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The Salt
4:52 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

What Would Jesus Drink? A Class Exploring Ancient Wines Asks

An illustration depicts Jesus Christ transforming water into wine during the wedding at Cana (John 2:7).
Joseph Martin Kronheim Kean Collection/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 5:44 pm

Inside the Boston Wine School, Jonathon Alsop places empty glasses and plates of figs and cheese before a small group of students. Alsop, who founded the school in 2000, is doing a test run of a new class that poses the question: What would Jesus drink?

"This is ... a cheese that Jesus might have eaten," he tells students. "It's called Egyptian Roumy — it was a cheese that was introduced to the Egyptians by the Romans. It's a sheep's milk cheese."

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Found Recipes
4:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

After The Presents, A Buttery Tea Cake Tradition

Susan Tannewitz-Karnes grew up eating Mrs. Lawrence every Christmas. The tea cake was so beloved that Tannewitz-Karnes and her siblings would argue over who received more than their fair share.
Courtesy of Susan Tannewitz-Karnes

When listener Susan Tannewitz-Karnes was a child in Johnson City, Tenn., Christmas wasn't Christmas without an English tea cake baked by their neighbor, Mrs. Lawrence.

She would deliver it about a week before Christmas. "We would come home from school and my mother would just say, 'Mrs. Lawrence came by! We have Mrs. Lawrence!' And we'd say, 'Oh, yes! Yes!' We couldn't wait."

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Technology
4:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Online Sellers Pop Up In Real Life, For A Limited Time Only

One-click shopping is changing the ways people shop and retailers sell their wares. But some online retailers are opening physical stores — some of which last as short as a day. (This story originally aired on All Things Considered on July 28, 2014.)

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NPR Ed
4:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Where Ebola Has Closed Schools, A Radio Program Provides A Faint Signal Of Hope

Florence Allen Jones, right, is part of the education ministry's classes-by-radio team.
John W. Poole/NPR

Florence Allen Jones used to teach in Washington, D.C., before coming back home to Liberia.

Now she's part of the education ministry's teaching-by-radio team. Working with UNICEF and another nonprofit, Talking Drum, in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, the government aims to provide lessons to children across the country, hit by the Ebola outbreak. Most schools closed this past summer and will likely remain closed for months.

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The Salt
4:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Why Bury Fig Trees? A Curious Tradition Preserves A Taste Of Italy

Michele Vaccaro buries a fig tree in the yard of Mary Menniti in Sewickley, Pa.
Hal Klein for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 6:01 pm

On a gray, chilly December morning in Sewickley, Pa., Michele Vaccaro and his assistant are digging a trench in a garden.

"It looks like we're burying somebody over here — a body," Vaccaro says.

Cast your old Godfather stereotypes aside, because this Calabrian immigrant is carrying on a much more wholesome tradition: He's burying a 12-foot fig tree.

"It's been done for years. Probably [since] the 1800s," he says, when Italians coming to America first started bringing fig trees over from the old country. "They would put them always in the ground."

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Around the Nation
4:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Employers Help Legal Immigrants On Path To Citizenship

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Economy
4:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Low Gas Prices Predicted For 2015 And Beyond

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Latin America
4:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

For Venezuela, Drop In Global Oil Prices Could Be Catastrophic

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Europe
4:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

In Britain, A Christmas Tradition Of Slapstick And Silliness

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Economy
4:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Economy Weathers A Bad Winter And Other Storms To Finish 2014 Strong

A New York Stock Exchange trader works on the floor on Dec. 17. Stocks rose nearly 300 points after the Federal Reserve announced it plans to begin raising interest rates next year.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 6:39 pm

The economy was floored by the polar vortex early on in 2014 — plus, businesses and consumers were still a little dazed by a government shutdown and debt ceiling fight late in 2013.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, says it all produced an anxious start to the year. "Yeah, a lot of worry, particularly because we had misstepped a few other times during the recovery," he says. "We had these false dawns when we really thought the economy was going to kick into gear and then we kind of fell back into the morass."

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