Category: Food and Culture

Off the Stage: Life After “The Voice”

20th Annual Book Festival Draws All Ages


By Lucy Chen and Katherine Recatto

Thousands of people attended the 20th anniversary of the Texas Book Festival this past weekend in downtown Austin. A six-block stretch of white tents filled with a plethora of books, authors and book lovers proved that while audio books and eBooks have been on the rise, the affinity for printed books is still alive and well.

With the rapid increase in the use of technology, people have been turning to electronic books and audio books. The usage of electronic books soared up 1,260 percent between 2008 and 2010 according to a study done by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan fact tank.

The report then noted the significant slow down of the usage of e-books with a six percent increase of adults who read an e-book in the past year in between 2011 and 2012. A five percent increase occurred in the following year.

The center conducted another research that discovered the percentage of people who read a print book in the past year and compared it to the statistics of people who read an e-book in the same time frame. While the number of people who read a printed book dropped from 71 percent to 65 percent in 2012, confirming the prediction that e-books is taking away print readership, the four percent rise to 69 percent in 2014 showed that there isn’t necessarily a correlation between the two sets of statistics.

Kathryn Sickuhr, a researcher and staff writer at the Pew Research Center, said, “Most American adults read a print book in the past year, even as e-reading continues to grow.”

Marion Rocco, a children’s literature professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said that the benefit of printed books lies in their accessibility.

“A paper book is always free to borrow from the library,” Rocco said, “ While it may be free to borrow an ebook as well, it is not free if one needs to purchase an ereader or computer of some kind.”

The onset of the ebook revolution does not signal the demise of the printed book.

Racist Roots: An inside look at UT landmarks

By Kyle Cavazos, Estefanía de León, Danny Goodwin, & Danielle Vabner

In front of the main tower at the University of Texas, there is an empty space where a statue of Jefferson Davis once stood. Appearing indifferent toward its absence, students walk by on their way to class, cell phones in hand.

The university made the controversial decision to remove the statue after South Carolina took down its own Confederate flag. Some disagree with its relocation, arguing that the statue is simply part of the school’s history, and that to remove it from its original location is to deny its history and its ties to the Confederacy. Others, however, are relieved that the statue is no longer on display, and feel that the time has come to bid adieu to the prejudiced past it is associated with.

“I think that’s kind of what the university allows for in this space is for these kind of conversions and controversies,” said Dr. Simone Browne, an Associate Professor in African and African Diaspora Studies. “But in the end, at least for me, the right thing was done, and for other people they want that to remain so that we can understand these histories.”

The history of the university and its landmarks goes deeper than Jefferson Davis. There are still other figures on campus that remain at the center of this debate, figures who have had an influence on the university for years. One example is George Littlefield, who was a donor to the university and had ties to the Confederacy.

“He established a Littlefield Fund for Southern History, which would basically archive a history that was a celebration of the Confederacy,” Browne said. “[He] gifted not only this archive, but also gifted the money to create what we have as the six-pack…and so his name is still continually on the campus.”

Though Browne said that she agrees with the removal of the statue, she does not believe that awareness of the university’s history and keeping these landmarks up for all to see have to be mutually exclusive.

“[We need to understand] the university, its architecture, and its formation as a…memorialization to the Confederacy as an enterprise,” Browne said. “That’s what it was about. That’s why basically the, the university’s back is facing the north, why we’re facing the Capitol, why we have everything around that fountain.”

Dr. Leonard Moore is an example of a UT faculty member who feels that the statues and other landmarks originating from can serve as learning tools for students, and that they should not be taken down.

“I’m a historian, so other people may see a Confederate statue as problematic. I value them for their historical value, you know what I mean?” Moore said. “I like to use things like that as a teachable moment. I wish they had left them up, because I think it reminds people of the history of this place.”

Moore also said that he does not believe that the statues have a profound effect on minority students at UT. He said that in his experience, students are looking to get more support from the UT community.

“They would’ve probably said some more scholarships, some more outreach efforts, some more outreach programs out of the College of Business and the College of Engineering,” he said. “And so the fear was, when they put the statues down, now we can’t get anything else.”

 

Sweet New Law for Texas Honey Producers

September is National Honey Month and Texas bees are celebrating a new state law that will lighten the regulations placed on small scale beekeepers.

