Cooks, Kitchens, and Places: Josephine’s Tale

Since modern photography only came into being around 1816, when Nicéphore Niépc combined camera obscura techniques and paper with photosensitive qualities, the faces of so many people will never be known to us. Those of the rich, the powerful, and the occasional peasant – thanks to artists such as Pieter Bruegel the Elder – we their…

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What’s A Turnip Got to Do with Halloween? Or Rutabagas, Beets, and Gourds, for That Matter?

Folklore or fakelore, the general consensus seems to be that the Irish who came to America brought their custom of carving turnips for All Hallows Eve. They must grow large turnips in the sod over there! Lacking a turnip, rutabagas, beets, or gourds would also do. Delicious legend, that's what started the practice of carving…

News and Views

First of, I would like to point out a new feature on "Gherkins & Tomatoes / Cornichons & Tomatoes." Go to the sidebar on the right and scroll down until you see ALL 700+ POSTS – CLICK ON THE BOX AND USE DOWN ARROW KEY This feature gives you the ability to browse through a…

Cookbooks on the Hot Seat

If you're the type who loves the Oscars and Emmys, you might be interested to know that in the world of cookbooks there are awards every bit as important as those. Drumroll ... and the winner is ... You know the drill. And now the suspense is over, the losers licking their egos, and everyone…

Traditional, “Authentic” St. Patrick’s Day Food

He's a desperate big, little Erin go brah; He will pardon our follies and promise us joy, By the mass, by the Pope, by St. Patrick so long As I live, I will give him a beautiful song! No saint is so good, Ireland's country adorning: Then hail to St. Patrick, today, in the morning!…

Saints, Souls, and Haints: Nuts

Nuts, being a delicacy associated with autumn, seem to naturally be part of the Halloween pantry of the past. And Robert Chambers elaborated on this in his 1883 The Book of Days: a Miscellany of Popular Antiquities: Indeed the name of Nutcrack Night, by which Halloween is known in the north of England, indicates the…

Saints, Souls, and Haints: Cabbages and Rings

In Rustic Speech and Folk-lore (1913, p. 300), Elizabeth Mary Wright wrote: In parts of Ireland a dish called colcannon, made of potatoes and cabbage mashed together with butter, used to form part of the Halloween dinner. In it was concealed a ring, the finder whereof would be the first of the company to be…

Irish Food History

Amidst the mythology of Saint Patrick's Day, a little Irish food history to cheer you on your way --- be it to stove, pub, or church. John Linnane wrote a wonderful introduction to the history of Irish cuisine before the arrival of the potato. Here he comments on the customs of feasting, very appropriate for…