ETERNAL FASHION FROM THE CRIMEAN WAR

I recently watched a documentary about the Ukraine. There was a bit of a blurb in the part depicting the Crimean War that probably went unnoticed by most people but I seemed to latch onto it with great curiosity. It seems this is the time in history that marked the emergence in the fashion world of the cardigan sweater and the balaclava.

The cardigan, a knitted sweater that is open in the front but can be closed with buttons, gets its name from James Brudenell, who was the Seventh Earl of Cardigan, and served as the Major General for the British army in the Crimean War of 1853-1856. Continue reading “ETERNAL FASHION FROM THE CRIMEAN WAR”

WHAT EXACTLY ARE THE EGYPTIAN PYRAMIDS?

I grew up believing the pyramids in Egypt were burial tombs. The other day I was channel surfing while watching television and came upon a documentary that claimed that, actually, no Egyptian mummy has ever been found entombed within the pyramids. Wait! What?

Digging around, if I did the math correctly, the busiest pyramid building periods were from about the year 2300 B.C. until about 4 A.D. When most people think about the pyramids of Egypt, what usually comes to mind are the Great Pyramids of Giza that are considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The oldest and largest of these is reported to have been built for Khufu. Three smaller pyramids constructed near the Great One are supposedly for his queens. His mother, Queen Hetepheres, was actually discovered entombed nearby. Continue reading “WHAT EXACTLY ARE THE EGYPTIAN PYRAMIDS?”

COOL WEATHER, WARM DESSERTS

When the weather begins to deliver a chill in the air, my kitchen begins to be filled with the aroma of spices and brown sugar. For me, there is nothing more cozy than settling down with a cup of hot cocoa and a little plate (or bowl) of something sweet.

One of the easiest things to do is to make sweet toppings, like a fruit spread. Use the following recipe with your favorite firm fruit: Continue reading “COOL WEATHER, WARM DESSERTS”

OLD FASHIONED CHRISTMAS

Pretty soon all the retail stores will have their Holiday displays all decked out in full Christmas regalia. Already there is an uproar over holiday cups, of all things. The older I get the more detached I feel from all of this hubbub. I long for a simpler season where I am bombarded with fewer motion activated life-size Santas that Ho-Ho-Ho at me as I walk by. So, here are some things I plan to do to get back to an old fashioned Christmas.

First off, we have set a very small budget for how much we will spend on the whole she-bang. That budget includes decorations, food, entertaining as well as gifts. This has then resulted in creative ideas in order to stretch the budget and get the biggest bang for our buck. It has, in essence, become a challenge. Continue reading “OLD FASHIONED CHRISTMAS”

THE FRAGRANCE & FLAVOR OF WINTER HOLIDAYS – WASSAIL

Once upon a time I had a sweet, British friend in primary school. Every Christmas she would mention “wassailing”. I had no idea what it was but, rather than look like an ignorant buffoon, I just smiled, nodded my head and went along with whatever she said then quickly changed the subject. But, the wassail mystery haunted me throughout the winter holidays.

Wassailing is an ancient custom that is not practiced very much today. The old Anglo-Saxon phrase that eventually morphed into “wassail” originally meant “good health”. Wassail was actually a warm, alcoholic beverage. Ale was mulled with combinations of roasted apples, cloves, sugar, nutmeg, eggs, etc. Continue reading “THE FRAGRANCE & FLAVOR OF WINTER HOLIDAYS – WASSAIL”