Archive for the ‘history’ Category

On my facebook page, fans have asked a lot of questions on spices and herbs. I’m going to begin adding some information on the historical uses of spices and herbs and share a recipe focused on that spice/herb. My goal is to do a weekly story/article. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while and just didn’t have the time for it. 

Stay tuned readers, fresh content will be on its way!



This weekend is the Scottish Highland Games weekend at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. We have a lot of interesting demonstrations lined up:

11am – spice making demonstration, learn how to make Garam Masala, Curry, and Ras El Hanout

12:30pm – Scotch Eggs and Shortbread

2pm – History of Spices and their uses

4pm – Haggis (yes, I will be making haggis from scratch)

5pm – seasoning your cast iron and wooden utensils.


Natural Dyes for Easter Eggs

   Posted by: anj68 Tags: , ,

This is a re-release of an earlier story on making natural dyes for Easter eggs. Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

History of “Easter” eggs:
The ancient Zoroastrians painted eggs for Nowrooz, their New Year celebration, which falls on the Spring equinox. The Nawrooz tradition has existed for at least 2,500 years. The sculptures on the walls of Persepolis show people carrying eggs for Nowrooz to the king. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

At the Jewish Passover Seder, a hard-boiled egg dipped in salt water symbolizes the festival sacrifice offered at the Temple in Jerusalem.

There are good grounds for the association between hares (later termed Easter bunnies) and eggs, through folklore confusion between hares’ forms (where they raise their young) and plovers’ nests.

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Many of my ancestors hailed from Scotland.  As a member of the Lindsay clan, I have had the opportunities to try

Traditional Haggis

many traditional Scottish recipes including haggis.  Most people assume haggis is a Scottish dish; however haggis-like dishes have been traced back to the Romans and are mentioned in “Homer’s Odyssey.”  Other variations have been found in Scandinavian culture and among other regions.  But, it is the Scots who made haggis famous.  Haggis usually consists of cheap cuts of meat, suet, sheep liver, intestines, and oatmeal.  In the United States, similar dishes have evolved including Scrapple, hashes, and meatloaf.

One of the largest challenges making traditional haggis is locating the sheep’s stomach, a key ingredient in preparing haggis.  I have found that sheep’s stomachs are very easy to come by via butchers who cater to the Amish customers or who provide other old world ingredients.  A sheep’s stomach is quite large.  If you feel as though a lot of people may not enjoy this dish, I would recommend cutting the stomach in half and reducing the recipe to limit any wasted food. 

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The tales of love and romance are not a modern one. The earliest tales of romantic work can be traced to the Acritic songs from the Byzantium Empire. These songs were introduced to the French and Italian knights during the occupation after the 4th crusade and influenced their songs and stories. Similar traditions existed in Northern Europe and were in the form of great epic sagas and took place in exotic locations, usually having mythological elements and dangerous quests.

The earliest medieval romances dealt heavily with themes from folklore, which diminished over time. During the early 13th century romances were increasingly written as prose.  As these romances gained popular favor, clerical critics of the late middle ages thought that romances were harmful worldly distractions from more religious or moral works.  By the 17th century, many secular readers would agree with the religious leaders, as they felt romantic stories were trite and childish.

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