Skip to Content

Articles Categorized Home

Holly, Ivy & Christmas

Holly, with its dramatic red berries, and ivy are two more evergreen symbols of Christmas that predate the Christian celebration. Romans decorated their homes with holly and ivy during Saturnalia, a year end festival honoring Saturn. Celts used the plants during the winter solstice. Both plants stand out during bleak winter days, with or without

Christmas Trees — Symbols of Hope

It’s December, and almost everywhere you look there are Christmas trees, evergreen boughs, and other symbols of this end-of-the-year “Season.” Long before Santa ever came on the scene, people in the Northern Hemisphere worried about the winter darkness. Some thought winter came because the Sun God was ill, and celebrated the Solstice because at long

Turkey, Football, & Shopping

At its most basic level, the holiday of Thanksgiving is about being grateful and eating a special meal. The menu generally includes a roast turkey, or tofu turkey. Pumpkin pie is a staple dessert choice, but far from the only one. The rest of the menu includes family favorites. Once the meal is over, thoughts

Fanny Farmer & Modern Cooking

On August 23, 1902 Fanny Farmer opened her School of Cookery and continued her revolution in American cookery. In order to appreciate her efforts, it’s useful to start with a recipe comparison for Bird’s Nest Pudding. The original 1833 recipe is from The American Frugal Housewife by Lydia Maria Child. Bird’s Nest Pudding If you

Backyard Grilling

May with its promise of summer is the time of year when the local home improvement store features rows and rows of shiny barbecue grills. There’s the simple, basic grill; the ubiquitous Weber grill, and upscale gas grills with temperature control. People have been cooking over an open flame since the discovery of fire. Grilling

SEPTEMBER TRIVIA

September is one of those transitional months. When it begins, the weather is still hot. By the last week, leaves are beginning to change color. The Anglo-Saxons called this month Gerst monath, Barley Month. It was the month for harvesting barley which was processed into a malt barley used in brewing beer. The name September

Natural Gardens in China & Japan

Long before Capability Brown improved English landscapes, Chinese and Japanese garden designers created “natural” gardens. Ji Cheng (1582-1642) observed in the seventeenth century that the purpose of a Chinese garden is to “hide the vulgar and the common as far as the eye can see, and include the excellent and the splendid.” In this photo, there

Spring Traditions

Six weeks ago the groundhog saw his shadow and declared winter wasn’t over. Between then and now we’ve had indicators that spring was on the way. Holi, a moveable festival, took place on March 2.  Daylight Savings Time in the U.S. started last Sunday. But tomorrow is the Spring Equinox when Spring becomes official in