5.26.16: Sounds and Sweet Airs, Multi-Level Marketing Is Alive and Well, & What America Eats

May 26, 2016

Bach, Beethoven, and Haydn are familiar names, but what about Caccini, Strozzi, and Maconchy? Today, we hear sounds and stories from the forgotten female composers of classical music.

Then, one sales strategy has stood the test of time, making the transition from 1950s house parties to digital media - multilevel marketing, or direct sales. But what might seem like an awkward annoyance is actually changing social dynamics for hundreds of thousands of women. 

Listen to the full show. 

Sounds and Sweet Airs

There are countless female composers who have remained in obscurity for centuries. Cultural historian Anna Beer wrote about eight of them in her book Sounds and Sweet Airs: The Forgotten Women Of Classical Music.

Native Ascetic

Catholic saints are often depicted as pale, serene figures in settings from Middle Eastern deserts to medieval European towns. Producer Bruce Wallace along with BackStory brings us the story of a lesser known saint with a very different history. He traveled to the birthplace of North America's first indigenous saint to learn how she is remembered today. 

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org

Multi-Level Marketing is Here to Stay

It started in the 1950s with Tupperware parties - but it seems like the direct in-home sales model has made a smooth transition to social media.  If you are on Facebook today, especially if you're a woman, chances are good you've been invited to gobs of sales-related events, often disguised as fun excuses for a girlfriend get together - things like "ladies' night, "coffee date" or "brunch party". Maybe you've thrown one yourself - since roughly one in seven u-s households has someone involved with direct sales.  The official name for this type of business structure is called "multi-level marketing" and it's bigger than ever...for better or for worse.

Kate Shellnutt wrote about the sustained popularity of multi-level marketing among women for Vox and Christianity Today, where she's associate editor.

What America Really Eats

Bone broth was "the thing" last fall - steaming up food and diet blogs, seasonal menus, and the titles of multiple cookbooks.  Before that it was kale - in everything - and unexpected spins on poutine. Now, the culinary darlings are Hawaiian poke bowls and raindrop cakes.

Despite being popular in foodie circles and aspirational websites, average Americans make none of above them on a regular basis. To find out what America really eats, you have to look at Allrecipes.com...that's what Nicholas Hune-Brown discovered, and wrote about for Slate.   

Related: If You Are What You Eat, America Is Allrecipes