Comments by chained_bear

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  • See Bow-dye.

    October 5, 2017

  • See Bow-dye.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Aqua regia is a dangerous chemical that must be treated with great caution; would Drebbel really have left it in so precarious a position by his window? Is it possible, instead, that Drebbel was deliberately experimenting with cochineal--as an alchemist?

    Tin and aqua regia were commonly used in alchemy. Moreover ... the philosopher's stone--which transmuted base metals into gold and bestowed immortal life, wisdom, and salvation on its maker--was actually a red powder or liquid. ... Consequently, alchemists like Drebbel were greatly interested in red dyes."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 139.

    More info on Cornelis Drebbel.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Born around 1572 in Alkmaar, North Holland, Cornelis Drebbel was a colorful character in more ways than one. An inventor, he built a 'perpetual-motion' machine that became the sensation of early-seventeenth-century Europe. Later he built the first submarine. To the great amazement of Londoners who crowded the riverbanks to watch, the leather-covered boat carried a dozen oarsmen and traveled under hte Thames for three hours; apparently Drebbel generated an oxygen supply for the crew by burning saltpeter--another first. The Dutch diplomat and amateur scientist Constantijn Huygens the Elder wrote admiringly of Drebbel's 'remarkable mechanical instruments.' To Robert Boyle, he was 'that deservedly famous Mechanician and Chymist,' to Baron von Leibniz, 'le fameux Drebbel.' ...

    True to form, Drebbel left no personal record of his experiments with cochineal, so no one knows exactly how he stumbled onto one of the dyestuff's unusual characteristics: its great affinity for tin."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 136 and 138.

    October 5, 2017

  • Interesting story in a comment on Cornelis Drebbel.

    October 5, 2017

  • See correct spelling, Cornelis Drebbel.

    October 5, 2017

  • "The works of Pliny and other classical writers had a great deal to say about red dyestuffs in general, particularly the rich red dyestuff they called grain, and Europeans saw no reason why their comments would not apply to the Mexican dyestuff as well. After all, the merchants of Seville and the dyers of Venice had declared that grain and cochineal were virtually identical. ...

    "According to some classical authorities, grain came from animals. According to others, it was derived from plants. ... Sometimes they described grain as a seed or berry, sometimes as a worm or snail. Indeed Pliny seemed to believe that at least one type of grain might somehow be both things: a berry that turned into a worm, which he called a 'wormberry'--a concept that struck most Renaissance Europeans as entirely plausible. Like the ancients, they believed that mud could spontaneously generate worms, and that rotten meat could produce flies. It was therefore no great leap to believe that a berry could turn into a worm, and vice versa."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 126-127.

    See also vermilion.

    October 5, 2017

  • Historical note can be found in comment on Sea Beggars.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Only the Dutch were a force to be reckoned with. Having secured their country's independence from Spain, they attacked their former overlords on the high seas throughout much of the seventeenth century. In 1628, they even managed to capture Spain's entire Veracruz fleet, off the coast of Cuba, which was undoubtedly laden with a large amount of cochineal. ...

    "Yet even the Sea-Beggars were not able to obtain all the cochineal their countrymen needed. During much of the 1620s and 1630s, the dyestuff was so scarce that only high masters like Rembrandt could afford to use brilliant cochineal lakes in their art. Most painters were forced to make do with cheaper and more somber reds. Nor was cochineal the only substance missing from Dutch palettes; the struggle with Spain, and consequent trading difficulties, had also made indigo, logwood, and other exotic dyestuffs extremely expensive. It may have been for this reason that Dutch artists, once renowned for their rich and vivid flower paintings, now began to paint in monochrome. A gray seascape, a still life of pale cheeses, a banquet painted entirely in brown--their art was devoid of all but the blandest colors."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 122.

    October 5, 2017

  • "To protect their dyestuff, Spaniards were forced to adopt new methods for shipping it overseas. Merchants divided their cases of cochineal among several vessels, in order to increase the odds that at least part of their cargo would make it all the way to Seville. Spanish authorities also allowed them to make use of the navios de aviso, the swift messenger ships that crossed the Atlantic at irregular intervals, which were ordinarily prohibited from carrying cargo.

    Even so, Spain was reeling from the effects of the English onslaught by 1590."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 117.

    October 5, 2017

  • cochineal

    "Pirats which doe know

    That there come weak ships fraught with Cutchannel,

    The men board them."

    --John Donne

    See historical note/usage in comment on pirates.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Yet if royal edicts, Spanish vigilance, and cochineal biology combined to make it almost impossible for foreigners to steal cochineal from Mexico, the fact remained that at some point the processed dyestuff had to be shipped across the Atlantic to Seville. Even the most experienced Spanish captains regarded this voyage with some trepidation, for they knew that their enemies might attack at any moment--'Pirats,' as the poet-adventurer John Donne described them, 'which doe know/That there come weak ships fraught with Cutchannel,/The men board them.'"

    Bold and cunning, these pirates were determined to smash the Spanish monopoly and seize the transatlantic cochineal trade for themselves."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 109.

    See also comment on Sea Beggars.

    October 5, 2017

  • "As cochineal became increasingly important to royal finances, Crown officials became more aggressive. In September 1572, Viceroy Enriquez made all processing methods except sun-drying illegal. A month later, he created a new Crown position, the juez de grana, 'the judge of cochineal.'" Charged with enforcing a new and more rigorous system of inspection, the judge was based in Puebla, which at the time was New Spain's most important cochineal entrepot."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 105.

    October 5, 2017

  • One of the grades of commercial cochineal in the sixteenth century. See comment on jaspeada.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Jaspeada (marbled) cochineal was baked; negra (black) was killed on a hot plate; denegrida (lightened) was boiled in steaming cauldrons. Other types of cochineal were dispatched with vinegar, smoke, or sulfur fumes. The relative value of the cochineal these methods produced was anyone's guess."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 105.

    See also juez de grana.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Officials also found it difficult to detect many common frauds, in part because there was legitimate debate about the proper way to kill and dry the cochineal insects. Most people agreed that the best method was to expose them to continuous sunlight; the resulting dyestuff, known as plateada or blanca for its powdery silver surface, was widely considered the top grade of cochineal. But since sun-drying, done property, could take up to two weeks, many producers experimented with cheaper techniques...."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 105.

    See also jaspeada.

    October 5, 2017

  • Usage/historical note (and great story) in comment on cabildo. As a footnote to that comment:

    "Made by Mexicans since ancient times, pulque is an alcoholic beverage derived from the sap of the maguey plant."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 95 footnote.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Cochineal's indigenous producers also found the business profitable--too profitable, in the opinion of the Tlaxcalan cabildo, the council of elite Indians that oversaw daily life in the province. Concerned that the very success of the trade was leading to social disorder, the council prohibited the cultivation of cochineal in 1552. Evidently the measure failed, for nine months later, in March 1553, the council devoted an entire meeting to the cochineal problem. ...

    Like most elite Tlaxcalans, they were fervent Catholic converts, and they noted with dismay that cochineal growers 'devote themselves to their cochineal on Sundays and holy days; no longer do they go to church to hear mass as the holy church commands us.' Even worse, 'they buy pulque and then get drunk. ...

    What bothered the council most, however, was that the Tlaxcalan cochineal growers no longer showed proper deference to their betters. In the best tradition of nouveaux riches everywhere, the cochineal farmers were growing uppity."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 95.

    October 5, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on alcabala.

    October 5, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on alcabala.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Royal taxes--including the alcabala (a sales tax), the averia (a tax that paid for Philip's fleet system), and the almojarifazgo (a duty on imports and exports)--amounted to as much as 25 percent of cochineal's import value, and the Crown collected additional sales taxes each time the dyestuff was resold in Spain."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 90.

    October 5, 2017

  • "In Latin--the indispensable language of Renaissance medical professionals--the word pigmentum signified both a pigment and a drug, and many substances were employed in both fashions, including various types of kermes reds."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 83.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Another aesthetic practice that Europeans had in common with the ancient Mexicans was the use of cochineal as an artists' pigment. In Europe, cochineal was usually used as an ingredient for crimson lake--lake being the general term for any pigment made by attaching colorless inorganic compounds to translucent dyes, enabling the dyes to be used in painting.

    Red lakes were also made with madder, lac, and various types of kermes. Only recently have museum conservationists discovered reliable ways of distinguishing which dyestuff was used in a given work of art. Although many paintings have yet to be tested, and others have produced equivocal results, early analysis indicates that cochineal was much more slowly adopted by painters than by dyers. Largely ignored for several decades, cochineal lakes finally came into their own in the late 1500s and 1600s, finding a place on the palettes of masters like Tintoretto, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Rubens, and Van Dyck. ...

    To make cochineal lakes, painters sometimes started with shearings from cochineal-dyed textiles, then boiled them in lye and added alum to extract the red coloring. ...

    Cochineal paints were not nearly as durable as cochineal textile dyes. When made with a sufficient proportion of dye to fixative medium, cochineal lakes were fairly fast in oil paintings, but like all lakes they had a tendency to fade with exposure to light."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 81-82, 82-83.

    October 5, 2017

  • See comment on uchimillia.

    October 5, 2017

  • See comment on uchimillia.

    October 5, 2017

  • "In February 1543, an enterprising silk merchant and a distinguished citizen presented three samples of cochineal to the Venetian silk guild. Each sample had a different name--uchimillia, cochimeia, and panucho--possibly indicating slight variations in the place of origin. It was also true, however, that in 1543 cochineal was too new a commodity in Europe to have a settled name. Only later in the century would the term for the dyestuff be firmly established as grana cochinilla, or cochineal.*

    * The exact origins of the term cochinilla remain a mystery. One 16th-century Spaniard suggested that it was derived from the Latin word coccus, meaning 'scarlet dye'; other scholars have speculated that it comes from the Latin coccineus, meaning 'scarlet-colored.' In Spanish, cochinilla literally means 'little pig,' and the term is applied not only to cochineal itself but to a crustacean that cochineal resembles, the woodlouse."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 74.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Desperate to prevent a mutiny, he (Cortes) granted them something they wanted almost as much as gold and treasure: rights to the labor and tribute of the people they had conquered.

    "The conquistadors called these grants encomiendas, a term rooted in the Reconquista, Catholic Castile's medieval struggle against Moorish Spain. During this centuries-long crusade--which finally ended in Castile's victory over Muslim Granada in 1492, mere months before Columbus set sail for America--it became common practice for Castilian knights to receive temporary jurisdiction over the people who lived in the villages they had captured from the Moors. Patterned after this medieval encomienda system, Cortes's grants were eventually awarded to about half the conquistadors who survived the battle for Tenochtitlan, with the greatest number going to those men who had been with Cortes since the first days of the Conquest.

    "In Mexico, as in Spain, the men who held encomiendas were called encomenderos...."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 55.

    "Though long accepted in Spain, the system as practiced in the Americas was already under serious attack by the time Cortes introduced it to Mexico in 1522. Leading the charge were Dominican clerics, who had recently convinced (Emperor) Charles V and his advisers that <i>encomienda</i> grants were archaic, ill conceived, and immoral. ... 

    "In Spain, <i>encomenderos</i> who abused their power could be brought to heel by the Crown, but in the faraway American islands no such limits applied. Far from the king's reach and crazy for gold, <i>encomenderos</i> forced the islands' native people to leave their families and search for the precious metals in rivers and streams. Others repeatedly tortured, starved, and raped the people in their charge, turning the sunny Caribbean into a charnel.


    "'Tell me, by what right of justice to you keep these Indians in such a cruel and horrible servitude?' an appalled Dominican priest asked his Hispaniola parishioners in 1511... but the <i>encomenderos</I> ignored it."

    (p. 57-58)

    October 5, 2017

  • Another usage/historical note re: the production of cochineal can be found in comment on tlapalli.

    October 5, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on tlapalli.

    October 5, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on tlapalli.


    "In the early 1540s, Toribio de Venavente, a Franciscan friar also known as Motolinia, was aware that Tlaxcala produced 'very good cochineal,' and he spoke enough Nahuatl to apply the term <i>nocheztli</i> to the dyestuff."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 129.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Like other ancient Mexicans, the Aztecs prized bright colors, and for them red held special allure. Indeed, one of their words for red (tlapalli) was also the word for color in general. ... Although they had several red dyestuffs at their disposal--including weak forms of madder and another plant called achiote, or anatto--cochineal produced the most vibrant colors and was valued above all others.

    "The Aztecs called cochineal nocheztli, or 'blood of the nopal'--a significant name, for the nopal cactus was central to Aztec identity and culture. They collected staggering amounts of the dyestuff as tribute from the chief centers of production."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 40.

    October 5, 2017

  • "After harvesting (of cochineal), the insects were spread onto mats and dried in the sun for four or five days. To hurry the process along, farmers could placed the insects in ovens or heat them in steam baths called temazcalli. In each case, the cochineal shriveled up and died, losing a third of its weight in the process. It took as many as 70,000 dried insects--and sometimes more--to make one pound of dye."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 39.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Before it (harvest) began, a white turkey was sacrificed to appease Coqueela, the god in charge of cochineal. Then laborers took up sticks, quills, and brooms and flicked the female insects into a widemouthed bowl made of wood or clay. Perhaps because of concerns about rot and other infections, it was considered bad form to touch either the cochineal or the cactus directly with one's hand."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 38-39.

    October 5, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on nopalry. Additionally...


    "Many European nations had successfully obtained the insect's favorite food, the opuntia, and by 1600 the cactus grew wild in Spain and flourished in botanical gardens in Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and England. But the cochineal insect itself was a different matter."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, <i>A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire</i> (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 167.

    October 5, 2017

  • Better known as cochineal.

    October 5, 2017

  • The preferred plant host of the insect Dactylopius coccus, a/k/a cochineal. Usage/historical note/more info can be found on nopalry.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Animal domestication was not a common phenomenon in ancient Mexico--primarily, it seems, because there were not many species in America suited to that kind of development. Mexicans did, however, show great skill in cultivating insects, including not only cochineal but another form of scale known as Llaveia, which produced a wax used in cosmetics, medicines, and the creation of pre-Columbian lacquer. They also seem to have worked closely with an American honeybee, with butterflies, and with various edible insects.

    "Of all these ventures, the cochineal regimen produced the most dramatic and far-reaching results. Over the centuries, the ancient Mexicans' efforts paid off: under their care, a new species of cochineal flourished, a species now known to scientists as Dactylopius coccus. The new insect was twice the size of the wild varieties and produced considerably more dye; it may also have yielded a slightly more vibrant red. There was, however, a trade-off. Unlike wild cochineal, whose cottonlike nest allowed it to survive freezing temperatures and altitudes over 8,000 feet, the domesticated insect had only a thin coat of powdery wax on its back, leaving it extremely vulnerable to the elements. When exposed to frost or to a sustained heatwave, Dactylopius coccus often died. Nor could it tolerate constant rain and high humidity. Indeed, it was so delicate that an ill-timed shower could do it in.

    "What Dactylopius coccus liked best was the climate where it had been bred: the warm, dry climate of the southern Mexican highlands, where temperatures generally hovered between fifty and eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 37.

    See also comment on grana cochinilla, which will lead you to uchimillia if you want to skip the middleman.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Even the most dedicated naturalists' observations were not always complete or correct. In the case of cochineal, the omissions and errors began with Fernandez de Oviedo himself. In his Historia natural (1526), he presented Europe with its first detailed description of the nopal cactus, but failed to mention cochineal at all. Nine years later, in his more extensive Historia general (1535), he described how he had once eaten the nopal's juicy fruit, only to have his urine turn blood-red soon afterward. 'I believed without a doubt that all the veins of my body had broken,' he wrote. He was greatly relieved when a more experienced friend explained that the fruit was harmless."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 129.

    October 5, 2017

  • "The preferred host was Opuntia ficus-indica, but other opuntias were sometimes used, and all were susceptible to frost and rot. ... Nor was cochineal as onerous to collect as these Old World kermes reds. Still, harvesting cochineal was at best a tedious business, one that could last for days or weeks, depending on the size of the nopalry."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 38.

    October 5, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found in comment on carminic acid. Also a note on Carmen is fairly interesting.

    Other than that, Carmine was my great-grandfather's name... and I'm just now realizing, that's the line of the tree that had redheads in it. Hm.

    October 5, 2017

  • "The female (cochineal insect), however, has a secret weapon at her disposal: she produces carminic acid, a compound belonging to a class of chemicals called anthraquinones, which ants and a few other animals find distasteful. Armed with carminic acid, a female cochineal bug can hold her own against some would-be stalkers. Recent research suggests that the chemical may also protect her from internal parasites that plague other insects."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 35-36.

    October 5, 2017

  • Arabic word; see origins story in comments on kermes.

    October 5, 2017

  • "By the fourteenth century, Europeans had discovered yet another word to describe these dyestuffs: kermes, a term borrowed from kirmiz, the Arabic word for the insect reds. (The same word gave rise to the term crimson.) Like vermilion, kirmiz meant 'worm,' though it is unlikely that most Europeans were aware of this. First used to describe eastern imports of Armenian red and St John's blood, kermes became a common word for all three insect dyes by the sixteenth century."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 31.

    See also oak-kermes.

    October 5, 2017

  • "In Renaissance times, the dyes seemed to similar that many Europeans used the same name for them all. To some, they were grain, a term that dated back to Roman times, when granum, meaning 'kernel' or 'seed,' was the chief name for oak-kermes. The term suggested the tiny dried insects were actually berries, a classical notion that persisted in Renaissance Europe.*"

    "* This meaning of grain is now considered archaic, but it left its mark on the language. The word ingrained comes from the expression to dye 'in grain' and reflects one of the insect dyes' best qualities, their fastness."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 31.

    October 5, 2017

  • Since clicking on a link to St John's blood brings you only to the page for St John, I'm posting it here too: more information can be found on the page for St John's blood, which presumably you can get to by clicking on the list "A Perfect Red" and then clicking on St John's blood (no period, one apostrophe). I mean, it's interesting, if you're interested.

    October 4, 2017

  • Read comment on oak-kermes, and anthraquinone. Also:


    "Although it is now possible to synthesize carminic acid in the laboratory, the process is too complex to be cost-effective. Cochineal insects are the most economical manufacturers, and they remain the only commercially viable source of the dye.

    "Sold free of bug parts, in liquid or powdered form, cochineal appears on European labels as additive E120, and elsewhere as cochineal extract, carmine, carminic acid, or simply as 'coloring added.' It can be found in products as diverse as candy, Popsicles, sausages, yogurt, fruit juice, ice cream, apple sauce, pudding, cheese, cough syrup, rouge, lipstick, eye shadow, and Campari."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 244.

    October 4, 2017

  • Read comment on oak-kermes.

    October 4, 2017

  • "Dyers also put a premium on Armenian red, which was made from the insect Porphyrophora hameli, a parasite on the roots and stems of certain grasses in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, and Iran. Like St John's blood, Armenian red was difficult to harvest.... First mentioned in the eighth century BC, Armenian red was highly prized by the Assyrians and the Persians, despite the insects' high fat content, which made the dyeing process more difficult. In medieval Europe, many considered it the finest red dyestuff of all."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 30.


    More context/info can be found on oak-kermes, including stuff about kermesic acid and carminic acid and cool stuff like that.

    October 4, 2017

  • a/k/a Polish cochineal. Usage on St John's blood.

