A Hopping Good Time.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s medieval society or modern, is there anything that symbolizes “social” more than beer? People have been brewing beer since 7000 BCE in the East and 3500 BCE in the West. Hops have been being added to beer since at least the 9th century. The practice began in Germany and spread west from there. If you’d like to try your hand […]

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Onions All Over

As ubiquitous as onions are in the kitchen, there seem to be few tales of it around the fire. The simple fact that it is so common has made it humble. A far cry from ancient Egyptian days when it was revered as a worthy offering to the gods.  Although this story points out that it may actually be that the humble onion is not […]

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Willows in the World

In his book, TREES:A WOODLAND NOTEBOOK, the Right Honorable Sir Herbert Maxwell says: The name “willow” speaks to us of a time when our Anglo-Saxon forbears dwelt in wattled houses. They spoke of the tree aswelig and also as widig (whence our “withy”), the root-meaning being pliancy. Another old English name for the tree was “sallow,” which in the north has been shortened into “saugh,” a […]

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A Softer Shade of Purple

Blueberries are and their relatives are very popular in the kitchen. This week my problem wasn’t finding enough good recipes for our Noble Interest, it was narrowing it down to a few. I gave up. The first mention of the bilberry in Europe was in the sixteenth century and of the blueberry in America in the late eighteenth. The closest thing I found to an […]

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Pinks Social

Aelfrida would have been unfamiliar with the plant that I so enjoy, as this cultivated variety didn’t appear until the 1450’s. Here is a nice article on the search for the original medieval pink. In Shakespeare’s time, the gillyflower was a symbol of promiscuity because of how easily it hybridized. Today, the carnation has come to be a symbol of many different movements, allegiances and […]

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A Party or a Nap?

While most of the cultures familiar with lettuce considered it definitely not the herb to indulge in on your way to a hot date on a feast night, the country that cultivated it originally had a very different opinion of it. In Ancient Egypt, lettuce was firmly associated with the God, Min.  Min is the Egyptian God of fertility. He was the son of Isis […]

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Love, the Truth, and a Good Defense

Since ancient times, the Linden has been known as a tree of truth and peace. Herodotus tells us that  “The Scythian diviners take also the leaf of the lime-tree (linden), which, dividing into three parts, they twine round their fingers; they then unbind it and exercise the art to which they pretend.” The Germanic peoples associated the tree with the Goddess Freya, and believed that […]

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A Safety Net and A Song

In his book, Trees, A Woodland Notebook, the Right Hon. Sir Herbert Maxwell points out that many places in Great Britain are named after the elder. This suggests that elder was both common and noticed. Elder has always been considered to be female and, like many other female spirits and deities, has been believed to have two sides to her personality. In Pagan times, under […]

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A Comfort For The Trip

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to make myself a garment of plant fiber that I grew, processed, spun, and wove myself. Comes from reading fairy-tales from a young age, I guess. Which is why it’s always been nettles that I wanted to make it of. A robe of nettles would give me an unbroken connection to my family, traceable right back […]

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From Top To Bottom

You can find the radish in a lot more places than just the salad bowl. Pliny tells us that there was at least one offering of a golden radish to the god, Apollo. Every year in Oaxaca, Mexico, they celebrate The Night of the Radish – an entire festival centered on the carving of large radishes. There are tantalizing references to radish dolls in Japan […]

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