Radio Readers Book Club

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 HPPR Radio Readers Book Club is an on-air, on-line community of readers exploring themes of common interest to those who live and work on the High Plains. 

 

The 2017 Fall Read's theme is Food and Story.  You'll find the thoughts and ideas about books from Radio Readers through a series of BookBytes posted below.  Of you'd like to contribute a BookByte yourself, simply contact Kathleen Holt at kholt@hppr.org for more information.

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Download guides for the HPPR Radio Readers Fall Read Selections.

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Melany Wilks / Colby, KS

Hi, Radio Readers – I’m Melany Wilks talking to you from my home in Colby, KS.

Today, I am bringing you some thoughts that I had as I read Five Quarters of the Orange, by Joanne Harris.  Our subject discussion is on food and story this quarter.  As I read the book so many stories came into my mind.

Joanne Harris the author places the Francoise Simon in a small town, Les Laveuses. Mirabelle Dartigen shares how her mother wrote all her best recipes down in a book and handed them down to her daughter. In the midst of the recipes were snatches of history of life, especially during WWII.  It reminded me how my mother always wrote in the recipe books she used. She’d write down when it was first used it and what the occasion was.  Then she would write down how she changed the recipe to make it better or easier. 

Radio Readers BookByte: Food Becomes Currency

Sep 19, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

Hello, Radio Readers – I’m Jason Harper, food and fiction connoisseur (as well as a solely self-proclaimed chef and author) coming to you from Hays, Kansas. Food is used in several ways throughout Joanne Harris’ Five Quarters of the Orange, fictional WWII exploration of a set siblings. On multiple levels, food peppers this novel and leaves the reader with quite a lot to chew on. 

In my first Book Byte, I discussed how creating a great book is a bit the same as baking a delicious dessert, and then I compared recipe steps from Five Quarters of the Orange to the elements of storytelling.

Today, another food angle in Five Quarters of the Orange is how these characters in the novel use food as a kind of currency — partly as a currency of collusion with German soldiers. Chocolate, oranges, bread, and many more examples feed the storyline.

For centuries, food has been used as a form of money. I would like to serve up the following three morsels of trivia of how food was historically a kind of currency that might tantalize our Radio Readers: 

Radio Readers BookByte: Five Quarters And A Recipe

Sep 18, 2017
Open Source

Hello, Radio Readers – this is Jason Harper, a food and fiction connoisseur (as well as a solely self-proclaimed chef and author) coming to you from Hays, Kansas. Today, I’ll be talking about High Plains Public Radio's 2017 Fall Read – Food and Story, delivering part one of my four-part Book Byte about Five Quarters of the Orange, a novel by Joanne Harris.

As per her m/o in her previous work, Harris includes quite a few food references and even some recipes in Five Quarters of the Orange. One recipe from this novel in particular that caught my attention is for an Apple and Dried-Apricot dessert. It reads as follows:

Radio Readers BookByte: A Gustatory Home

Sep 15, 2017
Tom Averill

I’m Tom Averill, author of the culinary novel Secrets of the Tsil Café, and a “foodie” in my kitchen and in my library.

When I was writing my book, I became aware of how important food is to our identities as people, and how food memories shape us.  Cookbook writer Molly Katzen first learned the power of food at her childhood dinner table.  Her father had served in World War II, and while he was overseas, his mother died.  His favorite of all her dishes was tzimmes, a casserole dish of potatoes and onion and carrots often served at Rosh Hashanah.  Each year, Molly’s mother tried to replicate her mother-in-law’s recipe, and each year she failed—until the time her father tasted the tzimmes and broke down sobbing; his mother had come back to life in that dish.  Molly was 10 years old.  Perhaps all of us miss a person, along with the dish that person traditionally brought to the holiday meal.

Radio Readers BookByte: Food to Five Quarters

Sep 14, 2017

In each of our Radio Reader series, we try to offer a variety of genre, and in keeping with that idea, we now move from a nonfiction book of essays about food in different regions of depression-era America, The Food of a Younger Land, to a novel about food in Nazi occupied France during World War II, Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris. 

