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".

A Naturalist's Perspective On Winter Weeds

Dec 1, 2019
Winter Weeds
Flickr user Rachel Kramer (CC-BY-2)

As you travel about Montana’s fall and winter landscape, you’re bound to see the brown and gray patchwork of roadside weeds. We tend to classify weeds as those nuisance plants that grow where they are not wanted. It’s a rather subjective definition. Often the “weedness” of a plant rests in the eyes of the beholder. One person’s weed may be another person’s wildflower. To me these remnants of summer look like survivors the morning after a great party.

Steve Buissinne

The Food Guys react to an article in Atlantic magazine by Laura Shapiro reviewing two books published in 2019: The Way We Eat Now: How The Food Revolution Has Transformed Our Lives, Our Bodies And Our World, by British food writer and historian, Bee Wilson, and Pressure Cooker: Why Home Cooking Won’t Solve Our Problems and What We Can Do About It, by sociologists Sarah Bowen, Joslyn Brenton and Sinikka Elliott.

Conger Design

'Food Guy' Greg Patent shares his recipe for a holiday favorite, fruit and nut whiskey cake:

Now’s the time to bake this extraordinary fruit and nut bourbon cake for the holidays. I like to have this cake on hand during this time of year, ready to serve impromptu to friends who drop by for conversation and tea or coffee. This is not a fruit cake. I say this because I know people who either love or hate fruit cake. But this cake is in a class by itself. Weighing over 5 pounds (!), it’s packed with toasted pecan halves and whiskey-marinated dried fruits — golden raisins, dark raisins, dried blueberries and dried sour cherries. No sugary, dyed, glacéed fruits!

Eagle Watching At Rogers Pass, 2008

Nov 24, 2019
Golden eagle.
(PD)

As raptors at the top of their food chain, goldens are good indicators of the ecological health of a region. In recent years, studies show a population in decline. What does one do with this information?  This is one of the questions of science, and of birders: what are we really looking at?

Jill O'Brien

"In this case, you have to realize nature is a tough, tough mother. When you really work in biology you have to leave your human sympathies behind and that’s the most difficult part. The loss of a young peregrine falcon in the big picture is nothing, nothing. But it breaks your heart. And so you just have to steel yourself or those kind of moments, and that book is full of those kind of moments." -- Dan O'Brien

Thermophiles: Multitudes In The Hot Spring

Nov 17, 2019
Black Pool, West Thumb Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park
Jim Peaco, NPS (PD)

Researchers are now testing theories that archaea populate the lowest branches, maybe even the roots, of our phylogenetic family tree. The hydrothermal ecosystems that encompass hot springs are among the oldest continuously-inhabited ecosystems on earth. These environments and the creatures that thrive there need to be protected, for they may tell us invaluable information about evolution and our ancestry.

What Is Soul Food?

Nov 17, 2019

How would you define "soul food?" To 'Food Guy' Jon Jackson, it's ham hocks, butter beans, cornbread and mustard greens. But Jon's fellow Detroiters might name red beans and rice, or barbequed ribs. Greg Patent's idea of soul food is Iraqui chicken or Russian borscht. "Ethnic food--maybe that's what all soul food is," concludes Jon.

Jeff Fee, CEO of PatientOne.
Courtesy Jeff Fee

After more than 25 years spent running hospitals in Tennessee and Montana, Jeff Fee jumped into entrepreneurship with the 2018 launch of PatientOne. In February of 2019, the startup attracted $1.2 million in venture capital from several funds, including Revolution’s Rise of the Rest seed fund, co-founded by former AOL CEO, Steve Case.

On this episode of Can Do: Lessons from Savvy Montana Entrepreneurs, Jeff Fee talks about what’s new in digital medical care and the challenges of jumping mid-career into the world of startups.

Kathryn Trueblood is the author of four books, including The Sperm Donor’s Daughter and Other Tales of Modern Family, and Diary of a Slut. Her work speaks candidly to the perils and absurdity of parenting in modern times. This interview traverses those dark and light places, while diving into craft elements along with Kathryn’s vision for a more supported future for women and families.

'A Million Acres'

Nov 12, 2019

Montana's stunning landscape shapes all who live here and all who visit.

In twenty powerful pieces of writing—essays, memoirs, short stories—the state's finest contemporary writers explore the plains, rivers, and mountains of Big Sky Country. They show us how natural beauty and hardship are two sides of the same coin, and how sometimes the only way to cure heartache is to visit the great outdoors.

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