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

Deep in William Faulkner’s South: Myth, Reality, and Cooking

I’ve always wanted to make my way, to make a pilgrimage if you please, to Oxford, Mississippi, to worship at a shrine there. It’s not your ordinary saint’s tomb nor is it a grand cathedral bathed in a kaleidoscope of light when early morning sunlight blazes through stained glass. No, I journeyed many miles just … More Deep in William Faulkner’s South: Myth, Reality, and Cooking

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!

Feral Pigs & Yellow Squash: A Tale Woven in a New World Kitchen

Soon  summer will again bless the Virginia mountains. Once the tall oaks leaf out, that is. And I’m already thinking of my old garden, Mary Randolph’s cookbook, and Hernando de Soto’s feral pigs. All ingredients, more or less, in my dealings with one of the three American culinary sisters: corn, beans, and squash. A tale woven from the … More Feral Pigs & Yellow Squash: A Tale Woven in a New World Kitchen

Introducing Sarah Rutledge, a Cookbook Author You’re Going to Get to Know Very Well!

I’d like to introduce you a most interesting woman, Sarah Rutledge. Call her Miss Sally, as did her kin and her friends. She wrote a cookbook, The Carolina Housewife, published in 1847, which tells a most remarkable story. Unlike Mary Randolph’s The Virginia Housewife (1824), which tended to focus more on the victuals cooked and … More Introducing Sarah Rutledge, a Cookbook Author You’re Going to Get to Know Very Well!

Happy Christmas to All!

At Christmastime, my kitchen becomes a place where past and present merge.  Through food, I honor my ancestors – the known, the unknown, and the never-to-be knowns, all the people whose DNA runs through my veins and shapes my nose and determines my character. They hailed from Dorset, Devon, Somerset, Cheshire, Lincoln, London, Kent … … More Happy Christmas to All!

Pumping Sunshine: Susie H. Baxter’s Rural North Florida Childhood

Memory, fickle memory. To recall the long-ago past becomes a journey into a place where truth flits behind trees or ducks into closets, an exhausting game of hide-and-seek where no player easily becomes “It.” Do you remember going to the Saturday afternoon movies when you were a kid? How you got so engrossed in the … More Pumping Sunshine: Susie H. Baxter’s Rural North Florida Childhood