‘Dare To Dream’: local speaker hopes her book will be a ‘catalyst for transformation’

Local speaker and publisher Vera Cornish has published her own book in the hopes of spreading her message of empowerment through stories about her own life.

Cornish, the publisher of The Urban Connection of the Capitol Region, has a career background in teaching children with autism and schizophrenia, as well as student services in higher education. Her current career as a “life empowerment strategist” led to her publishing “Dare To Dream,” which follows up on her lectures and speaking engagements with prompts for readers to pursue their own dreams.

“What inspired me to write the book were the younger women who had participated in my workshops,” Cornish said. “They would share with me that every time we would come together for a workshop, that it was peppered with stories that significantly impacted their lives.”

According to Cornish — who is often called “Miss Vera” by those who attend her speaking engagements and workshops — the book builds on her workshops by sharing “messages of hope” she found from her own life. Cornish is the first in her family to graduate from college, and went on to earn a degree from Penn State and a graduate degree from Misericordia University.

“It’s amazing how fear will take residence,” Cornish said. “I didn’t know I was living in fear. And sometimes you’re held back by a deep-seated fear that’s stopping you from living the life you want to live.”

Cornish said that she expected the book to appeal mostly to a female audience, but that she’s been surprised by responses from male readers. In her words, the book is for anyone who wants to ask themselves, “what do I want out of life?”

“It’s inspirational,” she said. “It’s motivational, and it’s a catalyst for transformation.

An excerpt from the book can be read below. For more information on Vera Cornish or details on ordering her book, visit VeraCornish.com.

Dare To Dream excerpt by PennLive on Scribd

For women across the Arab world, #MeToo remains an elusive dream – Middle East News

“After I had spent three years in the company, I realized that as a prostitute I had been regarded with more respect, and had been more highly valued than all the female employees, myself included. In those days I lived in a house with a private toilet. I could enter it at any time, and lock the door without anybody rushing me.

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“My body was never hemmed in by other bodies in the bus, nor was it prey to male organs pressing up against it from in front and behind. Its price was not cheap, and could not be paid for by a mere raise in salary, an invitation to dinner, or a drive along the Nile in somebody’s car. Nor was it considered the price I was supposed to pay in order to gain my director’s good will, or avoid the chairman’s anger.”

This sharp-edged description by Firdaus, the main character in the book “Woman at Point Zero” by Nawal El Saadawi, was written 38 years ago in Egypt in Arabic – and its publication was banned.

“I came to realize that a female employee is more afraid of losing her job than a prostitute is of losing her life. An employee is scared of losing her job and becoming a prostitute because she does not understand that the prostitute’s life is in fact better than hers. And so she pays the price of her illusory fears with her life, her health, her body, and her mind. She pays the highest price for things of the lowest value. I now knew that all of us were prostitutes who sold themselves at varying prices, and that an expensive prostitute was better than a cheap one.”

>> Israeli journalist Dan Margalit says he will cease journalistic work following Haaretz sexual harassment expose

If you are looking for the sources of the Arab Me Too movement, you can find them in this profound book that shines a light on the ills of Egyptian society in particular, and Arab society in general concerning their attitude toward women.

For these women, the Me Too movement is a belated expression of a reality they know all too well. In their view, it may be an important step that can, and may even be succeeding, in changing the consciousness in the West, but it also arouses envy because it can’t help them. Despite dozens of Facebook pages that have been opened in the last year with the title Me Too (in Arabic), and which have joined by many men who support the women’s struggle – the denunciation of bosses, relatives, celebrities or just “ordinary” sexual harassers or abusers is still not something that is done.

The very rare exception was a suit filed last month by Egyptian journalist Mai al-Shami against her boss, the executive editor of the Al-Youm al-Saba’a newspaper, Dandarawi Al-Harawi , for sexual harassment that lasted for over a year. The details of the alleged harassment were presented on her Facebook page and she even told her story to the editor-in-chief. Al-Shami may have received extensive coverage in the media, but most of it was not the type that she had expected. Some of her colleagues came out against her. Harawi’s supporters described her as a habitual liar. No one is even taking about suspending Harawi from his job at the paper, while al-Shams has been banned from entering the newspaper’s building. It is unlikely that the achievements of the Me Too movement will impress the Egyptian judge who will have to decide the case of the abusive editor.