    October 4, 2017

  • "St. John's blood was a popular name for the insect Porphyrophora polonica. Later called Polish cochineal, it sometimes served as payment for tithes and rents in the regions where it was grown: eastern Europe, Russia, and Asia Minor. Eastern Europeans traditionally harvested the insects in June and July, starting on the feast day of St. John--hence the name. Unlike oak-kermes, which grew out in the open, St. John's blood flourished underground on the roots of the scleranth plant, which made collecting it a burdensome process. Since each plant harbored only about forty of the minuscule insects, thousands of plants had to be uprooted, cleaned, and stripped to produce a marketable amount of the dyestuff. Though the grassy bushes were replanted again, they often withered away, so new ones were always needed--adding to the expense of what was already a very costly dyestuff. Yet its red was undeniably brilliant, and many dyers valued it even more highly than that of oak-kermes."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 30.

    See also oak-kermes.

    October 4, 2017

  • See usage on St John's blood. Which link doesn't actually take you to that page, but if you click on the list "A Perfect Red" and then find "St John's blood" (pay attention to caps, lack of period, etc.) then you should get there okay.


    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on oak-kermes.

    October 4, 2017

  • "Dyers who were disappointed with brazilwood, archil, and lac turned to another set of red dyestuffs, which produced the most vivid and lasting colors of all: oak-kermes, St John's blood, and Armenian red. All three were derived from parasitic insects related to lac, and all of them worked best on animal fibers such as wool and silk, rather than on plant fibers like cotton and linen.

    "Oak-kermes had been a valuable source of dye since ancient times. In the days of the Roman Empire, Spain was a key supplier, paying half its substantial tribute in the dyestuff. Found in hot, dry regions along the Mediterranean shore and in the Middle East, oak-kermes lived on the leaves and branches of Mediterranean oak trees and was usually collected in the spring. Although there were several species of the insect, the variety that produced the best color, and was consequently the most valued, was Kermes vermilio. Killed with vinegar and steam, the insects were dried, crushed, packed for market, and sold to discriminating buyers throughout the Mediterranean world and beyond."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 29-30.


    "... In the twentieth century, when it finally became possible to analyze the structure of the kermes and cochineal dyes at the molecular level, scientists would reach similar conclusions. To this day the exact composition of these highly complex dyes is disputed, but chemists agree that their primary dyeing agents are closely related. The color of oak-kermes, for example, is produced by kermesic and flavo-kermesic acids, both of which have a chemical structure similar to that of cochineal's chief ingredient, carminic acid; trace amounts of kermesic acid are found in cochineal dye, too. St. John's blood, which contains a mixture of kermesic and carminic acids, is an even closer match for cochineal. The closest match of all is Armenian red, whose chemical composition is almost identical with that of cochineal dye." (page 75)

    October 4, 2017

  • "A red dyestuff that offered even more challenges to European dyers was lac, the source of both lacquer and shellac. Native to India and Southeast Asia, lac was made from the insect Laccifer lacca, which secreted a sticky resin on tree twigs. The resin, collected with the bugs still inside it, produced fiery reds on wood. The color it imparted to textiles, however, was not always so desirable. European dyers found the expensive, gummy substance hard to work with and used it primarily for dyeing leather."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 29.

    October 4, 2017

  • "Another important red dyestuff was archil, or orchil, a dye made from lichens found on coastal rocks. Well known in classical times, it persisted in the Middle East for many centuries. In 1300, a Florentine merchant rediscovered the formula and consequently did a booming business exporting red cloth. Like brazilwood, however, archil tended to fade, a serious disadvantage for many buyers."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 29.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note/explanation in comment on archil.

    October 4, 2017

  • Historical usage note re: the country name can be found on Brazilwood.

    October 4, 2017

  • Historical usage note on Brazilwood.

    October 4, 2017

  • "To satisfy the patrician desire for these colors, dyers turned to costly substances such as brazilwood, the common name for a group of dense tropical hardwoods found in the East. Brazilewood yielded deep crimson and purple dyes, which usually faded with disappointing rapidity to a dowdy pinkish brown. For this reason, 'disceytfull brasell' was often castigated as 'fauls colour'; it also had a tendency to stiffen cloth. But the rarity of good dyestuffs ensured that brazilwood remained valuable. When new varieties were found in South America, the entire region was triumphantly christened Brazil."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 28-29.

    October 4, 2017

  • "For monarchs, the preferred reds were scarlet and crimson--but what exactly these terms meant in medieval and Renaissance times is now a matter of some debate. ...

    "Even so, it is possible to make a few generalizations. ... As in the classical world, these words did not necessarily describe the hue of an object, the way they do today. To textile workers and merchants, they instead often signified the use of particular types of red dyestuffs and fabrics. Scarlet, for example, almost always referred to high-quality woolens made with certain insect-based red dyestuffs. Sometimes these woolens were dyed with other colors as well to produce mulberrys, grays, blacks, and even greens--and in some places, these too were known in the trade as scarlets. Outside the cloth business, however, the words crimson and scarlet were used more generally to indicate the sort of rich, saturated, luminous reds that had appealed to Europeans since Roman times. The exact color associated with each word varied over time, but crimson most often meant a red that tended toward purple, while scarlet suggested a somewhat brighter hue."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 23-24.


    See also the word origins story on kermes.


    October 4, 2017

  • Extensive usage note in comment on crimson.

    Also:

    "It was under Oliver Cromwell, shortly before the Restoration, that English army coats became red, and Cromwell specified that they be made in Gloucestershire, an area that was to become famous for scarlet woolens dyed with cochineal and tin. While lower-ranking redcoats had to settle for less costly dyes like madder, Gloucestershire's cochineal scarlet cloth was used to make many a British officer's uniform over the next two centuries. Drebbel's scarlet therefore appeared on such famous British battlefields as Culloden and Waterloo--and made British officers easy marks for the sharpshooters of Lexington and Concord in 1775."

    I hate to break it to her, but they weren't sharpshooters. They were farmers. I wonder how much of that was just using "sharpshooters" instead of "marksmen" (also not accurate) for the sake of not saying "soldiers" or something as boring (since they weren't soldiers either, at least not yet)--and how much of it was a traditionally British view (as she was educated there, I believe) of the outbreak of the Revolutionary War.... Also, let's be fair, they wore crossed white straps over their red coats, so... X marks the spot, you know? Anyways...

    Amy Butler Greenfield, <i>A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire</i> (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 141.

    See also Cornelis Drebbel, aqua regia, and Bow-dye.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on cardinal purple.

    October 4, 2017

  • "... the pope decreed in 1295 that cardinals would henceforth wear 'red' robes--actually a reddish shade of imperial purple--which Church officials obtained at great expense from Byzantine Constantinople, by then the sole source of the old Roman dye. This source dried up completely when Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453; the secret of imperial purple perished in the chaos. Soon afterward, the Church switched to a red European dye made partly with alum, a key mordant for many Renaissance dyes.* From then on its cardinals dressed in scarlet robes--a fact which militant Protestants later construed as proof positive that the Catholic Church was Revelation's Scarlet Woman and the pope the Antichrist.

    "For most Europeans, however, the new 'cardinal purple' was simply a visible sign of the pop's temporal and spiritual power. For them, red had long since become the color of kings, in part because imperial purple was so scarce in medieval Europe that most monarchs had trouble obtaining it. During the centuries between the fall of Rome and the fall of Constantinople, only the Byzantine emperors and the very highest echelons of the Church hierarchy had anything like a satisfactory supply of the dye."

    "*For centuries Europeans had been forced to import most of their alum supply from the Middle East, but in 1460 the pope's nephew had discovered enormous deposits of alum in papal territories in Tolfa, Italy. The discovery greatly enriched the Church and helped make its cardinals brighter than ever."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 22-23 and footnote.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note and explanation in comment on cardinal purple.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on cardinal purple. Another on Francesco Pegolotti.

    October 4, 2017

  • "By the fifteenth century, hundreds of thousands of Europeans, from humble shepherds to great merchants, made a living from textiles, and many a nobleman depended on the wealth they created. Because each step in the cloth-making process was handled by different craftsmen, more than a dozen people could be involved in fashioning a single piece of fabric. The silk workers of Lucca, for example, included in their ranks a host of specialized workers: reelers to unwrap the cocoons, throwers to twist the thread, boilers to clean it, dyers to color it, and warpers and weavers to turn the thread into cloth.

    "Wool, the most common fiber in Europe, required even more specialization. After shepherds raised the sheep and shearers fleeced them, washers cleaned the raw wool and carders pulled the fibers apart with bristles. Spinners spun those fibers into yarn with distaffs and spindles and passed the yarn to the weavers, who wove it into cloth. Wool cloth then had to be 'finished,' a process that involved fullers or 'walkers' who washed the fabric in troughs of water treated with fuller's earth, a mineral compound that promoted absorption. (Many walkers trampled the mixture into the cloth with their bare feet, but prosperous fullers kept their boots on and used a millwheel and hammers instead.) The soaking-wet cloth was then hung out on wooden frames called tenters; tenterhooks held the fabric fast and stretched it to the right dimensions as it dried. While still damp, the cloth could be brushed and sheared several times for a finer, softer nap. The fabric was then handed to the dyers. Although dyers usually worked with finished cloth, sometimes they treated the unspun wool instead, a costly practice that yielded the most intense and enduring colors and gave us the expression 'dyed in the wool'."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 7-8.

    October 4, 2017

  • "Like the spice trade, the textile industry created new markets and networks, but its importance did not end there. Spices were usually grown and processed in the Far East, but textiles were something Europeans could produce for themselves, and for this reason their impact on Europe was more profound. Textiles spurred the invention of new technologies--new types of spinning machines, new methods for bleaching--and shaped the very pattern of work itself."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 7.

    October 4, 2017

  • "It was big news, then, when Spain's conquistadors found the Aztecs selling an extraordinary red dyestuff in the great marketplaces of Mexico in 1519. Calling the dyestuff grana cochinilla or cochineal, the conquistadors shipped it back to Europe, where it produced the brightest, strongest red the Old World had ever seen."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 3.

    Another note on the origins of the term can be found on uchimillia.

    October 4, 2017

  • "Elusive, expensive, and invested with powerful symbolism, red cloth became the prize possession of the wealthy and well-born. Kings wore red, and so did cardinals. Red robes clothed the shah of Persia, and in classical Rome red became so synonymous with status that the city's most powerful men were called coccinati: the ones who wear red."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 3.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on mercuric sulfide.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on mercuric sulfide and kermes, and on wormberry.

    Also, "Those who turned to the Bible to reconcile the controversy were disappointed. Although the Vulgate used the word <i>vermilion</i>, or 'little worm,' to describe the color produced by grain, lending credence to the idea that the dyestuff had animal origins, the Bible made no definite pronouncements either way."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, <i>A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire</i> (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 127.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on mercuric sulfide.

    October 4, 2017

  • "Sometime before the fifth century B.C., painters in Asia discovered that a far more satisfactory red could be made from the mineral cinnabar, or mercuric sulfide, a compound also known as vermilion and minium. Used to striking effect in Chinese scrolls and later on the frescoed walls of Pompeii, cinnabar did have several disadvantages: it was expensive, poisonous, and had a disconcerting propensity to turn black with exposure to light. Yet because it was by far the most brilliant red paint available, cinnabar continued to be used and celebrated for more than a thousand years."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 3.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on quinine.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on quinine.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on quinine.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on quinine.

    October 4, 2017

  • "Quinine was the only treatment found to be effective against malaria, and in the middle of the nineteenth century malaria was a problem that determined the size and prosperity of an empire....


    But this was the era of the new alkaloid. Cinchona bark (and roots and leaves) contained not only quinine (named after the Spanish spelling of 'kina', the Peruvian word for bark) but also cinchonine, and in the next two decades, two more alkaloids were isolated from the tree, quinidine and cinchonidine. Each had a slightly different molecular structure, and none was quite as effective against malaria as pure quinine (but nevertheless sold as such). In the same period, the two Frenchmen also isolated the strychnine from St Ignatius's beans, and other chemists found other alkaloids -- caffeine in coffee beans and codeine in opium."

    Simon Garfield, Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 2000), 30, 32.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on nitrosophenyline.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on nitrosophenyline.

    October 4, 2017

  • "Perkin's earliest tasks concerned the formation of organic bases from hydrocarbons, but he was more interested in the results of his next assignment which led to one of his earliest published papers. At the beginning of February 1856 he submitted to the Proceedings of the Royal Society a brief report 'On some new Colouring Matters' he had found with Arthur Church. 'This new body presents some remarkable properties,' they wrote. That substance, which they named nitrosophenyline, was the result of an experiment with hydrogen and a distillation of benzol. It produced a bright crimson colour, it dissolved in alcohol with an orange-red tint, and it changed to a yellowish-brown when diluted with alkali. They concluded that it had 'a lustre somewhat similar to that of murexide', the rich purple originally made from guano."

    Simon Garfield, Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 2000), 28.

    October 4, 2017

  • "Frederick Abel, the joint-inventor of cordite, once asked himself, 'Who would not work, and even slave, for Hofmann?' Before he tackled explosives, Abel conducted an analysis of the mineral waters of Cheltenham and researched the effects of various substances on aniline (one of which was the poisonous gas cyanogen, from which his eyes suffered permanent damage)."

    Simon Garfield, Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 2000), 25.


    See also August Wilhelm von Hofmann.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on naphtha.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on naphtha.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on naphtha.

    October 4, 2017

  • "Molecules such as the solvent naphtha had already been isolated in coal-tar in the 1820s, but the great challenge was now to reveal its constituent atoms, and to show how these may be modified to form other compounds. Naphtha was found to contain benzene, and, by a painstaking process of fractional distillation, this in turn was found to contain such materials as toluidine and aniline. The chemists often knew the atomic combination of each molecule -- how many elements of carbon, how many of oxygen or hydrogen -- but not how they fitted together."

    Simon Garfield, Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 2000), 24-25.

    October 2, 2017

  • "In Glasgow in the 1820s, Charles Macintosh found a use for the coal tar, developing a method of waterproofing cloth. He used it to prepare a special solution of rubber, applied it to two pieces of coat fabric, and called it a raincoat, but other people soon began calling it a macintosh. It was also used as a protective coating on timber, and was widely employed on the new railway system. Its combination with creosote also afforded a thick coating for wood and metals, and it was used as a disinfectant in sewage. Some patents from the 1840s even suggested the early use of tar and coal-tar pitch on road surfaces."

    Simon Garfield, Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 2000), 24.

    October 2, 2017

  • "'There was an indescribable charm in working for Hofmann,' (Frederick) Abel remembered, 'in watching his delight at a new result or his pathetic momentary depression when failure attended the attempt to attain a result which theory indicated. "Another dream is gone," he would mutter plaintively, with a deep sigh.'"

    Simon Garfield, Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 2000), 26.

    October 2, 2017

  • "Gas derived from the distillation of coal, and millions of tons were processed each year to meet demand. The process--which involved the highly combustible method of heating coal in closed vessels without oxygen--also yielded several useless and dangerous by-products: foul-smelling water, various sulphur compounds and a large amount of oily tar.

    For many years these were regarded as waste.... The sulphur was found to be removable with lime and sawdust, while the gas-water and tar were abandoned in streams, where they poisoned the water and killed the fish. Anyone who requested any of these by-products were given them without charge in huge barrels. Some hopeless experiments were conducted with them, and then they were again thrown away into streams. But gradually, in the years leading up to Perkin's birth, new uses were uncovered."

    Simon Garfield, Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 2000), p. 23-24.

    October 2, 2017

  • I love this word and it isn't used enough these days, in my opinion. Came across it the other day and the quote stuck with me.

    "Jane never once wrote anything about him expressing the least affection. She hardly ever wrote anything about him at all. ... She left her parents' church to marry Edward Mecom... Brattle Street was also Edward Mecom's church. He led the church in singing psalms. He had a beautiful voice. He once proposed opening a singing school. Maybe she loved the sound of him.

    "If there was something at home that Jane had wanted to run from, marrying proved no escape. Edward Mecom had no place of his own. Once they were married, he simply moved in....

    "Jane was restless and impatient and even saucy and provoking. The day she got married, she might also have been pregnant, which would explain why her father gave her permission to marry so unpromising a man at so unwise an age. Very many eighteenth-century brides were pregnant when they married. Neither a fortress nor a Maidenhead will hold out long after they begin to parly, says Poor Richard. A Harvard society even debated, in 1721, 'whether it be lawful to lie with one's sweetheart before marriage.'

    "But in the parish register of the Brattle Street Church, the first child recorded as having been born to Jane Franklin and Edward Mecom didn't arrive until nearly two years after their wedding. If she was pregnant when she married, she either miscarried or gave birth to a baby born dead. And then she might have stared out across the water in the harbor and known that she had married a wastrel for naught."

    --Jill Lepore, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013), p. 53-54

    April 28, 2017

  • "In 1939, Carl Van Doren's Benjamin Franklin won a Pulitzer Prize. That same year, Virginia Woolf published an essay called "The Art of Biography":

    'The question now inevitably asks itself, whether the lives of great men only should be recorded. Is not anyone who has lived a life, and left a record of that life, worthy of a biography--the failures as well as the successes, the humble as well as the illustrious? And what is greatness? What is smallness?'

    Also in 1939: Jane's house was demolished. In 1856, the 150th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth, the house had even been decorated for the celebration. But so little was known about Jane that the claim that Franklin's sister had ever lived there was eventually deemed dubious. In 1939, Jane's brick house was torn down to make room for a memorial to Paul Revere. The house wasn't in the way of the Revere memorial; it simply blocked a line of sight. Jane's house, that is, was demolished to improve the public view of a statue to Paul Revere, inspired by a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Jared Sparks's roommate.

    Van Doren found this crushing. While writing about Franklin, he had become fascinated by Jane. His affection for her grew into something of an obsession.

    He determined to collect her papers and write her biography."

    --Jill Lepore, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin (New York: Alfred A. Knopf 2013), 264-265

    April 28, 2017

  • "Sometimes the historian fails, on account of his subject; at other times, for the want of materials. It is not in the power of the greatest mind to make that dignified and interesting, which in its nature is low and unattractive. The first step to be taken by a historian, therefore is to exercise his judgment in selecting a subject, which will not cause him to run the hazard of wasting his powers in developing and recording events, that have nothing in them to command the admiration, or awaken the sympathy of mankind. Next come the materials of history, and in no part of his task are the resolution, the patience, the ardor of the historian, more seriously tried than in collecting these." Jared Sparks, in 1826 essay "Materials for American History," as quoted in Jill Lepore, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013), p. 253.

    April 28, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found in comment on sterling.

    February 6, 2017

  • "The German cities of Lubeck, Hamburg, Bremen and Cologne created the (Hanseatic) league for profits and protection. They were small compared to Venice. None could afford to secure an entire coastline on their own. They pooled resources and gave each other trading privileges. Danzig and Bruges joined the group, as did every port city in northern Germany. London, far away on the Thames, let the Hansa set up a walled compound near London Bridge complete with warehouses, barracks and a beer garden that competed with local taverns with its Hamburg ale and Rhenish wine. Hansa law influenced English maritime law. The coinage of the Hansa towns, the Easterling, inspired the English word 'sterling' and the word hansa inspired the name of the German airline Lufthansa."

