July/August Books

My last stretch of comments on books was really, really long. 5,400-odd words long, if I recall right. So I’m going to try for shorter and pithier this time. Should be easier, since I read less than I’d hoped I would, but even so… shorter. Pithier. Also: I have been feeling like I have been reading […]

Tallow, The Baltic Trade and Filthy, Shadowy Georgian London

I was surprised, a while back, to discover that all isinglass in Georgian England was imported from the Baltic. But wouldn’t know you, that’s where they got tallow, too. Tallow, of course, was used to make cheap candles and soap. In the Georgian Era, tallow candles were the ones that got everyday use, while wax […]

Distillers vs. Brewers: Tabulated Expenses from 1736

I know I promised a post on the South Sea Bubble next, but, well… it’s become a series, and the series isn’t done, so in the meantime, an interesting snippet from an anti-Gin tract.   Take note: Thomas Wilson’s Distilled Spirituous Liquors The Bane of the Nation (1736) has a clear agenda. (Also, an amazing title. 18th-century people […]

And Called It… Macaroni?

Yes, even in Canada we know the Yankee Doodle song. But like everyone else, as kids we giggle and find that last line in the first verse: Yankee Doodle went to town Riding on a pony; He stuck a feather in his hat, And called it macaroni… Who the hell sticks a feather in his […]

Yeast, as Understood in 1736

  I’m really glad I was able to get a second opinion on one little detail that has become of great importance to my ongoing novel project. That is: how well did brewers understand the function of yeast in brewing back in 1736? It might sound strange, but that detail is incredibly important in terms […]