“The harasser does not ride with us,” is the title of the Twitter account and the posters on the back of buses in Tunisia. This is how the organization for women’s rights in Tunisia tried to raise the public awareness about the “plague of harassment” and enlist the government to act against it. But as in Egypt and Jordan, which increased the punishments for sexual harassment and domestic violence, these laws have been ignored in light of the heavy social pressure against filing complaints, and when a complaint is submitted it is treated with contempt by the police and prosecutors.

>> Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony is a historic achievement for the #MeToo movement | Analysis

“I am willing to work another shift every day just so my wife does not go out to work in a place where there are men,” a Jordanian from the economic elite recently told me. “Sexual harassment, mostly verbal, is part of our existence. I’m sure that I too harassed quite a few women during my career,” he admitted honestly, when we talked again in preparation for this article.

He was not overly impressed by the activities of the Me Too movement. “Such a movement has no chance of succeeding here and not only because we are a male and chauvinist society. Every Western movement, as positive and essential as it may be, will run into a defensive wall that is supported by ideological justifications. One time it will be a claim that the West wants to dictate different social rules to us that will destroy the foundations of our society and another time its will be seen as a threat against Islam. No one will admit that such a movement is a threat to the ugly practice that conceals hollow masculinity. If we want such a step to succeed here, it must come from the men and not women,” he said.

It was actually during the revolution of the Arab Spring, in which women protested alongside men, helped in preparing the signs, treated the injured and were wounded themselves, that women were subjected to severe sexual harassment and abuse not only by the young male protesters but also by the police, who took advantage of the crowded public space.

>> #MeToo in Israel’s ultra-Orthodox world | Opinion

Reports of serious abuse filled the newspapers and only when the demonstrations died down and the Mubarak regime fell, and after a new parliament was elected, did legislators find time to address the issue of sexual harassment. It was a great moment for women’s organizations, which began a public campaign to expose the scope of the problem. Independent initiatives that arose on social networks, and even in the streets, offered women a chance to tell their stories and present their harsh experiences on improvised stages to spread awareness.

But about a year ago, the Tunisian women’s rights organization released figures showing that the number of cases of sexual harassment in the country actually climbed by 74 percent. It is hard to know how accurate this figure is. One can only hope that it is partially the result of more women daring to complain — in a step that highlights the courage demonstrated by more Arab women willing to tell their stories in their full names on Facebook and Twitter.

Women may be able to draw encouragement from an Egyptian court’s sentencing a lawyer, Nabih al-Wahsh, to three years in prison and a fine of 20,000 Egyptian pounds for his comments in a television interview in which he said that women who wear ripped jeans should be raped and called this a “national duty.” The ruling of the mufti of Egypt that harassing women is a violation of Islamic law was also encouraging. But overall, for now it seems as though the more the scope of harassment in Arab countries is exposed, the more the chance of a dialogue on the issue recedes until such a discussion looks more like a desert mirage.

Youngstar, Kings Will Dream meet again in Caulfield Cup


Youngstar and Kings Will Dream chased Australian Horse of the Year Winx when second and third in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Australia, on Oct. 6.

Winx, who has won an astonishing 28 consecutive races, is a massive favorite to win an unprecedented fourth consecutive running of the Group 1 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley Racecourse on Oct. 27.

Youngstar and Kings Will Dream will start instead in Saturday’s Group 1 Caulfield Cup at Caulfield Racecourse just outside of Melbourne. As of Wednesday, Youngstar was the 9-2 favorite in the future-book in a field of 18, a slight choice over 5-1 Kings Will Dream.

The $3,561,000 Caulfield Cup is run at 1 1/2 miles on turf and is a handicap. The race is expected to produce a few runners for the famous Melbourne Cup at two miles at Flemington on Nov. 6.

The Caulfield Cup has a post time of 1:40 a.m. Eastern, or 10:40 p.m. Pacific on Friday.

Youngstar, who like Winx is trained by Chris Waller, will carry the lowest weight, 113.5 pounds, compared to topweight Best Solution at 126.7 pounds. Youngstar, a 4-year-old mare by High Chaparral, has won 4 of 11 starts. She won the Group 1 Queensland Oaks at 1 3/8 miles in May.

Kings Will Dream, a 5-year-old Irish-bred by Casamento, will carry 116.8 pounds. Trained by Darren Weir, Kings Will Dream has won 6 of 12 starts, including a minor stakes at 1 1/2 miles last March. Kings Will Dream has not won a group stakes but has been third in two Group 1 races since early September.

