Nation/World

Their gourds tell a story — and earn them a living. That gourd in the photo — the one on the left? It is covered with miniature pictures of a potato harvest in Peru. There's even a wee burro hauling the day's crop.

That gourd will sell for around $800.

In 1776, the American colonies declared independence from Britain.

But it wasn't until 1796 that someone dared to tackle a question that would plague every generation of Americans to come: "What is American food?"

American Cookery, the very first American cookbook, was written by Amelia Simmons (more on this mysterious woman later). In it, she promised local food and a kind of socioculinary equality. The title page stated that the recipes were "adapted to this country and all grades of life."

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Elisavet Zachariadou is a retired professor of history in Athens. She admires Italian art and reads French literature and German philosophy. She considers herself a European.

"When I learned that Greece is going to be part of the European Union [in the 1980s], I was very happy," she recalls. "And I said, 'How nice. And how good for all of us.' "

But Zachariadou's attachment to Europe is complex. She's 84 and lives in the Athens suburb where she grew up during World War II, when Nazi Germany invaded Greece and her people suffered horribly.

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The smartphone has become a staple of life. But what about the personal assistant inside that phone? Not so much.

Maybe you turn to Apple's Siri or Google Now for a quick search or a snarky answer to a question. But imagine a world where your phone actually gets you. You, personally. Turns out two tech giants — Google and Apple — disagree on whether that's a worthy goal.

Introducing 'Now On Tap'

Classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein is just back from Havana, where she performed with Cuba's National Youth Orchestra. She is also working with young people back in her hometown, New York. One of her goals? To introduce students to the composer she's best known for performing — Johann Sebastian Bach. She's taking digital pianos into public schools in a program she calls "Bach-packing."

As Fourth Of July weekend approaches, World Cafe wanted to hear about a style of Latin music that had its beginnings — at least in part — here in the U.S. That style is norteño: music that comes from the border between the U.S. and Mexico and is equally popular in both countries.

Ernesto Lechner, journalist and co-host of The Latin Alternative, leads us through the corridos and other music in the still-evolving norteño style.

Donald Trump's controversial remarks dispagaging Mexican immigrants led to a series of organizations cutting ties with the Republican presidential candidate.

The U.S. government's system for regulating the products of biotechnology, including GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, was born in 1986, and it has been controversial from the start. Now, it will be getting a makeover — in part to assure the public that GMOs really are adequately regulated.

The federal government Thursday granted recognition to the Pamunkey Indian tribe of Virginia. The tribe, whose members encountered the first permanent English settlers some 400 years ago, had long sought the recognition.

The Pamunkey tribe has just over 200 members, about a quarter of whom live on a reservation near Richmond.

The announcement by the Bureau of Indian Affairs that it would recognize the tribe is "vindication," said tribal Chief Kevin Brown.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, running in the Democratic presidential primaries, has raised about $15 million, his campaign said Thursday.

His campaign emphasized the grass-roots strength of his fundraising: 250,000 donors making nearly 400,000 contributions of $250 or less.

The numbers come from a quarterly disclosure report being filed at the Federal Election Commission, and are measured from when Sanders launched his campaign April 30.

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As President Obama promised, a new rule would make 5 million more Americans eligible for overtime pay.

Many workers say it's a welcome change. But businesses say employees could see negative, unintended consequences.

Barrett Zenger has managed a music store in Corpus Christi, Texas, for the past seven years, where he oversees two dozen employees, stocks inventory and fills in for sales clerks who call in sick.

A curious detail appeared in stories about the death this week of a 17-year-old boy from Ebola.

For the last 44 years, you could ask Maria how to get to Sesame Street, but not any more. Sonia Manzano, the actress who has played the character since 1971, is retiring and won't be part of the next season.

Manzano, 65, announced the news earlier this week at the American Library Association Annual Conference.

For the past several years, the group Coexister has been going into secular French schools to break down religious stereotypes in the classroom.

Since January's attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, the demand for their interventions has skyrocketed.

Booze, drugs, Svengalis galore, rampant co-dependence: The bare bones of a crash-and-burn rocker bio-pic poke through Asif Kapadia's richly absorbing documentary about the short, sharp life of Amy Winehouse. Here and there Amy flirts with prurience, but prurience is hard to avoid with a young woman who, willy-nilly, lived her private life in public. And if ever there was an artist whose life and work fed one another for better and worse, it was Winehouse.

Maybe it seems like just yesterday that you were storing away your holiday decorations.

Maybe it actually was yesterday because life gets busy and tasks get put off, and before you know it, half the year is over and you're scrambling to catch up.

So in case you have been too busy to pay close attention, here's what we now know about the just-ended half of this year's economy:

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She has taught generations of children important lessons and read them a whole lot of books.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SESAME STREET")

SONIA MANZANO: (As Maria) "Goldilocks And The Three Bears" - an oldie, but a goodie.

Adm. Michael Rogers is among the American officials most likely to know which country perpetrated the Office of Personnel Management's massive data breach, possibly the biggest hack ever of the U.S. government. He's not only director of the National Security Agency, but also heads the U.S. Cyber Command.

Can racism cause post-traumatic stress? That's one big question psychologists are trying to answer, particularly in the aftermath of the shooting at the historically black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., and the recent incidents involving police where race was a factor.

What's clear is that many black Americans experience what psychologists call "race-based trauma," says Monnica Williams, director of the Center for Mental Health Disparities at the University of Louisville.

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Instead of ignoring the strange things a woman's body does through motherhood and aging, Deborah Landau's new collection revels in them. It's called "The Uses Of The Body." Tess Taylor has our review.

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