Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nov 29 - Dec 3 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week (watch video): Talking to the Enemy: If you didn’t get a chance to listen to last Monday’s program with Scott Atran, author of Talking to the Enemy, I really recommend that you download the podcast. Atran is an anthropologist who has spent years getting to know the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks since 9/11. As a result, he has some remarkable insights to share concerning the social context of terrorism and the motivations of the perpetrators. What drives young men to give up their lives for a cause? More than anything, he says it is bonding. He also claims that we have greatly exaggerated the threat; a perspective worth heeding and sharing.

Monday: The Future of Iraq: Months after the withdrawal of combat troops and national elections, Iraqis feel stuck amidst growing violence and ineffectual government. What is our responsibility? Should we cut and run? Have we been told the truth about the war? New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid, who won two Pulitzers for his coverage of Iraq, joins us.

Tuesday: Homophobia and Islamophobia: Is there a Connection? Robert Wright in a recent NY Times op-ed discusses whether the significant rise of tolerance for gays in the US over the last generation is a road map for Muslims.

Wednesday: Madre: Perilous Journeys with a Spanish Noun: What's in a word? Linguistic anthropologist Liza Bakewell spent decades chasing after the many meanings of the Spanish word "madre" as it’s used in Mexico. In her memoir she chronicles the relationship between religion, nationhood and language and celebrates the role of the creative female in a sexist culture.

Thursday: The Peace Corps, Then and Now: In October 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy challenged a group of college students to serve the cause of peace by living and working abroad. Just five months later, President Kennedy signed the Peace Corps into existence. Madison resident Bob Klein was one of the first to sign up. He joins us to talk about the history of the Peace Corps, his experiences in Ghana, and next year’s 50th anniversary.

Friday:Updating Vintage Holiday Recipes: Food is like language: to be alive it must be constantly changing. New York Times food columnist Melissa Clark understands this. A whole section of her new cookbook is devoted to Holiday Food that features vintage recipes with updated variations.

Here’s hoping you had a safe and scrumptious Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Nov. 22-26 Programs

My last public appearance for a while is coming up this Sunday when I'll be giving a presentation at the Madison Women's Expo and signing copies of my memoir, I Hear Voices. Come join me on the main stage at noon the Alliant Energy Center. Check out this month's Brava Magazine for details.

Jean's Pick of the Week: (watch video): Burning Bright: The Mind of the Tiger. John Vaillant tells a tale both harrowing and cautionary in his riveting book, The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival, about a mysterious tiger attack directed against a poacher in the forbidden arctic hinterland of Siberia. John never saw a tiger while he was in Siberia, but I bet you will after listening to this show.

Monday: Talking to the Enemy: Anthropologist Scott Atran spent years talking to terrorists. In his new book he argues that terrorists don't die for a cause, but for each other. We'll explore the social lives of terrorists, and how things are changing in Afghanistan with a new generation of fighters.

Tuesday: Aung Sun Suu Kyi Goes Free: Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung Sun Suu Kyi was released from house arrest last week after 15 years in isolation. The 65-year-old Noble Peace Prize laureate's sudden release brings many speculations surrounding the government's decision. What's behind it, and will her fragile freedom put her on a crash course with the generals?

Wednesday: Bless This Food: Do you say grace? Giving thanks for food is the most common form of prayer found the world over. In anticipation of Thanksgiving, we celebrate this universal cultural tradition with Adrian Butash, author of Bless This Food: Ancient and Contemporary Graces from Around the World.

For Thursday and Friday, we've chosen two programs from our archives that we think you'll enjoy hearing again: one is about giving, and the other is about fat!

Thursday: With This Ring Project: Christina Ammon inherited a diamond ring worth $22,000 from her grandmother. She did some quick calculations: $22,000 could restore sight to 660 people in Bangladesh, send 133 Nepalese children to school, protect 220 acres of rainforest, or provide 220 micro-loans to women in the Congo. Her question: do I want a diamond ring, or a better world?

