24 Jan 2022

Dead Man’s Butter

Q. What are some of the most wicked superstitions people have followed to get more food? . A. 17th Century Shetland has a nominee. The grim Dead Man’s Hand was all too tempting for those looking to bolster their own food stores whilst exacting revenge on know-it-all neighbours. ⛔️ Step #1:

06 Jan 2022

Rx Chocolate

Q. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Professor RJ Lupin first offers Harry a therapeutic slab of chocolate to revive our young wizard after a traumatic encounter with train-storming dementors. ‘A loud snap made them all jump. Professor Lupin was breaking an enormous slab of chocolate into pieces.

27 Dec 2021

These Holiday Candies Are The Worst

Q. “Go on! Have one.” You are the surprise recipient of neighbourhood candy. Now, the gift-giver is waiting for you to tuck in and eat a couple. What type of holiday candy would you be most horrified to discover inside this meticulously wrapped box? How do your candy peeves compare

13 Dec 2021

Oh Beautiful Bread Machine

Q. While some of you brilliant bakers are yeasting your bread up from scratch, many of us are marvelling at the ease of our hulking bread machines. What to sprinkle in next? And who invented this magical maker of bread? . A. Thank African American Joseph Lee for this almost-homemade,

20 Nov 2021

French Toast?

Q. What are the chances that the French invented French Toast, and called it ‘French Toast’? . A. The chances are slim. First: the French are more likely to call this dish, with its clever way of rescuing stale bread: ‘pain perdu’ or ‘lost bread’. Second: this bread-stretching recipe –

05 Nov 2021

Velvet And Purls

Q. As you read or watch period dramas, you might see reference to largely forgotten food and drink. Some examples? . A. Beef Tea Cordial We find this ‘restorative drink’ in Frederick and Seymour Davies’ 1896 Drinks of all Kinds. ‘Make half a pint of beef tea by adding the

29 Oct 2021

Deadly Drinks

Q. Some classic cocktails come with rather fearsome names. Examples? . A. Blood and Sand Said to be named after a 1922 Rudolf Valentino movie, the original Blood and Sand combines scotch, Cherry Heering liqueur or brandy, sweet vermouth, and orange juice. . Corpse Reviver This still popular cocktail is

18 Oct 2021

First Comes Spoons, Then Comes Marriage

Q. Spoons feature prominently in the button-tight world of etiquette. Are our silver-plated friends similarly burdened with deeply rooted superstitious beliefs? . A. Spoons definitely play a strong role in old-school manners. In Emily Post’s 1922 Etiquette, for instance, we see pages devoted to teaching mischievous young boys how to

24 Sep 2021

Hodgepodges, Mrs. + Otherwise

Q. ‘Hodgepodge’  is such a great word used to describe slapdash, confusing mixtures of what-not. Where does this word come from and how does it relate to food? . A. Here we see the word ‘hodgepodge’ used in this great ad from a 1961 Life magazine. *Side Note: how open

26 Aug 2021

Rating Pepper Hotness

Q. For decades, cooks, bartenders, and derring-do diners have been rating the hotness of peppers with the Scoville scale. But what is the Scoville Scale and how was it developed? . A. We know that the Trinidad Scorpion rates near the top of the scale with a hotness rating of