Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

I celebrated my first Thanksgiving in 2002. I'd arrived in the United States in August of that year to start graduate school at the University of Missouri, Columbia. A few months later, I was invited to my first Thanksgiving dinner at a house shared by two Indians, one American, two New Zealanders and their sweet black Labrador, named Willow.

It's Thanksgiving, which means you'll be seeing Aunt Martha's sweet potato casserole encased in a marshmallow cloud that has drifted too close to the sun. Cousin Joe, who's just here for the game, will bring his famous can-shaped cranberry sauce that looks like it's been attacked by a Slinky. Then your sister will arrive with her sad concoction of green beans drowning in cream-of-mushroom soup, flecked with floating onion strings that have been flung like debris from the Titanic.

MOHAI, PEMCO Webster and Stevens Collection / courtesy MOHAI

You are what you eat, or so the saying goes. Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry explores that idea in depth with a new exhibition that opened over the weekend. Called "Edible City," it charts more than 100 years of Seattle’s evolving food culture.

MF821-03188616A / Flickr

This week on Sound Effect, you are what you eat. We bring stories of food, and how it intersects with identity.

We Eat War

ElmerGuevara / Wikimedia Commons

For Claudia Castro Luna, nothing transports her back to her native El Salvador more quickly, and more vividly, than then pupusa. It’s the unofficial national dish of El Salvador, consisting of a think corn tortilla wrapped around a rich filling.

But for Castro Luna, Seattle’s first civic poet, the pupusa contains more than pork, cheese and beans. It contains the history of the country of her birth, and of her journey away from it.

Courtesy of Hsaio-Ching Chou

For many immigrant families, food is a way to both stay connected to their culture, and a way to survive. For the Chou family, opening a restaurant seemed like the only way to make ends meet in small town Columbia, Missouri.

When they opened Chinese Delicacies in 1980, Hsiao-Ching Chou was only 8 years old. The restaurant defined her childhood, even inspiring her career later as a food writer in Seattle.

For the family, it defined their American experience. They developed a menu that appealed to American tastes and later bowed to customer demand and installed a buffet. 

(courtesy Nancy Leson)

Nancy Leson, half of knkx's  Food for Thought duo, has been in the food industry for a long time. But some of her earliest memories of food come from bars -- not as an employee, but as a patron — a six-year-old patron. 

Leson grew up in Philadelphia, in a time and place where children were allowed to belly up to bars and eat Slim Jims and pickled eggs, or order a Coke with loads of  Maraschino cherries. 

The reason Leson wound up in those bars was that that was where she would find her mother. 

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Everyone’s got a favorite food. But how about a favorite crop? 

Dr. Stephen Jones, director of Washington State University's Bread Lab in Mt. Vernon, loves wheat. A lot.

"The sheer beauty of the crop in a field like this ... you can almost hear the voices in it — the voices of the tradition, the voices of the people that came before us into this crop," said Jones. "I don't get that when I walk into a lettuce field, but I do in wheat."

Ariel Van Cleave / KPLU

The town of Lynden, Washington sits just to the south of the U.S.-Canadian border.  It's a small town of about 13,000 people.  

Lynden is also home to the Lynden Dutch Bakery (which makes a tasty short cake), Darigold (maker of cream, both ice and whipped), and of course, acres of berry farms.

Lynden just turned 125 years old recently, and to celebrate, folks there decided they needed a birthday cake — but not just any cake cake would do for such a celebration.  They wanted a really big birthday cake — one that would highlight all that Lynden had to offer.

The knkx community advisory council will hold their quarterly meeting on Monday, December 5, from 2 - 3:30 p.m. at the Seattle office.

If you are interested in attending as a member of the listening community, please contact the general manager's office @ (253) 535-8732 for more information.

Food works better than Valium, I'm famous for telling my eating-disordered clients. Cookies and milk are comforting. A bowl of ice cream eases stress like nothing else. But as comforting as food can be, if it's the only thing that helps you manage your mood, you're at greater risk for more serious mental health problems, from anxiety and depression to body dissatisfaction and eating disorders.

This week on Sound Effect, we tell stories of the lies we hear and the lies we tell. 

Old Time Con Woman

One woman became one of the most infamous liars in the Northwest in the early 1900s. Maude Wagnon, who went under the alias Maude Johnson, swindled railroad companies out of an estimated thousands of dollars.

Student Scam

It's been an extraordinary election season, so we will offer extraordinary coverage. 

The 88.5 Newsroom will bring you live, local updates along with live, national coverage from NPR, both on-air and online at knkx.org.

Around-the-clock on-air election coverage starts at 3 p.m. on Election Day and continues until 9 a.m. the next morning. Host Kirsten Kendrick will be with you when you wake up for all the results and analysis. 

Courtesy of Michal Lebl

This week on Sound Effect, we tell stories of risks and rewards and why people make the decision to take the leap. 

Up, Up And Away

Astronaut Wendy Lawrence knows the risks and rewards of space travel very well. She remembers what it was like to travel into space on the first mission after the space shuttle Columbia exploded while returning to Earth, killing all seven crew members back in 2003.

