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The Dark Roots Of 'The Nutcracker' And The Man Who Wrote It

This is the time of year when one man's work is widely - if indirectly - celebrated. His name used to be hugely famous, but nowadays, it draws blank stares, even from people who know that work. E.T.A. Hoffman, who lived from 1776 to 1822 in the Kingdom of Prussia, was responsible for a work that is a staple the holiday season, the original author of The Nutcracker. You can read more about the story, which aired last Christmas, here.
NPR

When Is Cinnamon Spice Not So Nice? The Great Danish Debate

Cinnamon swirls are beloved in Denmark, but recent testing by the Danish government found many of these rolls had more of the spice than allowed by European health guidelines. Now bakers may have to change their time-tested recipes. Too much cinnamon? Yes, there is such a thing.
NPR

Writing 'Rudolph': The Original Red-Nosed Manuscript

Everybody knows Rudolph was the last reindeer to join Santa's crew, but few people know about the department store employee who brought his story to the world. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was written by Robert L. May, a copywriter for Montgomery Ward, who, like his protagonist, had always felt like a bit of an outcast.
NPR

Why We Hold Tight To Our Family's Holiday Food Traditions

We asked for stories of the holiday food traditions your family cherishes. And we learned that many of you are reviving special dishes this year to pay tribute to your heritage and ancestors.
NPR

Detroit Needs Money. Can A 'Grand Bargain' Save The City's Art?

As the city tries to emerge from bankruptcy, the artwork in the Detroit Institute of Arts — a collection appraised at more than $850 million — might wind up on the auction block. But a federal judge mediating Detroit's bankruptcy has a plan that just might keep the art in the city — and reduce cuts to retirees' pensions.
NPR

After A Cancer Diagnosis, Lessons In Priorities

Teaching high school English came naturally to David Menasche but a terminal brain cancer diagnosis forced him to leave the classroom. So he visited some of his former students to see what impact he's had on them. He writes about the experience in his forthcoming book, The Priority List.
NPR

How Blind Voice Over Artist 'Reads'

Pete Gustin has voiced over national ads but he can't read scripts - he's legally blind. As he tells Tell Me More guest host Celeste Headlee, he didn't let his disability deter his talent.
NPR

In A 'Miraculous Year' For Movies, Edelstein Picks His Favorites

In 2013, "you really feel as if directors are taking chances in their storytelling," says film critic David Edelstein. He loved the movie Her, and says the biggest surprises of the year were All Is Lost and Much Ado About Nothing. He also explains why 12 Years a Slave didn't make his top 10.
NPR

David Bianculli's Top 10 Shows: 2013 Was A 'Good Year For TV'

Two new shows from Netflix -- House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black — changed the TV landscape, but Bianculli's top pick for 2013 is AMC's Breaking Bad. "It ended as brilliantly as it began," he says. "I'm so grateful for that series."
NPR

Hair Dryer Cooking: From S'mores To Crispy Duck

A beauty product in the kitchen? Cooking gurus have been advocating this secret weapon since the 1970s to achieve crispy duck skin that will blow them away (sorry!). Here at NPR, we also used the salon appliance to make some killer s'mores.

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