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  • One Man’s Tulip, Another Man’s Onion December 10, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    One Man’s Tulip, Another Man’s Onion

    Tulip production was, in early Modern Europe, a challenging affair. For one the tulip itself was not an indigenous plant. It had come, with so many other items – including curiously goods from the New World – through the Ottoman Empire. Next, growing a tulip from seed takes from six to twelve years. These were […]

    Great Balls of Floury Fire November 21, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Great Balls of Floury Fire

    Food is dangerous at the best of times. But a thoughtful note by J van Leuven in an archaeological journal (Antiquity) from 1979 should prove of interest to all bizarrists as it suggests that food, more particularly grain, had the potential to bring powerful Mycenaean city states, including Knossos, to their knees. Now if this […]

    Zoological Soup and Aroused Pig: Futurist Cooking November 19, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Zoological Soup and Aroused Pig: Futurist Cooking

    Futurism was one of the twentieth century’s more bizarre ideologies. Founded in Italy just before the First World War – though coming to maturity in the 1920s – it made a cult out of what was new while despising the ‘old’. So speeding planes, falling bombs or soaring modern buildings were good. Whereas the canals […]

    Biodynamics and Nazi Market Gardens November 15, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Biodynamics and Nazi Market Gardens

    Biodynamics is a form of agriculture that Beachcombing can best describe as ‘organic and then some’. It demands that the farmer treat his or her farm as a single organism and that said farmer use ‘natural’ methods to raise crops and cattle. This includes supplements for fields that are, to say the least, unusual – e.g. […]

    French Kisses, Guinea Pigs and the Spanish vice November 13, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    French Kisses, Guinea Pigs and the Spanish vice

    Beachcombing had a terrifying dream last night. A great voice told him to find a bizarre story on turkeys, presumably one of the last shadows of his recent obsession with birds? Beachcombing has decided, however, not to do so because his subconscious has, frankly, been getting on his nerves in the last weeks. Instead, Beachombing is going to look at […]

    Hot Chocolate at High Mass November 6, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Hot Chocolate at High Mass

    Beachcombing was doing some research, trying to catch up with a student’s reading on the origins of chocolate and came across this gem. It is the story of a bishop, Bernardino de Salazar, who was poisoned because he tried to stop the women in his congregation from taking chocolate drinks during high mass. Our narrator is […]

    Hunter-Shoppers October 5, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Prehistoric
    Hunter-Shoppers

    Beachcombing’s nickname at High School – concrete comprehensive school somewhere in the lush north – was Caveman. And Beachcombing’s peers – with that preternatural perception that adolescents still have before soap operas, nicotine and 9-5 set in  – were onto something as the Stone-Ager was always close to the surface. Even now, it is enough for Beachcombing […]

    Boiling mice in the name of history October 3, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Boiling mice in the name of history

    It is widely known, Beachcombing believes, that the Romans ate dormice. Despite sumptuary laws forbidding the practice – dormice were an indulgence – they were fattened in gardens and kept in winter in a glirarium (a large ceramic jar) to prevent them hibernating (and becoming thin…). They were then cooked, stuffed with  pine kernels, garum, […]

    The Cornbeef Sandwich that Almost Destroyed a Spacecraft… September 20, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Cornbeef Sandwich that Almost Destroyed a Spacecraft...

    Today astronauts have it easy when it comes to lunchtime.  They open  their MandMs or unpack a fabulous meal whipped up down at ground control – in 2006 celebrity chef, Rachael Ray even prepared them Swedish meatballs. Then there are the views… Life doesn’t really get much better. But ‘back in the day’ when the […]

    Adult Breast-Feeding in the Renaissance and Early Modern World July 12, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Adult Breast-Feeding in the Renaissance and Early Modern World

                                          Beachcombing has been wasting his summer looking at Early Modern diet fads. Several have appealed to him, but certainly the one that clamoured most urgently for his attention was the belief that human breast milk was […]

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