Montana Public Radio

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".

Nymphal froghoppers (Cercopoidea) avoid dessication and predators inside a froth of plant sap.
Michael L. Baird (CC-BY-2.0)

If you take a walk through fields this time of year, you can't help but notice what looks like gobs of frothy white spit on the stems of grasses and weeds. If you brush away the spit, you'll find a bright green froghopper or spit bug with shiny black eyes.

Recipe: Tart Cherry Streusel Tart

Jul 26, 2020
tart pie cherries
Rita E. (Pixabay)

Greg Patent makes the most of tart cherry season by preserving as much of the fruit as he can while setting aside cherries for this recipe. "Fresh sour pie cherries are as precious as rubies," Greg writes. "Bright and shiny like the gems they resemble, the sour Montmorency cherries have a short season (only 2 to 3 weeks in July) in western Montana, so I always pick some off a neighbor’s tree to use fresh and enough to freeze."

Alan Pelaez Lopez crossed the Mexico-US border at age 5 as an undocumented migrant. In this interview, they discuss various elements of their journey, from childhood to adulthood, as well as how they use art as activism. Alan Pelaez Lopez’s poetry offers an unflinching look at how humans treat one another, from the afro-indigenous slave trade to modern US legal practices that threaten a sense of history, identity, and deep humanity. In the face of all of this, Alan Pelaez Lopez retains a voice of resistance, love, hope, and even joy. This is an interview full of necessary truths, told from the heart.

Lockdown Cookbooks: Nostalgia Springs Eternal

Jul 19, 2020
Bruno/Germany (Pixabay)

The Food Guys, Jon and Greg, discuss cookbooks they returned to while staying home during the spring of 2020. They're all old favorites, loaded with "context," and for Jon, they've reminded him of some tried-and-true but forgotten recipes that he's since resumed making.

Curious, alert, and keenly observant, these essays probe the boundaries between what is here and what is gone, what is present and what is past, in elegant prose.

Squash.
iStock

August had just begun when a friend delivered my first hand-me-down squash of the summer: a round, green variegated giant that had reached the size of a jack-o-lantern seemingly overnight, just the way squash like to do.

Later in the kitchen, I eyed down the squash and started my perennial should-I-grill-it-or-make-zucchini-bread debate. I suspect some version of this dilemma could be ages old.

Recipe: Bitterroot Valley Strawberry Pie

Jul 12, 2020
Pixabay (Nicky Pe)

Food Guy Greg Patent usually enjoys locally-grown strawberries raw and ungarnished, but he makes an exception for this pie recipe. The kicker? It includes canned pineapple. Read on to find out why this makes the pie not an atrocity, but a winner.

"This Much Country . . . is a story about starting from scratch, stripping away all but necessity and living by animal instincts to find life’s richness. From the first time Kristin hooks up a dog team to the moment she roars across the finish line of the Iditarod, readers witness the chaos of starting over in the din of barking, lunging dogs and the peaceful resolution of 15 dogs moving in unison as the Kristin comes to her own realizations about what it means to be wildly singular."

Kristin is an energetic interviewee, offering insights on how she landed in Alaska, as well as what eventually called her to leave. In this conversation, she also discusses her hardships, good instincts, and of course, the dogs. 

Evening Primrose: Shows Nightly At Nine

Jul 7, 2020
Yellow evening primroses (oenotherea flava)
Jerry Pierce (CC-BY-NC-2.0)

In the summer, folks come home from work at their jobs and hang out in their yards - they mow the lawn or weed the garden or have barbecues. I don't cook much, but just before dark I like to have a couple of friends over. We get out the beach chairs, face them toward the garden and get ready for my favorite summer evening entertainment. We watch my evening primroses open.

The Food Guys Go Vegetable-Shopping

Jul 6, 2020
farmers market
Andreas Lischka (Pixabay)

The Food Guys, Greg and Jon, are always grateful for the chance to prowl the farmers markets for vegetables. In June in Montana, they find favorites like pea shoots, garlic scapes, morel mushrooms and baby bok choy. Jon's been busy enjoying vegetable-rich recipes like Bang Bang Cauliflower and 15-Minute Sesame Ginger Noodles.

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