Friday: In Praise of Fat: You have heard of good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. What about good fat and bad fat? After thirty years as the most maligned food, fat is making a comeback. Dishes made with lard, bacon, marrow and butter are appearing on chefs' menus and Jennifer McLagan has written a cookbook in praise of it.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend celebrating great food with friends and family!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Nov. 15-19 Programs

It’s a short week for me as I prepare to take off for my native New York to attend the annual AIHA (American Italian Historical Association) being held this year in midtown Manhattan. While I’m in town I’ll be giving a poetry reading at Smalls Jazz Club in the West Village at 5:00pm on Saturday afternoon. All their readings are streamed live on video so you don’t have to be there to pick up the vibe! The site is

Closer to home, I’ll be giving the keynote and signing copies of my memoir I Hear Voices on the main stage at the Madison Women’s Expo next Sunday, Nov. 21, at noon. That’s at the Alliant Energy Center. Should be fun.

Jean's Pick of the Week (watch video): Listen to the Banned:A terrific compilation of some of the greatest banned musicians, most of them from Muslim countries, whose voices can now be heard thanks to the humanitarian efforts of Deeyah, who was herself persecuted by her own Pakistani community in both Norway and the UK, and Danish activist Ole Reitov, co-founder of Freemuse.

Monday: Inter-faith, Inter-nation: What happens when you mix immersion travel and interfaith dialog? It was a life changing experience for participants of The National Peace Foundation’s Religion and Society Program, which brought delegations of community leaders from the Middle East to America, and vice versa. For her work directing the trips, Wisconsinite Sahar Taman has been recognized with a 2010 Citizen Diplomat award.

Tuesday: As China Goes, So Goes the World: China has become the world’s largest consumer of everything from automobiles to beer. The effects of the growing Chinese consumer power don’t only change Chinese society from within, it will also change the global economic engine. How does what you buy change the world?

Wednesday: Reza Aslan on 100 Years of Literature from the Middle East: Regular Here on Earth guest and internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, Reza Aslan takes us on a literary journey through the Middle East. He’s the editor of the new Words Without Borders anthology, Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East.

Thursday: The Tiger: The astonishing story of a Siberian tiger who takes revenge on the poachers who have hurt him. It’s an arresting portrait of the beauty of Siberia, and the tenuous relationship between man and predator.

Friday: Cooking Game: As the hunting season opens once again, we’ll find out how the Brits do it when we talk with British chef Trish Hilferty, author of a gorgeous new book about how to prepare game.

Have a great week!


Cookies! - 11/12

Dominique Haller

On today's show, we'll dive deep into the cookie kingdom! Sara Moulton, former executive editor at Gourmet Magazine and spokesperson for the new Gourmet Cookie Book, will let us in on all the secrets of cookiebaking collected by Gourmet Magazine over 68 years! If you want to try some of the recipes, here's a selection of our favorites:

Mocha Cookies
- makes about 3 dozen cookies

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 stick (1⁄2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into bits
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
1 1⁄2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 teaspoons vanilla

In a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the unsweetened chocolate, 1 1⁄2 cups of the chocolate chips, and the butter, stirring until the mixture is smooth, and remove the bowl from the heat. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, the baking powder, and the salt. In a bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar until the mixture is thick and pale, and beat in the espresso powder and the vanilla. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, fold in the flour mixture, and stir in the remaining 11⁄2 cups chocolate chips. Let the batter stand for 15 minutes. Drop the batter by heaping tablespoons onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake the cookies in the middle of a preheated 350°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are puffed and shiny and cracked on top. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets, transfer them to racks, and let them cool completely.

Recipe Notes
1. Err on the side of underbaking these cookies. They are meant to be soft and rich.
2. Cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet before transferring the cookies to racks.

