WBEZ | holidays http://www.wbez.org/tags/holidays Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en For Expats In Afghanistan, A Cranberry Dish To Relish Far From Home http://www.wbez.org/news/expats-afghanistan-cranberry-dish-relish-far-home-113932 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/2015-11-19-stamberg-cranberry-0101edit_custom-240b41bdd4ec2945c640e631bf7b0aa429df73e7-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res456697268" previewtitle="Mama Stamberg's cranberry relish."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Mama Stamberg's cranberry relish." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/19/2015-11-19-stamberg-cranberry-0101edit_custom-240b41bdd4ec2945c640e631bf7b0aa429df73e7-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 406px; width: 620px;" title="Mama Stamberg's cranberry relish. (Ariel Zambelich &amp; Emily Bogle/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p><em>Editor&#39;s note: For more years than we can remember, the Friday before Thanksgiving has meant that NPR&#39;s Susan Stamberg would try to sneak a notorious and, yes, weird family recipe into NPR&#39;s coverage. And 2015 is no exception. Here&#39;s Susan.</em></p></div></div></div><p>I recently learned about a long ago and faraway Thanksgiving in Kabul, Afghanistan. In 2011, at the height of the military surge, hundreds of Americans &mdash; soldiers and civilians &mdash; were coming into the country. Ann Exline Starr of the U.S. Agency for International Development, was on a team trying to suss out fraud, waste and abuse in government contracts. She says security at the embassy compound was tight.</p><p>&quot;You had to go under the road to get to the USAID offices, and we were actually in a bunker,&quot; Exline Starr says.</p><p>Pretty grim. For Thanksgiving, she organized a potluck dinner in her apartment. With all the Americans in Kabul, Exline Starr says, she was lucky to&nbsp;be&nbsp;in an apartment. She had previously lived in a &quot;hooch&quot; &mdash; a containerized housing unit. It&#39;s literally a tin container &mdash; 10-by-15 &mdash; with a bed, a desk, a chair. &quot;We were thinking about starting a magazine like&nbsp;Better Hooches and Gardens&nbsp;or something,&quot; she jokes.</p><div id="res456712380"><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>It was bad enough to be away from home, in a war zone, in a hooch. But at Thanksgiving? &quot;You know, Thanksgiving is such a family holiday that we tried to make it fun,&quot; Exline Starr recalls.</p><p>So she invited about 100 people for dinner. Jonathan Terra was among those who attended. He was in Kabul doing a media campaign about USAID for Afghan radio and television. He hadn&#39;t been there long and didn&#39;t know that many people &mdash; his family was far away.</p><p>&quot;Suddenly, these people you didn&#39;t know very well became your family for a day,&quot; he says.</p><p>And your potluck holiday dinner was as close to the real thing as you could get it. Local markets were too dangerous to visit, so you&#39;d nab carrots and celery from the embassy dining room. Other stuff, too &mdash; cranberry relish, for instance. That came courtesy of Andrew Hyde.</p><p>&quot;Of course, for many years I&#39;ve heard about a certain cranberry relish recipe that I thought about,&quot; Hyde says.</p><div id="res456786660"><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>&quot;Wait a minute,&quot; I ask. &quot;You thought about Mama Stamberg&#39;s cranberry relish in Kabul, Afghanistan?&quot;</p><p>&quot;That&#39;s right,&quot; he says.</p><p>Hyde, a Foreign Service officer, was working with provincial governments and living in a hooch surrounded by sandbags for protection against a direct hit. He sets the scene:</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m not in an apartment &mdash; I can&#39;t bake anything. I&#39;m not that great a cook.&quot; But Mama Stamberg&#39;s cranberry relish, he says, &quot;could save the day.&quot; Not everyone was equally enthused.</p><p>&quot;When I mentioned it to somebody, they said, &#39;Is that all you&#39;re going to offer?&#39; &quot; Hyde recalls.</p><p>But, Jonathan Terra vouches, the end result was &quot;very good.&quot;</p><p>Finding the ingredients necessary was somewhat tricky, Hyde says. Sugar was readily available, as were onions. But the three-quarter cups of sour cream? Not so easy &mdash; though eventually he found some in a small convenience store on the embassy compound. The hardest part, Hyde says, was the 2 cups of raw cranberry the recipe calls for.</p><p>&quot;That was actually the single biggest challenge,&quot; he says. Somebody suggested substituting pomegranates. Instead, he found cranberry jelly&nbsp;(groan)&nbsp;in the embassy dining room &mdash; which also came to the rescue with the horseradish. (Someone had suggested substituting curry, Hyde says.)</p><p>The dining room, he says, &quot;actually had a horseradish sauce. So I took a little plastic container and filled up. It wasn&#39;t the way I know Mama Stamberg would appreciate, but it worked.&quot;</p><p>He couldn&#39;t freeze it (the recipe calls for that). So it was served mushy-soupy. And the color was a bit off &mdash; not the traditional bright pink (OK, Pepto Bismol pink, as some cruels have called it.) The Kabul Mama Stamberg&#39;s was more bubble gum pink. But they liked it!</p><p>In Afghanistan, Jonathan Terra says, it was the taste of home. &quot;Because cranberries are difficult to get abroad, when you have them, it&#39;s extra special,&quot; he says. &quot;This is the kind of thing that brings you back to being back home with your family. It&#39;s the sight and smell of cranberries. It just doesn&#39;t exist anywhere else &mdash; cranberry is something that makes us think of being home.&quot;</p><p>This year, in the U.S. or Afghanistan or wherever the holiday finds you, have a great Thanksgiving.</p><div><hr /></div><p><strong><span style="font-size:18px;">Mama Stamberg&#39;s Cranberry Relish</span></strong></p><blockquote><p>2 cups whole raw cranberries, washed</p><p>1 small onion</p><p>3/4 cup sour cream</p><p>1/2 cup sugar</p><p>2 tablespoons horseradish from a jar (&quot;red is a bit milder than white&quot;)</p><p>Grind the raw berries and onion together. (&quot;I use an old-fashioned meat grinder,&quot; says Stamberg. &quot;I&#39;m sure there&#39;s a setting on the food processor that will give you a chunky grind &mdash; not a puree.&quot;)</p><p>Add everything else and mix.</p><p>Put in a plastic container and freeze.</p><p>Early Thanksgiving morning, move it from freezer to refrigerator compartment to thaw. (&quot;It should still have some little icy slivers left.&quot;)</p><p>The relish will be thick, creamy and shocking pink. (&quot;OK, Pepto Bismol pink. It has a tangy taste that cuts through and perks up the turkey and gravy. It&#39;s also good on next-day turkey sandwiches, and with roast beef.&quot;)</p><p>Makes 1 1/2 pints.</p></blockquote></p> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 16:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/expats-afghanistan-cranberry-dish-relish-far-home-113932 Premium, Young And Natural: The Turkey Labels We Cluck-Cluck Over http://www.wbez.org/news/premium-young-and-natural-turkey-labels-we-cluck-cluck-over-113931 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/turkeylabel1small-20167402ee4463d2d75a28d16c0e95bed248cad0.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res456509177" previewtitle="&quot;Free-range&quot; turkeys at Maple Lawn Farms in Fulton, Md., in November 2014. In some cases, turkeys labeled &quot;free-range&quot; roam freely on a farm. But in the vast majority spend most of their time in crowded houses, consumer advocates say."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="&quot;Free-range&quot; turkeys at Maple Lawn Farms in Fulton, Md., in November 2014. In some cases, turkeys labeled &quot;free-range&quot; roam freely on a farm. But in the vast majority spend most of their time in crowded houses, consumer advocates say." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/18/freerangeturkeys_custom-29a1348c257ac2d6fcb709339028d89cc25928f6-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 409px; width: 620px;" title="&quot;Free-range&quot; turkeys at Maple Lawn Farms in Fulton, Md., in November 2014. In some cases, turkeys labeled &quot;free-range&quot; roam freely on a farm. But in the vast majority spend most of their time in crowded houses, consumer advocates say. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>You&#39;re at the grocery store, shopping for Thanksgiving dinner. You&#39;ve grabbed sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts and cans of pumpkin. If you&#39;re from the Midwest like I am, you&#39;re also gearing up for green bean casserole.</p></div></div></div><p>But when you approach a refrigerated section of the store piled high with turkeys, you&#39;re suddenly inundated with labels: natural, fresh, no hormones, young, premium and so on. Pretty soon, your head is spinning, so you grab the nearest one. As you head to the checkout line, you wonder if you&#39;ve just made an ethical choice or been duped.