    --Greg Steinmetz, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: The Life and Times of Jacob Fugger (NY and London: Simon & Schuster, 2015), 86

    February 6, 2017

  • "As the chronicler Priuli feared, Portugal's success devastated Venice. The city went from exporting pepper to becoming an importer. In 1512, a Venetian diplomat was complaining to the sultan of Egypt about money problems. In 1514, Venice suffered the ultimate humiliation by becoming a Portuguese customer. It was over for the republic. In a last gasp to hold on, it shifted its economy from trade to industry. Glass, soap, silk and wool makers surpassed the Arsenal shipyard as the city's leading manufacturer. But the old spark ... disappeared, and Venice began its decline. Changing with the times, Fugger shifted the center of his foreign activities to Antwerp. As for Portugal, it dominated the spice business until the next century when the Dutch broke its grip."

    --Greg Steinmetz, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: The Life and Times of Jacob Fugger (NY and London: Simon & Schuster, 2015), 60

    February 6, 2017

  • "The Portuguese realized they needed more than guns if they wanted pepper. Fugger's silver and copper weren't gold, but India wanted these metals too. Soon, Portugal became Fugger's best customer for metal. He sent wagons full of the ores of silver and copper from Hungary to Antwerp where porters loaded it on ships for Lisbon. Portugal paid him with pepper, making him one of Europe's largest spice wholesalers. Detractors called Fugger a profiteer, a monopolist and a Jew among other things. The spice voyage earned him another name: Pepper Sack. His pepper deals were more visible than his mining activities. Many assumed pepper was his main business."

    --Greg Steinmetz, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: The Life and Times of Jacob Fugger (NY and London: Simon & Schuster, 2015), 59-60

    February 6, 2017

  • "Fugger craved market-sensitive information so much that he created a system to get it first. ... A news service, the world's first. He set up a network of couriers who raced to Augsburg with market information, political updates and the latest gossip--anything that would give him an edge. A postal service had been running between Augsburg and Venice since the fourteenth century. A similar network linked Augsburg with Innsbruck and other imperial cities. But the networks, staffed by city-appointed 'post boys,' were too incomplete and slow for Fugger. He wanted a system tailored just for him. In the years ahead, he learned about important deaths and battle outcomes before Maximilian, the electors and his competitors. ... The letters became ore sophisticated under Fugger's heirs. Although content continued to come from Fugger's agents, they eventually looked more like newspapers than anything else. Fugger's letters preceded the Notizie Scritte of Venice, the first newspaper, by half a century.... He had staggering courier bills but he happily paid."

    --Greg Steinmetz, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: The Life and Times of Jacob Fugger (NY and London: Simon & Schuster, 2015), 34

    February 6, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found in comment on dollar.

    February 6, 2017

  • "At a time when other monarchs--or their minters--watered down coins to make them stretch further, the vast output of the Schwaz mine allowed Sigmund to mint a silver coin of unsurpassed purity. The coin featured an image of him holding a scepter and wearing a jaunty, oversized crown. The coins were a hit and earned him the name Signmund Rich in Coins. When a merchant received one of Sigmund's silver guldiners, he knew he could trust it. The popularity of the coin--weighing the same as six quarters--attracted imitators across Europe, including the German city of Joachimsthal. Joachimsthal introduced a coin of identical size and silver content, and called it the thaler. The Danes called their version the dollar. Three centuries later, Americans gave a nod to the Danes and ran with it. Sigmund loved his guldiners and Fugger gave him bags of the coins as gifts."

    --Greg Steinmetz, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: The Life and Times of Jacob Fugger (NY and London: Simon & Schuster, 2015), 22

    February 6, 2017

  • "Venice was the most commercially minded city on earth. It was the way station that linked the Silk Road with the Rhine, where French wine found its way onto boats to Alexandria and Constantinople and where traders swapped pepper, ginger, and cotton from the East for horn, fur and metal from the West. Venice was founded on commerce and businessmen ran the place. Money was all anyone talked about."

    --Greg Steinmetz, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: The Life and Times of Jacob Fugger (NY and London: Simon & Schuster, 2015), 7

    February 6, 2017

  • "Ester City, outside Fairbanks, was named in honor of prostitute Ester Duffy, who was long famous for charming high-rollers. She had accompanied pioneers to Circle City, where she established a reputation for good-heartedness and generosity. Billy Chappell, one of Dawson's most successful miners (who eventually made millions by investing in Seattle's red light district), gave her a piano for the opening of a whorehouse called the Jewel, which she started near the American Army post of Fort Gibbon. Somehow Ester went broke there, but she sold the piano to prostitute Babe Wallace for $1,000 for another stake, following Clarence and Frank Berry to a new camp. Clarence Berry, perhaps the Klondike's most successful miner, was happily married but his brother, Frank, may have been the reason Ester established her California Hotel there. The town, originally named Berry, was re-christened in Ester's honor for reasons better left unresearched."

    --Lael Morgan, Good Time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush (Fairbanks, Alaska and Seattle: Epicenter Press, 1998), p. 289-290

    January 31, 2017

  • "But the favorite Livengood legend is about Grace Lowe, a tall, slender, good-looking woman--but tough as nails--who ran a large-scale mining operation. Once, when no prostitutes were in cap, her workmen announced that they wished to go into Fairbanks to visit the Line. It was an all-day trip and Grace, not wanting to stop production, agreed to take them on herself, in a most professional manner. ... Everyone was happy until the following payday, when each miner who had enjoyed her services discovered that fifty dollars had been deducted from his wages."

    --Lael Morgan, Good Time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush (Fairbanks, Alaska and Seattle: Epicenter Press, 1998), p. 290

    This at a time when (according to the same book, elsewhere, and heavily cited), one act of coitus earned three dollars in Alaska, and a whole night cost twenty.

    January 31, 2017

  • "'I was greeted by "The Oregon Mare," a nickname applied to a very handsome woman who was a well-known Dawson demimondaine.'"

    --Lael Morgan, Good Time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush (Fairbanks, Alaska and Seattle: Epicenter Press, 1998), p. 299

    January 31, 2017

  • "'Ham Grease' Jimmie O'Connor, another veteran, reported the diggings were so poor they would not support one dance hall."

    --Lael Morgan, Good Time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush (Fairbanks, Alaska and Seattle: Epicenter Press, 1998), p. 182

    It could have been the hour when I encountered this, but I could not stop laughing. It probably would be better not to find out what activity or characteristic might have given a man the nickname of "Ham Grease."

    My companion at the time wondered if there were others, too, necessitating the man's full name being given--as in not just "Wait, do you mean Bear Grease Jimmie?" but also "Oh, Ham Grease Jimmie O'Connor..." which resulted in another long fit of giggles.

    January 31, 2017

  • Usage note on macque.

    January 31, 2017

  • "... pimps did sometimes siphon off the profits from illicit love, especially from foreigners who spoke little or no English. 'While many prostitutes in their isolated cabins practiced the profession quite independently, there were also some white slave girls, mostly Belgians,' Martha Black noted. 'These had been brought in and were managed by men known as macques, who not only lived "off the avails," but first demanded repayment of the passage money of their victims. Let it be always to the credit of the Northwest Mounted Police that they spared no efforts to bring these men of "fancy dress and patent leather shoes" to justice. They were ruthlessly rounded up, brought to trial, and, if proven guilty, given a blue ticket, which meant shoved aboard a boat and told to "get the hell out of the country and never come back".'"

    --Lael Morgan, Good Time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush (Fairbanks, Alaska and Seattle: Epicenter Press, 1998), p. 92

    Note: Martha Black was speaking/writing in 1938 of her years in the Klondike around 1900.

    Also...

    "According to the ordinance, a prostitute could answer to a lover or business manager, but that was her choice. Pimps (also called 'macques') were forbidden to reside on the Line, and since prostitution was quasi-legal, pimps could not control women by threatening to turn them in to the authorities. If a girl was mistreated by a pimp, she could easily get rid of him by having him arrested. Plenty of customers found their own way to the restricted district without pimps luring them there; local bartenders would refer more customers for a reasonable commission, a service performed by taxi drivers in later years. So for the first time, perhaps in the history of the United States, it was possible for a common prostitute to survive on her own, with a real chance of building a better life."

    --same book, page 192

    January 31, 2017

  • See usage in comment on poke hunting.

    January 31, 2017

  • "poke hunting" equates to our current meaning of "gold-digging"--that is, not literally digging for gold.

    "Instead of feeling preyed upon by fortune hunters like Myrtle Drummond, most Klondike Kings viewed 'poke hunting' as acceptable behavior. Since they had been driven north by the desire for wealth, they were not surprised that their female counterparts were motivated by the same goal. These men expected to pay generously for the attention of pretty women in high demand. Some bragged at great lengths about how much wealth they lavished on Klondike charmers, simply because it was one of the few ways to purchase prestige in the Far North."

    --Lael Morgan, Good Time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush (Fairbanks, Alaska and Seattle: Epicenter Press, 1998), p. 61

    January 31, 2017

  • "It may sound pretty to them but it's a mighty lonesome sound the first few times a man hears it. ... It sounded like it trickled through a gross of graveyards ... but I loved to listen to 'em."

    --The Star Press (Muncie, Indiana), 17 March 1907, p. 21

    January 31, 2017

  • "Up there," continued Eli, "when the weather gets really cold, we use Perry Davis's pain killer as a thermometer. Mercury freezes at about 39, but it's got to get 72 below zero before the pain killer congeals. Then it's cold some."

    The Sunday Star, Muncie, Indiana, March 17, 1907. P. 21

    January 31, 2017

  • eeeeeeewwww...

    January 27, 2017

  • "'You know, if you fall through the ice, you should always submerge your arms,' he went on. 'People lift their arms out, like this.' He made frantic scrabbling motions. 'What you should do is put your arms in the water, then put them on the ice--and the water will freeze so they'll stick. Then you can try to lift yourself out.'

    "'But the temperature has to be right,' said Stefan. 'It's no good if it's too warm, because the water won't freeze.'

    ...

    "Giesbrecht expands: 'There have actually been a number of cases when people have become so cold they've become unconscious but they were frozen to the ice and they were rescued, and they survived because either their arms, or their beard for instance, was frozen to the ice.'"

    --Polly Evans, Mad Dogs and an Englishwoman: Travels with Sled Dogs in Canada's Frozen North (NY: Bantam Dell, 2008), 44, 46

    January 25, 2017

  • Usage/anecdote can be found in comment on gee.

    January 25, 2017

  • "The first two took the wrong, short route around the corner and over the log. My dogs made as if to follow them. I stamped hard on the brake.

    "'Gee!' I shouted. The dogs looked around, confused.

    "'Gee!' I shouted again, and eased off the brake a little. The dogs nudged forward, straight on.

    "I stopped them again. 'Gee!' I hollered. Ichabod looked around and wagged his tail. I took my foot slightly off the brake once more. Again, they headed straight on.

    "'Gee!' I shouted again. The Japanese woman turned around and looked at me as though I were mad.

    "'Gee!' I hollered in vain. In the end, we had been there too long. Frank and the others would be sitting waiting on the river, wondering what on earth could have happened to us in that short distance. And so I abandoned my hopes for perfection and took the shortcut over the log.

    "'Oh, Ichabod, he doesn't know the commands,' Frank told me later. 'He's just young. I only put him in front because it's the only place he can't chew everything. And I put Klukshu alongside because he's the only one that'll put up with him.'"

    --Polly Evans, Mad Dogs and an Englishwoman: Travels with Sled Dogs in Canada's Frozen North (NY: Bantam Dell, 2008), 70

    January 25, 2017

  • "'Only one handler from each team can be in the holding area at a time,' pronounced Mike McCowan, the race marshal. He was a burly, ruddy-faced American you wouldn't want to argue with. ... That handler, he went on, was to help lead the team into its allotted place when it arrived and clean up after it had left--but was not allowed to offer any additional assistance at the checkpoints. Handlers could not help feed or care for the dogs, as the driver was supposed to be self-sufficient. They could stand to the rear of the team, or at the front of the team, but they could not walk up and down. And they must not, under any circumstances, touch a dog, as this would constitute outside help to the musher.

    "'The hardest thing for you guys is going to be that, at some point, a dog is going to look up at you and go...' McCowan did a fair imitation of a winsome dog pleading for attention. 'And you must not touch that dog.'"

    --Polly Evans, Mad Dogs and an Englishwoman: Travels with Sled Dogs in Canada's Frozen North (NY: Bantam Dell, 2008), 97-98


    "In two hours, the Black Hawk evacuated six mushers and eighty-eight dogs from the mountain and transported them back to Mile 101. ... Our elation was dampened, however, by the knowledge that Saul was out of the race. The Quest rules forbade competitors from accepting outside help of any kind. They couldn't so much as take a cup of tea from a bystander; to take a ride in a Black Hawk was clearly a major transgression. So, while we were truly delighted that all the drivers and dogs were safe, and profoundly grateful to the Quest officials, volunteers, and military airmen who had effected their rescue, we were nonetheless sorely disappointed that after all that time, effort, and money, Saul's race had lasted less than three days." (132-133)


    January 25, 2017

  • "'... a man starting on a journey began with a smile at frozen quicksilver, still went at whiskey, hesitated at the kerosene, and dived back into his cabin when the Pain-Killer lay down,' Arthur Walden wrote in his memoirs, A Dog Puncher on the Yukon."

    --Polly Evans, Mad Dogs and an Englishwoman: Travels with Sled Dogs in Canada's Frozen North (NY: Bantam Dell, 2008), 135

    January 25, 2017

  • "The only features of the bright white tundra were pingos--mounds of earth that have been pushed upward when underground water, trapped by permafrost, has frozen and expanded. They looked like giant congealed molehills that were perhaps the height of a person, perhaps many times that. ... I later found out that some of those pingos around Tuktoyaktuk were 150 feet high ... and nine hundred feet in diameter."

    --Polly Evans, Mad Dogs and an Englishwoman: Travels with Sled Dogs in Canada's Frozen North (NY: Bantam Dell, 2008), 199-200

    January 25, 2017

  • "'A good bear dog is one that makes a lot of noise and chases the bear just a little bit. You don't want a dog to chase the bear too far, though. If the dog goes too far, it just ends up annoying the bear. Then the bear can turn round, and now you've got the bear chasing the dog. And when a dog gets scared, it runs straight home.'

    "He went on to tell me the story of a miner he'd known. The miner was sitting with some companions in his cabin one evening when his dog gave chase to a bear. Nobody paid much attention until, a short while later, the dog bolted into the cabin, cowered under the table--and an angry bear charged through the doorway in furious pursuit. The bear wasn't interested in the people, John said, but it was hell-bent on getting that dog. Still, even though the bear showed no direct desire to eat him personally, the poor miner could hardly ignore its presence in his kitchen and so he was forced to shoot it. He was pretty annoyed apparently: Shooting a bear in one's cabin creates an awful mess."

    --Polly Evans, Mad Dogs and an Englishwoman: Travels with Sled Dogs in Canada's Frozen North (NY: Bantam Dell, 2008), 267

    January 25, 2017

  • "A driver has only the sled to hide behind and his sleeping bag, fur robes, and dogs to help keep him warm. He can remain holed up like that for days until the blizzard abates and it is safe to carry on. Sourdoughs had a saying for the times when they found themselves stranded by a blizzard. 'We are up against it. Up against it good and strong.'"

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 220

    January 24, 2017

  • "The richness and subtlety of the Eskimo language can be seen just in the naming of Shaktoolik. The word means 'sandbar,' after the location of the town. And it also means 'stretched out.' One Eskimo in Unalakleet described yet another meaning: 'Further, it means the feeling you have when you have been going toward a place for so long that it seems that you will never get there.'"

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 197

    January 24, 2017

  • "At an early age, Eskimo children could already identify every headland and inlet of the sound and could orient themselves quickly by reaching down from the sled and feeling blindly for the tiny ice waves called sastrugi, which formed in the same configuration at every freeze and mirrored the topography on shore."

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 197-198

    January 24, 2017

  • "Wild Bill Shannon was about to break the 'rule of the 40s.' The rule warned against running a dog team in temperatures below minus 40 degrees and above 40 degrees. At 40 degrees and over, a husky can get overheated and suffer from dehydration. At 40 below, 2 degrees below the point at which mercury freezes, there is little room for error. Even the U.S. Army stationed in the Interior village of Tanana had forbidden its soldiers from going out on patrol when the temperature dropped so low.

    "Tonight, it was 50 below zero."

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 139

    January 24, 2017

  • "In the mid-1920s, Alaskans most commonly used alcohol-filled thermometers, which were often handmade and unreliable. During the Klondike rush, one popular pioneer trader named Jack McQuesten set outside his popular trading post four bottles, placed in the order in which they froze: quicksilver, whiskey, kerosene, and Perry Davis Pain Killer. Pioneers said that when the Perry Davis Pain Killer froze, it indicated a minimum of minus 75 degrees. Instructions for the painkiller were said to warn a traveler not to move away from the fire when the product had frozen."

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 139n

    January 24, 2017

  • "Firearms and fur-trading capitalism revolutionized the use of dogs in the north, the proof of which is still evident every time a dog musher says 'mush.' French Canadian fur trappers in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company recognized how useful the dog traction of the Eskimos would be on a trapline. They hooked up their dog teams to toboggans and sleds, and commanded them to go in French, shouting 'Marche!' or 'Marchons!' which was gradually corrupted to 'Mush!' The trappers taught the Athabaskans to mush dogs and the Indians readily adopted dog traction as a superior method of moving faster and farther about the forest. Previously the Athabaskans had only small 'pack' dogs, not sled dogs. But packing with a single dog was not nearly as efficient as sledding with a team of dogs; the new weapons and new demands of trading made the vast leap from packing to sledding inevitable."

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, <i>The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic</i> (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 131

    January 24, 2017

  • "Snowhouses came to stand to the outside world as the symbol of Eskimo culture. In reality, however, the vast majority of coastal Eskimos never lived in a snowhouse and never even saw one. They were common in central Canada where snow conditions were just right, but in Alaska, iglus--the word simply means 'house'--were made of sod and the snow igloo was completely unknown."

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 118

    January 24, 2017

  • "The most important and respected travelers on the trails were the mail drivers. Whether they were Native, part Native, or white, they were usually the best dog drivers around, and they were experts at surviving in almost any weather conditions. It was a tough job and carried huge risks, and this was reflected in their pay, which was about $150 a month, one of the highest in Alaska. They took their oath seriously and went out on the trail at times when no one else dared. They braved blizzards, rain, and bitter cold, and sometimes became the only contact between the isolated miner and the outside world. They understood the importance of a letter home to both the miner and the shopkeeper.

    "'To see the excitement that the mail from the Outside makes, to see the eagerness with which the men press up to the postmaster's desk for their letters, and the trembling hands as they are opened, and the filling eyes as they read, touches the heart,' wrote one author as he watched the arrival of mail in 1897.

    "By law, mail drivers had the right of way and were always given the warmest seat at the roadhouse. They were served the best food and their dogs were given table scraps saved especially for them; sometimes the animals would be given beds of hay for the night. The dogs worked as hard as their drivers. ...

    "Nothing could compare to the dog team, particularly when the weather was bad. The drivers often had to pay a penalty if their delivery was late, and they pushed themselves and the dogs to the limit.

    "'You'd have to be on time regardless of the weather or trail conditions,' said Peter Curran, Jr., who had the mail route between Solomon and Golovin on the Bering Sea coast. 'If I lost a day, I had to make a double run the next day. So I had to go no matter what the weather. ... Sometimes in those storms you couldn't see half the team. You just had to trust your leader to keep going.'

    "'There were days the poor dogs, they just hated to go,' said another driver, Bill McCarty, who had a route in the Interior in the mid-1920s. 'Going up river, against a headwind, cold. Oh. It really bothered them. But we had no choice. They had to go.'

