Seen and Unseen

« previous episode | next episode »

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan describe what previously classified records and transcripts tell us about the circumstances of 9/11 and the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. Then, our Summer Stuff series continues with Saveur editor-in-chief James Oseland and a look at picnic foods that taste good and can survive the heat. Chris Adrian discusses his latest novel, The Great Night. The European Council met today to discuss the European debt crisis, and on Backstory, we’ll look at the problems in the Eurozone. Plus on Underreported, find out why red tape is preventing the United States from sending food aid to famine-afflicted Somalia.

The Eleventh Day

Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan explain the circumstances of 9/11 by examining not only the sequence of events leading up to the disaster and the persons involved, but also the response of the U.S. government on that day and the efforts of U.S. intelligence immediately before and after the attack. Their book The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11 and Osama bin Laden draws on previously classified records and raw transcripts, investigates the response of President Bush and the U.S. military that day, and examines the failure to intercept the hijacked airliners. They document the untruths told afterward by U.S. officials and examine the “9/11 truth” movement, and look at where we stand now, ten years later.

Comments [46]

Summer Stuff: Picnics

We continue our Summer Stuff series with a look at the best picnic foods! James Oseland, editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine, tells us how to create, pack, and enjoy summer picnics. We’ll also talk about simple summer meals, at home or to-go. Check out some great summer recipes, below!

Do you have picnic suggestions—favorite picnic foods or spots? Let us know!

Comments [13]

Chris Adrian’s novel The Great Night

Chris Adrian describes his novel The Great Night, a mesmerizing retelling of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Comments [1]

Backstory: Handling the European Debt Crisis

On Thursday, the European Council held an emergency meeting to discuss the debt problems that several Eurozone countries—including Italy, Greece, and Portugal—are facing. On today’s Backstory, Iain Begg, Professorial Research Fellow at the European Institute at the London School of Economics, discusses what happened at the meeting and how the continuing economic problems are affecting the entire Eurozone.

Comments [1]

Underreported, Part I: Drought in the Horn of Africa

The Horn of Africa is facing its worst drought in 60 years. Already, 10 million people are in urgent need of food in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya and yesterday the United Nations declared its first famine in 27 years for parts of Somalia. On today’s first Underreported, Nora Love, the International Rescue Committee’s deputy director of programs, discusses the situation across the region.

Comments [3]

Underreported, Part II: Concerns about Terrorism Delay US Aid to Somalia

More than 2.5 million Somalis are now in desperate need of food, but it wasn’t until late Wednesday that the State Department announced that it would send food aid to the country. The reason? Concerns that sending food aid would be aiding al-Shabab, which controls parts of southern Somalia and which the United States views as a terrorist organization. On today’s Underreported, Eliza Griswold, Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation and author of The Tenth Parallel, describes why the State Department was concerned that al-Shabab would use the food as a weapon and the challenges of providing food aid to areas where aid workers were banned until quite recently.


Summer Recipes from Saveur: Banh Mi

According to Andrea Nguyen, author of Into the Vietnamese Kitchen (Ten Speed Press, 2006), the baguette for this iconic Vietnamese sandwich "should be light and airy, with a very delicate crumb that does not fight you, but just frames the sandwich." This recipe first appeared in Saveur's April 2011 special Sandwich Issue with Nguyen's article "Street Hero."

For the slaw:
¼ cup distilled white vinegar
¼ cup sugar
½ cup julienned carrots
½ cup julienned daikon radish
Kosher salt, to taste

For the seasoned pork:
1 tsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. finely chopped yellow onion
12 oz. ground pork
2 tbsp. hoisin sauce
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
½ tsp. Asian-style hot sauce
½ tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
½ tsp. red food coloring
¼ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

4 10″ Vietnamese baguettes or Portuguese rolls, split
½ cup mayonnaise
8 ⅛″-thick slices Vietnamese-style pork roll (cha lua) or bologna
8 ⅛″-thick slices Vietnamese-style salami or ham
½ cup cilantro sprigs
½ medium English cucumber, cut lengthwise into 4 thick slices
Asian-style chile oil, to taste

Make the slaw: Bring vinegar, sugar, and ½ cup water to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over high heat; transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in carrots, radish, and salt, and set the slaw aside for 30 minutes. Drain.