</p><p>This scenario has become part of the Thanksgiving experience for many shoppers. If you&#39;re like me, you may have told yourself that, someday, you&#39;ll learn what all those labels actually mean. Well, today is that day. Because this is your guide to the utterly confusing world of turkey labels &mdash; a glossary for the wannabe informed Thanksgiving shopper.


What you might think it means:&nbsp;The turkey was slaughtered this morning (or maybe yesterday) and was rushed to my local grocery store, where consumers like me will taste the difference!

</p><div id="res456504555" previewtitle="A Butterball turkey for sale in November 2014, in Centreville, Va. Terms like &quot;premium&quot; and &quot;raised without hormones&quot; tell you little about the quality of the turkey or how it was raised."><div><div><p>What it actually means:&nbsp;&quot;Fresh&quot; has nothing to do with the time between slaughter and sale. Instead, it means that the turkey has not been cooled to below 26 degrees Fahrenheit. In other words, it was never frozen. Above 26 degrees Fahrenheit, the meat can remain pliant &mdash; you can press it in with your thumb.</p></div></div></div><p><strong>Young

</strong></p><p>What you might think it means: This bird was killed at a younger age than most turkeys and is therefore more tender and delicious. Maybe it also suffered less.
</p><p>What it actually means: The bird was likely killed at the same age as most other turkeys. According to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.goodfoodjobs.com/blog/daisy-freund-senior-manager-farm-animal-welfare-american-society-for-the-prevention-of-cruelty-to-animals/">Daisy Freund</a>, an animal welfare certification expert at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, most commercial turkeys are slaughtered at 16 to 18 weeks, compared to the roughly 10 years turkeys live in the wild. The U.S. Department of Agriculture does not define &quot;young&quot; for turkeys, but it&nbsp;<a href="http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/larc/Policies/Labeling_Policy_Book_082005.pdf">requires</a>&nbsp;that turkeys that lived more than a year be labeled as &quot;yearling&quot; or &quot;mature.&quot;</p><p><strong>Natural

</strong></p><p><img alt="A Butterball turkey for sale in November 2014, in Centreville, Va. Terms like &quot;premium&quot; and &quot;raised without hormones&quot; tell you little about the quality of the turkey or how it was raised." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/18/turkeylabel1small_custom-a25017d6d96cd1be0cb4cb26391a66b3e5c31c7c-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 315px; width: 310px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="A Butterball turkey for sale in November 2014, in Centreville, Va. Terms like &quot;premium&quot; and &quot;raised without hormones&quot; tell you little about the quality of the turkey or how it was raised. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty) " /></p><p>What you might think it means:&nbsp;The turkeys have been raised in a &quot;natural&quot; environment, wandering around in the woods or on a farm, scavenging food and gobble-gobbling their cares away.

</p><p>What it actually means:&nbsp;According to the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/2a9bcae8-ae1e-4248-9ce7-4e752f2f91fc/Turkey_Raised_by_the_Rules.pdf?MOD=AJPERES">U.S. Department of Agriculture</a>, it means no artificial ingredients have been added to the turkey meat, and the meat is only minimally processed. But&nbsp;<a href="http://consumersunion.org/experts/urvashi-rangan/">Urvashi Rangan</a>, director of consumer safety and sustainability for Consumer Reports, says the term isn&#39;t helpful at all. &quot;It has nothing to do with whether the turkeys got antibiotics every day, were living in filthy conditions or were confined indoors,&quot; she says. Her organization is campaigning against the use of the term, which they feel misleads consumers. The Food and Drug Administration also has admitted it&#39;s a challenge to define the term and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/11/11/455506222/whats-natural-food-the-government-isnt-sure-and-wants-your-input">just asked</a>&nbsp;the public for help.

</p><div id="res456504590"><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>On that note, let&#39;s pause for a minute to answer a basic question &mdash; how exactly are most turkeys in the U.S. raised?

</p><p>&quot;The vast majority of turkeys are living in crowded houses &mdash; football field-sized sheds that are entirely enclosed &mdash; by the tens of thousands,&quot; says the ASPCA&#39;s Freund. 

She says the 30-pound birds typically have their beaks cut to prevent them from injuring or killing one another, and are allotted an average of two square feet of space. &quot;It&#39;s like living your entire life in Times Square on New Year&#39;s Eve,&quot; she says.</p><p>Meanwhile, Freund says, manure often piles up beneath the birds, and ammonia hangs thick in the air. Many turkeys are routinely given&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/11/26/247377377/did-your-thanksgiving-turkey-take-any-antibiotics">antibiotics</a>&nbsp;to prevent them from getting sick. Plus, modern turkeys have been selectively bred to mature quickly and have extremely large breasts (for more white meat). Many have trouble standing and are incapable of having sex &mdash; their large chests get in the way, Freund says.</p><p>To be clear, turkey producers must still meet basic safety standards and the meat should be safe. But terms like &quot;natural&quot; may be misleading consumers about how the birds are actually raised.</p><p>Let&#39;s look at a few more dubious labels.


</strong></p><p>What you might think it means:&nbsp;These turkeys roam freely on a farm, pecking at the lush grass and getting more exercise than I do.

</p><p>What it actually means:&nbsp;In some cases (on some small farms), it does mean what you&#39;re picturing. But Rangan says in the vast majority of cases, &quot;free-range&quot; turkeys are raised in the standard, crowded houses. The only difference, she says, is that these birds must have &quot;access to the outdoors.&quot;</p><p>But the word &quot;access&quot; is broadly used. &quot;If the animal never even went outdoors, but you sort of opened and closed the door every day, that would suffice to label the bird as &#39;free-range,&#39; &quot; she says.</p><p><strong>Cage</strong>-<strong>Free

</strong></p><p>What you might think it means:&nbsp;This turkey had a better life than most, because at least it wasn&#39;t stuffed into a tiny cage.

</p><p>What it actually means:&nbsp;This turkey&#39;s life was probably the same as most, because turkeys are not raised in cages. The conventional practice &mdash; which accounts for well over 95 percent of all commercial turkeys, according to ASPCA &mdash; is to raise them in open houses. So, calling a turkey cage-free is sort of like calling a cantaloupe cage-free.

</p><p><strong>Premium</strong></p><p>What you might think it means:&nbsp;This turkey is a higher grade of meat, and is more delicious and healthy.

</p><p>What it actually means:&nbsp;Basically, nothing. The USDA grades beef cuts with words like &quot;prime,&quot; &quot;choice&quot; and &quot;select,&quot; but premium is not one of their designations and these graded terms are not used for poultry anyway.

 A company can label any kind of turkey as &quot;premium.&quot;</p><p><strong>No Hormones Added</strong></p><p>What you might think it means:&nbsp;This bird is healthier than most because it wasn&#39;t pumped full of the hormones that turn some turkeys into the Incredible Hulk.
</p><p>What it actually means:&nbsp;Once again, this term is misleading. By USDA law, turkeys (and other poultry) are not allowed to be given growth hormones.</p><p><strong>Humane/Non-Certified Humane

</strong></p><p>What you might think it means:&nbsp;Finally, a bird that has been raised according to an ethical set of principles. It was probably treated fairly and lived a decent life. Maybe it even got to kiss its loved ones goodbye.

