The Great Hog-Eating Confederacy
Early Southerners ate a rather limited and unvarying diet. At table the famished guest seldom found more than bacon, corn pone, and coffee sweetened with molasses. Pioneering sociologist Harriet Martineau complained that “little else than pork, under all manner of disguises” sustained her during her visit to the American SouthFor the most part, slaves observed the same diet as poor white farmers. Though many kept gardens, and thus supplemented their rations of pork and corn with a wide variety of vegetables, they had otherwise little opportunity to augment their diet.. Another traveler griped that that he had “never fallen in with any cooking so villainous.” A steady assault of “rusty salt pork, boiled or fried … and musty corn meal dodgers” brought his stomach to surrender. Rarely did “a vegetable of any description” make it on his plate, and “no milk, butter, eggs, or the semblance of a condiment” did he once see.Christine Baumgarthuber is a writer for The New Inquiry and runs the blog The Austerity Kitchen. [more inside]
While mothers breastfeeding their babies goes in and out of fashion over the ages, so to does another facet of breastfeeding – wet nurses. [more inside]
Remember the Fifties? For a certain generation, who could forget those golden innocent days as depicted in shows like Happy Days, Grease and the band Sha Na Na. But it turns out that vision of the 50's is mostly fantasy and never existed, largely invented by a group of Columbia U students around 1969. [more inside]
The UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History has an extensive, searchable online collection. It focuse on material art and household items and has objects from all over the world. The website can be browsed either by geographic orgin: Africa, Asia, North and Central America, Pacific, South America, or through its two exhibits, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives and Fowler in Focus. Some of my favorite objects (but really, everything is entrancing) are The Blind Scholar (a Taiwanese handpuppet), Chikunga (a Zambian mask) and a stirrup spout bottle which looks like a puma eating a piglet (Peruvian). All items have accompanying descriptions and some have short texts or audioguides with further information.
Retrospectacle on the Plague. Shelley Batts is a neuroscience PhD candidate who writes the great blog Retrospectacle [Prev]. She's recently posted a series on the bubonic plague: It's real and perceived causes (1 2), the bizarre medical garb doctors used, and modern cases of Yersinia pestis* infection in the U.S. and the world.
America in the 1930s : on film, in print, on the air. Some highlights : War of the Worlds, the Robert Johnson notebooks, Superman's identity crisis, Babe Ruth, a female evangelist, building the Chrysler Building.