NPR Politics presents the Lunchbox List: our favorite campaign news and stories curated from NPR and around the Web in digestible bites (100 words or less!). Look for it every weekday afternoon from now until the conventions.

Convention Countdown

The Republican National Convention is in 4 days in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Convention is in 11 days in Philadelphia.

NASA has released the first picture of Jupiter taken since the Juno spacecraft went into orbit around the planet on July 4.

The picture was taken on July 10. Juno was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter at the time. The color image shows some of the atmospheric features of the planet, including the giant red spot. You can also see three of Jupiter's moons in the picture: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

The Senate is set to approve a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

My husband and I once took great pleasure in preparing meals from scratch. We made pizza dough and sauce. We baked bread. We churned ice cream.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped veggies and a rotisserie chicken are the only things between us and five nights of Chipotle.

Parents are busy. For some of us, figuring out how to get dinner on the table is a daily struggle. So I reached out to food experts, parents and nutritionists for help. Here is some of their (and my) best advice for making weeknight meals happen.

"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

How should we feel about that?

Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

The Philippines brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, objecting to China's claims to maritime rights in the disputed waters. The tribunal agreed that China had no legal authority to claim the waters and was infringing on the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Donald Trump is firing back at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she disparaged him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb political statements" about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":


What Does Mormon Food Culture Say About Mitt Romney?

Aug 27, 2012
Originally published on October 15, 2012 10:38 am

As the Republican convention gets under way in Tampa tomorrow, we can expect to hear more about the personal life of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Romney aides, in fact, say that now is the time for him to "publicly embrace" his Mormon faith, a religion that plays a large role in the candidate's life but is misunderstood by many Americans.

If Romney does open up, we might get some insight into an area of particular interest to us here at The Salt — how that faith may shape his eating habits. Whether you like his politics or not, let's face it, the guy is fit. At the very least, it gives us a reason to explore the relationship between food and the Mormon religion.

So far, we don't know much about Romney's tastes in food, aside from the occasional ice cream scooped from Bailey's Bubble in Wolfeboro, N.H., and his affection for feeding Jimmy John's subs to the press on the bus. However, parsing the eating habits of presidential candidates (to say nothing of sitting presidents) is now firmly embedded in America's cultural milieu. Just think: Ronald Reagan and jelly beans. Bill Clinton and fast food. President Obama and, well, most things chili-related, plus a bit of home-brewed beer.

We don't know if Romney adheres to it, but there is such a thing as a Mormon food culture. In fact, Mormon culinary traditions, or foodways, closely resemble the tenets of the "good food movement" currently shaping many Americans' renewed interest in food — i.e., cooking from scratch, emphasizing whole grains, and locally sourced fruits and vegetables.

Mormon foodways stem in part from the pioneer roots of Mormonism and in part from the teachings of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon church, formally known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

According to church teaching, in the early 1830s, Smith received as revelation and dictated into lectures one of the primary texts of the Mormon faith, The Doctrine and Covenants (D&C). Section 89 of the D&C, known as the Word of Wisdom, is considered by Mormons as their law of health. In it, Smith addressed certain behaviors he wished his followers to avoid, including bans on alcohol, tobacco and "hot drinks." Mormons, therefore, do not drink alcohol or smoke, and many will not take coffee or tea.

But the diet Smith prescribed is probably less well known to non-Mormons. This includes the consumption of wheat, herbs and fruits in season, and meat "sparingly." To be clear, such a manner of eating — oracle-like for today's flexitarians — would have been logical for any people settling in the Western territories of 19th-century America. Followers of the early LDS church weren't the only ones relying predominantly on themselves for sustenance.

But additionally, Smith's followers were actually instructed to be self-sufficient — to "prepare every needful thing" in anticipation of the tumultuous world into which their church was born. (Mormons call this "provident living.") Storing food is one form of physical preparedness. Hence, the vigorous practice of canning that has marked LDS communities in the past, especially those connected to the once abundant, widespread orchards of Utah, and the "putting up" of foods culled from family gardens.

Flush with homegrown produce and the spiritual call to consume wheat, Mormon women built an enviable reputation for the quality of their pies, cakes, breads and the like — a community-specific legacy of superb baking that endures.

A Mormon woman in my town of Arlington, Mass., Saralynn Jensen, is committed to storing food and regularly incorporates whole wheat into her young family's diet from the wheat she buys in bulk and grinds at home. Her commitment to storing food and a diet high in whole wheat, fruits, vegetables and legumes is grounded in her faith, she says, but reinforced by cultural trends and accepted nutritional guidelines. Getting married "made it real," she says.

To be sure, the trajectory from past to present foodways has not been straight. Inevitably, Mormons, as did the rest of America, incorporated into their diets the processed foods readily available in the post-World War II era. We're talking canned soups, store-bought canned fruits and vegetables, boxed cereal, cake mixes, white flour, etc. — the kinds of ingredients easily stored, on hand and rendered in no time into hearty, economical, crowd-pleasing (if not always healthy) fare. In my family, my great-aunt Gladys' infamous lime Jello mold with cottage cheese and pineapple chunks stands out. Green bean casserole with fried onions also comes to mind.

For modern Mormon families, favorites might include Funeral Potatoes and a small repertoire of sweets, made mostly from processed ingredients such as Jello, pretzels and Cool Whip, that fall within the so-called bad Mormon dessert category. (Don't be fooled; they're delicious.)

But now many Americans, regardless of their faith, are looking to improve their eating habits by consuming fruits and vegetables in season and emphasizing whole grains and plant-based proteins. This sounds pretty close to the dietary ideal Mormons are called to follow.

Hopefully we'll hear more about Romney's food habits.

Sue Spinale McCrory, a native of Boston, is the former editor and host of Public Radio Kitchen.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit