The Humble Yorkshire Pudding.

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It is not necessary to buy a Yorkshire-pudding tin to make an authentic Yorkshire pudding.
What you actually need is a 30cm by 20cm rectangular tray, the kind now sold as tray-bake tins for things such as Mary Berry’s millionaire’s shortbread or lemon-drizzle squares.
The true Yorkshire pudding, says Peter Brears, “is always made in a rectangular dripping tin and cut into squares just before it reaches the plate”.
Brears is the author of Traditional Food in Yorkshire (Prospect Books) – less a cookbook (though it does include recipes) than a brilliant social history of how they ate in Yorkshire in the 19th century.
The perfect pudding, according to Brears, has a high crisp rim and a “deeply rippled centre”.
The round puddings that are now deemed the classic version were originally called “Yorkshire puffs” and were a way to save on oven space, as cooks dropped spoonfuls of batter into the hot fat around the roasting meat.
Quite why batter pudding – which was made in various forms all over Britain – should be so closely associated with Yorkshire isn’t clear. The first written recipe is by Hannah Glasse in 1747, who seasoned the batter with grated nutmeg and ginger and cooked it under a joint of “beef, mutton or a loin of veal” as it spit-roasted before the fire.
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Yorkshire pudding remains one of the glories of a Sunday lunch: crispy outside and custardy inside.
It’s one of the few dishes – soufflé being another – that elicits a gasp when it arrives at the table.
Authentic or not, I like to make them in a muffin tin (three eggs, 120g flour, 300ml milk and a pinch of salt for 15 minutes in a hot oven), preheated with oil for maximum puff.
Some serve the pudding as a sweet course, with golden syrup and cream, but I see the battery crevices as the perfect vehicle for meaty juices.
Traditionally, the pudding and gravy were served as a first course, like pasta, with the meat and vegetables to follow.
A roast dinner that includes Yorkshires as well as roast potatoes is a double-carbohydrate feast.

Continue reading via The Kitchen Thinker: the history of Yorkshire pudding – Telegraph.

Zeus, Blind Owl with Stars in his Eyes.

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One morning, someone in Southern California found an injured owl on their porch. It turned out to be a blind Western Screech Owl with eyes that look like a starry night.
After a visit to the vet, the owl found a new permanent home at the Wildlife Learning Center in Sylmar, California.
He was named “Zeus” after the Greek god of sky and thunder because of his stunning eyes.
Zeus was injured when he was found on that front porch in South California, but the dedicated team of animal lovers at the center helped him on his feet again.
Since he was blind, they couldn’t simply release him back into the wild, so he now lives in a trunk on the filing cabinet next to the Wildlife Learning Center founder Paul Hahn’s desk.
Read more via Meet Zeus: The Rescued Blind Owl With Stars In His Eyes | Bored Panda.

Crooked Houses of Lavenham.

lavenham-1[2]by Kaushik
There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile.
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

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Remember that nursery rhyme? Some believe the poem, first published in the 1840s, was inspired by the once prosperous wool trading village of Lavenham, in Suffolk, England.
To understand why, you just have to wander around the streets of this delightful little town, located about 70 miles northeast of London.
Just about every other half-timbered, brightly painted houses here are noticeably crooked, leaning on to each other as if for support.
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Read on via The Crooked Houses of Lavenham | Amusing Planet.

Vintage Portraits of Beauty c.1930s.

National+Types+of+Beauty%2C+1930s+%281%29National types of beauty was a series of real photo cigarette cards distributed in the 1930s.
Some of the women portrayed were well-known actresses in their country, such as Anna May Wong from China, Frances Doble from Canada and Greta Nissen from Sweden.
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The photographers were unidentified but the portraits would have been taken by major studios of the time.
Tellingly, no black women were represented but this may have more to do with their lack of recognition as actors in America and Europe than any deliberate exclusion on the part of the cigarette company.
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See more portraits via vintage everyday: Beautiful Vintage Portraits Showing 21 National Types of Beauty from the Early 1930s.