The Three Witches from Macbeth.

actress8The Three Witches from Macbeth, by Daniel Gardner, 1775 © National Portrait Gallery, London
Paintings of performers in character, or acting within a well-known play, became popular during the 18th century and often included celebrated actresses positioned centre-stage within dramatic scenes.
Here, Gardner has painted Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne; Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and Anne Seymour Damer as the witches from ‘Macbeth’
via The First Actresses | Gallery | History Extra.

The Humble Yorkshire Pudding.

Now what would a Yorkshire Pudding blog be without a little bit of the history of the Yorkshire Pudding?
The story begins hundreds of years ago and in true fairy tale fashion we begin with Once Upon a Time…Robust and lovely wheat flour began to come into common use for making cakes and puddings. Cooks in the North of England devised a plan to change the course of cookery FOREVER!
They began making use of the fat from the dripping pan to cook a batter pudding while the meat roasted in the oven. Scandalously genius!
In 1737, the first recipe for “dripping pudding” was published in The Whole Duty of a Woman. This was a guide for the fairer sex with rules, directions, and observations for a lady’s conduct and behaviour. The topic of a lady’s love life was included with tips for married, single, and even divorced women!
The book was surely a huge success.
The important thing here though is that recipe for “dripping pudding.” It was fairly simple – make a good batter as for pancakes, put in a hot toss-pan over the fire, add a bit of butter to fry the bottom a little, then put the pan instead of a dripping pan and under a shoulder of mutton, shake it frequently and it will be light and savoury. When the mutton is done, turn it in a dish and serve hot.
In 1747, Hannah Glasse shook up the recipe with her own version in The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Simple.
Glasse was the original domestic goddess! Glasse re-invented and re-named the dripping pudding, which had been cooked in England for centuries although the puddings were much flatter than the puffy versions known today.
Then in 2008, the Royal Society of Chemistry got involved when it declared that “A Yorkshire pudding isn’t a Yorkshire pudding if it is less than four inches tall.” This came about when Ian Layness, an Englishman living in the Rockies experienced a series of Yorkshire pudding “flops” in the high country despite huge successes in the low country.
It is no myth – the rise is just not the same at certain altitudes! Pretty crazy when you can quite obviously cook perfect pudds atop the Pennines.
That aside, Yorkshire Pudding is still a staple of the British Sunday lunch and in some cases is eaten as a separate course prior to the main meat dish. This is the traditional way to eat the pudding and is still common in parts of Yorkshire today. There is a reason for this too.
Because the rich gravy from the roast meat drippings was used up with the first course, the main meat and vegetable course was often served with a parsley or white sauce. This was a cheap way to fill diners, thus stretching the use of more expensive ingredients since the Yorkshire pudding was served first.
Should you wish to tighten those purse strings, this is one way to do it. If you’re anything like us though, you like to load your plate with all the trimmings.
If, after all of that, you are ready for dessert, do like we do in some areas of Yorkshire and fill the pudding with jam, or as a “pudding” in the true sense, try jam and ice cream.
Source: The History of the Yorkshire Pudding

Funky Platform Shoes – the Past.

225025_LargeDo you remember the ultra funky platform shoes that were all the rage in the 1970s?
After their use in Ancient Greece for raising the height of important characters in the Greek theatre and their similar use by high-born prostitutes or courtesans in Venice in the 16th Century, platform shoes are thought to have been worn in Europe in the 18th century to avoid the muck of urban streets.
During the Qing dynasty, aristocrat Manchu women wore a form of platform shoe similar to 16th century Venetian chopine.
Platform shoes enjoyed some popularity in the United States, Europe and the UK in the 1930s, 1940s, and very early 1950s, but not nearly to the extent of their popularity in the 1970s and 1980s.
When the biggest, and most prolonged, platform shoe fad in U.S. history began at least as early as 1970 (appearing in both advertisements and articles in 1970 issues of Seventeen magazine), and continued through the late-1980s though not in Europe or the UK where they had all but died out by 1979.
At the beginning of the fad, they were worn primarily by young women in their teens and twenties, and occasionally by younger girls, older women, and (particularly during the disco era) by young men, and although they did provide added height without nearly the discomfort of spike heels, they seem to have been worn primarily for the sake of attracting attention.
Many glam rock musicians wore platform shoes as part of their act.

Sassy Ladies, 1970s

While a wide variety of styles were popular during this period, including boots, espadrilles, oxfords, sneakers, and both dressy and casual sandals of all description, with soles made of wood, cork, or synthetic materials, the most popular style of the early 1970s was a simple quarter-strap sandal with light tan water buffalo-hide straps (which darkened with age), on a beige suede-wrapped cork wedge-heel platform sole.
These were originally introduced under the brand name, “Kork-Ease.”
derwombat

A Christmas Yarn for the Tightarses.

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The Yarn Begins:
An old man in Scotland calls his son in London the day before Christmas Eve and says, “I hate to ruin your day son but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is enough.”
“Dad, what are you talking about?” the son screams.
“We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer” the father says. “We’re sick of each other and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Leeds and tell her.”
Frantically, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone. “Like hell they’re getting divorced!” she shouts, “I’ll take care of this!”
She calls Scotland immediately, and screams at her father “You are NOT getting divorced. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back, and we will both be up there tomorrow.
“Until then, don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?” and hangs up.

The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. “That’s Sorted! They’re coming up for Christmas tomorrow and they’re paying their own way.”

Rob Powell

The Streets of Cincinnati.

1390224_744576962257964_796589654_nNewcomers to the city should also keep a lookout for some of the impressive mural work that graces its walls.
Not that they’ll have to look all that hard:
Thanks to public arts organization ArtWorks, the streets of Cincinnati are covered in all kinds of painterly designs.
Below is one of the most eye-catching examples.
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via Go to Cincinnati for FotoFocus, Stay for the Street Art | In the Air: Art News & Gossip | ARTINFO.com.