    "Roadhouse keepers and other travelers understood the extent of the pressure on the drivers and their dogs, and they often went out of their way to help. If it had snowed overnight, they would wake up early and tramp down the trail for more than ten miles so that the mail driver and his dogs would not have to labor through heavy drifts.

    "The drivers rarely took advantage of these privileges, and whenever they could, they would take passengers to neighboring villages or drop off gifts along the route. A mail driver might have as many as 25 dogs pulling two heavy freight sleds, or as few as five dogs pulling a light load. Either way, the mail was packed into heavy canvas bags tied shut with a drawstring and lashed down in the basket of the sled. Important mail such as bank drafts and company slips stayed in the driver's backpack. Sleigh bells were tied to the dogs' harnesses to announce their arrival and to warn a traveler that they were coming round the bend.

    "By the 1920s, mail drivers crisscrossed the entire territory. For the most part, they were a tough and humble lot, often identified by the gruesome stamps of their profession, an amputated finger or a toe lost to the cold, or a frostbitten nose or cheek. Some of them were legendary. ...

    "If a driver failed to deliver his mail on time, it was a sure sign that there had been a mishap, and the lodgers at the roadhouse would go out and look for him."

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 102-104

    January 24, 2017

  • "The roadhouses provided a certain degree of intimacy for the traveler, and each one had its own particular character. The innkeepers were tough, independent sorts on the whole, but each of them knew the value of a cup of coffee or a free meal for the wanderer who stumbled in wet and cold. On more than one occasion, a roadhouse operator would go out into the cold in the middle of the night to bring in a lost traveler. Alaskans depended on this kind of 'bush hospitality,' and they offered it selflessly. One never knew when one might need a helping hand."

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 102

    January 24, 2017

  • "In the vast silence, Seppala could hear the patter of the dogs' feet on the crusted snow and their steady pant as they pulled ahead in the cold. There was something soothing about the sound of the sled in motion: the creak of the wood like the rigging of a schooner under full sail, the rub of the rawhide lashings, the swish of the runners on the snow. This was a broad terrain, an empty ocean, and when the weather behaved, the sled would glide easily over the trail's swells. The only marks left behind were two parallel lines in the snow and the clouds of the dogs' exhalations, which lingered over the trail for a moment."

    "'The birchwood runners of my sled make tracks so deep in my memory I can see them to this day,' Seppala once said of his first dog team. 'All (the dogs) asked at the end of a grueling day was to be fed.'

    "The first rule of survival was to hang on to the team, because without the dogs you were dead."

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 63

    January 24, 2017

  • "Seppala--and many current Siberian owners-referred to the breed as "Siberians." "Husky" is a generic term for all double-coated, prick-eared breeds and was given to the Siberians when the American Kennel Club granted the dogs official recognition. According to Russ Tabbert's Dictionary of Alaskan English, the term Husky 'developed in the 19th century from a shortened variant of 'Eskimo' used by English speakers as a name for Canadian Eskimos. Eskimo dogs were therefore known as 'Husky Dogs' which was shortened to 'Husky'' (p. 204)."

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 64n

    January 24, 2017

  • "Once the feeding was over, the animals' sore muscles were massaged and boughs of spruce were cut down for their bedding. The smell and feel of it was a comfort to the animals, whose well-being was an important factor on the long hauls. A tired and discouraged animal could turn a simple trail into an obstacle course. The dogs seemed to appreciate every act of kindness, and they relaxed and settled down after their meal. This was followed by a ritual the mushers referred to as 'the thank-you howl.'

    "It began with a single dog's high-pitched, dreamlike wail, which was picked up by a second and then a third dog. Soon, every dog had its nose up, joining in a full-throated cacophony. The singing would end as suddenly as it began, and the dogs would begin to turn in ever-tightening circles, pawing at their bedding until they were comfortable. Then they would cover their noses with their tails and fall asleep. Finally the driver would have a few moments to take care of his own needs."

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 62

    January 24, 2017

  • "Food was a constant concern for the drivers of Alaska. The dogs' diet had to include enough protein and fat to keep them healthy and warm for winter travel, and the drivers needed to stock huge quantities. The most common food source was salmon. A musher would build fish traps out of wood and wire and lay them out in the river to catch the salmon runs.* Then he would cut up the fish and hang them out to dry on racks. The job could take a whole summer; each year the driver would stock about 5,000 pounds of the vitamin-rich meat.

    * Many of the drivers used a fish wheel, which had two baskets attached to a long wooden axle. As the wheel turned in the current of the river, migrating fish were scooped up by the baskets and dropped down a ramp that led into a compartment. The fish wheel was held in place by an anchor on shore or by posts driven into the riverbed."

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 61

    January 24, 2017

  • "Mark Summers had a plan, an express delivery. The entire route could be covered by two fast dogsled teams, one starting from the railhead at Nenana heading west, the other from Nome heading east. They would meet halfway on the trail at Nulato. Summers knew the one man who could do the western portion of the run, from Nome to Nulato and then back again: a scrappy Norwegian outdoorsman named Leonhard Seppala. Seppala was the gold company's main dog driver. He supervised the company's 110 miles of ditches that supplied water to the gold fields, and he freighted supplies and passengers out to the company's mining camps and ferried officials on business trips to other towns in Alaska. Tireless and disciplined in his work, he was undoubtedly the fastest musher in Alaska."

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 56

    January 24, 2017

  • "The Eskimos' influence was widespread: during celebrations such as the Fourth of July, Native games competed with the brass bands and parades; there were kayak races in the Snake River and a blanket toss on the tundra, in which a huge swath of walrus skin was sewn together and held taut while a contestant was hurled into the air. Traditionally, Natives used the blanket toss as a tool for spotting whales."

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 26

    January 24, 2017

  • See also Scotty Allan.

    "By late 1915, word of Allan's reputation for handling sled dogs had reached the French army, which turned to him for help in the war against Germany. Supply lines to army units in eastern France had become hindered by deep snow and the French had heard that the sled dogs of Nome could succeed where horses and mules had failed. Allan needed more than four hundred sled dogs for this secret mission. To avoid skyrocketing prices, he went around Nome and its surrounding villages and quietly bought up 106 dogs, and harnesses and sleds, as well as 2 tons of dried salmon for food.

    "To transport the animals, he rigged up a 300-foot towline and attached the dogs in pairs to the heavy rope. The end of the towline was hooked to two draft horses and a heavy carriage that held the dogs back in case they got too excited or tried to flee. A crowd watched as Allan drove the team up a bobbling gangplank to a barge and then out to a ship waiting offshore. They sailed to Canada, where they boarded a guarded train and traveled to Quebec; there Allan assembled over 300 more dogs from the Canadian Arctic, 60 sleds, and 350 harnesses. Then Allan and his 'K9 Corps' sailed to France on the Pomeranian, an old cargo ship that had recently been brought out of retirement.

    "Once on shore, Allan divided the dogs into sixty teams and trained fifty cavalrymen to drive them. They hauled 90 tons of ammunition to a stranded unit in the Vosges Mountains, and helped soldiers lay down communication lines to a detachment that had been cut off by the Germans. In addition, they hauled in the wounded to field hospitals. 'It was enough to make one forget all about the war, even when the shells were singing, to see a line half a mile long of dog teams tearing down the mountain to the base depot, every blue devil whooping and yelling and trying to pass the one ahead,' Allan remembered."

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 24-25

    January 24, 2017

  • "In the first years of the sweepstakes, Scotty Allan won most of the races, and for years his team were considered Alaska's top dogs. Allan had a natural gift with animals and had trained horses and dogs since he was a 12-year-old in Scotland. To prepare for the sweepstakes, he experimented with the dogs' diets and spent hours in the kennels examining the paws of each dog, trimming the claws so that they would not catch in the snow, and greasing between the pads. He made rabbit-fur covers for his team, which had shorter hair than most of the local dogs, and designed booties for their feet, which were more tender and prone to injury. He designed racing harnesses that were lighter and less cumbersome and made the traditional freight sled lighter and he replaced its handlebars with a crossbar that made it easier to push. His basic designs are still in use today.

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 24

    January 24, 2017

  • "As the drivers passed each telegraph station on the course, the 'Information Kid' would record the changing positions and times and the gamblers would press up close to decipher his scrawl. The books stayed open nearly until the end of the four-day race, the odds shifting as quickly as the gamblers could buy drinks. It was chaos: one spectator said it was less like gambling and 'more like dealing on the stock exchange.'"

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 24

    See All Alaska Sweepstakes for context.

    January 24, 2017

  • "In the fall of 1907, around the wood-burning stove at the Board of Trade Saloon, Albert Fink, Scotty Allan, and a few friends established the Nome Kennel Club with the intention of organizing a dogsled race. Over the next several weeks, Fink and his colleagues devised a long-distance race like no other. The 408-mile, round-trip trek through every imaginable terrain would test the mettle, intelligence, and endurance of dog and driver. ... Officials called it the All Alaska Sweepstakes. Others called it 'reckless.' The inhabitants of Nome, however, welcomed the race with enthusiasm. They were tired of the deadly dullness of the seven-month-long winter... It took place in April 1908 and was such a success that it became an annual event until 1917, when World War I intervened, severely disrupting Alaska's economy. ...

    "The All Alaska Sweepstakes transformed the isolated town. By the start of each race every April, Nome became a frenzied festival. Miners from the Seward Peninsula came down and every dog team owner dreamed of winning the thousands of dollars in prize money. (The first year the prize was $10,000.) Year after year, news of the event was covered widely across Alaska and in the states, and Nome, now 'Dog Capital of the World,' was once again in the headlines. there was no other race like it at the time--as the official race pamphlet said, it 'easily towers above all other contests of physical endurance, for both man and beast.'"

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 22-23

    January 24, 2017

  • To my chagrin, it doesn't actually have a hyphen. Dangit. It should be All Alaska Sweepstakes.


    January 24, 2017

  • "The majority of the residents in Nome owned their own team, and the dogs seemed to rule the streets. At one point dogs became such a hazard that the town passed a law requiring them to wear bells. There were more dogs than people and their howls, known as 'the malamute chorus,' could always be heard throughout the night. The dogs of Nome were almost as important as the citizens. Many roamed free when they were not working and some accompanied their masters into the saloons. An attorney named Albert Fink, who years later would defend Al Capone, would tip his hat whenever he passed a husky he particularly respected, and he once managed to persuade a jury that his sled dog Peg was acting in self-defense when he slaughtered twenty-eight sheep owned by the Pacific Cold Storage Company."

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 21-22

    January 24, 2017

  • "Drivers liked to work with large dogs because they often carried loads one and a half times heavier than their teams. Newfoundlands, St. Bernards, and hounds were popular imports, and they were cross-bred with the indigenous dog population. In Nome, the imports were bred with malamutes, named after the Eskimo Mahlemuit people. Over the past several hundred years, the Eskimos had used and bred their dogs to freight heavy loads for relatively short distances. When miners crossbred the Native dogs with Newfoundlands and St. Bernards, the outcome was sometimes astonishing: mutts that weighed as much as 125 pounds. The malamute nearly disappeared, yet its name lived on; miners in Nome as well as in the Interior often called their mixed-breed dogs malamutes."

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 20

    (In light of the comments below, it may be worth noting that the authors, though they spoke with many Alaskans and did research there, are from New York.)

    January 24, 2017

  • "Messages from Nome to the states went over three handlings: radio, telegraph, and submarine cable. The U.S. Signal Corps made several attempts to link Nome via a submarine cable across Norton Sound to St. Michael, but the constant shifting of the ice across the seabed floor repeatedly carried the cable out to sea. With no other option available, the Corps turned to the relatively new technology of 'wireless telegraphy'; it built 200-foot towers at each end of Norton Sound, 133 miles apart, and successfully made Nome a part of the system. The radio link, however, was not without its own temporary problems. A blizzard in 1904 tore the roof off the station on the Nome side, filling the room up with snow and killing the fire in the potbelly stove that kept the operators warm. In a matter of seconds the temperature inside the station dropped to nearly 70 below and the water in the 6-horsepower gasoline engine that ran the generator froze, cracking the cylinder."

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 19n

    January 24, 2017

  • "Tex Rickard started his career staging boxing matches for Nome's miners, then moved on to New York and built Madison Square Garden, becoming one of the first great sports impresarios."

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 17

    January 24, 2017

  • "As the waves receded and debris piled up on the shore, thousands of prospectors who had survived months of lawlessness, drunkenness, and poverty decided they'd had enough. They stood quietly in long lines on the beach and waited for the next ship out. They were called the 'cold feets,' and they all had one thing in common: they could no longer bear the thought of another day in Nome."

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 18

    January 24, 2017

  • "When the miners registered the town with the U.S. Post Office to receive mail, they initially named the mining district Anvil City after a nearby rock that looked like the blacksmith's tool. The postal authorities, however, rejected the name because another Alaskan mining camp had already claimed the title, and so instead the boomtown was called Nome, after the cape of the same name thirteen miles to the east. The naming of Cape Nome is widely believed to have been the result of a cartographer's bad handwriting. A draftsman aboard HMS Herald, which was in search of the missing crew of the 1845 Franklin Expedition, had apparently written '? Name' on his map when the ship passed by a cape on the Seward Peninsula that had not been marked. When the map was later drawn in permanent pen, the cartographer mistook the question mark for a C and the 'Name' for 'Nome.' Some locals in Nome believe in another version. The Eskimo expression kn-no-me means 'I don't know' and is thought to have been the answer Natives gave when foreign visitors landing on the shore asked the likely question, 'What's the name of this place?'"

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 14n

    (I'll add only that almost every place in America has that story told about how it was named--the Native inhabitants told the Europeans "I don't know" in their own language and the "name" stuck. But that doesn't necessarily mean it didn't happen.)

    January 24, 2017

  • "... the sourdoughs settled on Anvil Creek. ... When the ice on the Bering Sea melted that summer, a new group of prospectors from the states began arriving by boat. Before long over a thousand more had set up their white tents.... 

    "The sourdoughs called the new arrivals 'cheechakoes,' a combination of Native Indian words meaning 'newcomer.' The new boys brought a dangerous element to the mix: they were, for the most part, naive."
    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, <i>The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic</i> (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 13-14

    See also comment on Klondike rush.

    January 24, 2017

  • "In the summer of 1896, prospectors had found gold in a creek near the Klondike River, just east of the Alaskan border in Canada's Yukon Territory: the Klondike was a rich find, and newspapers and magazines ran sensational stories.... Invariably, they failed to list the perils of northern travel. Of the more than 100,000 men and women who set off from all over the world on the months-long trek, fewer than 30,000 would reach Dawson City, the boomtown that served as gateway.... Fewer still would strike it rich. Good fortune smiled more often on those with the patience or entrepreneurial skills to open up a general store or saloon.

    "But gold mining was a powerful addiction. ... Years of unchecked speculation on Wall Street and faulty federal policies ... had finally come to a head in 1893. Nearly fifteen thousand companies and more than six hundred banks failed, and 20 percent of the American workforce lost their jobs. Thousands of people had no savings to buy food or pay the rent. The effects of the panic were felt around the world. Thus... prospectors kept coming to the Klondike. Then, in the winter of 1898, word traveled to the region that gold had been discovered on a creek on the Seward Peninsula, clear across Alaska, a distance of about 800 miles as the raven flies. Thousands ... decided to abandon their barren claims and, with picks and shovels in hand, make their way to the next shining prospect. The only route from the Klondike to Nome is along the mighty Yukon River, which stretches 2,300 miles from its headwaters in Canada across Alaska to its mouth in the Bering Sea. But by then, the Yukon River had already frozen over. The prospectors, willing by now to take just about any risk, ignored the freeze and set out by any means they could find, by dogsled or horseback, on foot, and even a few on bicycles or ice skates. The pilgrimage... was weeks long and the line stretched out for miles. ... Several hundred miners arrived in Nome in the winter of 1898. How many didn't make it or turned back will never be known. ... those who did arrive were mostly tough and experienced trail veterans and prospectors, who were hardened by at least one far northern winter. They were known as "sourdoughs" because they often kept a supply of yeast in crocks held close to their chests. This was used to make bread on the trail and it ensured that the miner would never go hungry."

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 12-13

    January 24, 2017

  • "The Tanana and Yukon rivers cut through the heart of the Interior, a land Jack London once described as a 'pitiless' expanse of 'the bright White Silence.'"

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 100-101

    See also great listening.

    January 24, 2017

  • "As the weeks passed, the sun would sink lower beneath the horizon and the fields of ice and snow would be transformed rom the purest white to a wash of gold and then to a violet twilight. The days were shorter now, just four hours of sunlight, and the temperatures plunged. Finally, a cavernous silence would descend on the coast like a 'great listening.'"

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 8

    See also white silence.

    January 24, 2017

  • "... a little farther north, the pressure of the sea ice had been known to force up great slabs and eject them 50 feet onto shore, crushing everything in their path. The Eskimos of the Northwest called it ivu--"the ice that leaps.""

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 8

    January 24, 2017

  • Usage/note in comment on umiak.

    January 24, 2017

  • "Those without jobs as laborers in Nome traveled down the Bering coast with their nets to fish for a last batch of salmon or char, and the women would go to work with their curved steel knives, or ulus, and hang the fish up on drying racks to cure in the cold sea air. If they came upon a seal on one of their frequent trips up north, they would shoot it, load it onto their wide, skin-covered boats (umiaks), and, after a rough ride over the waves, bring it home. There it would be skinned to make mukluks and its blubber would be cut, eaten, or rendered into oil for food or fuel."

    --Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic (NY and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003), 6

    January 24, 2017

  • "... drinks after church on Sunday, teas or bridge parties where cheese straws (alumettes) could be served with tinned soup."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 333

    January 24, 2017

  • "... planning food that could be made in separate portions, especially recipes that used up cold meat in new ways such as little kromeskis--combinations of chopped meat bound in egg and bechamel, cooled, shaped into rolls, battered and fried."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 333

    January 24, 2017

  • "Jekyll introduced the food of her beloved Venice to British cooks: minestrone, gnocchi with cheese, pastas with simple tomato sauces and fritto misto of calf's liver, veal cutlet, sweetbreads and brains all sauteed with lemon...."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 327

    January 24, 2017

  • You'll be glad, but not as glad as I am, to know that I've finished reading the g.d. thing.

    January 20, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on mangetout.