Stardew Valley

Evening Jazz host Abe Beeson will present The New Cool, Saturday afternoons from 3 to 5. The show will feature artists pushing jazz to cool new places, artists such as Kamasi Washington, Snarky Puppy, and Northwest favorite Industrial Revelation. The show will feature players who have come of age in the 21st century understanding hip hop, punk rock, modern soul and electronic, and have incorporated those styles into their music.

As part of the Save KPLU campaign’s community outreach, the station held informational meetings in a number of Western Washington communities.  88.5 knkx is returning to those communities to meet and thank listeners, and talk about the evolution and future plans of the “new” 88.5 FM. 

"UNCLE SAM WANTS YOUR PRIVACY" BY JEFFSCHULER IS LICENSED UNDER CC BY 2.0 BIT.LY/1YJNAO9

This week Sound Effect listens in on stories of eavesdropping.

Allie Ferguson / KPLU

Anacortes, Washington is home to a tight-knit and lively local music scene and prolific indie musician Karl Blau has long been at the center of it. He released over 30 albums in the his nearly 20-year career.

Blau's latest project was an all-ages music venue and online radio station called the Anacortes Music Channel. He created it to highlight and support local music. The space, housed in a beautiful old brick building in downtown Anacortes, became a hub for the small town’s artists.

Facebook

Sometimes on Facebook you might read what seems like a cry for help from a friend, someone struggling to cope who might need you to intervene.

Or maybe it’s nothing -- just someone quoting song lyrics or something. It’s hard to know, and it’s often easier to just ignore it.

The suicide prevention group Forefront is helping create tools for people who notice red flags in a friend’s post.

These are tools that Stephen Paul Miller didn't have several years ago, when he saw a concerning post on by a friend on Facebook.

Amy van Cise

Deep down on the sea floor off the coast of Alaska, about a dozen underwater microphones sit, anchored down by big heavy wheels from old trains. They sit and listen to the world of sounds around them.

Courtesy of David Liston

Private investigative work is dangerous, thrilling, romantic – or at least, that’s the impression you’d get if you just hear about P.I.s from TV and movies. In reality, according to David Liston, it can be so tedious that “there has to be something kind of wrong with you in order to be able to do it.”

Photo Courtesy of Marcos Lujan

In 2001, producer Warren Langford found a toy cassette recorder at a yard sale in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This was not any old recorder. This was a Talkboy, the must-have Christmas toy from Warren’s childhood that he never received. And the 50-cent asking price was too good to pass up.

Those first bubbles were almost a revelation. A couple of days before, I had mixed together flour and water into a paste. But now pockets of gas percolated through that seemingly inert glob. It was breathing. It was alive.

This gloppy mess, exuding a whiff of vinegar, was my nascent sourdough starter. When mature, it would be a pungent brew of yeasts and bacteria, a complex ecosystem that would hopefully yield delicious loaves of sourdough bread.

When Katlyn Burbidge's son was 6 years old, he was performing some silly antic typical of a first-grader. But after she snapped a photo and started using her phone, he asked her a serious question: "Are you going to post that to Facebook?"

She laughed and answered, "Yes, I think I will." What he said next stopped her.

"Can you not?"

That's when it dawned on her: She had been posting photos of him online without asking his permission.

He leaned against the subway doors in a faded denim jacket, camo cargo pants, combat boots and, to top it off, a black ski mask. I wondered if he had a gun. I wondered if he was a white supremacist. I wondered if he had seen my friend and me, with our brown skin and black hair. Our Islamic faith and immigrant parents — could he somehow see that, too?

Was it me, or were his eyes darting up and down the crowded subway car? I yanked on my friend's sleeve and raised my mouth to his ear.

"We have to get out of here," I said.

Sounds, particularly those made by other humans, rank as the No. 1 distraction in the workplace. According to workplace design expert Alan Hedge at Cornell, 74 percent of workers say they face "many" instances of disturbances and distractions from noise.

"In general, if it's coming from another person, it's much more disturbing than when it's coming from a machine," he says, because, as social beings, humans are attuned to man-made sounds. He says overheard conversations, as well as high-pitched and intermittent noises, also draw attention away from tasks at hand.

Lipton tea can be found in almost any grocery store, and the brand is just about synonymous with industrial Big Tea. So tea enthusiasts who sniff at the familiar square bags might be surprised that once upon a time, Lipton was known as the "farm to table" of the tea world. In fact, it was sold with the catchy slogan "direct from tea garden to tea pot."

So how did Thomas Lipton build this tea empire?

Moshe the cat lives in an old brick house in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C. His owner, Cassandra Slack, moved in a little more than a year ago.

The first floor feels open and airy. Large windows bring a flood of light inside, making the original hardwood floors shine.

But downstairs, in the basement where Slack lives, the atmosphere is different. The floor is carpeted, the lights are dim, and the ceiling is low.

Slack had an eerie experience down here when she first moved in.

Flickr

This week on Sound Effect, we bring you stories of virtual reality and what happens when real life meets technology like the internet, video games, and even television.

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