Both these books present stressful historical eras in which people endured long lasting hardships:  The Food of a Younger Land recalls the Great Depression where people suffered deprivation of everyday necessities; Five Quarters of the Orange centers on World War II, where French citizens lived under oppressive Nazi occupation and coped with food shortages and loss of freedom. In both situations people struggled day to day to provide food for their families.  Both Joanne Harris’s characters and Mark Kurlansky’s essayists sought the comfort of food, steeped in the familiarity of their long-standing traditions.

Radio Readers BookByte: Food as Metaphor

Sep 13, 2017
Garland, Kansas / Kansas Memory, Kansas Historical Society

I was six years old when I realized that food can be dished up in two categories:  food that proves someone loves you, and food that proves someone doesn’t love you.

Let me explain.

Imagine that you go to your grandmother’s kitchen in the morning. Breakfast at your grandmother’s—crispy bacon, fluffy scrambled eggs, warm, tender cinnamon rolls—lets you know that the day will be good.  Life is good.  Someone loves you.

Radio Readers BookByte: What Else Are We Missing?

Sep 12, 2017
Victor Hugo Green, 1940 / Wikipedia

I’m Meagan Zampieri, your book discussion leader for this month. Our first Fall Read 2017- Food and Story is The Food of a Younger Land, edited by Mark Kurlansky and I chose to lead the discussion for this book because, well.

I travel a lot for my work.

That is an understatement. This year alone, I’ve crossed Kansas so many times I’ve lost count. I have gone to Texas, St. Louis, and Chicago, and I have a trip to Utah planned. Wichita tomorrow, Topeka on Tuesday, Lawrence the following Tuesday. Sharon Springs at the beginning of August, Dodge City at the end of August, Wichita again in a couple months… That’s outside of whatever meetings I might need to attend inside of the 12-county region I serve in my work with libraries.

Wisconsin Historical Society Press

My name is Tom Weso. It is an Indian name, Weso meaning One Who Stands Firm. I had a complicated childhood that was exacerbated by certain economic realities. We were poor. We had to move around a lot looking for work. We had a large family, including in-laws, children, and shirttail cousins. My grandparents had 15 to 20 people to feed at dinnertime. Obtaining food was a full-time occupation.

Radio Readers BookByte: Food of a Younger Me

Aug 30, 2017
Wiki Commons

Hello, Radio Readers.  This is Valerie Brown-Kuchera, talking to you from Quinter, where it’s a typical western Kansas fall day.  This kind of day reminds me so much of my first fall as a college student at Fort Hays State University almost 30 years ago.  Up to that point, my experiences with food had really resembled some of those related in The Food of a Younger Land, our fall read selection this month. 

Radio Readers BookByte: Art & Sustenance

Aug 28, 2017
EDSITement / National Endowment for the Humanities

Radio Readers,  we’re discussing The Food of a Younger Land edited by Mark Kurlansky as part of the 2017 Fall Read – Food and Story.  I’m Meagan Zampieri from Norton, Kansas and today I’d like to talk about  the role of the federal government.

Radio Readers BookByte: Chickens and Cast Iron Pans

Aug 25, 2017
Kathleen Magouirk Holt

My grandmother Minnie Cora Roberson Magouirk, born in 1902, lived to be 99 years of age.  When she was 98, she decided to tell some stories.  I was lucky enough to be sitting beside her with a cassette tape recorder when she began to talk. Those 17 hours of recordings may have been amateur and scratchy, but today, they are priceless to me.

Radio Readers BookByte: Turtles As Survivors

Aug 23, 2017

Growing up in the grasslands, I have always admired turtles. They are tough and beautiful, like the ornate box turtle, state reptile of Kansas. I met many turtles, from painted beauties to scary snapping turtles, when I went fishing. My grandfather Frank Bruner, of Lenape and Munsee heritage, both Delaware bands, reminded me of a turtle because Delawares associate themselves with turtles. Also, he was a tough survivor of the plains.