Aunt Sis’s Strawberry Tart Cookies - makes about 8 dozen cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3 sticks (11⁄2 cups) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
2 large egg yolks, beaten lightly
1 cup strained strawberry jam

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, the sugar, and the salt, add the butter, and blend the mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in the egg yolks, blend the mixture until it forms a dough, and chill the dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Let the dough soften slightly, roll level teaspoons of it into balls, and arrange the balls about 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each ball, being careful not to crack the dough around the edges. (If the dough cracks, reroll it and try again.) Fill each indentation with about 1⁄4 teaspoon of the jam and bake the cookies in batches in the middle of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are pale golden. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 2 minutes, transfer them to racks, and let them cool completely. The cookies may be made 1 month in advance and kept frozen in airtight containers.

Cottage Cheese Cookies - makes about 8 dozen cookies

Cream together 1⁄2 cup softened butter and 1⁄4 cup cottage cheese. Blend in thoroughly 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 egg. Stir in 2 cups sifted flour sifted with 1⁄2 teaspoon each of baking soda and salt. Drop the dough from a teaspoon onto a buttered baking sheet, and bake the cookies in a moderately hot oven (375°F) for about 10 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Recipe Note
Use either large- or small-curd cottage cheese (do not drain it).

Friday, November 5, 2010

Nov. 8-12 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week (watch video): Muslims, Mosques, and American Identity: We really lived up to our series title, and went Inside Islam, with this program, probing with the erudite Akbar Ahmed, author of Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam, exactly what goes on in American mosques – all kinds of things, as it turns out – everything from hostility toward Christians and Jews to committed interfaith dialog. And why shouldn’t it, after all? Why should we expect Muslims to be one of a kind when the rest of us are so determinedly different?

Jean’s Upcoming Presentations: It’s a busy month! I’m in La Crosse this weekend, in New York next weekend, and keynoting an event at the Women’s Expo in Madison on Sunday, Nov. 21. Whew! After Thanksgiving, I’m going into hibernation.

  • Smalls Jazz Club in Greenwich Village – I’ll be reading poetry and excerpts from my memoir, I Hear Voices, at Smalls Jazz Club in Greenwich Village at 5:00pm on Saturday, Nov. 13 and you don’t even have to be in New York to listen! Smalls broadcasts every show live over their video stream, so people can watch anywhere in the world for free. So come down or watch at Smalls is located at 183 West 10th Street, basement, between 7th Ave South and West 4th Street.

  • Madison Women’s Expo – “Bound and Determined” Jean Feraca talks about her dizzying route to becoming a public radio talk show host at the Madison Women’s Expo, Noon on Sunday, Nov. 21 at the Alliant Energy Center. Book signing to follow.
Here’s the line-up of shows for the coming week:

Monday: Chasing the Sun: No, he’s not a surfer. From the man who wrote a worldwide history of swordplay, comes an around-the-world odyssey in search of an elusive moving target – the sun. Scholar-adventurer Richard Cohen traveled to twenty countries, from Mount Fuji to Antarctica to interpret what the sun has meant throughout the ages.

Tuesday: The Power of Beliefs: In pegging terrorists as fundamentalist believers, have we forgotten that we, too, hold very strong beliefs? Professor and public intellectual Jacqueline Rose reminds us that we in the West are also motivated by stubborn belief, religious, political, or otherwise.

Wednesday: Francophilia Revisited: What images come to your mind when you think of France? While France has always had symbolic meaning for Americans, some of those meanings have changed over time. We’ll find out how Francophilia has evolved and how learning French will give you access not just to the real France, but to an entire francophone world outside of France.

Thursday: TBA: The Here on Earth team has a number of prospects in the works for this Thursday. Tune in and be surprised or check back later on our website for an update!

Friday: Gourmet Cookies for Thanksgiving: Are you scrambling to find unbeatable cookie recipes for the holidays? Join us to discover a selection of the best cookie recipes from all over the world, collected over 68 years of Gourmet Magazine’s existence.

Hope to see you in La Crosse this Friday – I’ll be giving the keynote at the Women’s Fund Luncheon.