Day 2: Oysters – Celebrate American Food History

Jonathan Swift once quipped, "It was a brave man who first ate an oyster." And an even braver one who pried open the shell without special gloves and knives. Actually, it's more likely that our hero (or heroine)  used a rock to smash into the mollusk. Oysters kept people alive in the early days of colonial North America,…

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La fête de l’huître, in Riec-sur-Belon, Brittany

Alas, we've just missed La fête de l’huître, a popular festival that takes place at Riec-sur-Belon, Brittany at the end of July. Maybe next time ... For more about oysters, see "Oysters Tales and Pearls of Wisdom."

Christmas in Colonial Williamsburg

Now Christmas comes, ‘tis fit that we Should feast and sing, and merry be; Keep open house, let fiddlers play, A fig for cold, sing care away; And may they who thereat repine, On brown bread and small beer dine. Virginia Almanack 1766 To paraphrase former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld: There’s the Williamsburg Christmas…

All the President’s Tables: James A. Garfield’s Inaugural Reception Menu

On March 4, 1881, people lucky enough or well-placed enough or ambitious enough entered through the doors of what is now the Smithsonian's Castle, in Judiciary Square, to celebrate the inauguration of President James A. Garfield, the last of the U.S. presidents born and raised in a log cabin. A contemporary account states that: The…