Radio Readers BookByte: Food and Privilege

Aug 21, 2017
Northeast Fisheries Science Center / NOAA

I am Meagan Zampieri from Norton, Kansas and I have a confession.  I’m trying to lose weight. The program I enrolled in five months ago has successfully (so far) taught me a level of care in choosing my food that I had not, in many years, been taking.  Perhaps it is a poor choice for me right now to be reading The Food of a Younger Land , the first book in this, our Radio Readers Fall Read – Food and Story.

The book is essentially 400 pages of comfort food recipes, or perhaps it is a re-education itself in how far away I, as an American, moved from so much I do.

Radio Readers BookByte: Strawberry Yields Forever

Aug 18, 2017
Jason Harper

My wife May has said that before she met me, she was living alone in a bleak, dark, drafty apartment, working long hours at a law firm, and that she only ate ramen noodles every day.

Back in her single days, she didn’t cook much because she was so busy with work, yet held a deep appreciation for good food – her being born in Mongolia and having traveled to many, many places, including China, Laos, Vietnam, The Philippines, Shangri-La, Jiǎnpǔzhài, and Katmandu.

Radio Readers BookByte: The Politics of Cookbooks

Aug 16, 2017
Wikipedia

Hi, I’m Paula Ripple, longtime HPPR listener from Dodge City, Kansas, and a new Radio Reader.  

Occasionally I’ll listen to BBC, and their piece on the politics of cookbooks, got me to thinking about Food of a Younger Land by Mark Kurlansky, the first book on the List for the 2017 Fall Read – Food and Stories.  This book which reprints WPA food writing from the 1930’s is replete with political incorrectness: conservation of nature is not a consideration in the report of a 20-pound per person limit of fish taken; cooks suggest eating squirrel pie, fried beaver tail, coon, bear, possum, and our widely known high plains calf fries; some southern conversations are recorded in broadly written black dialect.

Radio Readers BookByte: Growing Tomatoes

Aug 14, 2017
Horticulture Newsletter / Kansas State University

Greetings, HPPR Radio Readers.  I’m Meagan Zampieri, the book discussion leader for The Food of a Younger Land , the first book in our 2017 Fall Read – Food and Story.  Actually the full title of the book is The Food of a Younger Land - A portrait of American food--before the national highway system, before chain restaurants, and before frozen food, when the nation's food was seasonal, regional, and traditional--from the lost WPA files. As I read the book, I couldn’t help thinking about the ways in which we talk about food. 

Radio Readers BookByte: City Cafe Special

Aug 11, 2017
Valerie Brown-Kuchera / Quinter, KS

Welcome to Food Friday, when our Radio Reader Book Club members share recipes, memories, and mouthwatering tidbits.  This is Valerie Brown-Kuchera, from Quinter, Kansas.  My mom, Eleanor Augustine, is a potato salad evangelist with, as far as I know, a 100% conversion rate.  Her latest convert is my husband, who insisted he hated potato salad, but now heaps his plate full at our family picnics. 

Radio Readers BookByte: Cross Country Recipes

Aug 9, 2017
Digital Commons / Massachusetts Commonwealth

Hello, High Plains Public Radio Readers!  I’m Paula Ripple from Dodge City, part-time cook, and lover of cookbook reading.  

Who doesn’t love reading cook books more than doing the actual cooking?  The Fall 2017 HPPR Radio Readers book choice, The Food of a Younger Land by Mark Kurlansky, takes us back to the 1930’s and the Works Progress Administration which provided work for writers.

Food & Story - Throughout Time

Aug 8, 2017
Smithsonian Virtual Tour / Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

I’m Wayne Hughes with a brief appreciation how we eat and its place in the hierarchies of food-taking, shelter seeking, reproduction.

HPPR Radio Readers Book Club is thrilled to announce our FALL READ, and this one will be yummy. Here's the lineup, so get reading! 

