The Second Gold Rush: Citrus Crate Labels

Florida experienced a “gold rush” almost as soon as the first Spanish soldier spit out an orange seed and kept marching through the palmetto and myrtle oak in 1513. It’s no mystery as to why California and Florida became dominant citrus-growing regions. Moors (Arabs) ruled Spain for over 800 years, and citrus – particularly oranges … More The Second Gold Rush: Citrus Crate Labels

The Gilded Age in Florida: A Few Words about the Flaglers and their Food

No, here I’m not celebrating Julian Fellowes’s TV series, “The Gilded Age.” I’ll confess something right off the bat: I watched only a few episodes. Why? The story of that tumultuous time is actually more interesting than fiction. First of all, Mark Twain coined the phrase, “The Gilded Age,” in a satirical novel meant to … More The Gilded Age in Florida: A Few Words about the Flaglers and their Food

And it’s a Win (Times Two): Seeing Silver

I am thrilled to announce that two of my books won awards this past weekend in Orlando, Florida. The Florida Authors and Publishers Association awarded a silver medal to Stoves & Suitcases: Searching for Home in the World’s Kitchens in the General Nonfiction category. Meatballs & Lefse: Recipes and Memories from a Scandinavian-American Farming Life … More And it’s a Win (Times Two): Seeing Silver

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)