Best Solution, owned by Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin Racing and trained by Saeed Bin Suroor, has won his last three starts in England and Germany, all at 1 1/2 miles on turf – the Group 2 Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket in July, the Group 1 Grosser Preis Von Berlin in August, and the Grosser Preis von Baden at Baden-Baden, Germany, on Sept. 2.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien runs Thecliffsofmoher, who was fourth in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Stakes at 1 1/4 miles at Caulfield on Oct. 13 in his Australian debut. A well-traveled 4-year-old colt, Thecliffsofmoher was eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Del Mar last November. Earlier this year, Thecliffsofmoher was third to Roaring Lion in the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park, outside of London.

Thecliffsofmoher, who will carry 124.5 pounds, will be ridden by Hugh Bowman, the regular rider of Winx. As of Wednesday, Thecliffsofmoher was 6-1 in the future book for the Caulfield Cup.

Children’s author visits local students to encourage them to dream

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – A children’s author visited a local school to talk his career, books and to encourage the students to follow their imaginations.

Michael Buckley paid a visit to Jay Shideler Elementary to talk about the joy of reading, as well tips on how children can become authors. Buckley is known for his book series ‘The Series Grimm.’

He says there are so many scientific reasons to read. It makes you happier, smarter and you make more money.

“There’s so many reasons to be a reader that are purely selfish,” he said. “But I think the best one is just that reading takes you places that the world can’t and sometimes you need a little escape.”

Buckley has held other careers. He was a comedian, in a punk rock band and he wrote for T.V., but says being a children’s author is the best one.

Opinion | How Sears Was the Amazon of Its Day

And Richard Sears reached them. He used his genius for advertising and promotion to put a catalog in the hands of 20 million Americans in 1900, when the population was 76 million. The Wish Book or Big Book or Dream Book, as the catalog was variously called, could run a staggering 1,500 pages and offer more than 100,000 items. And when one of his pants suppliers, the manufacturing wizard Julius Rosenwald, became his partner, in 1886, Sears was on the way to becoming a vertically integrated juggernaut. Whether you needed a cream separator or a catcher’s mitt, a plow or a dress, or an entire house, Sears had it. “No matter where you go or how long you look, you’ll not find values approaching those this book presents,” the spring 1922 catalog declared.

Sears would carve up the catalog landscape with a local rival, Montgomery Ward. Remember it? Probably not. The e-sales promotion company Groupon, itself once mighty and now clinging to life, occupies part of Ward’s former headquarters in Chicago. Sears, Montgomery Ward and another Midwestern-born general merchandise retailer, J.C. Penney, dominated postwar American retailing, controlling 43 percent of department store sales by 1975. But even by then, Sears was beginning to falter under waves of new competition.

The company was not alone. A.&P., which introduced the first cut-rate grocery store in 1912, was also sliding into a long decline that would last through decades of ownership and management changes. Great A.&P. went through the final checkout lane in 2016 following its second bankruptcy. (Or was that the third?) A.&P. once operated 15,819 stores and ran the world’s largest food packaging plant, in Horseheads, N.Y. The company was so powerful that in 1949 trustbusters tried to slice it into seven independent companies. Even before that, states passed “chain laws” that included minimum markups, so small stores couldn’t be undermined by the loss leaders that A.&P. would offer to attract shoppers. A.&P., a vicious competitor, buried local retailers anyway.

By the inflation-racked 1970s, though, A.&P. was struggling against nimbler chains such as Safeway, which became the country’s top grocer, and Kroger, as well as new models of retailing such as big-box stores. Walmart’s eventual move into groceries would help seal A.&P.’s fate, and, at the same time, make the Arkansas company the nation’s top retailer, where it remains. For now.

A.&P. would later show some dubious creativity when in the early 1980s management scrapped and replaced the “overfunded” pension plan, plundering it for operating capital. This piece of sliminess was copied all over corporate America, signaling the end of the pension plans that so many workers depended on for retirement income.

Adam Thielen’s cousin co-authors new book about his rise from small-town boy to NFL star

By now, football fans everywhere know at least some of the story behind the Detroit Lakes native who rose from relative obscurity to become a Minnesota Vikings wide receiver. But VonRuden, who grew up in Detroit Lakes and now lives in Oregon, has written about Thielen’s early life from the perspective of those who truly know him best: his family.

“Adam is my cousin,” says VonRuden. “His dad and my mom are siblings. Growing up we spent a lot of time together at our grandparents’ home on Floyd Lake.”