ATTENTION ALL FOODIES: Share your story about food on the High Plains, or review one of the books in our Fall Read! Our on-air Book Bytes offer a platform for voices across our region. For more information, contact Kathleen Holt

Water Conservaton & Preservation

Apr 24, 2017
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

In Dune, water is a precious resource on the verge of extinction. Throughout the book, consequences is a rigid and hard concept. Therefore preserving and conserving water is critical for survival to the Fremen people in Book I of Dune. The Fremen people have taken measures to ensure that any water, or moisture is preserved or reused. For example, the Fremen people have developed a suit called stillsuit and it is a very special suit, especially in the harsh climate of the Arrakis planet. The stillsuit will prevent the body from losing more than a tablespoon of their body’s moisture in a specified time period. Keep in mind the many activities a person does in a day to lose moisture, sweat, urine, exhaled air, organs, among other activities which averages to about 10-15 cups of water, per day. And this suit allows that moisture to be reused and loses no more than a tablespoon of body moisture per day. That is an amazing piece of technology that preserves and conserves the body’s liquid. Another practice by the Freemen culture to preserve and conserve water loss is salvaging the liquid from cadavers. While the image this produces is less than desirable, the point is being made of just how critical and precious water as a resource is on this planet. The premise around Herbert’s world of water shortage becomes very real and believable as you continue to read through Book I in the Dune.

My Dune Epiphany

Apr 21, 2017
Astronaut William Anders / Christmas Eve 1968 from Apollo 8

Some years after the Apollo astronauts took the first color photograph showing the earth rising over the lunar surface, I read the epic science fiction novel Dune. I was a lonely kid growing up in Southeast Kansas and I was drawn to the novel by its action. I didn’t understand the nuance contained in the pages of the dog-eared mass market paperback copy I carried around for weeks, but after reading and re-reading the novel in the years to come, I began to  its skillful depiction of politics, religion, and the fight for limited natural resources.

Thoughts on Dune

Apr 19, 2017
JONATHAN BAKER / Canyon, Texas

I’m Jonathan Baker, a writer in Canyon, Texas, and I’ve been asked to talk a little about this month’s Radio Readers Book Club Read, Dune by Frank Herbert.

The novel is a sci-fi epic set in the far-distant future, in a time when a remote desert planet called Arrakis is the only source of the most valued substance in the universe, a mind-altering space-fuel known as Spice. The climate on Arrakis is so hostile that the planet’s sand-dwelling tribe, the Fremen, must wear stillsuits that recycle their own body fluids into water for them to drink. When the Fremen kill an enemy, it’s traditional to convert the body of the vanquished into water and drink that, too.

Life a Waste of Water?

Apr 17, 2017
Luqman Mohammed / Creative Commons

Leto Atreides mentions in a meeting he has with his trusted associates about how power has been acquired through using both air and sea, and now need to establish desert power, or specifically referred to as, “Desert Botanical Testing Station.” Interesting that author Frank Herbert would include alternative sources of power in a book about a barren planet with limited water supply. Can using alternative sources of power have any benefits to preserving and conserving water? The answer to that question is yes! Alternative sources of power have excellent benefits to preserve and conserve water. Alternative sources of power being solar electricity, wind electricity, Geothermal electricity, hydroelectric electricity, biomass that are being used nationwide. An example of how our current mode of obtaining electricity is tainting our water includes using fossil fuels to generate electricity because it creates air and water pollution. Not only does this pollution contaminate our water, our drinking source, but by drinking contaminated water it can cause series health problems. Alternative sources do not require water to operate. The consequences of this is two-fold in regards to benefits. Power sources that do not rely on water to operate means less water pollution, and reduced strain of competing for water sources with agriculture or livestock.

Going it Alone

Apr 12, 2017
EMHKE

VANCE:   Hey! I'm Vance Ehmke and we farm in Lane County KS. Today Louise and I are going to talk about stretching water.

LOUISE: While most people in western Kansan would like to conserve irrigation water,can one man go it alone?