Make the seasoned pork: Heat oil in a 10″ nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until soft, 2–3 minutes. Add pork, hoisin, 2 tsp. soy sauce, sesame oil, hot sauce, five-spice powder, food coloring, onion and garlic powders, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until browned, 5–6 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat oven to 400°. Place baguettes on a baking sheet and spread 1 tbsp. mayonnaise inside both halves. Bake until hot and slightly crisped, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and divide seasoned pork evenly between baguettes. Top each with 2 slices pork roll, 2 slices salami, 1 tsp. soy sauce, ¼ of the cilantro, and 1 cucumber slice. Season with more pepper and chile oil, and top with the slaw. Close sandwiches.

Serves 4

Find recipe on


Summer Recipes from Saveur: Muffuletta

At Central Grocery in New Orleans, they use their famous olive salad to dress deli meats and cheeses in an irresistible sandwich. It's best eaten the day after it's made, to allow the salad to marinate the other ingredients. This recipe first appeared in Saveur's April 2011 special Sandwich Issue with author John Mariani's article "Big, Easy."

1 ¼ cups coarsely chopped cauliflower florets
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried thyme
2 small carrots, roughly chopped
2 small ribs celery, thinly sliced
¾ cup chopped pitted green niçoise olives
½ cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
½ cup chopped roasted red peppers
¼ cup jarred, drained, sliced banana peppers
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 8″-10″ round loaf Italian bread with sesame seeds
6 oz. thinly sliced deli ham
6 oz. thinly sliced Genoasalami
6 oz. thinly sliced mortadella
6 oz. thinly sliced provolone

Bring cauliflower, oil, oregano, thyme, carrots, celery, and 3 tbsp. water to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until vegetables are just tender, 10–12 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in olives, peppers, vinegar, salt, and pepper; let cool.

Halve loaf and, using your hands, hollow out both halves of loaf; spread olive salad over bottom half. Layer ham, salami, mortadella, and provolone over salad, then top with remaining salad and top half of loaf. Wrap entire sandwich in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight, allowing to marinate. Cut into quarters and serve.

Serves 4

Find recipe on


Summer Recipes from Saveur: Fried Chicken

Simply seasoned and fried, with a thin, crisp coating and tender, juicy meat, the fried chicken at Martha Lou's Kitchen is some of the best we've ever tasted. This recipe first appeared in Saveur's May 2011 issue, with the article "Specialty of the House."

Peanut oil, for frying
4 cups flour

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 3–4 lb. whole chickens, cut into quarters

2 cups milk
2 eggs

Pour oil into an 8-qt. Dutch oven to a depth of 3″, and heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 325°. Place flour in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper, and set aside. Season chicken all over with salt and pepper. Whisk milk and eggs in a large bowl, and, working in batches, dip chicken quarters in milk mixture, then dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Place in oil and fry, turning occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and dark brown, 15 minutes for white meat, 20 minutes for dark meat. Drain on paper towels and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 8

Find recipe on


Summer Recipes from Saveur: Oven-Roasted Plum Tomatoes

Slow-roasting tomatoes concentrates their sweetness and makes them the perfect addition to summertime salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes. This dish is based on a recipe that appears in The Silver Palate Cookbook 25th Anniversary Edition by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins (Workman, 2007).

12–18 halved and seeded plum tomatoes
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
Coarse or fine sea salt
Small whole flat-leaf parsley leaves
Mint leaves
Slivered basil

1. Heat the oven to 250°. Line a baking sheet with foil and rub it with a little extra-virgin olive oil. Arrange tomatoes on it in a single layer, cut side up. Drizzle evenly with olive oil, sprinkle with sugar, and season with pepper to taste.

2. Bake the tomatoes until they are still juicy but slightly wrinkled, about 3 hours. Transfer to a platter to let cool slightly. Just before serving, sprinkle tomatoes with sea salt and garnish, if you like, with parsley, mint, and basil.

Serves 6

Find recipe on


Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.