WITH 90.1 FM

Alan Greenblatt

During a visit to London last month, I was pretty excited to try the slow-cooked curries at Masala Zone. Almost as soon as I sat down, however, the manager told me he didn't want my business.

Jimmy Ryan's recipe for burritos is really pretty simple. It calls for 50 pounds of rice, 50 pounds of beans, a couple of cases of canned tomatoes and several hundred tortillas.

That may sound like a lot, but Ryan is one of the organizers of the Burrito Project in San Francisco, an informal charity that makes and distributes about 500 burritos to the homeless once a month. On May 21, the group celebrated its second anniversary and rolled its 10,000th burrito.

You can tell a lot about a culture by its food, particularly if food is all that remains.

District Six was a mixed-race section of Cape Town, South Africa, that was home to Europeans, Asians, Africans, Christians, Muslims and Jews.

A half-century ago, District Six, which was just outside of downtown, was declared a whites-only area. By the early 1980s, 60,000 people had been forcibly removed from their homes.

It may not be possible to imagine a more terrible crime.

Courtney Pieters, a 3-year-old girl from a suburb of Cape Town, went missing on May 4. Her body was found nine days later, buried in a shallow grave about two-thirds of a mile from her home. She had been raped twice.

"This is one of the saddest incidents I've come across," South African President Jacob Zuma said May 18.