Shape Shifting

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Friday, April 29, 2011

As protests in Syria intensify, the regime of Bashir Assad has responded with increasing brutality. Journalist Brooke Allen shares what she learned as an American traveling in Syria, and then New York Times Beirut Bureau chief Anthony Shadid gives us the latest on the crackdown. Peter Asher, half of the British pop duo Peter and Gordon, talks about his upcoming multimedia show at Feinstein’s. Biographer Meryle Secrest looks at the life and work of artist Amedeo Modigliani. Plus, our latest Please Explain is all about writing a recipe.

The Culture and History of Syria

Brooke Allen describes her experiences traveling in Syria. The Other Side of the Mirror: An American Travels through Syria is an account of Syria's rich historical and archaeological treasures: the ancient cities of Aleppo and Damascus, the great Crusader castles, the Bronze Age ruins of Ebla and Mari, the Greco-Roman cities of Palmyra and Apamea, and it looks at Syria's people, culture, and history.

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Update on the Protests in the Arab World: Syria

As part of our ongoing series about the protests throughout the Arab World, New York Times Beirut bureau chief Anthony Shadid gives us an update on Syria, where the government has violently cracked down on protesters throughout the country and has kicked foreign journalists out of the country.


Peter Asher

Peter Asher, one half of the seminal British Invasion pop duo Peter and Gordon, discusses making his NYC debut with his multimedia show “A Musical Memoir of the 60s and Beyond,” from May 3-7, at Feinstein's at Loews Regency. In his long career as a music executive he won two Grammy Awards for “Producer of the Year,” and worked with such luminaries as James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Randy Newman, Joni Mitchell, Diana Ross, Neil Diamond, Cher, Morrissey, Elvis Costello, Jane Monheit, The Dixie Chicks and Billy Joel. His show at Feinstein’s includes film footage and photos from his personal collection and includes stories from his career.

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Modigliani: A Life

Meryle Secrest discusses the life and work Amadeo Modigliani. Her biography, Modigliani: A Life, is a fully realized portrait of one of the 20th century’s master painters and sculptors. She also paints a portrait of the Paris that Modigliani lived in, a dynamic city in where art was still a noble cause, and takes a look at how Modigliani became part of the city's art world in the midst of a transforming revolution.

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Please Explain: Recipes

On today's Please Explain, we'll look into the art of crafting the perfect recipe. Deb Perelman, author of the popular blog, and John Willoughby, the executive editor of America's Test Kitchen, join us. They'll explain how to best translate home cook's imprecise cooking strategies into publishable recipes, how preparation times are calculated, and examine their favorite examples of recipes both perfect and terrible.

WEIGH IN: What are some of your most poignant recipe disasters? Did you use a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon? Let us know in the comments below!

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Guest Picks: Peter Asher

Famed music executive Peter Asher reveals to The Leonard Lopate Show what he is reading and watching.


Writing the Perfect Recipe

On today's Please Explain, Leonard will be speaking to Deb Perelman and John Willoughby about recipes, both good and bad. Below, we've posted two recipes for the same, delicious food: Devil's Food Cake. The recipes span the 20th century: the first, from Fanny Farmer, was initially published in 1896. The second, by the team at Cook's Illustrated, was tested hundreds of times before its publication in 1994. Notice how much shorter the Farmer recipe is--we'll be debating whether brevity is a good thing, or whether more specific recipes yield better results. But before we do, we'd like to hear from you: what do you look for in a recipe? Let us know in the comments below!

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