink hearts and stuff, there's also an avalanche of questions at this time of year from whether it's OK to romance by text message to how do you decide who pays for dinner to how to figure out whether you're in love or just, you know, stuck in the friend zone.