</p><p>What it actually means:&nbsp;If there is no certifying agency, which there isn&#39;t for this term, the label is probably meaningless, says Rangan from Consumer Reports. That&#39;s because the USDA allows companies to come up with their own definition of &quot;humane&quot; and it gives its seal of approval if the company meets its own standards. In these cases, &quot;it probably just means they met the conventional baseline,&quot; says Rangan.</p><p>That&#39;s most of the virtually meaningless terms. Let&#39;s move on to some labels that have at least some significance.</p><p><strong>Kosher

</strong></p><p>What you might think it means:&nbsp;The turkey was raised according to a stricter set of hygiene standards. It was probably kept cleaner and healthier. 

</p><p>What it actually means:&nbsp;The turkey was probably raised in the same crowded house conditions as most turkeys. The only difference is that it was slaughtered according to a set of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.growandbehold.com/index.php?page=Kosher">kosher principles</a>.</p><p><strong>Vegetarian-Fed/Grain-Fed

</strong></p><p>What you might think it means:&nbsp;This turkey enjoyed a lush supply of greens and grains, replicating its natural diet.

</p><div id="res456504560"><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>What it actually means:&nbsp;The bird probably ate what most turkeys eat: corn. But these birds have not had their diets supplemented with animal byproducts, which does happen in some settings. The irony, though, is that turkeys are not natural vegetarians. In the wild, they eat a variety of bugs and worms, along with grass and other plants.

</p><p><strong>Raised Without Antibiotics/No Antibiotics Administered</strong></p><p>What you might think it means:&nbsp;These birds were never given any antibiotics of any kind.</p><p>What it actually means:&nbsp;These birds were given drugs only if they were sick, but not for growth promotion, feed efficiency or to prevent disease.&nbsp;That means their producers are contributing less to the risk of antibiotic resistance and to &quot;superbugs&quot;&mdash; a serious health concern. However, Rangan suggests that consumers look for the USDA label with this term, to verify that the companies have been inspected. And she points out that the label does not mean the birds were raised in more sanitary conditions &mdash; only that they were not given routine antibiotics.</p><p><strong>Organic

</strong></p><p>What you might think it means:&nbsp;These turkeys were raised on a steady diet of organic vegetables, green smoothies and Bikram yoga.</p><p>What it actually means:&nbsp;To meet the requirements for the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ams.usda.gov/about-ams/programs-offices/national-organic-program">USDA&#39;s Certified Organic program</a>, animals must have some access to the outdoors (though there&#39;s debate about whether or not most organic turkeys actually go outdoors), be fed only organic feed (non-GMO and grown without chemical pesticides) and must not be given antibiotic drugs on a routine basis. Rangan says organic conditions are &quot;significantly different&quot; from conventional conditions. And yet, she says, organic lags behind the conditions enjoyed by humanely raised birds.</p><p>Which brings us to the final section.</p><p>

There are three main organizations that have publicly available standards for &quot;humane&quot; treatment. Birds bearing these labels typically are granted real access to the outdoors, eat a diverse diet and have the opportunity to behave as they would in the wild. You can read more about the specific criteria by clicking on each name.</p><p><strong><a href="http://animalwelfareapproved.org/">Animal Welfare Approved

</a></strong></p><p>Turkeys with this label come from farms that have been audited at least once a year, and have met criteria for animal welfare, environmental protection and community well-being. According to its website, &quot;Provisions are made to ensure [the animals&#39;] social interaction, comfort, and physical and psychological well-being.&quot;

</p><p><strong><a href="http://certifiedhumane.org/">Certified Humane

</a></strong></p><p>This is also a label with clearly defined parameters for animal and environmental care. Its website says, &quot;The goal of the program is to improve the lives of farm animals by driving consumer demand for kinder and more responsible farm animal practices.&quot;

</p><p><strong><a href="http://www.globalanimalpartnership.org/">Global Animal Partnership, or GAP
</a></strong></p><p>This is a rating system with six different levels, ranging from less crowding (level one) to animals without clipped beaks spending their entire life on the same farm, with enhanced access to the outdoors
 (level five-plus).</p><p>To summarize, here&#39;s a cheat sheet:

</p><p>Labels that mean very little:&nbsp;Fresh, Young, Natural, Premium, Cage-Free, Free-Range, No Hormones Added, Humane (not certified or USDA certified)
</p><p>Labels that mean something specific:&nbsp;Kosher, Raised Without Antibiotics/No Antibiotics Administered, Vegetarian-Fed/Grain-Fed, Organic