The new sports biography, “Adam Thielen: From Small Town to Football Star,” is scheduled for public release on Tuesday, Oct. 16 — and VonRuden, who arrived in Detroit Lakes this weekend to take part in a friend’s impending nuptials, will be doing three book signings this week to help introduce it to the public.

“The main reason for writing this book was to help inspire children to chase their dreams,” VonRuden said. “All too often, people give up on their dreams before they even give them a chance. Adam’s story helps prove that anything is possible with hard work and perseverance. I hope that it inspires children, and adults too.”

It’s a message that VonRuden herself embraces fully. “I took a chance on a childhood dream of becoming an author at the age of 25,” she said. “It’s never too late!”

Chasing a dream is something VonRuden has done before. After graduating from St. Cloud State in the spring of 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, her first post-graduation job was teaching fifth grade at Mora Elementary School. It was there she met Ryan Jacobson, the husband of one of her fellow teachers.

“He (Jacobson) came to me with the idea of collaborating together to create a biography on Adam,” VonRuden said.

After seeking, and getting, Thielen’s permission, VonRuden was given the responsibility of interviewing family members and tracking down photos.

“The book chronologically recaps Adam’s life, from birth to the end of the previous football season (2017-18),” VonRuden said. “I wrote the first 16 chapters (covering Thielen’s birth through college years), and he (Jacobson) wrote the rest.

“Adam’s parents and sisters helped me to really make the book come to life,” she said. “The details they helped provide made the book what it is.”

Of course, VonRuden’s own childhood memories also helped: She and Thielen, along with their fellow cousins, spent a lot of time at their grandparents’ lake home together, playing games and having fun.

“As we got older, we (she and Thielen) both still saw each other and family events and around Detroit Lakes, but we were both busy living our own lives,” VonRuden said.

Still, Thielen remained a positive influence in her life. “He made sure to check in with me and see how I was doing, even after he left for college,” VonRuden said, adding that he encouraged her to take advantage of the opportunity to write the book as well.

VonRuden said the book already available for pre-orders, and will be officially released this Tuesday via major book sellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and at the Becker County Museum gift shop starting on Saturday, Oct. 20.

VonRuden will sign books in Detroit Lakes, starting on Tuesday, Oct. 16, from 3:30-7 p.m. at Roosevelt Elementary. She’ll be at Mollberg Field from 5-8 Wednesday and the Becker County Museum from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20.

Jessica Simpson’s Kids Ask ‘Hilarious’ Questions About New Baby

Jessica Simpson‘s kids want to know everything about their sibling on the way — and they couldn’t be asking their parents funnier questions!

“The questions I get on the daily from Maxwell and Ace are hilarious,” the shoe designer and singer, 38, who is pregnant with her third child, told PEOPLE exclusively while attending QVC’s FFANY Shoes on Sale breast cancer fundraiser on Thursday.

“They want to know every detail — like how milk comes out of mommy, how the baby will actually get here and if my belly button is a speaker to communicate with the baby,” she explained, choosing just a few of their silly inquiries.

The soon-to-be mother of three added that she and her husband Eric Johnson, 39, “are constantly cracking up and trying to figure out how to be honest… but not traumatize them or the friends and teachers we know they are sharing every detail with!”

Simpson and the former NFL player share son Ace Knute, 5, and daughter Maxwell “Maxi” Drew, 6.

Jessica Simpson

Jessica Simpson

Eugene Gologursky/Getty

RELATED: Pregnant Jessica Simpson Shares First Bump Photo: Baby Was a ‘Very Happy Surprise,’ Says Source

Simpson also told PEOPLE that “so far” her pregnancy is “going well.”

“I feel really good and we are all so excited,” she remarked, adding that “this time around I am also focused on Maxwell and Ace, who have their own very active calendars and social lives at this point — so it’s going by extremely fast!”

RELATED VIDEO: Baby Girl on the Way for Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson

Asked what the craziest part of her third pregnancy has been so far, Simpson went on to detail the “vivid pregnancy” dreams she’s been having.

“Well, I fly to get from place to place in my dreams this time around. It’s pretty weird but also fun,” she explained. “I keep a dream book next to my bed to try to get to the psychology of these vivid pregnancy dream[s]!”

As for her pregnancy cravings, Simpson shared she’s been hungry for “anything cinnamon — from a bun to a hot tamale.”

