Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 8:26 am
I grew up thinking of nuts as junk food: full of fat and calories, a guilty treat for holidays and special occasions. I remember bowls of salty cocktail mix, nut-covered cheese logs, sweet buttery honey-roasted peanuts and cashews, or Jordan almonds in their strangely addictive sugary coating. They were in the same category as potato chips and candy: irresistible, but not good for you at all.
A restaurant kitchen at the peak of the dinner rush can be a crazy place — hot, crowded and filled with a kind of intense energy that some people, like Michael Gibney, thrive on. Gibney's been working in restaurants since he was young. In his new book, Sous Chef, Gibney tries to capture the rhythm of the kitchen by taking his readers through one day in the life of a fast-paced New York restaurant.
Let's get the negative stuff out of the way first. Teju Cole's Every Day Is For The Thief is not much of a novel. Forget plot or character development: This is a piece of writing that's all about setting. If you take what Cole is offering here and value it on its own terms, you'll probably appreciate the curious magic at work in this slim not-quite-a-novel. In chapters that stand as separate, short vignettes, Every Day Is For The Thief describes a young New York doctor's visit back to his hometown of Lagos, Nigeria.
Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 9:44 am
I am a mortal reader; I have my flaws. I don't usually enjoy prose poems or novels written in lines of poetry, and when I see character types with names in capital letters like the ones that appear in Israeli writer David Grossman's new Falling Out of Time — The Walking Man, the Net Mender, the Midwife, the Town Chronicler — I tend to prepare to pack up, close the book, and turn to something less allegorical.
When it comes to his hometown of Akron, Ohio, writer and journalist David Giffels says, "I have spent my whole life watching people leave." Once known as the rubber capital of the world, Akron was a hub of tire manufacturing giants. Goodyear, Firestone and Goodrich provided thousands of high-paying jobs until the 1970s, when those jobs began migrating to places with cheaper labor.
"Like it or not, America has softened you" — such are the words of welcome to the unnamed narrator of Teju Cole's Every Day Is for the Thief. The young man is on a trip to his home country of Nigeria, and as he visits his family and friends in Lagos, what he finds isn't quite what he expected: He's pressed for bribes at every turn. He tries to reconcile Nigeria's history with the museums that appear to avoid it. He sees the "Yahoo boys" at an Internet cafe, tapping out scam email messages.
Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 12:50 pm
We got our hands on an MRE — a "Meal, Ready to Eat" from the Department of Defense. It's a real marvel of engineering. In one flat bag, there's an imitation McRib, clam chowder, a couple of drinks, and some trail mix, and some note about how by eating this you consent to joining the Marines. All in one flat bag!
Special Guest Mike Pesca: This meal disgusts me more before 8 a.m. than most meals disgust me all day.
Miles: I'm going to imitation eat this imitation pork rib.
The city of Huntsville is hosting a gathering Tuesday, March 25th in celebration of the relationship between Alabama and Israel. John Buhler is co-founder of the Alabama-Israel Task Force, a group working to bring Christians and Jews together in support of the biblical restoration of the nation of Israel. Buhler says Alabama issued a resolution in 1943 calling for the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people 5 years before the state of Israel was declared.