People (it’s no secret) really like chocolate. The signs are everywhere. Chocolate billionaires proliferate on the Forbes list of the richest people in the world (Michele Ferrero of Italy, who makes Nutella, is worth $27 billion; Forrest Mars, Jacqueline Mars and John Mars, who make Milky Ways, Snickers and M&Ms, are collectively worth about $60 billion).
Then there’s the science.
In 2007, a psychologist now at Mindlab International in Britain, recruited a small number of couples, all in their 20s, attached electrodes to their scalps, monitored their hearts and asked them to suck on pieces of dark chocolate. Which they did.
Researchers studied the effects of eating chocolate.
Next he asked them to kiss. Which they did.
Then they studied the effects of kissing.
Then he compared the effect on their bodies — kissing versus tasting chocolate.
It wasn’t a big study (six couples) and it hasn’t been repeated as far as I know, and it may have been sponsored by food companies.
But his findings, , were very pronounced.
Both kissing and chocolate raised heart rates. But chocolate’s effect was longer lasting and more powerful.
The buzz from chocolate, Lewis , “in many cases lasted four times as long as the most passionate kiss.” Even with its caffeine, sugar and stimulants, “chocolate’s power really surprised us,” Lewis said.
“The study also found that as the chocolate started melting, all regions of the brain received a boost far more intense and longer lasting than the excitement seen with the kissing,” according to the BBC.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, the richest people across the United Kingdom and France built beautiful towers, just for pigeons.
Known as dovecotes, pigeonniers, doocots, or colombiers, these buildings served as apartment blocks for hundreds of pigeons who were waiting to be eaten by members of the nobility.
Early 20th-century pigeon expert Arthur Cooke estimated that by the 1650s, there were 26,000 dovecotes in England alone.
Though many dovecotes had similar designs, each had its own flair.
In his 1920 Book of Dovecotes—the seminal tome on the subject—Cooke waxed lyrical on the grandeur of the pigeonnier:
“Are not all dovecotes pretty much alike?” it may be asked.
The answer to this question is emphatically “No.”
It would be difficult to find two dovecotes quite identical in every detail, architectural style, shape, size, design of doorway, means of entrance for the inmates, number and arrangement of the nests.
They were designed and built by craftsmen gifted with imagination, who, though they worked to some extent upon a pattern, loved to leave their individual mark upon the thing they fashioned with their hands.
Dovecotes were used primarily to keep pigeons for their meat. (The birds’ guano was also collected and used for fertilizer, gunpowder, and tanning hides.)
At the time, root vegetables had not yet arrived in Britain, meaning that in winter, farmers could not rely on their usual crops to feed livestock such as pigs and cows. They were therefore bereft of beef and bacon, and turned to alternative sources of meat.
Pigeons were easy to maintain: as natural foragers, they spent their days seeking food, then came home to roost at night. A farmer needed only to have a tower lined with nest-friendly alcoves in order to keep hundreds of squabs at the ready.
Tea and Damper by A . M. Ebsworth. Image Credit: From Digital Collection of the State Library of Victoria
by Blake Singley,
The first European settlers in Australia used a dizzying array of flora and fauna in their kitchens – but they cooked them in a traditional British style.
The relationship between European settlers and native Australian foodstuffs during the 19th century was a complex one.
While the taste for native ingredients waxed and waned for the first century of European settlement, there’s ample evidence to demonstrate that local ingredients were no strangers to colonials’ kitchens or pots.
British settlers needed to engage with the edible flora and fauna of the continent almost immediately upon arrival.
The journals of First Fleet officers record not only their reliance on native food, but the relish with which they enjoyed it.
For example, First Fleet surgeon George Worgan noted in his diary a feast held to celebrate the King’s birthday:
We sat down to a very good Entertainment, considering how far we are from Leaden-Hall Market, it consisted of Mutton, Pork, Ducks, Fowls, Fish, Kanguroo, Salads, Pies and preserved Fruits.
Forget about mannerisms, eye colour and preferred occupations, our most important family trait – apparently – is how we construct a Cornish pastie.
The Sarah family originally lived in Probus, Cornwall, then in 1879 sailed to Australia on the Scottish Lassie as free settlers, bringing the pastie secret with them.
Two great chroniclers of our family history, Elsie Price and Gwen McGregor amazingly listed the Sarah family traits – red hair, prominent noses, twins (particularly lots of boys), long fingers and small wrists, musical interests (in choirs and instruments), a love of horses, dogs and cats – in that order.
And lastly, hay fever and allergies.
Oh and let’s not forget those pasties!
Photo: Susie Sarah.
I’m happy to tick off quite a few traits on that list.
I have long fingers and small wrists, have sung in choirs, played the flute and massacred the piano. I owned a couple of chestnut horses, heaps of dogs and masses of cats – in that order, and enjoy a nice range of allergies.
But what is the relevance of those Sarah pasties?
I note owning bakeries is common in our family and my first job was in a cake shop.
My mother and grandmother were into baking and we often said mum should run a roadhouse – with my sister as a madam of a house of ill repute at the rear – catering to the needs of truckies.
It seems business is big in our family – we come from a fine lineage of shop keepers.
Being in trade has never been an embarrassment to us, but rather a claim to fame.