Across the Midwest and South, violent tornadoes struck several states this weekend, killing at least 14 people and leaving vast areas of destruction.
Today is the third day of the federal corruption trial of former Senator John Edwards, who is charged with violating campaign finance law. Edwards allegedly used money given to him by wealthy supporters to hide his affair with Rielle Hunter and their subsequent love child while running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. Yesterday, the defense cross-examined Edwards' former aide Andrew Young – who had testified that Edwards directed him to use funds from donors to take care of Ms. Hunter. Kim Severson, Atlanta bureau chief for our partner The New York Times, was in the courtroom yesterday.
Former Senator John Edwards was once one of the country’s most promising politicians: a vice presidential nominee and presidential hopeful. But for the next six weeks, he will be a prominent defendant in a campaign finance trial that is unprecedented. Edwards is being charged with using illegal campaign contributions to cover up an affair with Rielle Hunter, a videographer who worked for him during his 2008 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Kim Severson, Atlanta bureau chief for our partner The New York Times, will be covering the trial in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Last week — after a 15 year battle — Reverend Kennedy of Laurens, South Carolina made headlines when a judge declared his New Beginnings Baptist Church to be the rightful owner of "The Redneck Shop", a store that sold Ku Klux Klan and confederate memorabilia. One of the original owners had sold his portion of the store to Kennedy after falling on hard times and experiencing a religious reawakening.
The FBI, police and citizens of the city of Jackson, Missippi are debating whether the white teenagers who robbed and murdered James Craig Anderson, a black man, were motivated by racism. The case has prompted many to consider race relations in the state, and it's troubled history with race. The suspects' lawyers say it was just an act of teenage stupidity, but prosecutors say the killing was a premeditated racial killing. The U.S. Justice Department has begun an investigation into the case. Kim Severson has been reporting on the case for our partner, The New York Times.
The Morganza Spillway was all over the front pages this weekend. You probably saw a picture of it – the big wall of the levee with its gates open, spewing muddy Mississippi water at thousands of cubic feet per minute. The decision to open those floodgates has diverted the surge of the Mississippi, and probably saved Baton Rouge and New Orleans from flooding. But all that water has to go somewhere, and salvation downriver came at the expense of folks upriver. When the gates were opened, it set into motion a slow moving disaster; one that's arriving in the homes of the Cajun communities in the Atchafalaya Basin.
Federal and state emergency officials in Alabama believe that the deadly tornadoes two weeks ago left as many as 10,000 residents homeless. In Tuscaloosa, the urban area hit hardest, people are scrambling for the few remaining apartments — and for low-income residents, affordable housing is almost impossible to find. Officials are concerned that many of the poor, working class and elderly residents could be homeless for good.
Hundreds of people have been confirmed dead after devastating storms ripped through the south on Wednesday. Thousands of residents are without power, while they continue to look for survivors and dig out from the wreckage. A spokeswoman for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency said yesterday that the death toll, which had reached 15 in the state, is fluid and is likely to rise. To get more of the news happening in the areas affected, we speak with Kim Severson of The New York Times, who is in Georgia.
For this week’s food segment, we sit down with our friend Kim Severson, food writer for our partner The New York Times, and star of such past Takeaway cooking segments as “The Girl Scout Cookie Smackdown” and “Food Writers Compete to Feed Six for Fifty Dollars.”
Today, we take our inspiration from the Girl Scouts. Across much of the country, Girl Scout cookie selling (and for some, eating) season is winding down. And if you’re like us, that means you’ve stockpiled boxes and boxes of Thin Mints, Do-Si-Dos, and Samoas.
Watch a video of the girl scout cookie smackdown!
It’s Thanksgiving Day! We're talking turkey and all the fixins’ that go with it. What is the proper way to carve a turkey? What do you do if your guests show up late? And how can we stay away from that dreaded canned cranberry sauce? Here to help solve some of these dilemmas, as well as give some helpful tips, are food writers Kim Severson and Julia Moskin from our partner The New York Times.
New York Times food writer Kim Severson tells us about a series of food sites that apply the wikipedia approach to recipes. Wikia, Foodista and others allow anyone to post and edit all sorts of recipes, from cold curried crab soup to chicken parmesan. We also hear from Barnaby Dorfman, founder and CEO of Foodista. Call it the crowdsourcing of dinner.
We want your help with a recipe! Our dish is simple: a grilled cheese sandwich. But we want you to help us make it interesting.
Here's the initial recipe. What would you add to it, and how would you prepare it? Bonus points for outlandish ingredients! Let us know in the comments. We'll pull together your contributions and create a full listener-created recipe:
Are you singing about Splenda? Or nuts for Nutrisweet? Ecstastic for Equal? Slaphappy for Sweet 'N Low? Seems like everyone has an opinion on coffee shop sweeteners. Are you ready to add one more sweetener to your non-sugar repertoire? Welcome Truvia, a stevia-based sugar substitute that was approved by the FDA in December. With sugar substitutes raking in over $1.2 billion a year, you can expect new competitors in the market, but are they any good? Why are the fans so brand loyal? And whatever happened to plain old sugar? The New York Times food writer Kim Severson joins us in an exploration of the fierce competition for our tastebuds.
"People are wanting shorter supply chains, they want healthier food, so sugar — pure cane sugar — sort of has this aura about it. This sort of green aura."
—New York Times food writer Kim Severson on choices in sweeteners
For more, read Kim Severson's article, Showdown at the Coffee Shop, in today's New York Times.
Feed six people for fifty dollars? No problem. No problem that is until you realize what your competition is serving. When the New York Times asked two of their food writers to create menus for dinner parties on a strict $50 budget both of them quickly realized they couldn't offer chicken and salad, not when their competition was dishing up tilefish ceviche in handmade tortilla chips or cheddar gougeres and Jean-Georges desserts. In this culinary Thunderdome, it's Julia Moskin versus Kim Severson and they are battling it out for best budget dinner party. The judge? Frank Bruni, the feared New York Times food critic. They join The Takeaway for a reenactment.
The story of their dinners, Comrades at Arms: Two Food Writers in a Kitchen Smackdown, is in today's New York Times.Recipe Files: Kim's Tacos de Carnitas
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.Julia's Tangerine-Vanilla Floats
Adapted from "Sunday Suppers at Lucques" by Suzanne Goin with Teri Gelber (Knopf, 2005)Time: 10 minutes
"Just be careful and if all else fails, have a cheeseburger."
— New York Times reporter Kim Severson on food safety and the meaning of the organic label