When the congressional mess was a boarding house

Stories occasionally appear about the living arrangements of members of Congress on Capitol Hill. Apart from their families and in Washington for only part of the week, some congressmen (and the stories do focus on congressmen), share messy, overcrowded homes with fellow lawmakers. Their refrigerators, we read, are stocked with little more than beer, which …

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Diwali shines light on marriage made of cornmeal and cardamom

Since our daughter was born 9 months back, my husband and I have set about introducing her to a year of firsts: Her first Easter basket, first road trip, first Fourth of July fireworks show. Tonight, we will celebrate her first Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, together with my mother-in-law who is visiting from India …

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Chef Sean Brock shares his Southern “Heritage”

I get somewhere between three and eight cookbooks every day. Most of them, I glance at and put aside, waiting for a story that they might fit. Truth be told, many are the same, offering smoky covers full of airbrushed ingredients or screaming about the five ingredients that I Must Cook With Now. But today, …

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Sorghum farmers become accidental artisans

On a recent Saturday morning, Danny Ray Townsend stood stirring a pan of sorghum over a hot hickory wood fire. The breeze came only now and then, wafting through the shed and carrying the syrup’s grassy scent to the crowds gathered around the mule-powered mill. “We’ve got little spoons and we give a hot sampling …

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