E-Mail This Story: Of Kittens, Quinoa & Ron Paul Producer Dan Pashman takes aim at National Public Radio's list of most e-mailed stories, cobbling this feature out of sugar and spice and everything nice. Help him out, will you, and e-mail it — a lot.
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E-Mail This Story: Of Kittens, Quinoa & Ron Paul

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E-Mail This Story: Of Kittens, Quinoa & Ron Paul

E-Mail This Story: Of Kittens, Quinoa & Ron Paul

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Regular listeners of THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT know that our segment The Most is where you decide and we report on the most emailed, most viewed, and generally, most noticed stories on the Web. And that often includes pieces from npr.org's most emailed list. And we are eager to make our mark on that list.

Our producer, Dan Pashman - one of them - he got on the case, he studied that list of NPR's most emailed stories. And Dan, what did you find out?

DAN PASHMAN: Well, I looked at the common topics and themes in the NPR most emailed list to find what types of stories and what subjects tend to make it to number one. Here's what I found.

Food stories and recipes are huge. Folks love those. Neti pots, which are homeopathic devices used for nasal irrigation. You pour saline solution into your nose, that was one of the most emailed stories of 2007, the neti pots. Student life. "Star Wars" - a lot of "Star Wars" fans at npr.org world. Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. We all know (unintelligible).

STEWART: Always the favorite. Yeah.

PASHMAN: Anything on Ron Paul gets a lot of attention. Interesting scientific discoveries and studies…


PASHMAN: …get a lot of emailing. Quinoa, which is a grain. A story about Quinoa was also one of the most emailed of all of 2007.

STEWART: It was on there forever.

PASHMAN: Forever. Then, one of the always popular big ones in the list - NPR's esteemed science correspondent Robert Krulwich.


PASHMAN: Then there's a classical arts theater/opera/classical music. And then, of course, the whole This I Believe series, which are first-person accounts often of personal tragedy/loss and the overcoming of said loss.

STEWART: Very popular.

PASHMAN: So with all these elements in mind, I put together a piece. It's my attempt to get to number on the npr.org most emailed story list. Here we go.

(Soundbite of song, "This I Believe" theme)

PASHMAN: I was making quinoa cakes shaped like Yoda the day my dog, Pavarotti Skywalker, died. He was chasing the tennis ball, playing in the yard, when he was crushed to death by NPR's esteemed science correspondent Robert Krulwich.

(Soundbite of birds chirping)

PASHMAN: Come on, boy. Come on, boy. Whoa.

(Soundbite of dog yelping)

PASHMAN: I haven't made Yoda-shaped quinoa cakes since. But I believe in moving on, and I know the only way to move beyond my beloved Pavarotti Skywalker's death is to enjoy the food we enjoyed together so many times.

(Soundbite of "Water Music" by Handel)

(Soundbite of opening, slamming)

PASHMAN: So I'm in my apartment in Brooklyn, where I bring one-and-a-half cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan, wash and drain a cup of quinoa, and simmer the quinoa in the covered saucepan. While the quinoa cooks, I like to prepare my palate for the feast by using a neti pot to irrigate my nasal passages. Mmmm, saline solution.

As we all know, a good nasal irrigation usually takes about 20 minutes, which is also how long it takes the quinoa to absorb all the water. Stir one lightly beaten egg into the quinoa, separate the mixture into clumps, and arrange them on a baking sheet, each in the shape of Yoda. You all remember what Yoda looks like, right? After the cakes to chill in the fridge, put them in a hot, oiled skillet.

(Soundbite of pan frying)

PASHMAN: That sizzle was always Pavarotti Skywalker's favorite part.

While the quinoa cakes fry, read up on a fascinating study from the scientific journal, Child Development. This one says that if you teach your kids their intelligence is capable of increasing, they do better in school. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Eight to 10 minutes later, you've read the piece and the quinoa cakes are golden brown, which means they're done. Seeing them in my kitchen brings back a flood of memories. Pavarotti Skywalker and I sure had some good times together. I want the healing to begin. And I know it must. But something is holding me back.

(Soundbite of footsteps)

PAHSMAN: Hey, NPR's esteemed science correspondent, Robert Krulwich.

ROBERT KRULWICH: Hi, Dan. How are you?

PASHMAN: I'm all right. I know we haven't spoken in a while.

KRULWICH: Yes. It's been a bit of a time, yeah.

PASHMAN: Would you want a quinoa cake shaped like Yoda?

KRULWICH: A quinoa cake. This thing here? It's shaped like - let me…

(Soundbite of bite crunch)

KRULWICH: Mmmm, actually, these are…

(Soundbite of swallowing)

KRULWICH: These are pretty good.

PASHMAN: They sure are Robert Krulwich, they sure are.

KRULWICH: Oh, and Dan, I meant to tell you before, I'm really sorry that I killed your dog.

PASHMAN: That's okay, Robert Krulwich. That's okay.

(Soundbite of song, "This I Believe" theme)

PASHMAN: Breaking bread with someone has never made me feel so whole. And now I'm pleased to report that I've welcomed a new puppy into my life. I named him Ron Paul.

Here, boy.

(Soundbite of dog barking)

PASHMAN: Dan Pashman, NPR News, New York.

STEWART: You got it all in there.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: An amazing feat.


That was…

PASHMAN: Thank you.

MARTIN: …a work of genius.

PASHMAN: And try to catch David Allen Coe little reference on the blog. But yes, go to the homepage, npr.org/bryantpark, and email that to everyone you know and even to people you don't know.

STEWART: Dan, thank you.

PASHMAN: My pleasure. Thanks.

STEWART: Well done, my friend.

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