Jesssica Simpson and Eric Johnson with kids

Jesssica Simpson and Eric Johnson with kids

Jessica Simpson/Instagram

RELATED: Jessica Simpson Accepts Fashion Icon Award: ‘I Don’t Really Understand How I Can Be an Icon’

After making her baby bump debut on the pink carpet at the event, the show designer  — who heads up a billion-dollar fashion empire — received the Fashion Footwear Association of New York’s Fashion Icon award, one of the night’s biggest honors. 

“I’m very humbled to receive this,” she said during her acceptance speech. “I don’t really understand how I can be an icon. That’s kind of crazy to me. I feel a little bit young and right now I’m waddling and so I don’t know how iconic this is.”

The star also joked that her pregnancy hormones may get the best of her emotions up on stage when she began talking about the charitable element of the night. “I have all these pregnancy hormones and I’m constantly crying and I’m very emotional, and so like my mom said, in our family, we’ve experienced breast cancer, so what FFANY and QVC have done to raise money and awareness for breast cancer is absolutely remarkable and I just appreciate you guys so much for having me up here and for saying that I’m kind of cool, it means a lot.”

RELATED: Baby Girl Will Be Here Soon! All of Jessica Simpson’s Stylish Bump Pics

The actress and singer revealed in September that she and her husband are expecting baby No. 3, a daughter, more than five years after welcoming their second child, son Ace.

“This little baby girl will make us a family of five,” Simpson wrote alongside a snap of Ace and his big sister Maxwell “Maxi” Drew, 6, surrounded by pink balloons. “We couldn’t be happier to announce this precious blessing of life.”

A source previously PEOPLE that the family “are SO excited” about the baby on the way. “Maxwell and Ace cannot wait — and it was a very happy surprise,” the insider added.

In ‘A Dream Called Home,’ author Reyna Grande chronicles her path to the American Dream

Growing up, acclaimed author Reyna Grande never dreamed that she might someday become a writer.

“No one ever asked me what I wanted to be,” said Grande, reflecting on her hardscrabble childhood. “I didn’t think I could become a writer. I hadn’t read any books by Latinas. It never really entered my mind that Latinas wrote books, so I never thought that I could write a book.”

Not only did Grande go on to write, she’s won one the country’s most prestigious literary awards and her books are part of common read curriculums throughout the country.

This month, Grande is out with her latest memoir, “A Dream Called Home,” the sequel to her earlier memoir, “The Distance Between Us.”

Grande was born in Iguala, Mexico, a place infamous as the site of the disappearance of 43 college students in 2014. She was two when her father left for the U.S., followed by her mother several years later. When her father came back for her, Grande entered the country illegally as a child, a harrowing experience she explored in her first memoir.

In “A Dream Called Home,” she recounts her path to becoming the first person in her family to graduate college, become a published writer and find her American Dream.

The author of the novels “Dancing With Butterflies” and “Across A Hundred Mountains” — which won the 2007 National Book Award — Grande said that she wrote “A Dream Called Home” for both personal and professional reasons.

“I wanted to share what it’s like to grow up undocumented and to always feel caught between these two Mexican and American identities,” said Grande. ” I wanted people to have an insight into that experience and support immigration reform for our undocumented youth.”

Reyna Grande's
Reyna Grande’s “A Dream Called Home”Courtesy Reyna Grande

At 13, with a home life marked by an alcoholic father and an absent mother, Grande turned to writing as a lifeline. “Writing was an act of survival,” according to Grande.

But this too was a difficult journey.

“As a child immigrant struggling to adapt to the American way of life, I had a hard time finding my experiences reflected in the books given to me by my teachers at school or the librarian at the public library,” she writes. Wanting to not feel invisible, Grande wonders, “If I am not in literature, does that mean I don’t exist?”

At the University of California, Santa Cruz, Grande struggled with feelings of isolation and alienation as well as with several dysfunctional personal relationships. Straying far from her dream of becoming a writer, she winds up teaching unruly students in South Central Los Angeles.

As her family ties fray, she feels suffocated by loneliness. At one point a single mother, she asks herself, “How did my life come to this?”

Yet in her lowest moments, it was her interest in writing that propelled her forward, allowing her to overcome her immigrant trauma and years of family abuse and betrayal.

Now a married mother of two, Grande is currently in the midst of a national book tour. A reviewer from Publishers Weekly called her new book “an uplifting story of fortitude and resilience,” while Kirkus Reviews praised it as a “heartfelt, inspiring, and relevant memoir.” Her book is available in a Spanish-language edition as well.