    January 19, 2017

  • "... with more cash in our pockets, ingredients went upmarket in the closing years of the decade: celeriac and mangetout ... herbs in packets, stuffed aubergine, banoffee pie and then grilled goats'-cheese salad, exotic mushrooms...."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 370

    January 19, 2017

  • "Although The Cookery Year assumed that cooks had enough silver cutlery for five courses, starched linen napery and brightly polished crystal... it contained recipes that a growing band of cooks were aspiring to make...."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 366

    January 19, 2017

  • "the intensely social aspect of Roden's cooking lay as much at its heart as its centuries-old use of pine nuts, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, ginger, crushed garlic, cloves, mint and saffron. Hers was food traditionally slow cooked in tagines, and her book reintroduced to British kitchens the Arabic flavours once so adored by our Norman ancestors, with savoury pastries scattered with sugar, pounded meat and plenty of allspice, pomegranates and scented water."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 363

    January 19, 2017

  • "A porous, lidded earthenware pot in which foods could be cooked without fats or liquids, the Römertopf enjoyed brief popularity in the '70s until cooks discovered that they were not, after all, much different from the typical casserole dish."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 362

    January 19, 2017

  • "... it conjured up a proud French tradition, the integrity of recipes honed over decades, consistent standards and the enjoyment of doing things properly rather than perfunctorily -- a philosophy of preparation so rare that we call it artisanal."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 361

    January 19, 2017

  • "... pissaladina provided the simplest of pizzas: a bread dough covered with slow-cooked onions, stoned black olives and anchovy fillets with a tomato sauce of garlic, oil and basil."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 346-347

    January 19, 2017

  • "The year 1947 ... Potatoes were rationed for the first time, and ten million half-pound tins of snoek were imported from South Africa. As repellent as it sounded absurd -- Marguerite Patten remembers it, simply, as 'awful' -- snoek cost only 1 1/2 s or a point a tin, and it promised to make up for the loss of tinned sardines and salmon. But no matter how cooks longed for something new, Ministry recipes for snoek piquant (onions, vinegar, syrup), snoek pasties or snoek salads tickled no one's fancy. Two years later, more than a third of the tins remained unsold, most turning up on grocery shelves as cheap catfood."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 343-344

    January 19, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on langdebeef.

    January 18, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on langdebeef.

    January 18, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on langdebeef.

    January 18, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on langdebeef.

    January 18, 2017

  • An excellent list of sixteenth-century herbs in use in England can be found in a comment on langdebeef.

    January 18, 2017

  • "For those of us whose use of culinary herbs is restricted, say, to parsley, coriander, sage, thyme and basil, the cornucopia in use in the late sixteenth century is striking:

    Thyme, Savourie, Hyssop, Pennyroyal ... sage, Garden Clary, baulme, Mints, Costmary and Maudeline, tansie, Burnet, Monkes Rubarbe, Bloodwort, sorel (much used in sawses), langdebeef, arrach, blites, beetes, Alisanders, Smallage, Parsley, fennel, Dill, chervil, mallows, Succourie and Endive, spinach, lettice, purslane, tarragon, cresses, rocket, mustard, asparagus.*

    *Langdebeef was lamb's lettuce, bloodwort was dock, clary was a kind of sage, arrach was similar to spinach as a pot herb, and succourie was curly chicory."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 115-116 and 116n

    January 18, 2017

  • "Newspapers gave up their fashion pages for columns headed 'What Women Can Do', and recipes for sole, lobsters, cream, eggs and butter were replaced with earnest advice on 'cheap brown soup' or crowdie made with the liquid in which mutton had been boiled with onions, oatmeal, salt and pepper."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 319

    (this was at the start of World War I)

    January 18, 2017

  • "Coal was scarce so cinders were collected, and briquettes of clay, sawdust and tar were laboriously home-made as cooks struggled to learn economical ways with one-pot cooking and 'hay boxes'--wooden boxes insulated with hay, newspapers or blankets in which a stew, rice or suet pudding, brought to the boil on the stove, could then be left to 'cook'."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 319

    January 18, 2017

  • "Canning offered a solution to the problem of urban supply and when cattle-plague hit in the 1860s, Australian tinned meat -- coarse-grained, overdone lumps with a wad of fat -- cost less than half the price of fresh meat and business boomed.* So unpopular that the navy called it 'Fanny Adams' after the eight-year-old whose murder had shocked the nation,** tinned meat was generally foul, but it was cheap and it came in handy for unexpected guests, titivated into soups, stews and rissoles. As the United States recovered from its Civil War, its canning factories went into overdrive: exports to Britain rose from seven tonnes in 1866 to about ten thousand tonnes five years later. ...

    * Sixteen thousand pounds of Australian tinned meat were imported in 1866, compared to twenty-two million pounds only five years later.

    **The scandals of earlier attempts at canning that had produced putrid meat had been broadly forgotten. It is likely that the tinned meat supplied to Sir John Franklin's fated 1850 expedition to find the North-West Passage had been boiled in salt water to save fuel, remaining partially raw at its core, rotting and poisoning many of the crew. Others believe that lead found in the tinned containers weakened the men."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 299

    January 18, 2017

  • For usage/historical note, see comment on French fries.

    January 18, 2017

  • "... of all vegetables, the potato still reigned supreme. By the late 1850s they were being cut into strips and fried from raw -- in the 'French fashion', according to Mrs Beeton -- to accompany rump steak, and though some fried parboiled potatoes, everyone by the 1870s agreed that these delightful crispy strips were called 'chips'. Soon -- as steamships plundered the teeming northern seas, returning with such quantities in their refrigerated holds that fried fish for a penny became working-class fare -- chips would replace the baked potato."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 297

    January 18, 2017

  • "Street children spent their few coins on a penny-slice of plum pudding, boiled trotters and pickled tripe, or boiled sweets luridly colored with lead, arsenic and mercury, or on rhubarb, currant and cherry pies -- even a slice of over-ripe pineapple -- all sold in the street from a bit of polished wood or a piece of oil cloth. From the 1840s, the Wenham Lake Ice Company had begun to import ice to sell in blocks to fishmongers, confectioners and wealthy households. Quick to catch at an opportunity, Italian immigrants like Carlo Gatti set up in business in London in the summer of 1850, selling hard, luridly coloured ices made from often dirty milk mixed with cornstarch and luring customers for their 'penny licks' with cries of 'ecco un poco!', ensuring their nickname: the Hokey Pokey men."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 291-292

    January 18, 2017

  • After reading the horrific stuff on adulteration, this is a nice bit.

    "In response to such fraudulent and widespread practices, pre-packed and branded goods marketed with the promise of quality flourished, and in 1806 the details of a new method of preservation that -- unlike smoke, sugar, vinegar or salt -- did not change the taste of meat, fruit or vegetables were published by a Frenchman called Nicolas Appert. Appert bottled his materials, corked them carefully, boiled them in a water bath, sealed the bottles with pitch and stored them in a cool, dark place -- and it worked. New-laid eggs could now be boiled with bits of bread to stop them cracking. The technique worked for gravy, soups, fruits and reduced cream; even meat could be thus preserved, and new-gathered asparagus, beans and petits pois -- 'prepared with the utmost rapidity so that there should be as it were but one step from the garden-bed to the water bath' -- were declared delicious.

    "Driven by the needs of soldiers fighting in the Napoleonic Wars, Appert could see the potential benefits of his discovery to the military and to hospitals, but with chemistry still in its infancy and bacteriology unknown, he had no notion of how important his discovery would prove to be.* By the time his work was translated into english in 1811, technology was speeding ahead and his method was already being adapted to tinned metal containers by British businessmen. Brian Donkin's first canning factory opened in 1812 -- the year in which Charles Dickens was born -- producing goods in heavy metal containers which had to be opened with hammer and chisel. Hitherto, cooks had had to cut off rusty or sour pieces from their home-cured bacon, or wipe the slightly off joint with vinegar before cooking it.... With Donkin's method, even meat could be preserved indefinitely.

    *In America, the process of sterilisation that resulted from Pasteur's experiments was first known as 'appertising'."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 269-271 and 270n.

    January 18, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found on ozmazome.

    January 18, 2017

  • See usage/historical note on ozmazome.

    January 18, 2017

  • "What had been called 'essence of meat' was all of a sudden confounded by the advancing science of chemistry as the notion of ozmazome briefly appeared, described by Carême as the 'most savoury part of the meat', by Soyer as its 'very essence' and by plenty of others, including Mrs Beeton, as the soluble part of the meat that gave its perfume and savour to stocks. Whether ozmazome was in fact the caramelised meat juices found in the roasting pan or a hazy notion of the most nutritious part of the meat (red meat had more of it than white, fish had none), the befuddling concept was soon exploited by Justus von Leibig, a German chemist, who developed his own 'Meat Extract', a concentrated powder achieving a cult-like status. It would later be renamed Oxo, the first in a long line of artificial gravy powders."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 284

    January 18, 2017

  • "... the vegetables were soft-boiled.*

    *Unless you belonged to the Vegetarian Society (formed in 1847 from an offshoot of the Swedenborgians), whose members prided themselves on eating vegetables cut into pretty shapes, savoury omelettes, mushroom pies, moulded rice and the like. They were widely regarded as insane, even suicidal."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 283

    See also Sublime Society of Beefsteaks.

    January 18, 2017

  • "The kipper was 'invented' in the 1840s by John Wodger - split, salted and smoked for long-term preservation."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 283

    January 18, 2017

  • Eliza "Acton liked to keep it simple and slow; she transformed the written recipe not only with her exact quantities and detailed instructions on things like boning and trussing but, also for the very first time, with closing summaries of all the ingredients needed and the time that each one would take to complete.*

    *Listing ingredients at the foot of a recipe, when you think about it, makes sense, since it assumes that the recipe itself has been read thoroughly first. It was Isabella Beeton who copied Acton's innovation but moved the list to the beginning, giving us, finally, the form of the modern recipe."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 281 and n.

    January 18, 2017

  • "Soyer also licensed his sauces and relishes to Messrs Crosse & Blackwell, and designed one of the very earliest domestic gas cookers, the unpronounceable Phidomageireion,* but it would be another fifty or so years before power stations supplied gas widely enough for most people to benefit from its instant heat.

    *'Thrifty kitchen' in Greek."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 279

    January 18, 2017

  • "Crosse & Blackwell were soon selling nearly forty different pickles and sauces; Mr Bird invented instant custard powder for his delicate wife who could not take eggs but loved the sweet, creamy sauce that had taken Regency tables by storm. Colman's mustard removed from cooks the eye-watering process of grinding seeds, curry powders were sold widely, and a returning Governor of Bengal pressed not a cook, but a local chemist, Lea & Perrins, to invent Worcestershire, or 'Indian', sauce, so successful that its sales rose from 636 bottles in 1842 to 30,000 a decade later. New industrial methods created 'Dutched' or powdered chocolate, removing part of the butter fat to make it easier to dissolve, and Cadbury's factory at Bournville and Fry's followed soon after. Arrowroot thickened everything it touched and centrifugal machines began to produce the low-cost, high-quality granular sugar that would consign to history the paraphernalia for breaking down and grinding great sugar cones."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 276-277

    January 18, 2017

  • "Ice was also finally beginning to be used as a preservative. In 1785, Alexander Dalrymple of the East India Company described the ancient Chinese practice of packing fresh fish in ice and the penny dropped. His friend George Dempster passed the information on to his Scottish fish merchant; the Scottish fishing industry was transformed, and fresh salmon was despatched countrywide, safely and without the need for salt or pickle."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 270

    (this was about 1812--no specific date given)

    January 18, 2017

  • See usage/historical note in comment on adulteration.

    January 18, 2017

  • "Accomplished cooks skilfully used small quantities of cheaper cuts of meat in French-inspired stews, and the repertoire of leftover meat expanded from beef olives and hashes with a thick sauce to 'bubble and squeak', which fried chopped meat and cabbage together."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 268

    See also comment on toad-in-the-hole.

    January 18, 2017

  • "Potato starch, known as mucilage, was treated as a thickener for soups and stews, though from the 1820s its use would be overtaken by arrowroot, imported from the East Indies."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 268

    January 18, 2017

  • "The anonymous author of Domestic Economy (1827) cooked ripe tomato flesh to a bold mush with butter, garlic, thyme and chillies, but she was one of the bravest and most liberal of cooks, more ready to experiment with foreign flavours and textures than the majority of her broadly conservative contemporaries. Whereas most domestic cooks knew only a few 'foreign' recipes, keeping them quite separate from the rest of their cooking, she wrote inspiringly of the Continental love of calf's liver and encouraged her readers to dredge it in flour, fry it and serve it with an exemplary sauce of wine, ale, garlic, spices, and herbs. Among now-standard recipes for mulligatawny and curry, she daringly fricasséed frogs with garlic, simmered snails with truffles and introduced the sweet pillaus, yogurts and cold soups of Persia, cubbubs (kebabs), couscous and African honey-pastes. Against directions for more prosaic ox cheek, ox heart and salted udder jostled recipes for pigeons with apricots, mutton with dates and mince in vine leaves -- dishes so startlingly far ahead of their time that among Regency cookbooks they are entirely unique."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 267

    January 18, 2017

  • "'Mullga-tawny', or pepper-water soup, was a favourite among those returning from India and the East, made of meat in a clear stock flavoured with pounded coriander seeds, cinnamon-like cassia, some black and cayenne pepper, turmeric, browned onions and garlic, with a little lemon juice and cream swirled in just before it was served. Everyone had a recipe for mulligatawny, and most served it with a ballast of boiled rice."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 265

    January 18, 2017

  • "The word 'picnic' was taken from the French pique-nique. In 1802 the Picnic Club was formed, its members sharing the cost of meals sent from a local tavern, but the word soon developed its modern meaning of sharing food out of doors."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 264

    January 18, 2017

  • "The cook would have used yards of worsted woven in the new mills, known as tammy cloth and sold, according to the Regency cook Dr Kitchiner, 'at the oil shops ... made on purpose for straining sauces'. Once the cloth had been filled with a thick liquid or purée, tammying was a job for two -- the cook and a maid each twisting their end in opposite directions over a large bowl until their wrists cried out for mercy."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 258

    January 18, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on ultramarine.

    January 18, 2017

  • "With the fin-de-siècle vogue for prettily coloured walls, the kitchen was painted blue.*

    * Less -- as one modern paint company would have it -- because flies were repelled by the colour than because both ultramarine and Prussian blue were relatively non-toxic compared to other colours laden with arsenic, lead and chromium."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 257

    January 18, 2017

  • Usage/historical note (and differentiation between) can be found on bavarois.

    January 18, 2017

  • Carême "was also credited with the invention of the Bavarian cream, or bavarois, a rich custard and whipped cream (fouetté, for those in the know), set or moulded with isinglass and variously flavoured with nuts, star anise, chocolate or fruit purées. A bavaroise, on the other hand, was a later, caudle-like drink of hot, milky tea with egg yolks and kirsch."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 249

    January 18, 2017

  • "Forcemeat balls became quenelles -- melting meat pastes mixed with cream, shaped into ovals and poached in clear broths -- or, alternatively, forcemeat sausages called 'boudins'."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 246

    January 18, 2017

  • "For the poor, tea brought immediate if unsustaining comfort -- not the Hyson of the well-to-do but cheap leaves often adulterated with poisonous black lead."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 240


    and...


    "Every cookbook and manual had its tips for detecting adulteration, practically turning the cook into a chemist. From 1820, when Frederick Accum's <i>Treatise on Adulterations of Food and Culinary Poisons</i> created such a furore that he had to leave the country, housekeepers found themselves ever more vigilant regarding vinegar made of vitriol, pickles greened with copperas, bread bulked and whitened with chalk, bones or plaster of Paris, and 'cream' made from milk thickened with potato starch." (p. 269)


    and...


    "Leaving their factories late and exhausted, the best food in the markets already purchased, the poorest bought wilted vegetables, old cheese, rancid bacon, tough meat taken from diseased cattle, decaying potatoes and miserably adulterated goods. ... adulteration of goods was reaching a fraudulent and dangerous peak,* and they (the poor) bore the brunt of it. But in an atomised society nobody much bothered about the undernourished, deceived and poisoned who, Engels believed, were lurching towards a revolution like those already ravaging the Continent. Indeed, ... the nation only drew back from the brink of potential revolution with repeal of the Corn Laws, which had maintained an artificially high price of corn. ... If it had not been for the lessons learned from its earlier civil war, Britain too might have tumbled into political turmoil during the worst of the 'Hungry Forties'.


    *The <i>Lancet</i> investigations in the early 1850s horrified the medical journal's readers when it found each of forty-nine bread samples to be adulterated. Coffee was commonly bulked with chicory or mangle-worzel and acorn, milk was watered, and tea had up to half its weight made up of iron filings. ... Against such 'death in the pot' fraudulence, the Food Adulteration Acts of 1872 and, particularly, 1875 at last outlawed the practices of short weights, bulking out and adding poisons to fake superior goods." (p. 289)

    January 18, 2017

  • "At Christ's Hospital School, the essayist Charles Lamb remembered Thursday's fatty, grey, boiled beef 'poisoned by detestable marigolds floating in the pail' in cheap imitation of saffron."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 242


    See also Crocus sativus or crocus sativus.

    January 18, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on gin.

    January 18, 2017

  • "... the spiritous scourge of the age came not from home-grown liquors but from Dutch genever, or gin. Made of corn spirits and flavoured with the juniper that gave it its name, gin was also brewed in grimy back alleys, but even the imports were cheap and potent enough to ruin the poor.... Gin continued to be sold under the name of 'Parliamentary Brandy'; only when the price of grain rose in the 1750s, taking the price of gin with it, were the poor forced to turn elsewhere for comfort and oblivion."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 223

    January 18, 2017

  • "At balls and assemblies, chilled waters were flavoured with raspberry, apricot, currant, bergamot, orange flower, peach or pear; orgeat was made of pounded almonds; and potent lemonades were fortified with brandy or white wine and sugar."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 224

    January 18, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on punch.

    January 18, 2017

  • "The most popular new drink was punch. Introduced by East India merchants and served in ornate silver or decorated china bowls, punch had five main ingredients (hence its name -- panch means 'five' in Hindi): brandy, wine, lemons (even better, rare limes from the West Indies), sugar and spice. Sometimes rum, or rumbullion, made from the fermented residues of the sugar-refining process -- molasses -- was also added. Unsurprisingly, the mixture was incredibly potent."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 223

    January 18, 2017

  • "De Saussure reckoned that 'more grain is consumed in England for making beer than for making bread', much of it clarified with isinglass or adulterated with dangerous copperas (ferrous sulphate) to make its head froth 'like a cauliflower'."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 222

    See also usage/historical note in comment on adulteration.

    January 18, 2017

  • "Corks were now appearing for stopping bottles; the British were the first to use them for wine, allowing it to age properly."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 220

    This is the late 18th century, BTW.

    January 18, 2017

  • "Imported from China and Malaya, salty soy sauce was popular, though few had any idea how it was made. The professional cook Martha Bradley believed it was made from a purplish mushroom with a wrinkled surface."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 220

    January 18, 2017

  • "By the second half of the eighteenth century, thick gravies and cullises were giving way to catsups, or catchups: home-prepared sauces used as instant flavours for melted butter, or to enliven a stew or made dish. Hannah Glasse had given an early recipe for a sauce of anchovies, shallots, stale beer, mushrooms and spices all boiled together and reduced. Walnut catsup was now popular, and mushroom catsup was made from large mushrooms left to lie in salt overnight, then stewed and strained through a coarse cloth, the liquid simmered with ginger, pepper, mace and cloves until it had reduced to a thick syrup....

    They caught on so fast that by the 1780s home-made catsups in bottles were being slipped into cruet frames at the dining table, adorned with silver neck labels. They were useful, but catsups did also mark the beginning of a decline in culinary skills in Britain and the relinquishing of centuries of pride in the slow refinement of a perfect sauce."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 219

    January 18, 2017

  • "Topham also described a dinner of Scottish food that left him 'almost famished with hunger and tantalised to death of Scottish haggis ... cocky leaky ... sheep's head ... and Solan Goose', or gannet. The haggis made his stomach lurch: ' ... my Politeness got the better of my delicacy, and I was prevailed on to taste it; but I could go no farther.'