</p><p>Labels that mean the birds were raised humanely: Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane, GAP</p><p><em>Want more info? Check out Farm Forward&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://buyingpoultry.com/">poultry buying guide</a>&nbsp;released Nov. 18. Enjoy this story? Check out our&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/12/23/370377902/farm-fresh-natural-eggs-not-always-what-they-re-cracked-up-to-be">guide to egg labels</a>.</em></p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/11/18/456414257/premium-young-and-natural-the-turkey-labels-we-cluck-cluck-over?ft=nprml&amp;f=456414257" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 16:23:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/premium-young-and-natural-turkey-labels-we-cluck-cluck-over-113931 We Tried A Futuristic Cranberry. It Was Fresh And Naturally Sweet http://www.wbez.org/news/we-tried-futuristic-cranberry-it-was-fresh-and-naturally-sweet-113930 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/12287209_2489610403104_1228556333_o-a3a75413f95eaa79b7fc27f33a803b95ea66656d-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res457267637" previewtitle="A bowl of Sweeties, an experimental cranberry variety that likely won't come to market for several years, if ever at all."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="A bowl of Sweeties, an experimental cranberry variety that likely won't come to market for several years, if ever at all." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/24/12287209_2489610403104_1228556333_o-a3a75413f95eaa79b7fc27f33a803b95ea66656d-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="A bowl of Sweeties, an experimental cranberry variety that likely won't come to market for several years, if ever at all. (Angus Chen/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>The last time you ate cranberry &ndash; perhaps as a dried snack, in a glass of juice or as a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/11/20/456696688/for-ex-pats-in-afghanistan-a-cranberry-dish-to-relish-far-from-home">saucy condiment</a>&nbsp;with the Thanksgiving turkey &ndash; it was likely paired with sugar, and a lot of it. A cup of cranberry juice may be packed with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/11/28/247574168/why-we-give-thanks-for-the-health-benefits-of-cranberries">antioxidants</a>, but it has about 30 grams (or 7.5 teaspoons) of sugar. You&#39;ll get about 26 grams (or 6.5 teaspoons) of sugar in a cup of dried, sweetened cranberries.</p></div></div></div><p>Why are cranberries and sugar a seemingly inseparable pair? The typical fresh cranberry is an acrid thing to put on the tongue without sugar to balance it out.</p><p>But maybe it doesn&#39;t have to be that way. Cranberry breeders at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed an experimental variety that&#39;s naturally sweet. It&#39;s called the &quot;Sweetie.&quot;</p><p>The cranberry breeding program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was created in the early 1990s to help growers produce better berries.&nbsp;<a href="http://experts.news.wisc.edu/experts/189">Brent McCown</a>, a biologist who helped found the program, says growers want berries that are larger, have a consistent red color and produce a reliable crop year after year. Flavor &mdash; and sweetness, in particular &mdash; have generally been an afterthought.</p><div id="res457271130">Nicole Hansen, a Wisconsin cranberry grower working with the university&#39;s breeders, says she wasn&#39;t expecting a sweet variety to come along. &quot;As a cranberry grower, you always hope that you&#39;ll find that [sweet] variety, but you&#39;re thinking cranberries are just too tart,&quot; she says. Then a few years ago, she was taste-testing experimental varieties grown by the university with another grower. &quot;And they said, &#39;You gotta taste this,&#39;&quot; Hansen says.</div><p>The berry handed to her was the Sweetie. &quot;I was excited ... it had a milder taste than most fresh cranberries,&quot; she says. It was so enticing that Hansen says she and other growers started dreaming of the day when they could grow the Sweetie or other similar varieties that people could eat fresh &ndash; like cherries.</p><div id="res457249623" previewtitle="Farmers harvest cranberries born from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's breeding program. The program has created a couple commercial varieties since it's inception."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Farmers harvest cranberries born from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's breeding program. The program has created a couple commercial varieties since it's inception." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/24/cranberry-jeff-miller-6afd03bb81e13de9e1f784e4edc699a193968e0c-s800-c85.jpg" title="Farmers harvest cranberries born from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's breeding program. The program has created a couple commercial varieties since it's inception. (Jeff Miller/University of Wisconsin-Madison)" /></div><div><div><p>We at <em>The Salt</em> had to try this mythical sweet cranberry. So we asked Hansen to send us some from the small batch she&#39;d grown.</p></div></div></div><p>The Sweetie is about half an inch wide and white on the inside. The skin is the color of red wine, and pops open when you bite in. The flavor is tart and faintly sweet, like a Granny Smith apple. It shares some of the aromas of a Granny Smith, too.</p><div id="res457277662"><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>At NPR, the Sweetie received some mixed responses. One editor at the Science Desk ate one and then regarded the bowl of berries with disdain. &quot;It&#39;s supposed to be like a munching snack, like table grapes?&quot; he asked.</p><p>&quot;I think so,&quot; I said.</p><p>&quot;Never going to happen,&quot; he said.</p><p>Another editor lifted some Sweeties, skeptically, to his mouth. &quot;Wow. Yeah,&quot; he said and nodded in approval.</p><p>The jury may still be out in this office. But while the idea of snacking on fresh cranberries once seemed unimaginable, the Sweetie offers that with mild tartness and crisp texture. When there&#39;s nothing else to snack on, I&#39;ve been reaching for that bag of cranberries by my desk.</p><p>For McCown and&nbsp;<a href="http://horticulture.wisc.edu/faculty-and-staff-2/faculty-and-staff/name/juan-zalapa/">Juan Zalapa</a>, a geneticist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison&#39;s cranberry breeding program, the promise of a cranberry as sweet as a blueberry might lie somewhere in the cranberry genome. And if they can find it, breeding could move to develop a fresh cranberry that people would actually buy. &quot;It&#39;s just a matter of increasing that sugar level,&quot; Zalapa says.</p><p>For now, though, the researchers say the Sweetie isn&#39;t ready to leave the test beds. It&#39;s still in an experimental phase, and it might not ever go into production. But one of its descendants might one day be a fresh cranberry that you&#39;ll be snacking on at your desk &mdash; no sugar added.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/11/24/457247226/cranberry-you-could-eat-without-sugar?ft=nprml&amp;f=457247226" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 15:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/we-tried-futuristic-cranberry-it-was-fresh-and-naturally-sweet-113930 Behind Your Holiday Sweet Potato Dish, Hard Work In The Fields http://www.wbez.org/news/behind-your-holiday-sweet-potato-dish-hard-work-fields-113926 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/sweetpotato-7_custom-06442e5cd01285c1aa65bfdfd5aa07273661d180-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res457229878" previewtitle="Harvesting sweet potatoes: Workers sort the potatoes in the field, collecting small and large ones in different buckets. Each bucket weighs 30 pounds or so. A worker will shoulder that bucket and dump it into a flatbed truck 400 to 500 times a day. It's a daily load of six or seven tons of sweet potatoes."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Harvesting sweet potatoes: Workers sort the potatoes in the field, collecting small and large ones in different buckets. Each bucket weighs 30 pounds or so. A worker will shoulder that bucket and dump it into a flatbed truck 400 to 500 times a day. It's a daily load of six or seven tons of sweet potatoes." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/24/sweetpotato-7_custom-06442e5cd01285c1aa65bfdfd5aa07273661d180-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 426px; width: 620px;" title="Harvesting sweet potatoes: Workers sort the potatoes in the field, collecting small and large ones in different buckets. Each bucket weighs 30 pounds or so. A worker will shoulder that bucket and dump it into a flatbed truck 400 to 500 times a day. It's a daily load of six or seven tons of sweet potatoes. (Dan Charles/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>There&#39;s an oil painting on one wall in the cluttered room that serves as central headquarters of&nbsp;<a href="http://burchfarmsnc.com/">Burch Farms</a>, a large vegetable grower in Faison, N.C. The painting shows an African-American couple, the woman in a long, plain dress, the man in a homespun shirt. They&#39;re digging sweet potatoes with their bare hands and an old-fashioned hoe.</p></div></div></div><p>Jimmy Burch Sr., who owns the business together with two brothers, says that when he saw this painting, he had to buy it &mdash; partly because he grows sweet potatoes himself, and partly because this crop has been such a big part of Southern culture.</p><p>The sweet potato &quot;was easy to grow, relatively. We had the right climate for it. And it was cheap!&quot; he says. &quot;All the rural people, farmers, that&#39;s what they ate all winter. That and collard greens. I mean, sweet potatoes and collard greens are a big deal in the South. It don&#39;t get more traditional than that!