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Picturing a World

Iron age bread stamp

What a find! An early iron age concave clay stamp turned up recently during a highway excavation in Bavaria. It's just the right size for impressing a pattern on bread rolls. What I crave now is a dough stamp with a maze or a labyrinth. In fiction, it could be part of women's magic, or its discovery could figure into an archeological tale. This one was found with a mysterious clay figurine, which could offer further prompts for the story. Any ideas?
Via the History Blog.

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Food and fiction

Blog post alert: Food history and children's fiction are two of my hobbies, so I was delighted to stumble across an old post, Biscuits (Cookies) w/ Sugar Flowers | The Little White Horse, at Fiction-Food.com. As it happened, when I found this site, I had just reread A Wrinkle in Time and so was amused to see that the blogger's archive included a post on Sandwiches & Hot Chocolate. And her recipe for a Sugar-Topped Cake looks just right for Mr. Tumnus' tea in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. A good diversion when I was supposed to be doing something else.

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Runkel Bros. Sweet Vienna Chocolate

Blog post alert: One of my heirloom treasures is a wooden Runkel Bros. Sweet Vienna Chocolate box from my great-grandmother's kitchen. I have used it as an ornament in my own kitchen, as a computer stand, and as—oh, I don't know—a talisman of some sort. Looking at it in this season when chocolate becomes important sent me off on an internet search. It landed me on A Golden Age: Chocolate in New York, 1850-1900, which has a section on the Runkel brothers and lots more. Enjoy!

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Harlequin doggy bags

The reward of blog-crawling on a rainy day was a post on "Harlequin Foods" at Victorian Paris. I knew that "pot-luck" soups were sold by street vendors to the poor, but get this: There was an entire trade in leftovers or rogatons from the kitchens of palaces, noble houses, fine hotels, embassies, and so on. The cook or the footman sold them to a vendor or reseller who came to the back door, and they began a journey of sorting and distribution until they reached a stall in Les Halles, where they might end up on a patchwork plate of mixed scraps more or less artfully arranged. In that form, they were called arlequins, probably because their patchwork appearance resembled the costume of the Commedia dell'arte character, Harlequin.

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One of those serendipitous finds during a search for something else. Forget whatever allegory the artist had in mind:—just try to feel between your fingers the rough texture of the crystallized sugar on the fruits and comfits in the bowl! And, of course, the taste—add anise?

Via Web Gallery of Art.

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