    *In a 500-year-old tradition, men still scale the 300-foot cliffs of Sula Sgeir north-west of Lewis to collect thousands of baby gannets -- guga -- from precarious ledges, salting and barrelling them on the spot. Before cooking, they are scrubbed to remove the grease and salt and boiled in clean water, constantly skimming off the grease. They are then roasted. While coastal communities survived on these gannets for generations, they have a limited gastronomic appeal: apart from the people of Ness, most now find them greasily revolting with a taste something like fishy beef. The smell of boiling guga is said to be repugnant."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 218

    January 18, 2017

  • "... Johnson's contemporary Edward Topham also enjoyed delectable Scottish dishes of salted cod (cabbiclow) boiled with parsley and horseradish and of friar's chicken -- pieces of fowl boiled with parsley, cinnamon and eggs in a strong beef soup."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 218

    January 18, 2017

  • "But although tripe, kidneys and other innards were still widely used, they were descending on the social scale, now known as offal because they literally fell off during butchering."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 219

    See also comment on garbage.

    January 18, 2017

  • "With Henry Fielding's 'Roast Beef of Old England' ringing in their ears, the Sublime Society of Beefsteaks* tucked into enormous steaks.... Foreign visitors still swooned at the British roast cooked rare in the middle while France continued to cook its roasts to the core.

    * Formed in a room at the top of the Covent Garden Theatre in 1735 to protest against French cooking. The members, called 'steaks', assembled weekly to devour grilled steaks weighing between 3 and 5 pounds with baked potatoes and beetroot. Members included George IV when he was Prince of Wales, his portly brothers the dukes of Clarence and of Sussex, William Hogarth, Colley Cibber and David Garrick."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 216-217

    See also Vegetarian Society.

    January 17, 2017

  • "Winter-feeding and selective breeding had continued to improve livestock so that by the close of the century animals had doubled in size since the Middle Ages. And there was plenty of it. Butchers' meat was around thruppence a pound at mid-century -- half the price of butter -- and the 80,000 cattle that were driven to market in London in 1750 was set to increase to nearer a hundred thousand by 1800. Unsurprisingly there were tourists who wrote that they did not 'believe that any Englishman who is his own master has ever eaten a dinner without meat'."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 216

    January 17, 2017

  • "Indian curries were also good for leftovers, generally using turmeric, ginger, stock, cream and, occasionally, a little lemon juice. As the taste for them spread inexorably, ready-mixed curry powders -- from the 1780s -- trounced the gentler flavours of mace and nutmeg so highly prized in the early decades of the century."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 216

    January 17, 2017

  • "Few households still had the staff to finish off the remains of the family food; the shopkeeper Thomas Turner regularly recorded that his 'family at home dined on the remains of yesterday's dinner', even while he entertained his customers on neats' tongues and turnips. The last of the roast or boiled meat could be made into beef olives with a plain stuffing of bread, onion and suet; hashes were simple ways of reheating sliced leftovers; and toad-in-the-hole delightfully developed as a way of using up slices of cold meat in a blanket of puffed-up Yorkshire pudding batter. Indian curries were also good for leftovers, generally using turmeric, ginger, stock, cream and, occasionally, a little lemon juice."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 216

    See also comment/historical note on bubble and squeak.

    January 17, 2017

  • "... 'hatelets', or decorative skewers..." (p. 238) and "precursors of the club-sandwich cocktail stick" (p. 246) in Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007).

    January 17, 2017

  • Archaic spelling of "calipash."

    January 17, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on curry.

    January 17, 2017

  • "Glasse had been the first in England to publish a recipe for 'Currey the India way' in the earliest edition of her book (1747). Adding browned and pulverised coriander seeds to a simple stew of pieces of fowl or rabbit with onions, salt and butter, she observed that the sauce must be reduced until it was 'pretty thick'. She added other dishes savouring of the East: the pillau -- or pellow -- based on slow-cooked rice that 'must be very thick and dry and not boiled to a Mummy', and 'Mutton the Turkish way', a stew of mutton with rice, turnips and ginger. Curry was the taste of the arrogant nabobs returning from positions with the East India Company, and as it grew more popular, Glasse updated her work, including in the fifth edition (1755) a recipe for 'Indian Pickle' that used a gallon of vinegar, a pound of garlic, long pepper, mustard seed, ginger and turmeric."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 209

    January 17, 2017

  • "'Portable Soup', also known as glue, was usually made from veal -- sometimes beef -- stock, reduced into a jelly that could be dried and stored. It was practical and, like the modern stock cube, would keep for years, easily reconstituted into a broth with the addition of hot water: ideal for both ships' captains and for cooks. Like the vilified French cullis, glue required quantities of meat -- Ann Blencowe used a whole leg of veal to make a piece no bigger than her hand, and Glasse's recipe called for 50 pounds of beef to 9 gallons of water. It also took hours to prepare, but at a time where fresh stock could sour in the space of a hot summer's afternoon, it could be a saviour."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 209

    January 17, 2017

  • "To pep up their colour, some added copper salts to the water or used a copper pan with vinegar for boiling, a habit that might have worked, but that also risked poisoning the diners with highly toxic verdigris. Georgian writers continuously warned their readers to carefully wash and dry their copper pans and ensure that they were kept well tinned to avoid the green killer, and there were similar warnings about storing pickles in pottery with lead glazes."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 207

    January 17, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on salmagundi.

    January 17, 2017

  • "... a new supper dish grew out of the 'grand sallets' of the seventeenth century, the salmagundi, a large mounded salad layering minced cold meats with anchovies and pickles.*

    *Surviving still in Canada as Solomon Gundy."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 208

    January 17, 2017

  • "In the back of the British Library's copy of La Chapelle's Modern Cook is a handwritten recipe for something far simpler than its author's offerings: ramakins or baked cheese, made from a paste of half a pound of mild cheese, an ounce of butter and an egg yolk, spread thickly on toast and browned with a red-hot salamander. Dishes like this were commonly served for supper, and there was nothing particularly French about them--indeed they would soon develop into the much-loved rabbits (sometimes known as rarebits today) as the great English cheese industries around Cheddar, Stilton and Cheshire expanded."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 192

    Also...

    "As savoury toasts began to join the salad at the end of meals, Glasse was again among the first to give recipes for toasted-cheese rabbits, her 'Scotch rabbit' prepared the way we would today, the toast for 'Welsh' rabbit rubbed with mustard, and 'English' rabbits made by dipping the bread into red wine before toasting and lathering it with melted cheese."

    (p. 208-209)

    January 17, 2017

  • In the sense of "a metal utensil with a flat head...," see usage/historical note on scalloped potatoes and on rarebit.

    January 16, 2017

  • "By mid-century mashed potato would find its ultimate refinement, spooned into scallop shells kept for the purpose and grilled with a salamander to become 'scalloped potatoes' --a dish that would enjoy a renaissance two centuries later during the 1970s freezer and prepared-foods boom."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 207

    January 16, 2017

  • "Few published cooks omitted recipes for celery fried with cream, eggs or herbs, for mushrooms stewed with cream, or for boiling and buttering vegetables almost unknown today, like alexanders, cardoons and scorzonera.*

    * Alexanders were an old-fashioned, bitterish, celery-like root that was about to be replaced by celery; cardoons are artichoke-like thistles; scorzonera is black salsify. The word vegetable had previously referred to any member of the plant kingdom but was first used in print by the agriculturalist Arthur Young in 1767 to refer to the cultivation of specifically edible plants."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 206

    January 16, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on salt nitre.

    January 16, 2017

  • "The next step on the culinary path was salt -- particularly cheaper salt nitre or saltpetre, introduced almost certainly from India in the Tudor period and already widely used in the salting of hams. Put the two together around a separate container of water or cream and the effect was swift even if the science was perplexing: as the salt melted the ice in the outer bucket, it sucked the heat from anything it touched, reducing its temperature and causing the contents of the inner bowl to freeze."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 179

    re: cream ice better (later) known as ice cream

    January 16, 2017

  • Alas, Flickr hates me.

    January 16, 2017

  • "Since the start of the seventeenth century, Neapolitans, like their Roman ancestors, had been using the eternal snows of Mt Etna to cool their drinks. Now they were influenced by sorbetti, the sherbets of Turkey: fruit syrups that were chilled but (and this is important) never frozen. It became quite the thing in Naples to mound pyramids of snow on to the dessert table and to serve wines chilled in an ice bucket."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 178

    January 16, 2017

  • See usage/historical notes in comment on cream ice.

    January 16, 2017

  • "Ice cream --or cream ice as it was called for the first hundred or so years of its existence -- not only looked divine but presented an extraordinary, utterly unique taste experience: the shock of the frozen mass hitting the teeth and the explosion of flavour and perfume as it melted in the mouth. It made eyes fly open with surprise. So exquisitely rare at the time that it might have been part of the Crown Jewels, a single sweetened cream ice was served to Charles II at the Garter Feast of 1671 at St George's Hall -- its first written record in Britain."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 177

    "In the 1730s the Duke of Chesterfield's renowned cook Vincent La Chapelle developed the technique of making ices by stirring the mixture from time to time as it set, breaking up the crystals and creating a much creamier effect. ... By the 1760s cream ices had become ice creams and syllabubs had been pushed into second place."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 180-181

    January 16, 2017

  • "Intensely reduced, this broth also formed the thick cullises, used to drench pyramids of labour-intensive and highly flavoured meat dishes. It was partly this cullis, requiring hours of work and endless ingredients to make, that gave the French style its reputation as overblown and expensive. Cullises were not the juicy by-products of cooking meat but intricate and expensive undertakings all of their own."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 165

    January 16, 2017

  • "With presentation a la francaise, tureens of soup and fish were followed by removes, or relevees (because they literally necessitated the removal of the soup)."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 158

    January 16, 2017

  • "As the secret of making ices spread, sorbetieres--cylindrical pots with lids, designed to be plunged into wooden freezing-pails filled with crushed ice and salt--developed. Tiny pewter or tin moulds about 1 to 3 inches high and in the shapes of fruits, flowers or animals were also produced, but these early ices were neither churned nor beaten during freezing, resulting in a rather solid mass that must have been hard to eject from the moulds...."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 180

    January 16, 2017

  • "Eales was among the first cooks to develop jams, or giams -- cherry, apricot or raspberry mixtures which were not designed to set into firm pastes for slicing but which remained runny, stored in jars with paper lids. These were especially handy for flavouring ices."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 180

    January 16, 2017

  • "Gradually, a radically new style of presentation at table emerged. Known as a la russe in imitation of the tsarist court, it -- confusingly -- began in France, possibly in honour of Alexander I's liberation of Paris from Napoleon in 1814. It was characterised by two novel features: food was now served straight onto plates from a sideboard and handed to guests, and the courses therefore progressed much as they might today, with soup, fish, meat, vegetables and dessert now entirely separate. ... The upshot of this new style was that guests got their food faster and hotter and with less need to help one another. Chairs could be set further apart, and arms need never touch at all."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 251-252

    January 16, 2017

  • "French court fashions were profoundly influential, and the way that food was presented at table altered as a style known as a la francaise took hold, a vogue that required an enormous variety of dishes to be arranged like a Bach fugue in kaleidoscopic, symmetrical, repetitive order, even raised up on mini platforms to create a landscape of dishes."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 157-158

    See also relevee.

    January 16, 2017

  • "Grapefruits -- originally called shaddocks -- and limes were also imported from the West Indies, but neither initially found favour."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 156

    January 16, 2017

  • "... But chocolate was far more complicated to make than coffee. In South America, the beans were roasted, crushed, mixed into a paste with water and dried into 'nibs' for export. Once in England, the nibs were scraped into sweetened milk and boiled rapidly, frothed with a 'Spanish instrument' called a molenillo or molinet -- usually about a foot long, wooden and horizontally ridged, something like a modern honey spoon -- and rolled vigorously between the hands until the cocoa particles, cocoa oil and milk had emulsified."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 147

    January 16, 2017

  • I would love to respond to ruzuzu and bilby, who posted comments on "the user chained_bear," but I seem to have an inability to do so. So I'll do it here. Hi ruzuzu! Hi bilby!

    January 14, 2017

  • "During the Commonwealth that followed, the colour was leached out of life. ... Everything was pared down, economical, simpler. The world was altered; even the spoon underwent its first major design change for half a millennium: the Puritan spoon, as it was known, had a square end without any religious device and a flattened handle much as we know it today."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 141

    See also comment on apostle spoons.

    January 11, 2017

  • This is actually a bit of an inside joke at my employer, which once published an artsy coffee-table book on silver nutmeg graters.

    Imagine my surprise to read this, about possets in the seventeenth century:

    "Soon, it would be considered the height of elegance to carry a little silver nutmeg grater in your pocket -- one quick rasp of the nut over your drink, your dish of cream or cup of chocolate transformed it into a rather addictive kind of aromatic heaven."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 137

    January 11, 2017

  • See usage/historical note on posset.

    January 11, 2017

  • "Most people kept their heads down, perhaps dulling the sharp edge of their anxieties with a particularly seventeenth-century supper drink, the posset*.... The posset was a spiced, sweet, warm confection made of ale, cider or wine--especially sack--thickened with eggs, cream or warmed milk which curdled as they were poured over the liquor."

    "* In the United States, especially in the nineteenth century, the posset became known as eggnog."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 136

    January 11, 2017

  • "Apart from carving forks and tiny sucket forks, table forks had been so rare that Elizabeth I owned only thirteen, made of silver; though the Italian merchant class had adopted them at table, in England they had been considered affected. Then, in 1611, Thomas Coryat returned from five months abroad to declare that he was the first Englishman to embrace the Italian habit... The acceptance of the fork appears to have been rapid.... John Manners, the 8th earl of Rutland, was among the first to have a set made -- squarish and with only two tines. Just one of them survived the rigours of the Civil War, the earliest known English silver fork, hallmarked 1632. It now sits humbly in a case in London's Victoria and Albert Museum."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 134

    January 11, 2017

  • "Turnspits had all but disappeared by the 1630s: jacks were becoming mechanised, propelled by gravity weights at the end of tightly wound springs, which unravelled over about half an hour."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 133

    January 11, 2017

  • "In France, professional cooks had been raised to the rank of chevalier (for they were all men, still), and the finest of all wore the cordon bleu, a rosette of dark-blue ribbon."--Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 133

    January 11, 2017

  • "The availability of all this fresh produce enlivened still further the fancy compound dishes, the carbonadoes, fricassées, olios (as the hodge podge was now more usually known) and the hashes (from 'hacher', to slice) that aped the sophisticated fashions of Continental Europe."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 133

    January 11, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on hodgepodge.

    January 11, 2017

  • "... the Jerusalem artichoke--related not to the globe variety but to the sunflower--girasole in Italian--was discovered by a Frenchman in Cape Cod and by about 1615 had found its way via Holland to England, where it was washed and scraped, turning the cook's fingers brown, then boiled and buttered, mashed into tarts, thrown into simmering stews, pickled or preserved."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 131

    January 11, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on girasole.

    January 11, 2017

  • "A Lancashire pudding using simply potato and butter was called potato pottage or lobscouse, marking the start of the potato's ascendancy in the diet of the poor."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 125

    January 11, 2017

  • See also clootie dumpling.

    "Of course, mixtures of minced meats, blood, oats or other grains, fruits and spices had been stuffed through funnels into animal guts and boiled for generations. But the 'pudding cloth' revolutionised the process, leading to all kinds of new recipes for a multitude of savoury and sweet variations that could be made even when intestines were not easily to hand. Practical, quick and easy, the cloth produced a ripe cannonball of a pudding that threw off the aromas not only of its ingredients but of warm, wet cloth. In Scotland they were called 'bag puddings' or 'clootie dumplings', generally boiled as sausages had been for centuries, alongside the meat and vegetables in a large pot."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 123

    January 11, 2017

  • "Fresh curds were still flavoured with any kind of green herb juices to produce spermyse."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 120

    January 11, 2017

  • "Huswives made pies from sheep's or calves' intestines -- known as mugget pies -- for the workers to take to the fields, and large seedcakes to mark the end of the harvest."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 120

    January 11, 2017

  • "Another particularly exhausting new dish came from Spain, a casserole known as olla podrida, olepotridge or hodge podge, whose merit seemed to consist in throwing as many things as you could put your hands on into the largest pot available. Markham's recipe for hodge podge was one of the earliest, representing hours of patient culinary toil. ... It could clearly be a case of the whole feast in a single dish, and, though it sounds fairly nasty, hodge podge was rich, expensive, time-consuming, and a fabulous way of showing off. ... Though its name came to mean something random and clumsy, the striking novelty of the hodge podge ensured its popularity, and it was exactly the kind of dish that paved the way for the table fork, another Continental habit poised to arrive in Britain."

    --Kate Colquhoun, <i>Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking</i> (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 118

    See also another note on hash.

    January 11, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on quelquechose. Also, this:


    "Unlike his contemporary Gervase Markham, Murrell's kickshaws were not stiff omelettes but pastes of finely minced veal or lamb's kidney mixed with mutton fat, sack and rosewater, pushed into moulded pastry cases and fried--or baked and iced with rosewater and sugar."
    --Kate Colquhoun, <i>Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking</i> (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 133-134

    January 11, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on quelquechose.

    January 11, 2017

  • "... to be self-consciously Continental in your cooking had become quite the thing. Quelquechoses, for example, soon to be known as kickshaws, were fried dishes based on eggs and, usually, cream with the addition of almost anything that was to hand--boiled pigs' pettitoes (trotters), small birds, oysters, mussels, giblets, pigs' livers or blood puddings, lemons, oranges or other fruits, even pulses."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 117

    January 11, 2017

  • "Wafers were puffed up with yeast in the Flemish fashion, and biscuits--from bis cuit or 'twice cooked', because the dough was first boiled and then shaped and baked--appeared for the first time."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 109-110

    That's also the origin of biscotti.

    January 9, 2017

  • "Since the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the distillation of 'wholesome and sweet waters' and herbal remedies had passed from the hands of monks to those of the Elizabethan housewife. With an alembic set over the coals, she became a scientist, extracting her own vertues, distilling damask rose-flower water for use in the kitchen, making spirits of wine, aquavit and alcoholic cordial waters as well as essences of spices, cosmetics, medicines and hand-waters for washing. Platt described a way to keep orange or lemon juice good for a year for use in sauces, distilling it until 'it is done boiling' and bottling the syrup with a barrier of salad oil at the top."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 108

    January 9, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on eryngo.

    January 9, 2017

  • This is a terrible word.

    Usage/historical note in comment on eryngo.

    January 9, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on eryngo.

    January 9, 2017

  • Gosh, I love these flowers.

    "Nor did vegetables escape sugar's embrace: eryngo (sea holly), parsley and elecampane roots, green walnuts, lettuce or mallow stalks, borage, bugloss, alexanders, sweet potatoes and even carrot and parsnips were candied into soft, sticky-sweet suckets."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 107

    January 9, 2017

  • "Green melons were cultivated in pits heated with rotting manure from the 1570s, and figs, pomegranates and musk melons were imported along with shiploads of oranges from Portugal--sometimes known as pottongayles--whose bitter peel was repeatedly soaked and boiled before being candied with a pound of sugar for every four oranges."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 106

    January 9, 2017

  • "Fine moulding was encouraged by a new ingredient that arrived in the early 1500s: gum tracaganth--or dragon--derived from the sap of a Middle Eastern tree. A nugget about 'the bigness of a beane' was steeped in rosewater until it swelled and mellowed; then it was mixed with sugar, egg white and a drop of lemon juice to form a pliable paste that could be shaped, by hand or with pre-soaked wooden moulds, into the fanciest of shapes."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 105

    January 9, 2017

  • "Musk, still used widely in modern perfumery, is the dried abdominal secretion of the Central Asian deer Moschus moschiferus. Confounding the nose as it hits the palate, it has a tinge of feral rankness about it, but its stridency is softened by sugar, rosewater and citrus peel in many of these late sixteenth-century recipes, where it replaced the most luxurious and exotic spices of the past."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 105 (note).