&quot;</p><p>Now traditional is trendy. The humble sweet potato, after decades of decline, is making a comeback. People have woken up to the fact that its orange flesh is full of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/08/15/158783117/saving-lives-in-africa-with-the-humble-sweet-potato">nutrients</a>. &quot;Anything with vitamin A, they&#39;re buying the hell out of it,&quot; he says. &quot;And they need to! Because it&#39;s good for you!&quot;</p><div id="res457229880" previewtitle="Jimmy Burch Sr., in his office at Burch Farms, in Faison, N.C."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Jimmy Burch Sr., in his office at Burch Farms, in Faison, N.C." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/24/sweetpotato2_custom-46b167d5a861034d574af56e0d4df3c767f08090-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 206px; width: 310px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="Jimmy Burch Sr., in his office at Burch Farms, in Faison, N.C. (Dan Charles/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>Sweet potato production has doubled over the past 15 years. In North Carolina, it&#39;s tripled. North Carolina now produces just over half of all the sweet potatoes in the country.</p></div></div></div><p>This year, Burch Farms has a monster crop, the biggest ever. Jimmy Burch&#39;s problem, on this day, seems to be running out of wooden pallets and bins to store them all. He keeps making phone calls, trying to find more.</p><p>&quot;I mean, it&#39;s a good thing, don&#39;t get me wrong. The Lord gave me a good crop, and I&#39;m gonna dig &#39;em. I&#39;m going to get them in the house, somehow or other.&quot;</p><p>But digging this crop takes many hands. As Jimmy Burch puts it, &quot;a world of people.&quot;</p><p>People like Nabor Segundo and his wife, Rosalia Morales.</p><p>I meet them early in the evening at their home in a small trailer park that sits along a country road amid the fields east of the town of Mount Olive.</p><p>They and their infant son, Alan, share this two-bedroom trailer with one other family. All together, four adults and four children live here.</p><div id="res457229895" previewtitle="Nabor Segundo, with his infant, son, Alan. He and his family share this two-bedroom trailer with one other family."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Nabor Segundo, with his infant, son, Alan. He and his family share this two-bedroom trailer with one other family." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/24/img_2493_custom-3036a276ab3c5de25783f2a0417288a746bb25da-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 206px; width: 310px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="Nabor Segundo, with his infant, son, Alan. He and his family share this two-bedroom trailer with one other family. (Dan Charles/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>Segundo and Morales met each other a few years ago, in Florida, picking peppers. &quot;We saw each other and fell in love,&quot; Segundo says, and both of them start giggling.</p></div></div></div><p>The couple spends about half of each year in Florida. But for about six months in summer and fall, the work is here, in the coastal plain on North Carolina.</p><div id="res457233255"><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>That&#39;s actually a relatively long time for migrant work. They can stay here that long because they switch back and forth between sweet potatoes and another labor-intensive crop: tobacco.</p><p>The tobacco work is now finished. It&#39;s the end of the season. All that&#39;s left to do is bring in the sweet potatoes.</p><p>In every sweet potato field, the work is similar. A tractor does the first part. It pulls a set of steel disks through the vine-covered field, turns the soil upside down, and exposes a bounty of sweet potatoes.</p><div id="res457229899" previewtitle="Workers carry buckets of sweet potatoes to a waiting truck."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Workers carry buckets of sweet potatoes to a waiting truck." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/24/sweetpotato-3_custom-8e46345641d838b64ece819f9aa6bdf8dbb81dfd-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 464px; width: 620px;" title="Workers carry buckets of sweet potatoes to a waiting truck. (Dan Charles/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>The rest is done by hand. The skin on a fresh sweet potato is too fragile for machinery. Men &mdash; and a few women &mdash; move through the field, backs bent, picking up sweet potatoes and dropping them into plastic buckets. When the buckets are full, the workers lift them to their shoulders, carry them to a flatbed truck, and dump them into bins.</p></div></div></div><p>It&#39;s exhausting work &mdash; some of the most physically demanding farm work there is.</p><p>&quot;When you first get here, your waist, your hands and your feet can&#39;t take it,&quot; Segundo says. &quot;It&#39;s really hard the first time, because you don&#39;t know how to carry the bucket, how to lift it to your shoulders. It&#39;s really hard to learn.&quot;</p><p>Segundo says each bucket weighs 30 pounds or so. He fills that bucket, and carries it to the truck, 400 to 500 times each day.</p><p>It&#39;s a daily load of six or seven tons of sweet potatoes. At 50 cents a bucket, it adds up to a daily wage of $200 or $250. That&#39;s on the days the laborers are working. On the day I was there, it was raining, so they earned nothing at all.</p><div id="res457229871" previewtitle="Buckets of sweet potatoes go into bins on a flatbed truck."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Buckets of sweet potatoes go into bins on a flatbed truck." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/24/sweetpotato-4_custom-8c118a2688a7d4d74f616c6f6c3b861e6decfb79-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 448px; width: 620px;" title="Buckets of sweet potatoes go into bins on a flatbed truck. (Dan Charles/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>From this field, the sweet potatoes, still caked with dirt, go into huge, climate-controlled barns for storage.</p></div></div></div><p>They will sit there at least for a few weeks, because sweet potatoes improve with a bit of age. The skin becomes less fragile. They also get sweeter: Some of their starch turns into sugar.</p><p>Meanwhile, the farm workers who pulled them from the soil move on to other fields, and other kinds of food.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/11/24/457203127/behind-your-holiday-sweet-potato-dish-hard-work-in-the-fields?ft=nprml&amp;f=457203127" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 14:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/behind-your-holiday-sweet-potato-dish-hard-work-fields-113926 How To Survive (And Maybe Even Enjoy) Thanksgiving Dinner http://www.wbez.org/news/how-survive-and-maybe-even-enjoy-thanksgiving-dinner-113923 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/istock_000073435373_medium_custom-4c77db62ac0cf624e1f306f5c710d3993642cab5-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res457125934" previewtitle="The holidays are all about generousity, gratitude, and spending time with the people we love. But we all know the whole &quot;spending time with the people we love&quot; part has its challenges. Hidden Brain is here to help."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The holidays are all about generousity, gratitude, and spending time with the people we love. But we all know the whole &quot;spending time with the people we love&quot; part has its challenges. Hidden Brain is here to help." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/23/istock_000073435373_medium_custom-4c77db62ac0cf624e1f306f5c710d3993642cab5-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 394px; width: 620px;" title="The holidays are all about generosity, gratitude, and spending time with the people we love. But we all know the whole &quot;spending time with the people we love&quot; part has its challenges. Hidden Brain is here to help. (iStockphotos)" /></div><div><div><p>Happy Thanksgiving from Hidden Brain! All of the research in this week&#39;s episode is geared toward helping you have a happier holiday, with tips to help you avoid three deadly Thanksgiving pitfalls: overeating, over-shopping, and fighting with your relatives.</p></div></div></div><p>For appetizers, we&#39;ll start with two of Shankar&#39;s Morning Edition radio stories.</p><p>First up, a story about political arguments at the dinner table, and why it&#39;s so hard for Democrats and Republicans to find&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/11/27/366956600/search-for-political-common-ground-is-difficult-research-shows">common ground</a>.</p><p>Next, a story about why it sometimes feels good to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/04/01/175714511/why-not-apologizing-makes-you-feel-better">not apologize</a>.</p><p>And finally, for our main course, we give you a delicious round of Stopwatch Science, chock-full of nutritious social-science insight from Shankar and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.danpink.com/">Daniel Pink</a>.</p><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>Stopwatch Science</strong></span></p><p>In keeping with our Thanksgiving theme, Daniel and Shankar have some good holiday advice, with research to back it up. Hopefully these studies can help inform a healthier, happier Thanksgiving.</p><p><strong>1.</strong> For many of us, Thanksgiving is about resisting temptation. So how can we do it better? A paper published in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests one secret might be a simple language trick:</p><p><em><a href="http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/663212?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents">We should shift from saying &quot;I can&#39;t&quot; to saying &quot;I don&#39;t.