Round Rock Honey drives from hive to hive in style with their decorated van and personalized license plate. The family-owned and operated business not only produces the purest of wildflower honey but also educates future beekeepers and the general public.

Round Rock Honey drives from hive to hive in style with their decorated van and personalized license plate. The family-owned and operated business not only produces the purest of wildflower honey but also educates future beekeepers and the general public. Photo by: Erin MacInerney

By: Morgan Bridges, Erin Griffin, Erin MacInerney, Jamie Pross

To bee or not to bee, won’t be a question anymore for bee hobbyists producing under 200 gallons of honey annually. The new Texas statute means they will be exempt from costly state health licensing requirements other larger manufacturers face.

The queen bee of honey, Hayden Wolf, thinks this will increase honey production around the state. As the 2015 American Honey Princess, Wolf represents Texas all around the nation advocating the importance of bees in keeping our ecosystem humming perfectly.

“This new law helps my family and I because we have always wanted to sell our honey,” Wolf says. “It’s a great opportunity for beekeepers.”

The 19-year-old manages 12 hives with her parents in East Texas but does not produce enough honey or have the time to make a business out of it.

The new law would allow beekeepers like Wolf and her family to sell their honey directly to consumers at farmers markets or small venues as long as proper labeling distinguishes their product from those bottled in inspection facilities.

Bee enthusiasts say the warm Texas climate is a haven for raising honey bees.  Many keepers from Northern states bring their hives to Texas during the winter months.

“It’s a lot easier than getting a pet,” Wolf says. “You don’t even have to take them on a leash and walk them everyday!”

If you are concerned with getting the proper vitamin bee from your honey, don’t let that adorable bear-shaped bottle at the supermarket fool you.

Pollen studies conducted by Professor Vaughn M. Bryant of Texas A&M University found that over 75 percent of honey sold at large chain stores and restaurants had the pollen removed making it impossible to trace the legitimate source or ingredients.

Take a look at a jar of honey and you might find ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup and other artificial sweeteners. What you won’t see on the label are antibiotics, heavy metals and other harsh chemicals that could have contaminated the honey throughout the process.

These honey bunches of lies make it easier for manufacturers to cut costs and extend shelf life consequently removing the health benefits completely

The honey sold at co-ops, farmers markets and “natural stores” yielded the full, expected amounts of pollen.

The new law encourages sales of local honey which means a higher chance of consuming 100 percent, organic honey without the cheap additives.

“There are many benefits of honey and if you are not getting the pure product, you might not be getting those benefits,” Wolf says. “The best way to know you are actually getting the best honey is to know your beekeeper personally and ask them questions.”

Texas ranks sixth in the nation for honey production, but our bees still face major threats of disease, negative effects of pesticide use and global warming.

“It’s a fairly simply hobby but it has become harder to keep our bees alive in the past years. Now we have to check the hives every two to three weeks,” Wolf says. “It used to be easier in the old days.”

Mystery syndromes not fully understood such as Colony Collapse Disorder have created quite a buzz in the last decade. Annual bee colony losses averaged around 42 percent this past year according to a study conducted by the Apiary Inspectors of America.

“It is important we try to keep them alive, to keep ourselves alive,” says Melanie Brown, Founder of BEEVO, The University of Texas’ Beekeeping Society. “Bees pollinate a lot of our crops and without them, we would have a serious shortage of food.”

About 80 percent of the food on grocery store shelves are there thanks to bees according to the International Bee Research Association.

Brown says the BEEVO club has a substantial following since initiating this last spring.
The goal of the society is to engage students, faculty, and staff in urban beekeeping as part of an effort towards sustainable pollinator populations.

“I’m more passionate about the environmental impacts of beekeeping but there are a lot of people on campus who are just super into beekeeping,” Brown says. “I am happy they now have an outlet to share their knowledge.”

 

Bee Story-8

 

Casa Brasil Coffees: From Seed to Cup

By: Brittanie Burke, Hannah Smothers, Savannah Williams and Corynn Wilson

IMG_9175

In 2005, Joel Shuler founded Casa Brasil, an Austin-based coffee importer and roaster that specializes in premium Brazilian coffee. The coffee is roasted fresh to order in small batches and sampled to ensure quality. Blending his love for Brazil and his passion for coffee, Shuler hopes infuse every cup with “sabor e progresso” (flavor and progress).

To read the full story, click here.