    Another usage/historical note on ambergris. A note about how it was packed (and relative value of it versus other spices) on fondaci. A usage in a translated primary source ca. 900 can be found in comment on perfumer.

    January 9, 2017

  • "As pungent spices began to lose their allure and the Tudor palate woke up to the soft taste of butter, the tingle of citrus and a more pronounced use of nutmeg, the medieval voidée evolved into a final sweet course called, confusingly, the banquet: a profusion of sugary temptations that became one of the most characteristic markers of well-to-do Tudor England."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 102-103

    January 9, 2017

  • "... the pound of sugar that lasted an entire year in Alice de Bryene's household in the early 1400s would hardly have been enough for one person in the sixteenth century."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 102


    January 9, 2017

  • "Inns also provided a really radical change of taste for the nation, as ale faced competition from the hops first imported from Flanders from 1525. Andrew Boorde was sceptical about adding hops to the mash to make beer, considering it an unnatural drin, but it caught on so fast that by the time Hentzner visited in 1598 beer had become 'the general drink ... excellently well tasted, but strong and what soon fuddles'. The bitter antiseptic resins of the hops acted as preservatives so that now the brew could be kept for up to two years, strengthening as time passed. It could be made in commercial quantities and ordered by potency: March and October beer were the strongest, while weak 'small beer' was drunk for breakfast as well as by children. So pervasive was beer's influence that when hop crops failed, brewers resorted to broom or bay berries to achieve the same aromatic and bitter qualities."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 100

    January 9, 2017

  • "Perhaps it was Catherine's Aragonese background that led to the use of lip-smacking Seville organe juice in red-meat stews and pies and the novelty of pairing fish and poultry with lemons, for by 1534 Henry's household was using enough in its cooking to purchase an orange strainer. Oranges were an expensive taste: at the banquet to celebrate Anne Boleyn's coronation at the Company of Leather Sellers in 1533, there was only one citrus fruit."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 96

    January 9, 2017

  • "The Tudors welcomed the Lords of Misrule with open arms, revelling in magicians, fools and music and in a special new Twelfth Night cake, one of the earliest of all English spicy fruitcakes, into which a pea or bean was baked: whoever found it was crowned 'King or Queen of the Bean' for the evening, presiding over the fun and games."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 99

    January 9, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found in comment on cardoon.

    January 8, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found in comment on cardoon.

    January 8, 2017

  • "Samphire was aptly paired with marsh mutton; cardoons (a kind of edible thistle) were trickily prepared by stripping and blanching their heads and stalks. Cucumber was eaten fresh or pickled, and the buds (or knops) of alexanders, purslane and broom were pickled like capers, tied into small linen bags and weighed down in a pot of brine until they went black, then boiled and stored in vinegar. Hop buds, astringent enough to make the lips smart, were scattered over salads and stews."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 95

    January 8, 2017

  • "Eclipsing spices in status, new plants arrived at an especially auspicious time, for nursery gardens were developing, stocks were being improved, and horticultural skills were making rapid strides, influenced by the advanced market-gardening expertise of Flemish Protestant refugees. As gardening became a gentlemanly pastime for the well-to-do, an entirely different attitude to vegetables emerged."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 94

    January 8, 2017

  • "Greek olives and French capers were imported as appetite stimulants and, by the end of Elizabeth's reign, anchovies were arriving along with botargo, a Mediterranean relish made of grey mullet or tuna roes."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 94

    January 8, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on pompions.

    January 8, 2017

  • "Slowly, these new foods began to alter the nation's tastes once again. Introduced from France, the dense sweet flesh of pompions, as pumpkins were known, was quickly accepted as a pie filler--a Tudor classic that later travelled with the Founding Fathers to survive in America as one of its national dishes."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 93

    I'm pretty sure she doesn't mean "Founding Fathers" but rather "Puritans and Separatists who founded Massachusetts."

    January 8, 2017

  • "To make pastry strong enough to withstand a filling, hot water was used to turn the gluten in rye flour into an elastic grey putty that would stay upright on its own. The pastry, or paste as it was known, was raised up by hand either by using a wooden plug or by punching a fist into a ball of dough and pulling up the sides rather like a crude pot. Except that it was not crude--it was rather skilful and, above all, practical. Once the pies with their contents were cooked, the gravy could be drained out and clarified butter poured in through a pipe or funnel in the top. This sealed the meat from the air and kept it fresh in the larder for weeks or even months. It might then be reheated and, just before it was served, a fresh, hot gravy or a sweet, spiced and sometimes ale-spiked caudle of eggs could be added; at the table, the crust would be broken open and the contents spooned out as the steam rose. The tough, inedible pastry was either discarded or kept in the kitchen as a thickener for pottages."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 79

    January 8, 2017

  • "In about 1525 the turkey was introduced (to Europe), rapidly displacing the stringy 'great birds' of the medieval table. Fabulously expensive, turkeys were sold at London markets for 6 shillings a piece*, but they were well enough to be established by the 1540s for the courtier Sir William Petre to cage them with pheasants in his orchart at Ingatestone Hall."

    "*Turkeys were so called because they arrived from Mexico via trade in the Levant. By the 1570s their price had dropped to 3s 4d for a cock and 1s 8d for a hen."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 93

    January 8, 2017

  • "Thus an important new role now developed under the steward: that of the acater--from 'acheter', to buy--who oversaw the purchasing of supplies from local markets and specialist merchants; unlike modern caterers, the acater was emphatically not the cook, but he was the man who got slapped if the cheese ran out."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 89

    That's odd. I always thought the cheese stands alone.

    January 8, 2017

  • "As was the fashion in still-life paintings of the day, the Flemish painter Clara Peeters arranged wafers and knotted biscuits around a central shallow marchpane* ornamented with rosemary sprigs in her Still Life with Confectionery (c. 1611)."

    "*During the Tudor period, marchpane evolved from its gingerbread-like medieval roots into something more like marzipan, with crushed almonds, sugar and rosewater as its main ingredients."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 82

    January 8, 2017

  • "Potent mead and its spicier cousin metheglin were also brewed, often stirred with the leaves of sweet briar or rosemary for flavour. So much were these pungent flavours an accepted part of life that even the village poor were accustomed to seasoning their ale with pennyroyal, mint, wormwood, sage or even horseradish, and for those rich enough to distil their own spirits clarrey could be made from sweetened wine fortified with aqua ardaunt."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 78

    January 8, 2017

  • "All of these (wines) were made even more expensive by the two casks from each imported cargo that were forfeit to the King as prisage, or duty."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 78

    January 8, 2017

  • "Nefs were a particularly British foible, elaborate galleons fashioned from precious metals, designed to hold the finest, whitest salt and set, symbolically, before the lord at the head of the table."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 75

    January 8, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on trencherman.

    January 8, 2017

  • "Bread rolls were set at each place--new bread for the lord, one-day-old bread for the guests and three-day-old bread for the household--so that one's social position continued to be defined by the age and quantity of bread as much as for its colour. Slices of four-day-old bread trimmed into orderly squares by the pantler and known as trenchers, from the French 'trencher', to slice, were stacked along the tables for everyone's use; from these come our use of the word trencherman to denote a hearty eater."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 74

    January 8, 2017

  • "Each place would be set with a napkin for the guest to throw over his or her left shoulder and a knife and spoon of wood, horn, silver or pewter, though most diners continued to carry their own knife and the christening spoon given to them at birth--the origin of the expression about the wealthy being born with silver spoons in their mouths--often with a little knob or saint's head at the end so that they were known as apostle spoons."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 74


    See also Puritan spoon.

    January 8, 2017

  • Another usage/historical note (esp. for Saffron Walden) can be found in a comment on turnsole.

    January 8, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on turnsole.

    January 8, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on turnsole. Another can be found on blood of Venus.

    January 8, 2017

  • "Boiled blood was used to color foods black, and a sandalwood-like bark known as sanders or mulberries or red alkanet were employed to turn them red or purple. Wheat starch, egg whites or crushed almonds were used for white; mint, spinach and parsley for green, and for blue the turnsole, or heliotrope, was mashed. Most desirable of all, egg yolks, dandelion petals or musty saffron were used to endore pie crusts and pottages. Saffron was a costly statement, with more than 50,000 hand-harvested crocus flowers needed for each pound of dried stamens. The fields around Saffron Walden in Essex must have been a mirage of smiling colour when in bloom, delighting thousands who could never hope to taste the kind of cooking in which they were used."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 58

    January 8, 2017

  • Another usage/historical note in comment on erbolat.

    January 8, 2017

  • "In homes across Britain at Easter, real eggs were cracked into cooking pots or boiled and served in a green sauce to symbolise the banishment of thin fare, and the favorite tansy, or erbolat, appeared, an omelette coloured green with tart tansy juice or with spinach, fried golden in butter; if you were lucky, it might have a grating of nutmeg, a dash of cinnamon and a spoonful of cream or curds, but it was always a treat after the dietary rigours of abstention."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 71

    January 8, 2017

  • "In the 1200s the Countess of Leicester bought more than a thousand eggs for an Easter feast for her tenants at Dover Castle and rewarded her labourers and tenants with succulent roast meats and spiced custards or pain perdu--bread dipped in egg, fried in butter and sprinkled with sugar, the forerunner of our eggy bread."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 70

    I've not heard of eggy bread, but this bears more than a slight resemblance to what I know as French toast, which also, I was given to understand many years ago, is (or was?) called Mennonite toast in Canada.

    January 8, 2017

  • "The manuscript also gives us our earliest recipe for salad, using the smallest leaves of parsley, sage, borage, mint, fennel, cress, rosemary, rue and purslane mixed with minced garlic, small onions and leeks, and decorated with slivered and toasted nuts and glowing pomegranate seeds. The dangerous 'coldness' of the uncooked herbs was mitigated by a 'warming' dressing of oil and vinegar, a classic combination that would remain unchanged for centuries."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 57

    Note: the manuscript in question is The Forme of Cury, which dates from the reign of Richard II, reigned 1377 to 1399.

    January 8, 2017

  • "One of the simplest recipes in The Forme of Cury was astoundingly modern for its time: proto-pastas boiled and layered with butter and cheese, known as macrows and not unlike modern macaroni cheese."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 57

    January 8, 2017

  • "Meats were often reduced to pastes, eaten on the point of a knife or with the fingers: like mortrews made from a base of pork or chicken flesh pulverised in a mortar, then boiled and thickened with bread, spices and egg. Rissoles, or raysols, were made by forming balls of minced pig's liver, bread, cheese and spices and baking them with a crusting of egg yolk and saffron."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 56-57

    January 8, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on pandemaine.

    January 8, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on pandemaine.

    January 8, 2017

  • "The poor ate maslin: tough brown bread of roughly sieved wheat mixed with rye flour or even barley, millet, malt or beans, made at home or baked in the communal baker's oven. Wheat bread, known as pandemaine or, later, manchet, was the whitest and softest, but it was costly; everyone aspired to it, and the baker in William Langland's poem The Vision of Piers Plowman complained that even in times of dearth 'beggars refused the bread that had beans in it, demanding milk loaves and fine white wheaten bread.'"

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 49

    January 8, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on dittany.

    January 8, 2017

  • Another usage/historical note in comment on dittany.

    January 8, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on dittany. Also:


    "When Catherine of Aragon was a young queen in England, salad plants were so rare that she had to send to holland for the lettuce she loved. Within thirty years, a wide variety of salad greens were available, including chicory, endive, mallow, purslane, fennel, smallage and peppery rocket. ... Small wonder that metal and earthenware colanders were becoming common."

    --Kate Colquhoun, <i>Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking</i> (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 95

    January 8, 2017

  • "Neckam takes us right into the warmth of a high-class kitchen in the twelfth century, but he gives us more than a list of equipment, recommending cumin sauce for stewed ham, mentioning three kinds of sausage (andulyes, saucistres and pudingis) and giving fine directions for roasting pork with a little salt to make its rind really crunchy. In a separate work on horticulture called De naturis rerum, he catalogued an expanding range of tasty culinary herbs including parsley, fennel, coriander, sage, savory, hyssop, mint, sorrel, thyme, saffron, dittany, smallage, pellitory, lettuce, garden cress and the strong-smelling rue also used to treat snakebite and poor eyesight. Rosemary would arrive in the 1340s with Queen Philippa, but pumpkins, cucumbers and spinach-like orache were now cultivated in kitchen gardens, and we can assume that turnips and woody carrots known as skirrets were grown, though oddly they did not begin to appear in gardening treatises until the fifteenth century."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 48

    January 8, 2017

  • "Only the most courageous fishermen braved hostile seas to hunt whale for its flesh, bones and fat and for its tongue, which was served as a delicacy on fine tables; from the tenth century, salted whale known as craspois came instead from Rouen for the tables of the rich, arriving in sufficient quantity for Aethelred to tax it at London Bridge."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 43

    January 8, 2017

  • "Herring was so plentiful that the Abbey of St Edmond received a rent of 30,000 fish a year from the port of Beccles."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 69

    January 8, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found in comment on mawmenee.

    January 8, 2017

  • "Stiff quince pastes, originally known as charedequynce, were the first marmalades--marmelo is Portuguese for 'quince'--and were accompanied by compotes of reduced fruit pulps mixed with wine and honey, salt and vinegar."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 68

    January 8, 2017

  • "... lordly roast venison with frumenty traditionally opened feasts, with boar's head or brawn and a peuerade, or pepper sauce. Roast meat smacked of privilege, taken for granted by those who could afford the fuel needed, the dripping pans, basters and turnspits, and prepared crispy and sticky on the outside and juicy in the middle--quite literally done to a turn."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 66

    January 8, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on mawmenee.

    January 8, 2017

  • "There was also mawmenee, similar to blancmanger but more robustly flavoured with wine, sugar, fried dates, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. But it was frumenty, the ancient porridge of bruised wheat boiled in milk, that traditionally accompanied fresh mutton, venison or porpoise at feasts. Updated for medieval tastes, it was thickened with egg yolks, coloured with saffron and left to cool before being sliced like polenta."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 59

    Also mawmeny.

    January 8, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on umble pie.

    January 8, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on umble pie.

    January 8, 2017

  • "Offal--livers, sweetbreads, lights and giblets--were all highly esteemed, and the original umble pies were not in the least bit humble, using a gallimaufry of entrails including testicles, tripe, hearts, palates (the tender roof of the mouth), gizzards, lambs' tails, cockscombs and fatty pigs' feet in a rich, spicy gravy. Valued as it was, offal was known as garbage, a word that would assume quite a different meaning as tastes changed."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 59

    January 8, 2017

  • "Kitchens expanded, their different offices arranged around a courtyard into separate larders, storerooms, cellars, butteries (for the wine and ale in butts), pantries (for bread) and sculleries (from escuelier, or 'keeper of dishes'). Passageways now linked the main hall to the kitchen and its departments, with serving or surveying places like those at Durham Castle, Knole, Eltham and Hampton Court where the steward would pass his eye over the food before it was presented."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 64

    January 8, 2017

  • "They and the scullions might have made their beds on the kitchen floor, but these rooms cooled fast and Norman laws ruled that all embers had to be covered at night with couvre feus, or curfews."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 65

    January 8, 2017

  • "Peacocks were carefully skinned, their meat seasoned with cumin before being roasted, cooled and stitched back into their feathers, sent to the table apparently alive, their necks supported by wires, their tails spread and a phoenix fire bursting from their gilded beaks. Clearly a health risk, peacocks in their feathers were a triumph of style over substance, since everyone admitted that the flesh was stringy; but that was beside the point. They were centrepieces, designed to delight the eye as much as the palate and to emphasise social power through magnificent display; more than a hundred of them were presented at the installation feast for Archbishop Nevill of York in 1467."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 57

    January 8, 2017

  • "The cockentrice was a fantasy animal from the forepart of a capon and the rear of a piglet stitched together, stuffed and roasted."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 57

    January 8, 2017

  • "Intensely sweet dried fruits were therefore crucial, and exotic raisins of Corinth (currants), prunes, figs and dates were all traded by spice merchants besides the sacks full of almonds needed for thickening sauces and stews or for use as a creamy alternative to milk on fast days."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 55

    January 8, 2017

  • "Alice de Bryene's household account book reveals that in 1418, when prices had already dropped considerably, she purchased 3 pounds of pepper, 2 pounds of ginger, 2 pounds of cinnamon, a pound of cloves and another of mace, spending 56s at a time when a thatcher might earn 4 or 5d a day. These were large amounts, but when we consider that Alice provided for up to fifty householders and visitors each day, catering for almost twenty thousand people in 1418 alone, their use cannot have been heavy-handed."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 55

    January 8, 2017

  • "It seems that what they were aiming for was a juxtaposition of the piquant with sweet fruits, nuts and sugars, the characteristic feature of many modern Moroccan recipes such as pastilla--a shredded-pigeon pie flavoured with mace, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, almonds and saffron, and powdered with icing sugar. If so much about the European Middle Ages seems bewilderingly remote, contemporary Moroccan food, robust and subtle by degrees, broadly unchanged for centuries, offers a hint of our own culinary past."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 55

    January 8, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found in comment on cubebs.

    January 8, 2017

  • See usage/historical note on grossarii, which will kick you over to cubebs for more. You also may find notes located on apothecary and spicer and unguent to be interesting. 

    "There was also a change in the word 'grocer,' which had originated in English to mean a spice merchant (or spicer) who handled larger or wholesale quantities (thus dealing in 'gross' amounts), before later becoming extended to someone handling all manner of edible products. The same semantic transformation occurred in French, where 'epicier' went from meaning a spice merchant to the owner of a small food shop ('epicerie')."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 116.

    Later, same book:

    "Postmortem surveys of London grocers' shops from the reign of Richard II (1377-1399) show that besides spices and drugs they might sell soap, honey, alum, lamp oil, seeds, pitch, and tar. These merchants diversified and carried on both a distributive trade (importing spices to be sold to provincial merchants) and an export trade in wool, for many years England's major international commodity." (p. 120)

    January 8, 2017

  • "The spicers, peppers and grocers (from grossarii because of their use of large weights) soon formed into powerful London guilds selling ready-ground mixes. ..."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 55

    More can be found in comment on cubebs. Also grocer and spicer.

    January 8, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found in comment on cubebs.

    January 8, 2017

  • Just checking in. Gone but not forgotten. *sigh*

    January 8, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found in a comment on cubebs.

    January 8, 2017

  • Another usage/historical note can be found in a comment on cubebs and mandrake, and don't miss the one on long pepper.

    January 8, 2017

  • "On another island, 'Iana' (perhaps Java or Ceylon), wonderful spices grow, including aloe wood, camphor, galangal, nutmeg, cinnamon, and mace, but part of the island is ruled by women (the Amazons being another well-established monstrous race)."

    Paul Freedman, <i>Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination</i> (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 100

    Another usage/historical note can be found in comment on cubebs. And mandrake.