Reyna Granda with her husband Cory
Reyna Grande with her husband Cory.Courtesy Reyna Grande

Author Stephanie Elizondo Griest praised Grande’s work and accomplishments. “We don’t usually hear the voices of the undocumented in this nation because of the fear and the practical difficulties in obtaining fluency,” she noted. “To go from learning English and attending college and then to break into Simon & Schuster is exceptional; we don’t have many people who do that. I think that she (Grande) is a pioneer – and a riveting storyteller.”

“To see a Latina succeeding in the literary world at this moment,” Elizondo Griest said, “is a triumph for us all.”

A Latina voice, but pain and heartbreak are “universal”

Despite Grande’s success – and that of marquee Latino writers like Junot Diaz and Sandra Cisneros – Latinos are still disproportionately under-represented in the publishing industry. In 2016, a study of the publishing workforce found that it was 79 percent white, with Latinos accounting for only 5.5. percent of staff at American publishers. To some observers, this lack of diversity has translated into a lack of Latino authors being published.

In an e-mail, editorial consultant Marcela Landres told NBC News, “Given how demonized Latinos in general and undocumented Latino immigrants in particular are these days, there is arguably a dire need for U.S readers to have a window to see how Latinos live.”

An author like Grande, Landres explained, is relevant because undocumented immigrants, especially those who are children, are a newsworthy and controversial topic.

America has often come first—but its dream has shrunk

Behold, America: The Entangled History of “America First” and “the American Dream”. By Sarah Churchwell. Basic Books; 368 pages; $19.99. Bloomsbury; £20.

IT IS common for historians to examine the actions of great men. Sarah Churchwell, a professor of American literature at the University of London, does something different. Her protagonists are not people but two expressions: “the American dream” and “America first”. By tracking their usage down the years in newspapers, books and politicians’ speeches, her aim is to cast light not just on the country’s past but also on its politics today. President Donald Trump launched his bid for the White House proclaiming that “the American dream is dead”; he has used “America first” as a rallying cry.

Both phrases are about a century old and have had a richer and more varied life than is commonly realised. The American dream nowadays tends to evoke individuals’ pursuit of riches, Ms Churchwell argues, but it started out in the Progressive Era meaning almost the opposite: “the social dream of justice and equality against individual dreams of aspiration and personal success”. After that, each successive period invented its own American dream according to the prevailing conditions.

For the first 20 years the expression mainly had a political, not an economic meaning. But from the mid-1920s it took on a familiar ring, and in the 1930s, against the background of the Depression, its use exploded as it came to describe what one of its champions, the historian James Truslow Adams, called “that belief in the right and possibility of a better life for all, regardless of class or circumstance”. By the 1950s and the advent of the cold war, says Ms Churchwell, the dream “had shrugged off all sense of moral disquiet, becoming a triumphalist patriotic assertion”.

“America first”, meanwhile, has always been a political slogan, with many applications. President Woodrow Wilson tried to wield it with subtlety, explaining that America needed to think of itself first, but to be ready to be Europe’s friend once the first world war was over. Others were cruder, urging protectionism, isolationism or worse. When the nationalist mood took him, William Randolph Hearst slapped “America First” on the masthead of his newspapers. The Ku Klux Klan used it to boost white supremacism.

It has been strikingly popular. The Republican Party adopted it as a catchphrase in 1894. Wilson picked it up in a speech in 1915 and used it as a slogan for his presidential campaign the following year (as did his Republican opponent, Charles Evans Hughes). The next three presidents—Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover—all embraced it. The anti-war America First Committee brandished it. It seems almost an anomaly that “America first” went quiet for so long until its recent thunderous revival.

As she weaves the twin strands of her history, shuttling between the American dream and “America first”, Ms Churchwell sometimes relies on tenuous connections to (and between) her yarns. Books described as “American dream novels” (“The Great Gatsby”, “Of Mice and Men”) turn out not to mention the phrase at all. A juicy tale of Fred Trump, the president’s father, being arrested along with five “avowed Klansmen” at riots in Queens in 1927 has only a tangential connection to the America-first narrative.

Yet this book is timely and instructive. Mr Trump’s critics can be mildly reassured that banging on about “America first” has plenty of precedent; yet they will also be disturbed by the nastiness of some of that history. As for the American dream, Ms Churchwell laments that it has become fossilised and flat. Americans once dreamed more expansively, she says, invoking ideas of social democracy and social justice. For all her evident abhorrence of Mr Trump, she may agree with him on one thing: reviving the dream might help make America great again.

