google-site-verification: googlee20fcd946adc59a7.html Out of the Past

Friday, December 23, 2016

Earliest Cooked Plants Uncovered
A team of international scientists, led by the University of Bristol, has uncovered the earliest direct evidence of humans processing plants for food found anywhere in the world. They detected lipid residues of foodstuffs preserved within the fabric of unglazed cooking pots from two sites in the Libyan Sahara dating from more than 10,000 years ago.

The invention of cooking has long been recognized as a critical step in human development. Ancient cooking would have initially involved the use of fires or pits and the invention of ceramic cooking vessels led to an expansion of food preparation techniques. Cooking would have allowed the consumption of previously unpalatable or even toxic foodstuffs and would also have increased the availability of new energy sources. Remarkably, until now, evidence of cooking plants in early prehistoric cooking vessels has been lacking.

Significantly, over half of the vessels studied were found to have been used for processing plants based on the identification of diagnostic plant oil and wax compounds. Detailed investigations showed a broad range of plants were processed, including grains, the leafy parts of terrestrial plants, and most unusually, aquatic plants.

The plant chemical signatures from the pottery show that the processing of plants was practiced for over 4,000 years, indicating the importance of plants to the ancient people of the prehistoric Sahara.

"These findings emphasize the sophistication of these early hunter-gatherers in their utilisation of a broad range of plant types, and the ability to boil them for long periods of time in newly invented ceramic vessels would have significantly increased the range of plants prehistoric people could eat," said Dr. Julie Dunne, a post-doctoral research associate in Bristol's School of Chemistry and lead author of the findings.

University of Bristol

Out of the Past
Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology as Historical Process
Artwork: Prehistoric Pottery Kit

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Carnival vs. Lent

"Carnival. This is the time preceding Lent in the Christian calendar. In earlier times, all remaining meat and dairy products had to be consumed during this period, before the forty-day fast. The word carnival has some connection to carne or meat.

"Carnival, also known as Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras, is a day of ritual subversion. All the normal rules of society are turned upside down. You're allowed to get blind drunk, lift your shirt to passersby, rudely satirize public figures with parade floats - and that's only the mild version in New Orleans. In the middle ages, it was also time to openly mock your superiors with fake weddings, trials, even masses. Anything normally held sacred was ridiculed.

"Historically, at the end of the festivities, a fat man armed with phallic sausages would tilt with a skinny figure impersonating Lent, armed with fish and vegetables, and of course Lent always had to win. Then everything would go back to the way it was before."

Out of the Past
Artwork: The Fight Between Carnival and Lent by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1559.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

What You Eat Is When You Are

"The bad news is what's for dinner. The good news is there's lots of it."

Take a seat at the dining table and open the menu. Order anything you please; it's on the house.

Sound too good to be true? Well, you're right. There is a catch.

Like the old good news/bad news vaudeville gag suggests, the menu often makes the dinner. What's on the menu is largely determined by where you are dining and when.

continued at... What You Eat Is When You Are

Grow Food, Cook Food, Share Food
Fashionable Food: Seven Decades of Food Fads
Artwork: Baked Meatloaf and Dumplings

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

1972: Vodka Invasion

Who won the Cold War? Vodka.

Prior to the mid-1970s, vodka lagged well behind the whiskeys in the market for spirits in the U.S. and most other Western nations.

Then came d├ętente and President Richard Nixon's effort to ease geo-political tensions with the Soviet Union.

"The President subsequently authorized his good friend Donald Kendall, the Chief Executive Office of Pepsi-Cola, to do business with the Soviets," Patricia Herly explains.

"The American company agreed to help the Soviet government set up a factory with the capacity to produce 74 million bottles of cola a year, using Pepsi's syrup. The cash-strapped Soviets were allowed to pay in vodka.

Continued in The Book Stall

Vodka: A Global History
good spirits & fine liqueurs
Beverage Supplies

Artwork: James Bond/Vodka Martini

Friday, November 29, 2013

1843: First Christmas Card

The first commercially produced Christmas card was commissioned in 1843 by English artist and designer Sir Henry Cole, according to historian Nicholas A. Basbanes in On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History.

A copy of the card was included in the 850 pounds of rare paper ephemera gathered by collector John Grossman and sold to the Winterthur Museum in Delaware earlier this year.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

1883: A President in Yellowstone

For three weeks in August of 1883 the first sitting president to visit Yellowstone National Park, Chester Arthur, made an ambitious 330-mile overland trip from Green River, Wyoming, north to Mammoth Hot Springs with a 75-man military escort led by General Philip Sheridan.

It was the longest and most unusual vacation ever taken by a sitting President. The traveling party included Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln, the only surviving son of Abraham Lincoln, who commemorate the trip with a leather-bound album of photographs taken on the journey by a young photographer, F. Jay Haynes, along with the dispatches describing the President’s activities which were sent to the Associated Press.

This volume reprints much of that album, of which only six copies were ever made, and publishes more of Haynes’ 130-year-old photographs of Yellowstone National Park and the President’s party.

A President in Yellowstone
1872: Yellowstone National Park Established
History and American West Titles

Friday, October 4, 2013

1923: Babe Ruth's Missing Home Runs

In 1923, the year Yankee Stadium opened in the Bronx, Babe Ruth hit 47 home runs -- enough to win the major league home-run title that season -- but six of them were ruled foul balls under Major League Rule 48 which said that balls that cleared the fence in fair territory but landed foul were to be ruled foul. Additionally, balls that hit the foul pole, home runs by today's rule, were considered ground rule doubles.

The rule was changed to its current form in 1930, according to Robert Weintraub in "The House That Ruth Built," but not before costing Ruth at least six home runs and the outright home-run title in 1923 (officially shared with Philadelphia's Cy Williams).

The House That Ruth Built
Babe Ruth
The Roster