Easter traditions in Haiti include kite flying, rara bands, and food. Soaring in the wind, simple, colorful kites express the longing to transcend the quotidian. And rara brings music, tapped out on metal instruments, many rough and angular, hewn from scraps of metal and old oil drums. As for food, Haitian Poisson gros sel (Rock … More Flying Kites, Rara Bands, and Poisson Gros Sel: Easter Season in Haiti
“Thin” kitchen, that’s what the “magro” part means here. No, not a galley kitchen. Not a New York loft kitchen. Not even a Paris apartment kitchen. Skinny food. That’s cucina di magro. Vegetables. Legumes. Fish. Fruit. Shellfish. The bones of the Mediterranean diet. No meat, at least none that walks around on four legs. Or … More Carnevale Goeth: Dipping into Austerity via Cucina di Magro
Hereupon, a whole host of absurd figures surrounded him, pretending to sympathize in his mishap. Clowns and party-colored harlequins; orang-outangs; bear-headed, bull-headed, and dog-headed individuals; faces that would have been human, but for their enormous noses; one terrific creature, with a visage right in the centre of his breast; and all other imaginable kinds of … More Carnevale Cometh: Cenci by Any Other Name Would Taste as Sweet as Wine…
Santa is a magical creature. Santa is a man who lived in third-century Turkey (then called Lycia). Santa is a mythological being. Happily, Santa can be all three … The Magic: He flies through the night sky with the greatest of ease, in his reindeer-drawn sleigh. He knows where I live, the white house on … More Santa: The Magic. The Man. The Myth.
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
Trick-or-treating may well have originated in the old custom of “souling,” as people went from house to house, begging (“mumming”) for “soul cakes,” actually prayers — in sweet form. Sir James George Frazer wrote about this practice in The Golden Bough: a Study in Magic and Religion, a classic in anthropology, first published in 1890: … More Saints, Souls, and Haints: More Soul Cakes
Some interesting comments from 1845 about All Souls’ Day, by Charles Knight in Penny Magazine of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (!), Volume 14, p. 441: To do a Tarentella as it ought to be done requires room, and although the palaces of the nobility and gentry be large (in ninety cases … More Saints, Souls, and Haints: Honey Cakes