Speaking of France …

You’re not supposed to begin a piece of writing with a question. Why not? No idea, except that the “experts” seem to think that it’s an easy way out. “You can do better,” they say. So what was my question? Oh yes. Why is traditional French food so terribly unpopular at the moment? Many authors … More Speaking of France …

Writing about History: A Few Words about the Dangers and Fallacies of Presentism

pres·ent·ism /ˈprezenˌtizəm/ noun uncritical adherence to present-day attitudes, especially the tendency to interpret past events in terms of modern values and concepts. Many years ago, David Hackett Fischer published Historians’ Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought. Despite the many years since its publication – 1970 – and the now somewhat dated examples he provides … More Writing about History: A Few Words about the Dangers and Fallacies of Presentism

The Natchez Trace: A Journey into the Past (and the Present)

Whatever happened, it happened in extraordinary times, in a season of dreams, and in Natchez, it was the bitterest winter of them all. ~ Eudora Welty, “First Love” Hernando de Soto and Meriwether Lewis and Aaron Burr trudged its red dirt paths, knew its mysteries and its misfortunes, canebrakes and swamps coupled with a river … More The Natchez Trace: A Journey into the Past (and the Present)

“Take a Goose or Duck” Now Available!

Take a Goose or a Duck is full of culinary stories about old friends like Markham and Mrs. Beeton and essays that give fresh insight. It proves that British food is intriguing and wonderful. It will be my favourite bedtime reading for the foreseeable future. ~ Regula Ysewijn, author of Pride and Pudding and The Official Downton Abbey Christmas … More “Take a Goose or Duck” Now Available!

Retro Thanksgiving: Musings Amid Vintage Menus

I yanked the last of the two dozen buttermilk-potato rolls from the baking sheet, yelping a little as the steaming, fluffy bread burned my fingers. The cornbread for the cornbread dressing cooled on a rack across the kitchen. And my spiced cranberry sauce gleamed, ruby-red under the lights I’d just installed under the cabinets. Thanksgiving. … More Retro Thanksgiving: Musings Amid Vintage Menus

The Mysterious Allure of Savannah: Midday in the Garden of Meat and Three

There’s a place where I feel free to be me. No, it’s not Paris, although I feel free to be me there, too. It’s the historic district in Savannah, Georgia. A place exuding a vivid sense of the past, which I love. There, Spanish moss hangs like lace curtains on nearly every branch and wire … More The Mysterious Allure of Savannah: Midday in the Garden of Meat and Three

Saints, Souls, and Haints: Here Come the Pumpkins

Some pumpkin-laden advice from Janet McKenzie Hill, sounding like the Martha Stewart of a much earlier generation in her  Practical Cooking and Serving: a Complete Manual of How to Select, Prepare, and Serve Food (1902, p. 566): CENTREPIECE OF FRUIT FOR THANKSGIVING DINNER OR HARVEST FESTIVAL [Halloween] Select a golden-colored, medium-sized, well-shaped pumpkin. With a … More Saints, Souls, and Haints: Here Come the Pumpkins