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Pecans: An American Nut

Pecans (carya illinoisensis) are an edible nut most often associated with desserts, particularly pecan pie, an extraganza of added sweetness. [Recipe Below] Pecans are also found in praline candy, cakes, cookies, and candied nuts. But this is misleading association, because, in fact, raw pecans are loaded with healthy monounsaturated fat and fiber, as well as

Walking: A Beneficial Activity

In Jane Austin’s Pride & Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet decides to visit her sister who fell ill while calling on the Bingleys. When Elizabeth’s father reluctantly offers her the use of a horse, Elizabeth declines.“I do not wish to avoid the walk,” she says. “The distance is nothing when one has a motive: only three miles.

White House Easter Egg Rolls from Yesteryear

There are several ways to roll eggs. This Russian postcard shows children placing individual eggs, possibly hard-boiled, on an incline to see which would roll the furthest. In another custom, children roll hardboiled, decorated eggs down grassy hills in a competition to see whose egg rolls the farthest without breaking. The latter competition usually took

Pysanky aka Ukrainian Easter Eggs

Easter is on April 4, just under two weeks away. Will this be the year you attempt to create pysanky?  Pysanky refers to eggs inscribed by an artist using a stylus that imparts the design in beeswax. The eggs may be chicken, duck, goose, or even ostritch. Some artists leave the egg intact with the

First Ladies Move into a Post-War World

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt took the oath of office on March 4, 1933, unemployment was 25 percent; homes and farms were lost to foreclosure, and people were hungry. Hobos rode the rails looking for work. Farmers from the Great Plains migrated to California, a journey described by John Steinbeck in the Grapes of Wrath.  Incumbent

First Ladies in the “Roaring Twenties”

For various reasons, we are more aware of some First Ladies than others. Last week, I skipped over Edith Roosevelt and Helen Taft in favor of closing the blog with Edith Wilson. This week, I intended to begin with Lou Hoover, but I started thinking about 1920 as a pivotal year.  The United States had

First Ladies in Unusual Circumstances

After the civil war, American First Ladies were women with direct experience in the social movements of their time. As young women, none had any expectation of the office they would hold, but their role as presidential spouses continued to bring change to the White House. The Election of 1876 After eight years in the

First Ladies: Expanding the Role

During the course of the nineteenth century, First Ladies emerged from behind their husband’s careers to become separate personalities. Though these women were still identified most broadly as wives and mothers, social expectations changed. This second installment in my series about First Ladies profiles a selection of nineteenth century First Ladies who caught my interest:

The Danish Art of Hygge

January is a month of new beginnings. In past years that meant making life-improving resolutions to exercise, or become more organized, or de-clutter. Any or all of these activities are tied to an overall concept of happiness, sometimes defined a the state of being happy. Similar to: contentment, pleasure, satisfaction, cheerfulness. Last year the guru