Who Is Samin Nosrat, the Star of Netflix’s ‘Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat’ ?

After writing one of the seminal food books of the last decade, author Samin Nosrat is now expanding her quest to uncover the roots of deliciousness into a new Netflix series premiering this Thursday, October 11.

Just like the book of the same name, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat explores the science behind essential cooking techniques, with information about how to apply these lessons in your home kitchen. Travel is also a key component of the new series, with Nosrat visiting some of the world’s greatest food destinations to learn from artisans, chefs, and home cooks. The fourth episode, “Heat,” features a stopover at Chez Panisse, the Berkeley, California, institution where Nosrat started her cooking career. Although the San Diego-born, Iranian-American chef is a relative newcomer to the world of television — she appeared in one episode of the Michael Pollan docuseries Cooked — Nosrat quickly earned a reputation among the production crew for being a “natural” on camera.

Eater recently caught up with Nosrat to talk about the journey from page to screen and her thoughts on the future of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.

Eater: You first worked with director Caroline Suh on the Michael Pollan series Cooked. How did you get from that show to Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat?
Samin Nosrat: She was the showrunner of Cooked and directed the episode I was in. When we met in Berkeley, it was like love at first sight. She told me that day, “You’re going to have your own show,” and she was telling me the story of Jamie Oliver being discovered in the background of some other show.

What did you like about working together?
That day, with that crew, it was really grounded. It was definitely the biggest crew I’d been around, but I felt so amazing. There was this way where they kept being like, “Can you do this again? Can you do it this way? Can you answer this question?” And I was so happy to give them whatever they wanted, because I felt like we were all on the same page working toward this larger goal of getting it just right. I feel that in restaurants, like at Chez Panisse, and I have felt that in other collective environments where I’m working with colleagues toward a goal. But it’s a rare thing to end up in a creative environment where everyone just wants to make the best possible thing. It was just a magical feeling, and I really felt like she was like my guardian angel.

That episode was really fun. Caroline let me talk about a lot of stuff — she was so genuinely curious. I talked a lot about feminism in the kitchen. There was a lot of things they didn’t use, but I felt like they were really listening to stuff that I spent years thinking about. They went back and made the episode, and I think it performed well — there’s so much I don’t know, because people are very secretive at Netflix. I think they were interested in a season two, but I’m not Michael Pollan. He didn’t want to do a season two.

Caroline knew that I was making this four-part book, and Jigsaw Productions knew about that. She was like, “Send me drafts of your chapters, and let’s bring this to Jigsaw.” She really shepherded it to them, and there was a way that they could see the potential for it. To me, it makes absolute sense: It’s a universal philosophy of cooking, and anywhere we go, we can teach this. So, Jigsaw was super on it, they brought it to Netflix, and it was so crazy how it was just, “Yes, yes, yes, yes.”

All things considered, how many years did it take to write the book?
I had the idea 18 years ago, and then it took me about seven years of active work, teaching the classes, working on the curriculum, distilling the curriculum into something that could be on the page, writing the book proposal, selling the book, and writing the book. Were you going to ask me if I ever imagined it would be a show?

Yes! Did you ever dream of a TV show?
I think the first time I taught a cooking class was 2007. I remember coming back to work and telling the other cooks and chefs that I worked with, “This seems really inefficient, teaching people how to cook, like, 12 rich ladies in Berkeley at a time.” And I was like, “What if I had a show, where I taught people how to cook? It would reach so many more people, and it would be much more efficient, and I could get the message to the people who need to hear this, other than recreational home cooks.” And I remember that, because this was Berkeley, people were like, “TV is the devil.” But it always was somewhere in the back of my mind.

And then the other thing is that, right after I sold my book, I went to the number one top-rated astrologer on Yelp, a psychic in San Francisco. It was this expensive thing that I’d heard about forever, and I was like, “I’m going to go to her.” She didn’t know anything about me, but I told her I had a book, and she said, “Your book’s going to get optioned for a movie deal.” And I was like, “Are you sure about that? Maybe a show?” And she was like, “No, I see a movie deal.” And what’s funny is that the way that the deal was structured is that it was a film option, not a TV option, because it was a documentary film series. She was right.

How did the travel aspect come into the mix? Was that something you wanted from the beginning?
It was in there since the earliest rounds of the treatment. That’s when you’re dreaming, and I was like, “Were going to go to nine countries per episode.” And then we had to deal with the realities of budgeting.