&quot;</a></em></p><p>In the one of the experiments, undergraduates were trained to resist unhealthy foods by saying to themselves either &quot;I can&#39;t eat X&quot; or &quot;I don&#39;t eat X.&quot; Later they were offered a choice between chocolate and a healthy granola bar. Of those using the &quot;can&#39;t&quot; self-talk, fewer than 40 percent picked the healthy snack. But in the &quot;don&#39;t&quot; group, nearly 2/3 chose the healthy option.</p><p>What&#39;s going on is what linguists call &quot;semantic framing.&quot; Different words give us different views of reality. &quot;Can&#39;t&quot; is disempowering. It implies someone or something else is in control. &quot;Don&#39;t&quot; is empowering. It implies that I&#39;m in charge of what I do and, ultimately, who I am.</p><p><strong>2. </strong>Leaf Van Boven, George Loewenstein, and other colleagues recently analyzed a factor that could play a role in Thanksgiving table social breakdowns.</p><p>It has to do with the concept of hot and cold emotions. For example: when we&#39;re not hungry, it&#39;s easy to plan on eating well. But when we are in the grip of hunger, those plans go out the window.</p><p>&quot;George Loewenstein once told me the key idea here is not that we have these hot and cold states, but that when we are in a cold state, we are terrible at forecasting how we are going to behave when we are in the grip of emotions,&quot; Shankar says.</p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://psych.colorado.edu/~vanboven/VanBoven/Publications_files/van_boven_etal_jbdm_2012.pdf">researchers applied this idea to embarrassing situations</a>. Many of us believe we can handle embarrassing situations. But when we actually are in an embarrassing situation, we fail to act with courage and confidence.</p><p>&quot;I think this plays a factor in Thanksgiving table meltdowns,&quot; Shankar says. &quot;We think we will rise to the occasion to confront that proverbial drunk uncle Joe, but we fail to predict that when he actually starts acting up, we will lapse into silence.&quot;</p><p><strong>3.</strong> Here&#39;s some good news: stuffing your face with turkey, gravy, and candied yams might have an upside. Arul and Himanshu Mishra &mdash; a husband and wife team at the University of Utah &mdash; found that on Thanksgiving, what&#39;s bad for your waistline&nbsp;<a href="http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1498082">might actually be good for your wallet</a>.</p><p>A few years ago, they interrupted 170 people on Thanksgiving evening &mdash; and asked those people how willing they&#39;d be to buy deeply discounted items. The researchers found that those who had eaten a traditional holiday meal were significantly less likely to be seduced by the discounts. And so, Dan concludes, &quot;If you want to save money on Black Friday, pig out on Thanksgiving Thursday.&quot;</p><p><strong>4. </strong>We&#39;ve known for a long time that children are easily distracted by bright shiny objects. Turns out, adults are, too &ndash; and this can be a very useful idea to apply at the Thanksgiving table. Martin Reimann at the University of Arizona, along with Antoine Bechara and Deborah MacInnis at the University of Southern California ran an experiment. They set up a food stand and told the volunteers that if they chose a half serving instead of a full serving, they would get a lottery ticket &ndash; a chance to win $100 Amazon gift card or 10,000 frequent flier miles.</p><p>They measured how likely people were to choose the full serving versus the half serving with and without the lottery ticket. They found about two-thirds of the volunteers chose the full size serving without the incentive. But with the lottery tickets, that number dropped by more than half.&nbsp;<a href="http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2625344">If people thought they could win a prize, they ate less.</a></p><p>If you want people to eat in moderation at Thanksgiving, or if you want to incentivize them to be civil to one another, offer them lottery tickets, Shankar says. Everyone who eats in moderation and behaves nicely gets a chance to win a prize.</p><p><a data-metrics="{&quot;category&quot;:&quot;Story to Story&quot;,&quot;action&quot;:&quot;Click Internal Link&quot;,&quot;label&quot;:&quot;http:\/\/www.npr.org\/podcasts\/510308\/hidden-brain&quot;}" href="http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510308/hidden-brain" id="featuredStackSquareImage510308" target="_blank"><img alt="Hidden Brain logo" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/03/hiddenbrain_deepbluereverse2_sq-d4dc2bc0fb94c4fa0074fb7ab2e1b681e6245d7a-s100.jpg" style="float: left; height: 100px; width: 100px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Hidden Brain logo" /></a><em>The Hidden Brain Podcast is hosted by Shankar Vedantam and produced by Kara McGuirk-Alison and Maggie Penman. </em></p><p><em>Follow&nbsp;</em><a href="https://twitter.com/HiddenBrain"><em>@hiddenbrain</em></a><em>,</em><em><a href="https://twitter.com/KaraMcGuirk">@karamcguirk</a></em><em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/maggiepenman">@maggiepenman</a>&nbsp;</em><em>on Twitter,</em><em>&nbsp;and listen for Hidden Brain stories every week on your local public radio station.</em></p></p> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 13:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/how-survive-and-maybe-even-enjoy-thanksgiving-dinner-113923 Should we force children to show affection? http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-13/should-we-force-children-show-affection-113777 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/kids affection flickr Amy Goodman.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Everyone celebrates the holidays in different ways, but a few things are kind of universal. We tend to get together with family and friends and those celebrations tend to be better when kids are around. And when kids are around, they are going to be smothered with hugs, kisses, and cheek-pinches by the likes of Grandma Karen, Uncle Joe, and Cousin Mary. And the kids aren&rsquo;t always happy about it.</p><p>Irene van der Zande talks about why forcing kids to show affection toward others, especially adults, is not always a good thing. She&#39;s the founder and Executive Director of <a href="https://www.kidpower.org/">Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower International</a>, an organization that teaches about personal safety and violence prevention.&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 12:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-13/should-we-force-children-show-affection-113777 The rise of Casimir Pulaski Day http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/rise-casimir-pulaski-day-111624 <p><p>Casimir Pulaski Day. If you grew up in Illinois in the 1980s or 1990s (or, if you raised a kid at the time), you probably remember a school and government holiday &mdash; the first Monday in March &mdash; that most of the rest of the country does not observe.</p><p>Nic Levy, our question asker, remembers coming to Oak Park in fifth grade and being surprised. &ldquo;There was this holiday I saw on the calendar,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I couldn&rsquo;t pronounce it. I asked my parents. They also didn&rsquo;t know because they were from New England.&rdquo;</p><p>Nic remembers that one of his history teachers added a short aside about Pulaski during his class&rsquo;s unit on the Revolutionary War, so he grew up understanding that Pulaski was a hero of that war and that he was from Poland. But all that info was about the hero. For help with the holiday, he sent us this question:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>How did Casimir Pulaski Day become a public holiday in Illinois?</em></p><p>We let Nic, a history buff, take a crack at an answer. He guessed that Casimir Pulaski Day came about as an expression of Polish-American pride, maybe in the 1970s or 1980s.</p><p>&ldquo;After the &lsquo;60s, there was this climate in the U.S., not just of ethnic tolerance, but of celebration of different cultures in cities across America,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I feel like that kind of started in the &lsquo;70s.&rdquo;</p><p>Nic&rsquo;s on the right track, but the details make the story worth telling. Just consider what was working <em>against</em> the state holiday: Casimir died more than two hundred years ago, he never set foot in Illinois, the community that adored him arrived in Chicago nearly a century after he died, and, it turns out, he&rsquo;s not even the most famous Polish-American war hero.</p><p>The story behind this most &ldquo;Illinois&rdquo; of holidays involves Casimir, of course, but it&rsquo;s more of a story about a strong community that was willing to spend political capital to honor him.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Casimir Pulaski: Polish Patriot, American Volunteer</span></p><p>Let&rsquo;s start with Count Casimir Pulaski the man. He grew up in the struggle of Polish patriots against the neighboring powers that sought to annex or assert control over what was at the time the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. By the time he was 22, he was fighting against the new Polish King Stanislaw II, who was seen by many as a puppet of the Russians. Pulaski became an important cavalry officer in a series of wars. But by 1775, the conflict had gone badly for the Polish patriots, and he was exiled to France. There he met the Marquis de Lafayette and Benjamin Franklin, who recruited him to come to America, to fight in the Revolutionary War.</p><p>Columbia College historian Dominic Pacyga says Pulaski considered the American Colonists&#39; fight for independence from Great Britain as similar to Poland&rsquo;s own struggle for independence.</p><p>&ldquo;There was this revolutionary spirit, the Enlightenment was going on, soon there was going to be the French Revolution,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;So a lot of people were wrapped up in this revolutionary fervor that was going through the West at this time, and they ended up in the United States.