Hallowe’en Salad, a Retro Gelatin Treat

To celebrate Halloween, I thought I’d do something a bit more modern. This recipe is most likely from the 1930’s or 1940’s, though the image source (chronicallyvintage.com) suggests the possibility of it being even later. There are a few clues that indicate 1940’s or earlier: the font, ingredients, and the spelling of the word Hallowe’en….

Salat, an Aromatic Medieval Salad

It may or may not surprise you to learn that people in the Middle Ages ate salad. And they ate it often. Unlike today, salads weren’t for calorie-conscious women on diets. Salads were very common meal starters and were loaded full of herbs and aromatic vegetables found in every household garden. Salads were not only genuinely enjoyed…

Egredouncye, a Medieval Sweet and Sour Dish

Sometime around the year 1420, a Master chef (or chefs- nobody seems to know exactly who) compiled a bunch of recipes in a manuscript now known as the Harleian MS 279. This manuscript, combined with a few others, was later published as Two Fifteenth Century Cookery Books by Thomas Austin in 1888.  Today’s recipe is from Volume One! Egredouncye, or Egredouce (pronounced…

The Tragic Life of ‘Bloody’ Mary Tudor

We view the past through our own moral lens, often finding ourselves at odds with the views of people long gone. When we find that our modern sensibilities contradict the opinions of past communities we should ask ourselves why that is. Are we more enlightened? Are we better people? Or are we simply basing our modern…

Elizabethan Jumbal Biscuits

Two of my all-time favorite things are history and food so I thought, why not put them together? Perhaps the easiest way to experience and connect with the past is to eat authentic ancient food. Since such dishes can be hard to come by, our best option is to make them at home! A (very) brief overview of Elizabethan food During the Elizabethan…

Hydraulis, Hydraulikon

The story of the pipe organ begins in the 3rd century BC with the invention of the hydraulis.

An Ox Died. The Making of The Oregon Trail

Few video games have made such an impression on generations of school children as The Oregon Trail. As an elementary student in the ’90’s I vividly recall looking forward to “computer lab,” which was basically Oregon Trail Quiet Hour with a few desperate minutes of Mavis Beacon typing lessons thrown in to justify all the wasted educational time. The…

Death and the Plague Doctor

The year is 1630. You live with your family in Milan, Italy, where you were born and raised. You grew up hearing tales of the Black Death wiping out entire towns in the late 1300’s. It was said that the world had lost a third of its population by the year 1400. And there you were,…

BE MINE. Love, Esther Howland

Believe it or not, Valentine’s Day existed long before Hallmark and holiday-themed jewelry ads. Valentine greetings were popular even before roses became the “flower of love” or kindergarteners crafted valentine boxes (arguably the best activity in all of K-12). Valentine’s Day goes back to ancient Rome and early Christianity but nobody seems to know exactly…