We went to LA to pitch Netflix in person the day before Halloween 2016. We had this great pitch — it was so awesome — and then it takes a day for them go get back to you. So the day I got the news of “we want it,” was two days after the Trump election, and I was in my bed, very depressed. I very much questioned, “What does it mean for me to decide to be a public person, when the public has sent me a very clear message that I’m not the kind of person that they want to see on camera.” I had to sit with that.

Accomplishment-wise, of course, it was amazing news. But in the moment, when I was looking out at the world, I was like, “What does this mean?” Initially, I really wanted to go to Iran for the “acid” episode. And then I was thinking about like, what will it mean for the world — and what will it mean in my life — to be seen in a hijab speaking Farsi? I spent a lot of time thinking about that stuff.

Right now, the reason I cook and the reason I care about this as a line of work is that it’s kind of like the lowest-hanging fruit in terms of [being] the tool for a storyteller; to tell universal stories, connect people from diverse backgrounds, increase curiosity, and teach you about the world. And I thought, “Well, if I can do that with this, it’s my job.”

What I wouldn’t have given as a little kid in San Diego to have seen someone like me on TV! In second grade, I was called a terrorist. My whole life has been this. So if I can mean that for somebody else — for another little kid, or not even a little kid — then that’s what I wanted to do.

It seems like, by letting food be the prism through which you get to explore the world, you’re allowed the freedom to seamlessly bounce from place to place. On the show, you make it seem like…
We are all connected! The more I kept doing research for the book, I was reading a lot of science studies and stuff, about the way we taste, the way we derive pleasure, and the ultimate human relationship to eating. And the stuff about salt, fat, acid, and heat is fundamentally human. We need salt because our bodies can’t produce it. We need certain fats that our bodies can’t produce. Acid makes our mouths water, and that starts the digestive process. We all want to taste delicious foods. And the truth is, sure, of course, there’s all this diversity of flavor everywhere we go, but fundamentally, deliciousness is deliciousness.

Would you like to do another season? And if so, would you do it the same way or would you structure it differently?
I learned so much that I would want to put everything I’ve learned into practice, absolutely. I think whatever I make next, it will look different. I think I would totally do something with them again — I loved working with Netflix, so much. It’s a dream.

The other day when I was at [the television trade conference] CTA, I was going through the press gauntlet and went over to the TV Guide booth. They took my picture and said, “How’s your day?” And I said, “Well, did you grow up thinking your picture was going to be in TV Guide? Because I didn’t.” I never thought this could happen or would happen. It’s just beyond my comprehension, and I feel so lucky to have a tool to make people’s lives a little bit better.

One thing I learned — a basic, practical thing — was that writing a column about cooking, while you’re traveling around the world making a show about cooking, when you have to write your stuff, report your stuff, and fact check it… that almost killed me. It was really hard to be so on top of my schedule to make sure I was at home testing, submitting, and filing. So I think that anything that I do next time, there will have to be a way where what I’m writing about and what I’m filming about line up, so I’m not losing my mind doing 10 different things at the same time.

I do think there is an argument to be made for more seasons of this show, because I do think it’s a universal idea. I think that people have been talking about this a lot after Anthony Bourdain’s passing, where, from the outside you’re like, “Wow, a food travel show? That’s the best job ever. Wow, you get to go to all these places and do all this stuff and meet all these people.” I just want to say for the record, when we were on the Mexico shoot, Caroline and I ate more Johnny Rockets hamburgers than any Mexican food, because our hotel had a Johnny Rockets in it, and we’d get home so late and leave so early. I wasn’t eating all of the foods in Mérida. It’s not a vacation.

Now I understand what’s involved, and so I think in some ways I’d like to do a show that doesn’t move around so much. But also, with my book and with the show, I think I maybe have earned the trust of whoever I’m going to work with that it’s okay to break rules a little bit and do things a little bit differently and not by the formula that’s always been done. I need a little downtime to have a creative moment and figure out what that could look like. But I think there’s infinite ways that you can make exciting, new, beautiful food shows, and I totally want to do it.

And also, whatever I do next, I do think that the most meaningful part of this for me was getting the opportunity to work with a lot of different people who are not historically shown on television. Not only people of color, but focusing on home cooks rather than restaurant cooking — focusing on the grannies. Any time I could, I was bringing that kind of stuff in, because I do feel like what we get to see on TV is pretty limited. So hopefully, again, now I will have the kind of power where I can insist on that.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat [Netflix]
All Food TV Coverage [E]