VANCE: 40 years ago I was up at K-State talking with ag economist Don Pretzer about ways to conserve the Ogallala aquifer. And he made a very good observation.

Waste Not. Want Not

Apr 10, 2017
CREATIVE COMMONS

Welcome to High Plains Radio Readers Book club, an on-air, on-line community of readers exploring themes of Water and Replenishment in our Book Club Series. Rediscovering an epic science fiction title, Dune, written in 1965 by Frank Herbert.

Ancient Playa Lakes

Mar 29, 2017
FROM LOUISE AND VANCE EHMKE / Kansas Geological Survey

VANCE: Hey! I'm Vance Ehmke and we farm in Lane County KS. Today Louise and I are going to talk about playa lakes.

LOUISE: Here in this part of the state we are truly the Saudi Arabia of playa lakes because there are over 23,000 in western Kansas-the most in the world.

VANCE: We have mixed emotions about the playas. I don't know how many times we've had to pull tractors or combines out of them. And I can't count the number of crop failures we've had because of them.

LOUISE: But on most days we're thankful for them. If all we had were flat Harney silt loam soils, we'd lead a pretty plain life. But with the playas,we enjoy a lot of scenic and aesthetic breaks along with a greatly diversified flora and fauna.

Culture and Water in Dune

Mar 27, 2017
J. Stephen Conn (2009) / PhotosForClass.com

Welcome to High Plains Radio Readers Book club, an on-air, on-line community of readers exploring themes of Water and Replenishment in our Book Club Series. Rediscovering an epic science fiction title, Dune, written in 1965 by Frank Herbert.

Book I of Dune sets the scene of the political volatile environment between the Houses, specifically the Atreides House. Events of Barron’s well thought out plan to annihilate the Atreides House thickens the plot, and yet main character, Paul Atreides is a greater threat than the Barron is willing to consider. Barron’s perfect plan hinges on a traitor in the Atreides House, a traitor who becomes a wild card and this takes place on a desert planet caked Arrakis, a.k.a. Dune.

April Showers

Mar 24, 2017
Janet Huelskamp - Fowler, KS

Hello, Radio Readers! Where have the books in our spring series Water and Replenishment been taking you?

Me? Well, talking about these books have made for some fantastic conversations! One example: some friends and I were noticing surprising similarities between Milagro Beanfield War and Dune. Sure, one is set in northern New Mexico almost 50 years ago while the other takes place on a desert planet 20,000 years in the future. But both show the ways that limiting access to a limited resource empowers a few and deprives many. William Ashworth’s 2006 Ogallah Blue: Water and Life on the High Plains documents the consequences of certain entrenched beliefs that some have a greater right to, a greater need of, water than others. Listen to the questions he asks: “should underground water be a public resource, as it is in six of eight High Plain states, or should it belong to the owner of the overlying earth, as in Oklahoma, or to no one, as in Texas?” He also wonders whether a standard of “beneficial use” should be applied when pumping ground water. Who defines that standard? Who resolves conflicts between competing needs?  These are the same questions at the heart of the fictional Milagro Beanfield War and of Dune, right?

Conserving Water in Hays, Kansas

Mar 22, 2017
JASON RIEGEL / City of Hays, Kansas

Ogallala Blue, Water and Life on the High Plains explains how groundwater mining of the Ogallala has become a way of life. How much water do we urban folk utilize, and what can we do to reduce groundwater usage?  Fortunately, a modal to answer this question exists in Ellis County, KS, the only KS County having more than 15,000 population, too dry to rely on surface water supplies and lacking a substantial aquifer.

For the 20,000 citizens of Hays Kansas, located in Ellis County, retaining a quality life has meant water conservation.  Comparisons by USGS of City average per capita water usage in gallons from 2009 to 2013 measures Hay’s water efficiency: Colby 294 gpc, Goodland  283, Garden City: 204, Liberal 188, Dodge City 175 and Hays 93 gpc.

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