    January 8, 2017

  • "There was a variant known as cubebs, Celonese cinnamon and Chinese ginger with its relatives galangal and zedoary, as well as mace, gromwell, and aniseed. The spicers, peppers, and grocers (from grossarii because of their use of large weights) soon formed into powerful London guilds selling ready-ground mixes in small leather bags of various strengths known as powdor fort, powdor douce and powdor blanche--but if you could afford it and were wise you avoided adulteration by purchasing your spices whole."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 54-55

    January 8, 2017

  • "Medieval cooks used aromatics that have since fallen from favour: borage with its hairy leaves that taste of cucumber or the medicinal costmary, also used to repel moths."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 54

    January 7, 2017

  • "A sauce egredouce (bittersweet) satisfied a particular craving in the medieval palate for mixing sweet and sour together, and even summer's heat could be alleviated with cool sauces of verjuice, vinegar or pomegranate."

    --Kate Colquhoun, <i>Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking</i> (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 54

    January 7, 2017

  • "... chawdron--a sauce of blood and livers--was the perfect companion for roast swan."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 54

    January 7, 2017

  • "So excessive was Rome's appetite for conspicuous consumption that the first sumptuary laws attempted to regulate it. Both the Lex Orchia and the Lex Fannia restricted not only the kind of clothes people of different ranks could wear but the number of allowable dishes to three at dinner and five at a celebration; shellfish and 'strange birds from another world' were prohibited and, under a later law, the Lex Aemilia, stuffed dormice were banned."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 18

    January 7, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on hlaford.

    January 6, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on hlaford.

    January 6, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on hlaford.

    January 6, 2017

  • "Bread was the staple of the diet of the poor, growing coarser, darker and drier as it descended the social scale... By today's standards, vast quantities of bread were eaten: 4 pounds a day for the poor of all ages according to the canonised Bishop of Metz in his eighth-century Rule of Chrodegang. It was so much the staff of life that Old English words vibrate with its importance: the lord--hlaford--was literally the bread guardian or the bread-winner; the lady--hlafdige--was the bread-maker; and dependents--hlafaeta--were the bread-eaters."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 38

    January 6, 2017

  • "So rare are written records that we leap on the few survivors, including the rare Leechdoms, or manuscripts of wortcunning--magic herbals that brought together both charms and plant remedies."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 37

    January 6, 2017

  • "Deprivation rather than perpetual feasting was the norm, and much of the population was undernourished and dependent on food that could be foraged: the Old English word steorfan had not yet evolved into the word for 'starvation'; it simply meant 'to die'."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 30

    January 6, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found in comment on garum. See also liquamen for more info.

    January 6, 2017

  • "Rome's taste for pungent flavours was typified by its favourite condiment, liquamen--or <i>garum</i> or <i>muria</i>, as it was also called--a murky-brown, salty relish made from fermented fish. Liquamen enhanced the taste of other foods and, sharing the putrid whiff of asafoetida, distinguished Roman cuisine more than any other ingredient. It was used liberally in recipes and added to salads, meats or seafood as frequently as we might turn to ketchup: Worcestershire sauce, which has a little asafoetida and much anchovy essence, or the Asian fish sauces <i>num pla</i> and <i>nuc nam</i> are probably the closest we come today to a taste anything like it."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 30

    January 6, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found in comment on caroenum.

    January 6, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found in comment on caroenum.

    January 6, 2017

  • "Even the classical sources disagree on the reduction of each type, but, broadly speaking, caroenum was boiled to between half and two-thirds its original volume; defrutum to about a third and sapa to a thick, sweet syrup. Passum and mulsum were very sweet wine sauces made from reduced young wine with the addition of honey."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 27note

    January 6, 2017

  • "Mustard, garlic, horseradish and--always--pepper were used liberally, and to thicken sauces Apicius used breadcrumbs, eggs, crumbled pastry, rice imported from India or a wheat starch known as amulum, designing his creations not only to complement but sometimes to disguise a dish: we can almost hear him chuckle as he takes a well-salted liver and makes it taste exactly like a fish."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 27

    January 6, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found in comment on promulsis.

    January 6, 2017

  • "In such kitchens cauldrons hung from ornate chains alongside new equipment like frying pans, known as patellae, some with folding handles so that they could also be used in the oven and some with deep moulded rings to equalise the heat across the base."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 23

    January 6, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found in comment on promulsis.

    January 6, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found in comment on promulsis.

    January 6, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found in comment on promulsis.

    January 6, 2017

  • "Marvellously known as promulsis, or promises, light dishes designed to tempt the appetite came first--such as olives, tripe, cucumbers, lettuce, mushrooms, snails or asparagus. Then the first course, or primae mensae, of intensely symbolic sacrificial meat, rissoles, sausages or mixtures of fish and meat together with highly flavoured sauces. The secundae mensae of shellfish, fruit, nuts, flaky cheesecakes, fritters, honeyed custards or pastries often sprinkled with pepper closed the meal, but an optional symposium might also follow during which serious drinking, witty conversation and debate or music and dancing were applauded as was the grandest of all Italian wines, Falernian."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 22-23

    January 6, 2017

  • "Demand for liquamen was so high that its manufacture was the only large-scale factory industry in the ancient world, and almost every major port in Italy had its own distinct blend. Wherever it was made, the smell of fishy fermentation oozed through the sun-warmed markets and the backstreets, the olive orchards and the bath houses, mingling with the rising dust, joined by the stench from the murex factories that extracted royal purple dyes from spiny shellfish, each inviting and distracting the neighborhood cats. Sometimes liquamen's stench would reach such heights that even the local governors could stand it no longer and production would be temporarily suspended."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 30


    Another usage/historical note can be found in comment on acetum. Synonyms include garum and muria.

    January 6, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on cena.

    January 6, 2017

  • "But dinner, or cena, taken at twilight, was abundant, often in the form of a convivium, or dinner party, that oiled the wheels of commerce, politics and friendship."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 22

    Elsewhere she says that women were never present at convivia.

    January 6, 2017

  • "The Vindolanda fragments mention a wide variety of foods.... Many were the fancy goods finding their way along a network of new roads linking remote areas for the first time: luxury vintage Massic wine; cooking vinegar called acetum, which was drunk heavily diluted by soldiers on the march; and liquamen, a universal fishy condiment."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 21

    January 6, 2017

  • "Even fish were bred in pools called vivaria, and edible frogs' bones have been found at Roman sites in York and Silchester."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 20

    January 6, 2017

  • "Dovecots, or columbaria, were widespread, providing a rich source of winter meat..."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 20

    January 6, 2017

  • "Dormice were raised in pottery vessels called gliraria..."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 20

    January 6, 2017

  • In ancient Rome, a place where rabbits were raised for food.

    January 6, 2017

  • "mulsum (a sweet wine sauce)"

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 19


    Another note can be found on caroenum.

    January 6, 2017

  • "To drink there was water, milk, and warming mead, the ancestor of all fermented drinks, made from honey and water, herbs and fruit."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 12

    January 6, 2017

  • "Few fish bones have survived, but we do have evidence of conger, bream, shark, skate, wrasse, ray, eel, haddock, limpets and other shellfish, most of which would have been impaled on sticks and set over glowing fires to cook."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 12

    January 6, 2017

  • "Elder and hazelnuts were both high in nutritious fats, and at the Glastonbury Iron Age site, hundreds of sloe stones were identified, as well as the remains of raspberries, blackberries, cornel cherries, strawberries, dewberries, and hawthorn."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 11-12

    January 6, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on laver.

    January 6, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on laver.

    January 6, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on laver.

    January 6, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on laver.

    January 6, 2017

  • "... from rare archaeo-botanical remains, we do know that the Celts foraged for Britain's abundant wild, seasonal foods: laver and carrageen seaweeds on the coast, rock samphire and sea kale or scurvy grass not unlike asparagus. ..."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 11

    January 6, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on wood sorrel.

    January 6, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on wood sorrel.

    January 6, 2017

  • "High-protein soft curds could be smoked, salted or flavoured with berries, nuts, honey or herbs like wood sorrel, myrtle or mint. It was an ancient practice: the Beaker People of 1800 BC had used perforated clay bowls to drain the whey from curd to make hard, long-lasting cheeses."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 11

    January 6, 2017

  • "In about 400 BC the invention of the rotary quern--made up of a static lower stone sandwiched to an upper twin by a wooden axle that passed through holes in both their centres -- began to transform the drudgery of grinding: the top stone could be rotated by a handle, speeding up the whole back-breaking process."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 9

    See also saddle quern (usage note on emmer).

    January 6, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on emmer.

    January 6, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on emmer.

    January 6, 2017

  • "The earliest cultivated wheats were known as emmer and einkorn, both with tough ears that held on so tightly to their grain that they had to be toasted to loosen them; barley was also sown, though rye and oats appeared only as weeds among the crops. Once parched, the ears were threshed, winnowed and pounded to a rough flour using the ancient saddle quern, a bow-shaped stone with a rolling-pin-shaped grinder. The effort was enormous, and the bread, cooked on hot stones, was so gritty and dry that teeth were universally worn to stubs. In fact, early cereals were so gluten-light that they were far more effectively cooked in porridges."

    --Kate Colquhoun, <i>Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking</i> (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 8-9

    January 6, 2017

  • "... primitive ales were made from naturally fermenting grains, and perhaps their yeasty barm was at first simply used to flavour doughs, a practice that--quite by chance--led to the discovery of the airy magic of yeast in baking."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 9

    January 6, 2017

  • "During the same century (19th), as industrialisation raged alongside a new passion for collection and classification, many more extraordinary objects rose to the surfaces of bogs and were pulled from land that had lain untouched for thousands of years. ... Among the oldest was the Dunaverney Flesh Hook lifted from a bog north of Ballymoney, County Antrim in 1829. A 4-foot-long wooden and cast-bronze pole with sharp prongs designed to haul large pieces of meat from a boiler, it is gloriously adorned with bronze models of a pair of ravens and a family of swans. When first crafted in the tenth century BC, this must have been a prized possession."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 7-8

    January 6, 2017

  • "Downstream from London's Chelsea Bridge, as it began to rise from its construction site during the 1850s, the so-called Battersea Cauldron was dislodged from its muddy prison to rise to the surface of the Thames. Emerging into the modern world from that of the late eighth century BC, this splendid object was fashioned from seven sheets of carefully curved bronze riveted together to make a feasting vessel almost 2 feet wide. Its creation had required labour and skill; in its own day, the cauldron had proclaimed the wealth, power, and social status of its owner."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 8

    January 6, 2017

  • "Millennia before even Skara Brae, early humans acquired one of the very few things that set them apart from all other animals: fire."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 8

    January 6, 2017

  • Ugh! Thank heaven and Congress and Teddy Roosevelt for the Pure Food and Drug Act... fifty years later. Ugh!

    January 6, 2017

  • "In 1939, just two months after Hitler had invaded Poland to start World War II, the Bürgerbräukeller became the scene of an assassination attempt that nearly ended the Hitler nightmare. Over a two-month period, wording at night after the beer hall was closed, a clever carpenter named Georg Elser, who wanted to 'improve the conditions of the workers and avoid a war,' had installed a time-delayed explosive into a support column right behind the Bürgerbräukeller speaker's podium. Elser knew that Hitler always spoke for at least one hour, beginning at 8:30 p.m. The bombmaker set his device to detonate at 9:20 p.m. But, because the Munich airport that night was socked in by fog, Hitler began his speech early, at 8 p.m. After speaking for an hour and seven minutes, he left the Bürgerbräukeller at 9:07 p.m. to catch a train back to Berlin. Thirteen minutes later, Elser's bomb ripped through the beer hall, killing eight people and wounding sixty. The spot where Hitler had been standing thirteen minutes earlier was devastated. 'Those thirteen minutes were the most costly in the history of the twentieth century,' wrote German author Claus Christian Malzahn. The Bürgerbräukeller is now gone, a victim of wartime bombing, neglect, and urban development. All that remains is a plaque on the spot where the support column stood, commemorating Georg Elser."

    --Peter Ross Range, 1924: The Year that Made Hitler (NY and London: Little, Brown and Co., 2016), p. 267

    January 4, 2017

  • "These documents are all bilingual. Living in the modern era, we have grown accustomed to multilingual documents of the European Community and other international organizations. There is something extraordinary, though, in seeing these bilingual grain tallies. In the eighth century, the reach of the Chinese state extended down to the lowest level; even the smallest payment of grain was recorded in Khotanese, the language of the local people, and in Chinese, the language of the rulers. Similarly, all the officials in the government had both Chinese and Khotanese titles. The Khotanese bureaucracy employed clerks who could translate Khotanese documents into Chinese; some Chinese-language documents refer to petitions in Khotanese form the local people that were translated so that Chinese officials could understand them."

    --Valerie Hansen, The Silk Road: A New History (Oxford and New York: Oxford UP, 2012), 214

    January 4, 2017

  • "This three-way division of Xinjiang continued in the twelfth century, a period when Xinjiang nominally came under the rule of the Western Liao, a successor state to the Liao dynasty (907-1125) of north China. Under them, the Christian Church of the East increased its influence throughout Xinjiang, particularly among the Kereit and Naiman tribes of the Mongols."

    --Valerie Hansen, The Silk Road: A New History (Oxford and New York: Oxford UP, 2012), 229

    January 4, 2017

  • Usage/historical notes can be found in comments on Kereit and Pax Mongolica.

    January 4, 2017

  • "Then in 1211 a Naiman leader named Küchlük took over the Western Liao. Originally an adherent of the Christian Church of the East, Küchlük converted to Buddhism and became a ferocious opponent of Islam. He attacked both Kashgar and Khotan, forcing the inhabitants of both cities to renounce Islam and adopt either Christianity or Buddhism. But Küchlük was the last ruler in the region to ban Islam. In 1218 he was defeated by Chinggis Khan (Genghis Khan is the transliteration of the Persian spelling), who had unified the Mongols in 1206 and launched a series of stunning conquests. Chinggis rescinded Küchlük's religious policies.

    "The Mongol conquests continued after Chinggis's death in 1227; by 1241 the Mongols had conquered much of Eurasia, creating the largest contiguous empire in world history. They pursued a policy of general religious tolerance, giving support to all holy men while privileging their own shamanistic traditions. During the period of Mongol unification, sometimes called Pax Mongolica, it became possible--for the first time in world history--to travel all the way from Europe to China, on the easternmost edge of the Mongol Empire. Many people made the trip, and some left records of their travels. Most travelers began at the Crimean Peninsula and crossed the vast ocean of unbroken grasslands all the way from Eurasia to modern Mongolia. They did not use the traditional Silk Road routes around the Taklamakan.

    "Curiously, Marco Polo was an exception. He claimed to have taken the southern Silk Road route through Khotan, and no one knows why he did not take the more traveled grasslands route."

    --Valerie Hansen, The Silk Road: A New History (Oxford and New York: Oxford UP, 2012), 229

    January 4, 2017

  • "The Kirghiz defeat of the Uighurs in 840 prompted the mass migration of the core Uighur populations out of Mongolia south to Turfan and Ganzhou, where they formed smaller successor states called the Uighur Kaghanates. In the aftermath of 840 another tribal confederacy formed: contemporary documents refer to them as 'khans' or 'kaghans,' and modern scholars call them the Karakhanids to distinguish them from other Turkic peoples. Sometime before 955 their leader Satuq Bughra Khan converted to Islam, and his son continued both his military campaigns and the effort to convert the Turkic peoples to Islam. In 960 Muslim chronicles record that '200,000 tents of the Turks' converted to Islam. The chronicles do not specify which Turks they mean or where exactly they were based, but modern scholars assume this passage refers to the Karakhanids, based in Kashgar, 350 miles (500 km) west of Khotan. After the Karakhanid conversion, they ordered their armies to destroy any existing non-Muslim structures, including Buddhist temples."

    --Valerie Hansen, The Silk Road: A New History (Oxford and New York: Oxford UP, 2012), 226-227

    January 4, 2017

  • "In contrast, a group of some fifteen Khotanese-language documents preserved in cave 17 offer a wealth of detail about one mission ... possibly in the mid-tenth century. ...

    "The princes and their entourage set off with some 800 pounds (360 kg) of jade. In addition, they carried some leather goods, most likely saddles, harnesses, or other horse tack. Horses and jade were the most common tribute items from Khotan, and other recorded gifts include camels, falcons, yak tails, textiles, furs, medicines, minerals, herbs, some types of fragrances, amber, and coral. As was fitting in the subsistence economy of the time, rulers also presented slaves to one another."

    --Valerie Hansen, The Silk Road: A New History (Oxford and New York: Oxford UP, 2012), 222, 224

    January 4, 2017

  • "The author writes to a business associate, apparently his superior, about different transactions involving sheep, clothing, spikenard (a plant used in medicine and scents), a saddle, stirrups, and straps. Most likely a merchant, he mentions wanting to know his 'profit and loss.' We do not know why he left Iran, but we can speculate that he (or his ancestors) moved east to escape the Islamic conquest, and he ended up in the Khotan region during a particularly turbulent time."

    --Valerie Hansen, The Silk Road: A New History (Oxford and New York: Oxford UP, 2012), 217-218

    January 4, 2017

  • "This document records the sale of a camel for 8,000 Chinese coins by a Khotanese man to a Sogdian named Vagiti Vadhaga. (The word suliga, used to describe Vagiti Vadhaga, originally meant 'Sogdian' but later took on the broader meaning of 'merchant.')"

    --Valerie Hansen, The Silk Road: A New History (Oxford and New York: Oxford UP, 2012), 209

    January 4, 2017

  • "Khotan was famous for its jade (technically nephrite), large chunks of which the inhabitants found in the riverbeds around the oasis. Khotan's two largest rivers are named the Yurungkash ('White Jade' in Uighur) and the Karakash ('Black Jade'), and they merge north of the city to form the Khotan River. The jade found in the two rivers differs in color, and implements made from the lighter-colored Khotanese jade have been found in a royal tomb, dating to 1200 BCE, in the central Chinese city of Anyang."

    --Valerie Hansen, The Silk Road: A New History (Oxford and New York: Oxford UP, 2012), 207

    January 4, 2017

  • "One letter begins by giving the total amount of cloth the agent is carrying: one hundred pieces of 'white' and nineteen pieces of 'red' raghzi cloth, which is used to make warm winter clothing. (Raghzi is a Sogdian word, meaning either wool or some other type of cloth made from fur.)"

    --Valerie Hansen, The Silk Road: A New History (Oxford and New York: Oxford UP, 2012), 195

    January 4, 2017

  • "Around the year 1000 Sogdian began to gradually die out. Sogdian ceased to be used as a written language, and many (but not all) former Sogdian-speakers turned instead to Turkish. A small group of documents from cave 17 offer a glimpse of this linguistic shift just as it was occurring. They are in Turco-Sogdian, which is basically Sogdian but with a strong Uighur influence, in the form of Turkic loanwords and, more importantly, Turkic constructions unknown in earlier Sogdian."

    --Valerie Hansen, The Silk Road: A New History (Oxford and New York: Oxford UP, 2012), 195

    January 4, 2017

  • "With only a few mentions of dmar (the Tibetan word for 'copper,' which probably indicates bronze coins), the contracts record exchanges almost entirely in grain."

    --Valerie Hansen, The Silk Road: A New History (Oxford and New York: Oxford UP, 2012), 185-186

    January 4, 2017

  • "One thousand and fifty of these bundles contained twelve or so scrolls in Chinese; in addition, there were eighty packets and eleven large texts written on leaf-shaped pages called pothi in Tibetan, the language introduced in 786."

    --Valerie Hansen, The Silk Road: A New History (Oxford and New York: Oxford UP, 2012), 180

    January 4, 2017

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