December 12: The Virgin of Guadalupe

Patron Saint of Mexico and the Americas Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes once said that “…one may no longer consider himself a Christian, but you cannot truly be considered a Mexican unless you believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe.” Apocryphal or not, the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe makes fascinating reading. And the food’s pretty…

Eating Black Beauty,* Or, Horsemeat, a Taboo That Became a French Stereotype

Taboo: A custom prohibiting or restricting a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing. One of the most emotional experiences of my childhood came when I read Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty, a story of a mistreated English horse. I remember sobbing for hours in the way that children can when…

Ivan Day: Master Food Historian

Those of you with a tremendous love of food history will be happy to know that Ivan Day blogs with all the beauty and erudite authority of his spectacular recreations of historical British food. (Yes, British food!) Take a look both his blog – Food History Jottings – and his regular Web site – Historic Food. You’ll…

Rationing and the Black Market in Nazi-Occupied France: Some Thoughts

“Life is hard (On vit mal). Everyone grows thinner. A kilo of butter costs one thousand francs. A kilo of peas forty-five francs. A kilo of potatoes forty francs. Still we must find them.” – Jean Guéhenno, August 1944 Speaking as the beneficiary of an immense system of food production in the twenty-first century, as…