&rdquo;<a name="painting"></a></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="363" mozallowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" src="//www.thinglink.com/card/627225578885349377" type="text/html" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="620"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><strong>Above: Click on the painting&#39;s hotspots to hear about the artist&#39;s motifs. </strong>Analysis comes from experts at The Polish Museum of America. Painting:&nbsp;<em>Brigadier General Kazimierz Pulaski mortally wounded at the battle of Savannah on the 9th of October 1779</em>&nbsp;by Stanislaw Batowski Kaczor.&nbsp;</span></p><p>George Washington and other Colonial leaders were skeptical of these European idealists because not all of them lived up to their billing as great soldiers. But Ben Franklin helped Pulaski by writing a letter of recommendation to George Washington, describing the Pole as &ldquo;&hellip; an officer famous throughout Europe for his bravery and conduct in defense of the liberties of his country.&rdquo; Although the Continental Congress wouldn&rsquo;t approve a commission, Washington allowed Pulaski to enlist informally. Casimir Pulaski then proved himself at the <a href="http://www.ushistory.org/brandywine/thestory.htm" target="_blank">Battles of Brandywine</a> and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Germantown" target="_blank">Germantown</a>, and George Washington named him a Brigadier General and the first Commander of the American Cavalry.</p><p>At first, American soldiers balked at the idea of fighting under a &ldquo;foreign&rdquo; officer. So, in March of 1778, Congress organized the Pulaski Legion, which was made up of mostly &ldquo;foreign&rdquo; soldiers &mdash; Colonists and volunteers from France, Germany, and Poland. Pulaski&rsquo;s Legion turned the tide at the skirmish at Egg Harbor, New York. In May, they drove the British out of Charleston, South Carolina.</p><p>But just a few months later, Pulaski died from a mortal wound he received in Savannah, Georgia. In the Early Republic, Pulaski was remembered as a Revolutionary hero, alongside his friend, the Marquis de Lafayette. Several new towns and counties were named &ldquo;Pulaski&rdquo; in his memory.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Pulaski&rsquo;s backers in the Polish-American community</span></p><p>Pulaski remained a great hero in his homeland as well, a sentiment that wasn&rsquo;t forgotten when Poles began arriving in the United States. If Pulaski hadn&rsquo;t had a community that respected his achievements, who knows if there would have been Casimir holiday.</p><p>By 1800, the independent Polish state had been divided between Russia, Austria, and Prussia. Poles began immigrating to Chicago in the 1860s as economic refugees from lands where they were ethnic minorities and often disenfranchised.</p><p>White Anglo-Saxon Protestants saw themselves as the &ldquo;real&rdquo; Americans, and they did not always welcome Poles with open arms.</p><p>&ldquo;They are from the other Europe. They have the names nobody can pronounce, they&rsquo;re not Protestants. There&rsquo;s a good deal of anti-Polish prejudice at the time,&rdquo; Pacyga says. Because of this, he says, Polish Americans used Casimir Pulaski &mdash; alongside the other Polish revolutionary hero, Tadeusz Kosciuskzko &mdash; as a symbol that Poles had contributed to the American Republic from the very beginning.</p><p>As early as the 1930s, Polish Americans in Chicago lobbied for public recognition of Casimir Pulaski. Their first major victory was a declaration, in 1933, that the former <a href="http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1427.html" target="_blank">&ldquo;Crawford Road&rdquo; in Chicago would now be &ldquo;Pulaski Road.&rdquo;</a> According to Dominic Pacyga, many of the merchants and the shopkeepers in the area were not happy about <a name="wherescasimir"></a>the new name. &ldquo;They have to change letterheads, they have to change addresses, they have to mail out letters saying they&rsquo;re no longer on Crawford Road.&rdquo; For more than a decade, the issue remained contentious.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/where%27s%20casimir%20topper.png" style="height: 143px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="500px" src="https://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v4/curiouscity.l9pnj16d/attribution,zoompan,zoomwheel,geocoder,share.html?access_token=pk.eyJ1IjoiY3VyaW91c2NpdHkiLCJhIjoibGM3MUJZdyJ9.8oAw072QHl4POJ3fRQAItQ" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><strong>Above: Local historian Dan Pogorzelski says there&#39;s no statue of Casimir Pulaski in Chicago</strong>, but there are still places to find the Polish war hero around the city. Here are a few of Pogorzelski&#39;s suggestions. Anything missing? If you&#39;ve spotted Casimir somewhere else, write us at curiouscity@wbez.org and we&rsquo;ll add it to the map.</span></p><p>In 1944 a streetcar conductor got into a fight with a Polish-Chicagoan when he referred to the Pulaski Road stop as &ldquo;Crawford Road.&rdquo; But in the end, Pulaski Road stuck, due to support from the Democratic political machine. Pacyga says: &ldquo;In the Democratic Party, the Poles [were] an important faction, and they were able to pull it off.&rdquo;</p><p>Much of Chicago&rsquo;s Polish-American history, including the importance of Pulaski, is preserved at the Polish Museum of America. The museum, which occupies much of the headquarters of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America, sits on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago, near the traditional &ldquo;Polish downtown.&rdquo;</p><p>Malgorzata Kot, the museum&rsquo;s managing director, says Polish Americans relate to Pulaski because he was a soldier. He fought for freedom and independence in Poland and America, and he had to fight for acceptance when he came to America. She says Polish Americans relate to those struggles, and see them as at the center of their history. &ldquo;Kazimierz [Casimir] Pulaski is a symbol of a Pole who was important in Poland, who risked it all to come here and fight for your freedom and ours.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Casimir&rsquo;s day arrives </span></p><p>The Polish-American community that remembered Casimir so fondly did everything it could to get the political system to recognize him. The persistance paid off.</p><p>In the 1970s, the Polish American Congress in Chicago took up the cause of a statewide Casimir Pulaski holiday. In 1977, they succeeded in getting a law passed designating the first Monday in March &ldquo;Casimir Pulaski Day.&rdquo; This was only a commemorative day, meaning Illinois schools, public offices and banks stayed open.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/first%20pulaski%20day%20maybe.jpg" title="Former Illinois Gov. Dan Walker signs the Pulaski Day bill September 9, 1973 at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago. First a commemorative holiday, Pulaski Day became an official public holiday in 1985. (Photo courtesy Polish Museum of America)" /></div><p>The lobbying efforts simmered for years, and gathered momentum again in 1985 when State Senator Leroy Lemke <a href="http://www.luminpdf.com/files/14235190/ST052185%20CASIMIR%20PULASKI%20FLOOR%20DEBATE.pdf" target="_blank">introduced a bill in the Illinois Senate</a> to make Casimir Pulaski Day a full public holiday. It would give public schools and some government offices a day off, at the governor&rsquo;s discretion.</p><p>Speaking in support, Senator Thaddeus Lechowicz cast the law as part and parcel of the ethnic pride movements increasingly common in American cities. &ldquo;Every ethnic group, every racial group has a person or persons they that they see have contributed to an extra degree in making this country great. ... Casimir Pulaski fills that need for Polish Americans,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Dominic Pacyga says the timing suggests the bill got traction due to the recent passage, in 1983, of a national holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., the slain civil rights activist. Lawmakers knew Martin Luther King Day would go into effect the next year, in 1986. Pacyga says the &ldquo;white ethnic&rdquo; community, including Poles, Jews, Italians, Greeks, Irish, wanted something similar. &ldquo;There was a feeling the white ethnic community should also have a day, and in Illinois, it made sense to make it Pulaski Day, because the Polish community is so large in Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p>Retired State Senator Calvin Schuneman still remembers how the debate played in 1985. At the time, <a href="http://www.luminpdf.com/files/14235190/ST052185%20CASIMIR%20PULASKI%20FLOOR%20DEBATE.pdf" target="_blank">he raised concerns about the holiday</a>, and thirty years later, he has the same concerns.</p><p>&ldquo;If it&rsquo;s going to be a state holiday where government offices are going to be closed and schools are going to be dismissed, I think we have enough of those holidays.&rdquo; For Schuneman, who represented portions of western Illinois, this was a matter of Chicago politicians pushing something that didn&rsquo;t make sense for the rest of the state.</p><p>&ldquo;It was good politics for them,&rdquo; he says, &ldquo;but there certainly was no demand for recognizing Casimir Pulaski in my district.&rdquo;</p><p>The law did pass, though, and Governor Jim Thompson fulfilled the terms of the bill and declared a public school holiday across the state. Some municipal offices chose to close in honor of Casimir Pulaski, as did some banks. That freed many people up to visit the Polish Museum of America on Pulaski Day.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rahm%20pulaski%20day.