Clay Risen

Clay Risen is an editor at The New York Times, and is the author of A Nation on Fire: America in the Wake of the King Assassination. He has written for The New Republic, Smithsonian, and The New York Times Sunday Magazine.

  • America's Drink Gets an Asian Makeover

    Bourbon, American's Congressional-declared "native spirit," is hugely popular in Asia. But not everyone drinks it like they do in Kentucky. Some surprising variations on an American theme.

  • Bavaria's World-Class Smoked Beer

    Schlenkerla, one of the world's best beers, is made using a rare technique of drying malt over an open flame. The result is the deep and truly unique flavor of smoked sausage. Some U.S. breweries are starting to learn, trying out the style for themselves.

  • The Charm of Austrian Pumpkin Seed Oil

    Hand-pressed in village centers, it's good on just about anything -- especially ice cream, yogurt, or a fresh salad. And as a dressing for salad or vegetables, the dark-green oil is sublime. Pumpkin seed oil isn't obscure, but it's more obscure than it deserves to be.

  • Loving and Not Loving Schnapps

    Schnapps are available the world over, of course. But only in Europe can you regularly find a range of inexpensive aperitifs and digestifs on almost every menu. And creativity in Schnapps has risks. One company distilled Schnapps from beer -- with disastrous results.

  • The Lightning Rod

    MICHELLE RHEE CHARGED IN as chancellor of the Washington, D.C., public schools wielding BlackBerrys and data—and a giant axe. She has made a city with possibly the country’s worst public schools ground zero for education reform, and attracted a cadre of young zealots some critics call “Rhee-bots.” Now the changes that she insists schoolchildren need are colliding head-on with the political wants of adults.

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Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

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What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

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Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

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Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

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Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

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The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

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