Maria Godoy | KUOW News and Information

Maria Godoy

Maria Godoy is a senior editor with NPR's Science Desk and the host of NPR's food blog, The Salt. Maria covers the food beat with a wide lens, investigating everything from the health effects of caffeine to how our diets define our cultural and personal identities.

With her colleagues on the food team, Maria won the 2012 James Beard Award for best food blog. The Salt was also awarded first place in the blog category from the Association of Food Journalists in 2013, and it won a Gracie Award for Outstanding Blog from the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation in 2013.

Previously, Maria oversaw political, national, and business coverage for NPR.org. Her work as part of NPR's reporting teams has been recognized with several awards, including two prestigious Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Silver Batons: one for coverage of the role of race in the 2008 presidential election, and another for a series about the sexual abuse of Native American women. The latter series was also awarded the Columbia Journalism School's Dart Award for excellence in reporting on trauma, and a Gracie Award.

In 2010, Maria and her colleagues were awarded a Gracie Award for her work on a series exploring the science of spirituality. She was also part of a team that won the 2007 Nancy Dickerson Whitehead Award for Excellence in Reporting on Drug and Alcohol Issues.

Maria was a 2008 Ethics fellow at the Poynter Institute. She joined NPR in 2003 as a digital news editor.

Born in Guatemala, Maria now lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., with her husband, two kids, and two fat and happy cats. She's a sucker for puns (and has won a couple of awards for her punning headlines).

This Christmas Eve, many Latinos will celebrate the holiday by unwrapping delicious little presents: tamales.

At its essence, a tamale consists of masa (dough made from corn or another starch) that's been wrapped in aromatic leaves, then steamed or boiled. Some come bundled in corn husks, others in plantain, banana or mashan leaves. Some are sweetened with molasses or coconut milk, others spiced with mole or seasoned with achiote. Some are plain; others are filled with meat, cheese or vegetables.

Wherever people celebrate Christmas around the world, they feast. It may be as simple as a bowl of porridge, but food rituals to mark the day as separate and special from all other days are practically universal. So often eating the food associated with this holy day helps families pause for a moment to remember who they are, and where they came from.

In Europe, the ugly ducklings of the produce aisle are increasingly admired for their inner swans.

Call it the return of unsightly fruit.

Retailers (at least in Europe and the U.S.) by default now cater to the perfectionist shopper who prefers only the plump, round tomato or the unblemished apple to grace the fruit bowl. But many fruits and vegetables, while edible and nutritious, don't measure up.

For those on the front lines of fighting hunger in America, the past half-decade has been like running on empty. The Great Recession that began in 2007 left millions of families struggling with tough choices, like whether to pay for housing or dinner.

Supermarkets are taking turkey orders; the tins of Christmas cookies beckon from display tables. These and other signs are unmistakable: The holiday feasting season is quickly approaching.

If you're like us, the prospect of cooking for a group — or contributing a dish to the holiday meal — this time of year can cause some anxiety.

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