Before & After You Graduate

University of Texas Austin campus at sunset-dusk - aerial view

The temperature in Austin is heating up while the semester is winding down and the graduating class is becoming restless. Before graduation there are a few quintessential Austin things all graduating seniors need to do before they walk across the stage.

Exploring off campus landmarks, dining in five-star restaurants and spending all day on the lush Greenbelt are just some of the things students may or may not have done in their four years at The University of Texas.

To make sure you get everything out of Austin before graduation we compiled a list of things to do in and around Austin to get the most out of the off-campus college experience. Then after you’ve checked all of these places off your bucket list we have compiled a list of resources for you to use when starting the job search and perfecting the art of the dreaded job interview.

The Austin Spots

1. See the view from Mt. Bonnell

Mount Bonnell is a well-known point next to Lake Austin on a portion of the Colorado River. It has been a popular tourist destination since the 1850s and students have been making the hike to the top of Mt. Bonnell for the great views, romantic atmosphere and physical challenge.

Audrey Bounds is a senior in the school of music. She hopes to move to Nashville after graduation and get a job in music production. For now, she’s still on the job hunt but she has fond memories of Mt. Bonnell.

“I was really expecting a climb or a big hike to get there. I was a little bit disappointed that it wasn’t more of a workout, but the view definitely makes up for it,” said Bounds.

2. Take a picture at Castle Hill

Castle Hill graffiti park sits at the base of the historic Texas Military Institute castle which was built in the 1920s and now serves as an office for a local real estate developer. The structural ruins beneath the Victorian castle are concrete canvases for Austin graffiti artists and a special hang out for the you culture in Austin.

Jenna Rae Housson is a senior journalism major who has spend a great deal of time at Castle Hill.

“I’ve been to Castle Hill a few different times — each time to take pictures of specific photo subjects. That’s what the great thing about it is — the graffiti is different every single time, so photos will never be the same,” points out Housson. “My favorite art piece was right after Robin Williams died. There was a beautiful, huge mural of him as the genie with the “genie, you’re free” quote.”

After graduation, Jenna has a one-way ticket to Prague. She will do summer school then spend the rest of the summer traveling Europe and working on sustainable and organic farms.

3.Enjoy one last Kerbey Queso

queso-gif

If you have made it through the first four years of college without every going to Kerbey Lane you better go now. The Austin staple is the go-to late night hangout serving up the greasiest, homey food every late night studier or party-goer dreams of.

Shelby Flowers is a senior history and RTF major. After graduation she is moving back home to Whittier, Calif. to take time off before finding a job. She hopes to be a historical consultant for production companies, but for now she reminisces about all of the time she has spent at Kirby Lane.

“Kerbey Queso is the best. It’s been my go-to for the past four years. Plus, it’s open late so literally anytime I have a craving, I can just walk down the Drag and get it,” said Flowers. “What makes it different is they put the guac in the queso. I’m definitely going to miss this when I graduate.”


Get The Job

Alright, fun’s over. Now that you have gotten your fill of Austin and crossed those last minute things off your bucket list it’s time to get down to business and that means job hunting.

Alexandra Heart, a graduating senior and journalism major, is taking the job hunting process one day at a time. “Anything past [graduation] isn’t even on my radar yet,” she says.

While many students are taking these last few weeks, day-by-day, the reality is time starts to fly by and before you know it everyone has a job but you. In order to avoid missing out of potential job opportunities we have compiled a list of resources, tips and tricks to help you get the job you want.

The Career Services office isn’t the only helpful resource when looking for future work and the university has an endless amount of resources for recent graduates. If you haven’t taken advantage of these yet, we suggest you flip through this slideshow to find out just post-graduation aid available to you.

Resources for Recent Grads

Now that you have done your homework and written the perfect cover letter, it is time to really get down to business. Perfecting the art of the interview is a lifelong endeavor but we took the liberty to break it down to make the process a little less nerve-wracking.

The most important thing we found when walking into a job interview is that you need to be prepared. Making sure you have done your research and have prepared a few questions for the end of the interview will make you a more memorable and shining applicant which will ultimately help you get the job. For the full list of tips watch this video to catch up on interview protocol.

Job Interview Tips

Last but not least it really comes down to how you look and act in person. You may have all of the t’s crossed and i’s dotted on your resume, but if the interviewer doesn’t feel a connection with you while you’re sitting across from him or her, than you’ve already lost.

