Women and the Building of America: Reflections

Last night, I stayed awake far longer than I normally do, reading Gayle Forman’s new novel, Leave Me. The hook for me was “Every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, and every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train…

December 12: The Virgin of Guadalupe

Patron Saint of Mexico and the Americas Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes once said that “…one may no longer consider himself a Christian, but you cannot truly be considered a Mexican unless you believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe.” Apocryphal or not, the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe makes fascinating reading. And the food’s pretty…

Eating Black Beauty,* Or, Horsemeat, a Taboo That Became a French Stereotype

Taboo: A custom prohibiting or restricting a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing. One of the most emotional experiences of my childhood came when I read Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty, a story of a mistreated English horse. I remember sobbing for hours in the way that children can when…