Folklore, superstition, culinary history, holiday traditions and general musings – a rambling miscellany of interesting thoughts on food and cooking, gardening and travel, history and anthropology. Listed in reverse order of posting date.
Also have a look at my Diaries: In My Kitchen, Garden Diaries, Kitchen Chronicles or Photo Albums for more random thoughts and images.
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Ode to A Market (12 July 2017)
Observations of human interaction in a local Greek outdoor market.
Intangible Pie (22 March 2017)
Culinary Traditions as Intangible Cultural Heritage
Tamata (11 March 2017)
Sympathetic magic, icons and prayers in the Byzantine churches of Mystras, Greece
Silver Fish (18 January 2017)
An electrochemical recipe to remove silver tarnish.
Hellenic White Varietals (23 November 2016)
A note on some Greek white wine grapes.
Magic Scacciaguai on Tap (19 November 2016)
More on scacciaguai figures from Garfagnana – symbolic magic.
Otto File Maize (12 October 2016)
A water mill in the Serchio valley of Garfagnana and the milling of otto file (8 row flint corn) for the production of polenta.
Sagra Ethnography (3 October 2016)
The phenomenon of a Garfagnana (Italy) food festival from the viewpoint of a foreign visitor.
‘Gypsy’ Chicken (28 June 2016)
Experimental clay wraped chicken cooked in an open fire and a discussion of unfired clay cook pots.
Lagana (15 March 2016)
Greek flatbread for Clean Monday – Καθαρά Δευτέρα – the first day of Orthodox Lent.
Unexpected Consequences (9 February 2016)
Sourcing local flours for breadmaking and its wider implications
Divides & Binding Traditions (26 January 2016)
Differing regional traditions of making vasilopita, Greek New Year’s cake
Street Food and Masses of Balloons (31 December 2015)
Holiday celebrations in central Athens and festive street food vendors.
Days in Attica (15 December 2015)
An early 20th-century traveller’s tale of Athens and Attica.
Shades of Orange (26 November 2015)
Arrival of Autumn in Athens and the celebration of American Thanksgiving.
Little Cakes (24 November 2015)
Greek custom of offering sweets on Birthdays and Name Days. And, the benefits of the ζαχαροπλαστείο (the pâtisserie)
Bella Sparoza (17 November 2015)
An Attic hillside garden designed according to the principles of Ekistics.
Variables of a Sourdough Kind (5 November 2015)
Variable properties of ingredients and differents in the environment that affect bread making.
Biga 14 July 2015
Definitions of the traditional Italian preferment, biga.
Meanderings in the Maze of Food, Tradition & Identity 15 December 2014
An attempt to define the terms tradition and traditional and their use of markers of identity with regard to food.
Scacciaguai 26 October 2014
Folk magic in Garfagnana – chasing away trouble.
Cheese Making at la Azienda Agricola 19 September 2014
Traditional pecorino cheese making in the Garfagnana region of northern Tuscany
The Basil Effect 20 June 2014
The Greek custom of using basil in the making of a sourdough starter
Crossed Bread 14 April 2014
Folklore of the hot cross bun and Greek cross-cultural comparisons of bread marked with crosses
Supermarket Sociology 27 January 2014
Cultural identity in the Supermarket
Bread for Saint Basil 2 January 2014
Greek New Year’s tradition of Vasilopita, bread for the feast day of Saint Basil (with recipe).
Flap Dragons…Snip, Snap, Dragon! 15 December 2013
The tradition of a “flaming” food-related Christmas Eve game.
A Cook’s Things 22 November 2013
Objects in a cook’s kitchen as markers of identity.
A Sixpence, A Wishbone & A Thimble 16 November 2013
The tradition of “Stir-Up” of the Christmas plum pudding five weeks before Christmas, and the custom of inserting silver tokens.
Parkin 5 November 2013
November 5th Bonfire Night celebrations and the Northern English tradition of Parkin and Thar’s Cake.
Kitchen Archaeology 1 November 2013
The story of what lies beneath my 19th-century kitchen floor.
The Original Jack o’Lantern 28 October 2013
Halloween tradition of a carved turnip (with recipe).
Proust Pickles 23 September 2013
On memory and food. A multi-cultural phenomenon.
Burnt Toast in Morning 19 September 2013
Kitchen superstition. The folk tradition of the German and Scandinavian “kitchen witch”.