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks at the Polish Museum of America on Casimir Pulaski Day in 2014. In 2012, negotiations between Emanuel and the Chicago Teacher’s Union resulted in Chicago Public Schools dropping Pulaski Day as a day off from school. (Photo courtesy Polish Museum of America)" /></div><p>Every year on Pulaski Day, the president of the Polish Roman Catholic Union, currently Joseph Drobot Jr., presides over a formal ceremony honoring Casimir Pulaski. The Great Hall at the museum can hold up to 500 people, and he says it&rsquo;s usually full during the ceremony. There&rsquo;s an honor guard in bright red and blue eighteenth century cavalry uniforms. The event is open to the public and there&rsquo;s free Polish food. According to Drobot, &ldquo;This being an election year, there will be many politicians. It&rsquo;s an opportunity to be seen.&rdquo;</p><p>The ceremony is always held in front of the centerpiece of the Museum&rsquo;s Great Hall: a fifteen- foot-wide painting of Casimir Pulaski, painted by Stanislaw Batowski. It depicts Pulaski&rsquo;s mortal wounding at Savannah.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Whittling away Casimir Pulaski Day</span></p><p>While memory of Casimir Pulaski is alive and well at the Polish Museum of America, his holiday has been chipped away in the state&rsquo;s public schools.</p><p>In 1995 the legislature made Casimir Pulaski Day optional. Individual school districts in Illinois could apply for a waiver to opt out. Downstate districts were the first to seek waivers.</p><p>By 2009, 74 percent of the districts chose to keep school open on Pulaski Day. And in 2012, Chicago Public Schools dropped Pulaski Day during negotiations between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Teacher&rsquo;s Union.</p><p>When this happened, many Polish Americans felt disrespected, and even hurt. One <a href="http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2012/03/columbus.html" target="_blank">commenter on a blog post wrote</a>: &ldquo;So to sum it up, it took over 200 years for America to acknowledge the man and only in Illinois because of Chicago&#39;s large Polish population and a few decades later we are getting rid of the holiday.&rdquo;</p><p>But historian Dominic Pacyga says, while it might be a shame to lose the holiday, it&rsquo;s also part of what always happens with ethnic immigrant culture in America.</p><p>&ldquo;Many Polish Americans have assimilated. Seventy-five to 80 percent live in suburbs instead of Chicago,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;When you all live in Chicago, you had a lot of clout, when you live in 100 to 200 municipalities, your clout is fragmented. So the lesson is: Stay in Chicago. Come on back home, and we&rsquo;ll get Pulaski Day back.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/question%20asker_0.jpg" style="height: 267px; width: 200px; float: left;" title="(Photo courtesy Nic Levy)" /><span style="font-size:22px;">Nic Levy, Curious Citizen</span></p><p>Nic Levy, who asked Curious City to investigate Casimir Pulaski Day, agrees with Pacyga&rsquo;s take that the loss of the holiday is just part of how history works. Nic does feel that having memories of Pulaski Day is something that will define his generation in the decades to come. He enjoys thinking about how history affects geography, as in how the contributions of a Polish nobleman in the 18th century, could change the name of a Chicago road in the twentieth.</p><p>He&rsquo;s studying geography now, at McGill University in Montreal. He says his interest in geography and history began as a teenager in Chicago, right when he started driving. He used maps to plan routes, and was fascinated by the names of the streets, Chicago&rsquo;s orderly grid plan, and the way the grid intersected with the geography of the river, canals, and the lake.</p><p><em>Jesse Dukes is Curious City&rsquo;s audio producer.</em></p><p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of the managing director of the Polish Museum of America. The correct spelling is&nbsp;Malgorzata Kot.</em></p></p> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 16:22:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/rise-casimir-pulaski-day-111624 Afternoon Shift: Live from Christkindlmarket and a Christmas sing-along http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-12-20/afternoon-shift-live-christkindlmarket-and-christmas-sing-along <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/WBEZ Christmas.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Join the Afternoon Shift live from the Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza. Eric Zorn and Neil Steinberg give their predictions for the new year. We look at Chicagoan&#39;s true pizza preference and we have a sing-along with several local performers.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/afternoon-shift-live-from-christkindlmarket-and-a/embed" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/afternoon-shift-live-from-christkindlmarket-and-a.js"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/afternoon-shift-live-from-christkindlmarket-and-a" target="_blank">View the story "Afternoon Shift: Live from Christkindlmarket and a Christmas sing-along" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 20 Dec 2013 16:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-12-20/afternoon-shift-live-christkindlmarket-and-christmas-sing-along Non-profit sees greater need for food assistance http://www.wbez.org/news/non-profit-sees-greater-need-food-assistance-109276 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Screen Shot 2013-11-29 at 9.53.20 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p>It&rsquo;s been a holiday season of breaking records at <a href="http://www.ajustharvest.org/">A Just Harvest</a>, a Rogers Park nonprofit that feeds the hungry.</p><p>The organization serves hot dinner daily to anyone who shows up, but during the run-up to Thanksgiving and Christmas it also distributes &ldquo;holiday kits,&rdquo; uncooked turkeys and traditional fixings, to families that want to prepare the foods at home.</p><p>&ldquo;Saturday we gave away turkeys and kits, and we had folks lined up for two blocks,&rdquo; said Rev. Marylin Pagan-Banks, executive director of A Just Harvest. &ldquo;People lining up and standing in the cold and bearing the weather in order to provide for their families.&rdquo;</p><p>Pagan-Banks said the organization had never seen that before, and that by Thanksgiving week it had already distributed 305 of the kits, with four weeks to go until Christmas.</p><p>Last year, A Just Harvest gave away 380 kits for the two holidays together &mdash;a number that it seems certain to beat this year.</p><p>In part, Pagan-Banks blames <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/economy/illinois-residents-lose-220-million-dollars-snap-benefits-109035">cuts that kicked in this month </a>to the federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP, also known as the food stamp program.</p><p>Congress declined to renew an increase in funding to the program that had gone into effect in 2009 as part of the Recovery Act. For a family of four, this amounts to $36 less per month of food assistance.</p><p>&ldquo;Folks already struggle towards the end of the month, because the allotment wasn&rsquo;t enough to start with,&rdquo; said Pagan-Banks. &ldquo;And so it&rsquo;s the end of the month, and it&rsquo;s a holiday where traditionally there are different types of food that are eaten, they cost more, turkeys are not cheap, and there&rsquo;s just no way to make ends meet.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 29 Nov 2013 08:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/non-profit-sees-greater-need-food-assistance-109276 Answers to the questions Omaha Steaks Conversation Cards™ sent to me with my annual holiday steaks http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-12/answers-questions-omaha-steaks-conversation-cards%E2%84%A2-sent-me-my-annual <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/5422974311_c051df28c6.jpg" style="float: left; height: 400px; width: 300px;" title="(Flickr/gabrielsaldana)" /><strong><span id="internal-source-marker_0.9598074197495636">If the person sitting across from you was a food, what food would he/she be?&nbsp;</span></strong><br />A man made of medium-done steak, wearing a suit made of bacon, a shirt of twice-baked potatoes and hair of mustard. A bit of Lawry&rsquo;s salt would dust his shoulders (because he has steak-man dandruff).<br /><br /><strong>If you could be 16 again, would you?</strong><br />Can I be 16 but with the personality and knowledge I have now? Because if so, yes. But if not, no thanks. Also, it depends on the steak situation. Could I have the metabolism I had when I was 16, or the steak appreciation I possess now?<br /><br /><strong>Favorite childhood game?</strong><br />Hide the steak. (I always won.)<br /><br /><strong>How did you get even with your siblings?</strong><br />Took their steak.<br /><br /><strong>Get it done now or put it off as long as possible?</strong><br />Get it done now if by &ldquo;it&rdquo; you mean &ldquo;eat the steak.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>If you inherited a house known to be haunted, what would you do with it?</strong><br />How is this steak-related, exactly? I would probably sell it, for steak money.<br /><br /><strong>Experiment or be experimented on?</strong><br />I&rsquo;d like to experiment on my stomach and see how it reacts to some savory steaks, if you know what I mean.<br /><br /><strong>What is the dumbest thing you have ever done?</strong><br />Definitely not this. Perhaps it was when I time traveled back to when I was 16, lived in a haunted house and &ldquo;experimented&rdquo; on my brother. But I think it was the time I left some steak behind once and didn&rsquo;t take it home for lunch.</p></p> Thu, 06 Dec 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-12/answers-questions-omaha-steaks-conversation-cards%E2%84%A2-sent-me-my-annual