Try to dress appropriately for the job you want. If the job is at an ultra-hip start up then come in looking that way. If it’s at a buttoned up professional firm, then come in your most tailored suit. Matching your personality with the appropriate dress and a layer of confidence will help you feel like you fit in and already have the job. “Fake it till you make it, right?”

If you are uncertain of what is and isn’t appropriate for your interview dress then check out the next two infographics for women and men to make sure you are looking sharp and are ready to tackle any question a clever interviewer might ask, because if you look good then you feel good and yes that’s a real thing.

Photography and Interviews by Colleen Nelson
Video and Resource Slider by Lazaro Hernandez
Apparel Graphic & Written by Katelyn Orlowski

Beer Culture A-Brewin’ on Campus

Will Craven, a sophomore at the University of Texas, is a member of the Texas Brewing Society.

University of Texas sophomore Will Craven rises early on a drizzly Sunday morning to initiate the fermentation of his specialty home-brewed India pale ale. Even before achieving the two-to-four week fermentation process, the beer solution takes nearly half a day to prepare.

For folks like James Sutton, drinking a run-of-the-mill beer is simply not satisfying enough.

Sutton, president and founder of Future Brewers Club at the University of Texas at Austin, is a beer enthusiast who eschews the likes of Bud Lite and talks excitedly about lagers the names of which few have probably ever heard of, much less tasted.

“Both my parents are craft beer drinkers,” Sutton said. “I grew up with my dad drinking Saint Arnold, and that just being in the fridge all the time and not thinking anything of it.”

Saint Arnold is a craft brewery in Houston, just one of many that Sutton frequents on a regular basis. Many of the best craft breweries in the state are here in Austin, according to Sutton.

“We’re really lucky that we live in Austin and we live in 2015, because there’s a ton of craft beer everywhere,” Sutton said. “You can find good stuff anywhere. Try anything from Austin Beerworks, 512 or Real Ale.”

 

 

While brewing your own beer combines a bit of creativity and a bunch of complex chemistry, Sutton insists that the club is really just a vehicle to bring beer buffs together.

“You definitely don’t need any homebrew experience to come or to enjoy it,” Sutton said. “I, at least, try to stay away from the more technical side of beers. I just want people to come and learn some and not be overwhelmed.”

The crux of the club is simple, but Sutton himself knows the complexities of brewing and hopes to have a career in it someday.

“I’ve worked at a couple breweries in the past and it’s extremely rewarding to see a product out at a bar or a grocery store,” Sutton said. “You could see a bottle out on the floor at HEB and think, ‘Hey, I might have picked up that bottle at some point.’”

“This is what I want to do. I don’t know about the rest of my life, but after I graduate I definitely want to work in a brewery. It’s fun.”

Working at a craft brewery is not so much of an oddity anymore, either. According to the Washington Post, there are now over 4,500 of them in the United States, and sales from craft breweries constitute 14.3 percent of the $100 billion beer market.

Sutton, like many craft brewers, is a chemistry major, and attests to the importance that science plays in brewing.

“Brewing is a science,” Sutton said. “Brewing is an art. It’s a lot of complex chemistry that maybe we don’t understand. But a lot of it is understood and it’s helping everyone make better beer every day.”

But after some prodding, the process was revealed to be not so difficult.

“Really, there are only four ingredients: barley, water, yeast and hops,” Sutton said. “Boil the barley in the water, which breaks it down into simple sugars. Boil some hops in there for bitterness and aroma. Transfer it, cool it down. Add yeast, and it’s basically a chemical reaction in which simple sugars are converted into alcohol and CO2.”

 

 

Sutton’s club was started just last year, but the membership has already grown substantially.

“At orientation, they tell you all you need [to start a student organization] is three friends and 10 dollars,” Sutton said. “I was like, ‘Hey I totally have three friends.’ Twenty people showed up at the first meeting. It was hard to get it started, but rewarding.”

The members of the club have varying levels of interest in brewing their own beer, though seemingly none are as enthusiastic as Sutton.  He claims that you get out what you put into it.

“It’s kind of like any hobby,” Sutton said. “You can spend as little as you want and do as little as you want or you can spend as much as you want and do as much as you want. It’s not that hard if you want to do it. The hardest part is getting out and doing it.”

In the end, Sutton said, craft brewing is all about being the right mix.

