MTPR

Arts & Culture

Author interviews, food, natural history, poetry, and more from "The Write Question", "The Food Guys", "Field Notes", "Home Ground Radio", "Front Row Center", and "Reflections West".

"I have been thinking about consciousness, who has it and who doesn’t," writes poet, essayist and editor, Melissa Kwasny. "'Consciousness: to have a sense of oneself as apart from others.'  Science has discovered that even plants can distinguish between a self and a not-self, halting their growing roots in contact with the foreign. Carl Sapina, in a recent book called Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel, says we share basically the same nervous system—wolf, coyote, even the worm. To grant them consciousness is to wake, not to a dream world, but a greater reality that requires a different navigation and a far different morality. 

Ruffed Grouse: Drummers Of The Bird World

Dec 30, 2016
Ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus). (CC BY 2.0)
Flickr user, Seabamirum

One Saturday morning looking out my window, I noticed something wandering  along the fence outside my house. Worried it was one of my chickens that had escaped, I grabbed my binoculars. But instead of a chicken, I saw a brown and white bird with a tuft on his head. As I watched him making his way, pecking and discarding all but the tastiest of scraps, two more of the birds emerged from the brush. The ruffed grouse were back.

Flickr user, Bradley Gordon. (CC-BY-2.0)

"In my youth, I was restless enough to have spent four years on the road searching for the Great American Bar," writes Livingston, MT teacher and author, Toby Thompson.  "I often visited thirty a day, learning in my travels that the mountain West– specifically Montana–held more saloons than any other region.

The Magic Of Miso

Dec 26, 2016
Flickr user, Christopher Paquette (CC-BY-2.0)

Miso's meaty umami quality comes from a multi-step process of fermentation, which serves two functions: large molecules get broken down into small, readily-digestable ones, and the fermentation develops a lot of flavor. When it comes to miso, think beyond soups. You can improve an otherwise bland gravy or marinade with it, too.

Murray Hotel in Livingston Montana
Flickr user Carol Vinzant (CC-BY-NC-ND-2)

To Toby Thompson, the Christmas spirit is really just the warmth of community, something we can find any time of year.

Two volunteers at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Bonner, Montana roll out lefse dough.
Rachel Cramer

Food can be a powerful connection to the people and places of our past, and help define who we are today. We may not dress like our ancestors or speak the same language, but some food traditions remain strong, especially around the holidays. But why is this?

P.D.

"Ten years ago, my dad told me I would be inheriting his 30.06," writes Erika Fredrickson, arts editor at the Missoula Independent. "I nearly choked on my coffee. My grandfather, who died before I could meet him, had passed the gun to my dad, and my dad wanted to do the same. But I was a writer, not a hunter.

Botanical Field Trip Through Christmas Dinner

Dec 23, 2016
Flickr user, Andrea Pokrzywinski (CC-BY-2.0)

Going for a hike at this time of year just isn’t the same for a botanist. The flowers are dead and all the leaves have fallen. Not much material for a field note out there. But here in my kitchen there are lots of interesting and colorful members of the vegetable kingdom because I’m preparing my holiday dinner.

Misunderstood: Why the Humble Rat May Be Your Best Pet EVER
Farrar Straus Giroux

As much a moving memoir as it is an amusing pet manual, Misunderstood is a unique nonfiction book for teens and tweens about domesticated rats in general and a wonderful rat named Iris in particular.

Unknown

Emily Dickinson's Black Cake

Greg Patent writes:

The poet Emily Dickinson prided herself on her skill as a cook, and she was extremely proud of her black cake. This is a scaled-down version of her recipe, which was quadruple this one, and baked in a milk pail.

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