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4:44pm

Mon December 22, 2014
Found Recipes

Yule Have To Try This Gingerbread Buche De Noel

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 5:31 pm

Cookbook author Dorie Greenspan says she makes a "Franco-American" buche de Noel with American flavoring and French technique.
Alan Richardson Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Sweets this time of year take on all kinds of whimsical shapes: cookies cut into stars, stockings and gingerbread men, candy canes, peanut butter balls ... or logs covered in frosting.

Yes, really — logs.

Not real logs, of course — these are holiday cakes, rolled and frosted to look like a yule log and known as buche de Noel. Sometimes the cakes are dotted with little meringue mushrooms or edible holly leaves. While the cake may not be on every American's baking list, cookbook author Dorie Greenspan says it's iconic in Europe.

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3:35pm

Mon December 22, 2014
Movie Interviews

We Ask A Scholar: How Does Ridley Scott's 'Exodus' Compare With The Bible's?

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 5:04 pm

In Exodus, Christian Bale's Moses is more of an action hero than a religious figure.
Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

For nearly a century, Hollywood has been turning out cinematic adaptations of the biblical book of Exodus. There have been Technicolor versions, animated versions and even a silent version. Now, filmmaker Ridley Scott has a 3-D contribution: Exodus: Gods and Kings.

NPR's Robert Siegel asks Robert Alter, a professor of Hebrew and comparative literature at the University of California, Berkeley, for his thoughts on the film. Alter has translated most of the Hebrew Bible, including the five books of Moses, and he's a leading secular scholar of Scripture.

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7:00pm

Sun December 21, 2014
Author Interviews

Smashing Snow Globes: A Writer On Essays, Novels And Translation

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 10:29 am

Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli is the author of the novel Faces in the Crowd and the book of essays Sidewalks. She is currently working on the novel The Story of My Teeth.
Alfredo Pelcastre Coffee House Press

Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City, but she'll admit with a laugh that where she's from is a complicated question. She lived there for only two years before packing up for, at various times, Costa Rica, South Korea, South Africa, India, Spain and France.

These days, Luiselli lives in Harlem. And that's the neighborhood where her novel Faces in the Crowd is set: both the Harlem of the recent past and the Harlem of the Harlem Renaissance, along with present-day Mexico City.

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5:24pm

Sun December 21, 2014
My Big Break

Desperate To Speak: How Emily Blunt Found Her Voice

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 8:07 am

As a child, Emily Blunt had a stutter that was so bad, she could hardly say her own name. "The misdiagnosis [was] that I was a tense child," Blunt says. "And I wasn't. I was desperate to speak."
John Phillips AP

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

You may know British actress Emily Blunt from The Devil Wears Prada, where she played the senior assistant to Meryl Streep's fashion editor, or The Edge of Tomorrow, where she coaches Tom Cruise in combat skills as he relives a battle over and over again.

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12:13pm

Sun December 21, 2014
Games & Humor

Listen: The Not-So-True Story Of Santa's Naughty-Or-Nice Division

Photo Illustration by NPR

Santa sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake ... but how does he do it? Sure, the elves lend a hand — but, as it turns out, hours of surveillance video make the job a lot easier.

This year, we present an audio Christmas card to share the real* story on how the North Pole decides who's naughty or nice.

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4:58am

Sun December 21, 2014
Movie Interviews

Bradley Cooper And 'American Sniper' Widow Team Up To Tell SEAL's Story

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 1:01 pm

In his book, American Sniper, Chris Kyle detailed his 150 plus kills of Iraqi insurgents during his time as a Navy SEAL. The book was on its way to being adapted into a film when Kyle was shot and killed by a troubled young veteran.

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6:26pm

Sat December 20, 2014
The Salt

Want To Enhance The Flavor Of Your Food? Put On The Right Music

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 6:40 pm

Researchers at the University of Oxford have been looking for a link between sound and taste.
iStockphoto.com

Here's an experiment: take a bite of whatever food you have nearby and listen to some music, something with high notes. Now, take another bite, but listen to something with low notes.

Notice anything?

Researchers at the University of Oxford have been looking for a link between sound and taste. They've found that higher-pitched music — think flutes — enhances the flavor of sweet or sour foods. Lower-pitched sounds, like tubas, enhance the bitter flavors.

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5:16pm

Sat December 20, 2014
Food

How Tinseltown Got Tipsy: A Boozy Taste Of Hollywood History

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 6:40 pm

iStockphoto

If the bars of Los Angeles could talk, they'd have an awful lot of tales to tell — old Hollywood was full of famously hard drinkers. And while LA's watering holes are keeping their secrets, one author, Mark Bailey, has uncorked a slew of stories from the city's plastered past.

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9:13am

Sat December 20, 2014
Animals

A Snail So Hardcore It's Named After A Punk Rocker

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 11:39 am

This spiky mollusk is called Alviniconcha strummeri, named after Joe Strummer, the late frontman for the Clash.
Taylor & Francis Online

Shannon Johnson, a researcher at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, found that when she talked to youngsters about sea snails, she communicated a little more effectively if she skipped the technical description and called them "punk-rock snails."

"Their entire shells are covered in spikes," Johnson explains. "And then the spikes are actually all covered in fuzzy white bacteria."

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5:30am

Sat December 20, 2014
Movie Interviews

Sondheim's Songs Go 'Into The Woods' And Onto The Big Screen

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 11:39 am

Emily Blunt and James Corden star as a baker and his wife in Rob Marshall's new adaptation of Into the Woods.
Peter Mountain Disney Enterprises

Into The Woods is a 1987 Stephen Sondheim musical that we'd now call a mashup: A baker and his wife want a child. The little girl in a red hood who lifts pies from their shop lives next to a witch who once kidnapped the baker's baby sister, whom she now keeps locked in a tower. But she'll reverse a curse on the baker and his wife if they can find a white cow, a red cape, long blond hair, and a gold slipper: Jack and the Beanstalk meets Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Cinderella.

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