Wed December 26, 2012
Book Reviews

Revisiting A Sad Yet Hopeful Winter's Tale In 'The Snow Child'

A sad tale's best for winter, as Shakespeare wrote. The Snow Child, a first novel by a native Alaskan journalist and bookseller named Eowyn Ivey, suggests that if you face winter head-on — as do the childless homesteaders, Mabel and Jack, in this story about life on our northernmost frontier in the 1920s — you may find more hope after sadness than you had ever imagined.

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Wed December 26, 2012
The Salt

Don't Fear That Expired Food

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 8:57 am

The expiration date on foods like orange juice and even milk aren't indicators of when those products will go bad.

Now that the Christmas feast is over, you may be looking at all the extra food you made, or the food that you brought home from the store that never even got opened.

And you may be wondering: How long can I keep this? What if it's past its expiration date? Who even comes up with those dates on food, anyway, and what do they mean?

Here's the short answer: Those "sell by" dates are there to protect the reputation of the food. They have very little to do with food safety. If you're worried whether food is still OK to eat, just smell it.

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Wed December 26, 2012
All Tech Considered

Online Videos: Not Just Made By Amateurs Anymore

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 6:07 am


Wed December 26, 2012
The Salt

The Rebirth Of Rye Whiskey And Nostalgia For 'The Good Stuff'

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 11:04 am

Templeton bottles, filled and almost corked.
Noah Adams NPR

It used to be said that only old men drink rye, sitting alone down at the end of the bar, but that's no longer the case as bartenders and patrons set aside the gins and the vodkas and rediscover the pleasures of one of America's old-fashioned favorites.

Whiskey from rye grain was what most distilleries made before Prohibition. Then, after repeal in 1933, bourbon, made from corn, became more popular. Corn was easier to grow, and the taste was sweeter.

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Wed December 26, 2012
Kitchen Window

Infuse The Holidays With Spirits

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 9:41 am

Rina Rapuano for NPR

While Melkon Khosrovian was wooing his wife, he quickly realized that she wasn't as enamored with the frequent hard-liquor toasts as his extended Armenian family was. "She would just pick up her glass and put it back down," he recalls. So he decided to experiment with flavor combinations that would be more palatable to her, creating infused liquors such as grapefruit-vanilla or (her favorite) pear-lavender vodka — in hopes that he might help her feel more like part of the family in the process.

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Tue December 25, 2012

Fact Checking 'Argo': A Great Escape That Takes Some Leaps

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:06 pm

Jack O'Donnell (Brian Cranston) and Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) are tasked with saving six Americans during the Iran hostage crisis.
Claire Folger AP

Several of the films contending for top prizes this year have one thing in common: They all say they're inspired by true events.

Among them are Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Hitchcock and Ben Affleck's Argo, which chronicles a covert operation that involved creating a fake Hollywood film to rescue six Americans during the Iran hostage crisis. (The Americans posed as the picture's production crew to escape the country.)

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Tue December 25, 2012

For Many, Christmas Morning Means Beloved Breakfasts

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 4:20 pm


Because Christmas Day means good cheer and good food for many, All Things Considered asked you to describe what you eat on the holiday — whether you celebrate Christmas or not. You told us about tamales, pickled squid, homemade soup and (of course) Chinese food.

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Tue December 25, 2012
Arts & Life

No Sugar Plums Here: The Dark, Romantic Roots Of 'The Nutcracker'

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 4:20 pm

E.T.A. Hoffmann's original story, "Nutcracker and Mouse King," is darker and spookier than the ballet version most people know.

This is the time of year when one man's work is widely — if indirectly — celebrated. His name used to be hugely famous, but nowadays, it draws blank stares, even from people who know that work. We're speaking about E.T.A. Hoffmann, original author of The Nutcracker.

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Tue December 25, 2012

Literary Iceland Revels In Its Annual 'Christmas Book Flood'

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 2:46 am

A shopper browses in a branch of the Icelandic book chain Penninn-Eymundsson.
Courtesy of Bryndís Loftsdottir

In the United States, popular holiday gifts come and go from year to year. But in Iceland, the best Christmas gift is a book — and it has been that way for decades.

Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world, with five titles published for every 1,000 Icelanders. But what's really unusual is the timing: Historically, a majority of books in Iceland are sold from late September to early November. It's a national tradition, and it has a name: Jolabokaflod, or the "Christmas Book Flood."

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Tue December 25, 2012
The Salt

'Canadian Peanut Butter' Connects Mainers To Their Acadian Roots

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 2:08 pm

Robert Bisson of Bisson and Sons Meat Market in Topsham, Maine, with his granddaughter. The butcher shop sells traditional cretons during the holidays.
Lauren McCandlish NPR

Last Christmas, we told you about tourtières, the savory meat pies Canadians serve around the holidays. Now, we bring you cretons, a Québécois delicacy found throughout Canada and parts of New England this time of year.

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