“Brewing is 25 percent janitor, 25 percent chef, 25 percent chemist and 25 percent dude who drinks beer.”

Interested in brewing? Sutton tells us how.

 

Sutton, chemistry student and president of the University of Texas’ Future Brewers Club, shares some brewing basics and what his new student organization is all about (though that you could’ve guessed), all over a glass (or two) of his own home-brewed beer.

Crushin’ It Up in Austin

by Alyssa Brant, Sylvia Butanda, Kim Carmona and Rebecca Salazar

In order to cater to their large client base, Water 2 Wine in South Austin offers about 60 different wines on their menu. Photo by: Rebecca Salazar

In order to cater to their large client base, Water 2 Wine in South Austin offers about 60 different wines on their menu. Photo by: Rebecca Salazar

Wine is not just another alcohol. It is a way of life and a changing culture.

Before making his way to Austin five years ago, Chris Latzko worked in the Napa Valley wine industry for 18 years. During that time, he attained his vintner’s license as well as a degree in oenology from The University of California, Davis. He now makes and serves wine at Water 2 Wine, which is an urban winery located in South Austin.

“We’re like the old petite wineries in Europe,” Latzko said. “Everything is hand bottled, hand corked and hand labeled.”

Water 2 Wine is a small urban winery, which means they do not grow grapes on site. They instead import grapes from around the country, and complete the rest of the process in house.

“It’s a little more romantic, a little more labor intensive but it is a lot of fun,” Latzko said.

In comparison to larger scale wineries that produce from 500 to 5,000 gallons of wine at a time, Water 2 Wine produces around six to 10 gallons. To start the process, the juice is poured into a bucket and heated up to around 75 degrees in order to start the fermentation process. The flavors are blended in and then oxygen and yeast are added. The mixture is capped to ferment.

“We are low in preservatives, and sometimes a little higher in alcohol,” Latzko said.

Water 2 Wine has one other location in North Austin as well as four other locations in Texas. There is also one location in Wisconsin as well as Colorado. They each sell their wine by the glass, by the bottle or by the batch. Also on every visit, a customer is allowed up taste up to five wines for free.

Damian Schillaci considers himself a wine connoisseur and is a club member at Water 2 Wine. He ventures into the South Austin location about one to two times a month.

“I looked at some of the other custom wineries in town, and I like this wine better than the other ones,” Schillaci said.

On the menu there are about 60 different wines, and in general they pour about 30 of those. According to Latzko, some don’t sell as well as others, but they keep them around to cater to their large client base. However there are about four wines that are very popular and are kept on hand at all times.

“It’s also a social thing,” Schillaci said. “It is just a fun place to come, and it is fun that it’s custom wines.”

In addition to wine tastings and selling custom wine, Water 2 Wine hosts additional events like live music on Saturdays, paint and wine parties and cooking contests in order to cater to the booming culture.

“Beer is still popular. Mix drinks are still popular, but wine culture has definitely taken over Austin these days,” Latzko said.

The concept of small custom wineries actually started in Canada about 30 years ago, according to Latzko. The tax to bring wine from California over the boarder was outrageous, so they decided to make their own. This trend has now traveled south and is growing in popularity across the United States, including Austin.

“It’s not as big as it is say like LA, New York and Miami,” Latzko said. “But Austin is on its way up and up.”

Particularly in the past three years, Latzko has seen a big change in the wine culture overall. In Austin alone he has seen more tasting bars open across the area, as well as more wine stores and places to just drink wine like Apothecary and Flour and Vine. He has also seen how the taste buds of the area have developed over time.

“Years ago people were still asking for white zinfandel, which was the most popular wine in the United States,” Latzko said. “Now it’s more about the pinots, the cabs, the merlots and blends.”

In addition to the change in preference of wine, the way wine is being paired is also evolving.

“There used to be a real set protocol for wine pairing,” Latzko said. “But it is not as set in stone as it used to be.”

Traditionally white wines are designated for fish, fruit or different kinds of light cheeses. Red wines usually go with meats, chocolate and heavier cheeses, like Italian style cheeses. However according to Latzko, nowadays it just depends on the preference of the consumer as well as the mood of the occasion.

“Like they say, no good conversation started over a salad,” Latzko said. “It always starts over wine.”

Water 2 Wine – South Austin
4036 S Lamar Blvd.
Austin, Texas 78704

Water 2 Wine

 

A Veggie Tale

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