An adapted version of a talk I gave at Duke Homestead State Historic Site in Durham, North Carolina, in June 2012.
A timeline of political parties in the United States
A poster-sized timeline showing the shifts in demographics, allegiances, and key issues from 1789 to 2010.
Mapping industrialization: Railroads and factories
I created these maps for LEARN NC as part of a unit on industrialization in North Carolina to show why factories were built where they were. The map showing the location of textile mills was used in an exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History in 2011.
John Lawson’s explorations, 1700–1701
I created this map for LEARN NC in 2009 to show the approximate route of John Lawson, who explored the Carolinas in 1700–1701 and documented his travels in A New Voyage to Carolina (1709). I had intended the map to accompany a web-based critical edition of Lawson’s book, but I wasn’t able to finish the project.
I drew a new version of this map for The Curious Mister Catesby: A “Truly Ingenious” Naturalist Explores New Worlds, published by the University of Georgia Press in 2015.
Zest, wow wow sauce, and William Kitchiner’s magazine of taste
“Magazine” as in powder magazine, that is, not the periodical kind. A personal arsenal of condiments, created by Regency England’s foremost gastronome and noted eccentric. Do not go unarmed into the battle for flavor, men!
The manly art of baking
As a guy who bakes a lot, I get sort of tired of seeing baking portrayed as some cutesy thing that mommy bloggers do while their toddlers crawl around the kitchen, licking flour off the flour. Nothing against mommy bloggers, understand. Or toddlers. But sometimes I wish there were a more, you know, manly depiction of baking. Enter the sixteenth-century Swiss artist Jost Ammam, who produced this woodcut for The Book of Trades, a collection of illustrated poems…
A brief history of USDA nutritional advice
The USDA has made a big deal the last couple of years about its “healthy plate” model of good eating, which replaces the old food pyramid, which replaced the four food groups, which replaced… well… I thought a chart might help. Today’s post is a visual history of the USDA’s nutritional advice, showing how food groups and recommended servings have changed over the past century.
On the propriety of urinating in the dining room
On the screen the Regency period of Jane Austen’s novels always looks so prim, but in reality it appears not quite to have lived up to our expectations of public-broadcast propriety. Louis Simond, a French-born American who traveled through Britain in 1810–11, some (to his mind) shocking practices of the English aristocracy at table — practices, as he said, “not quite consistent with that scrupulous delicacy on which the English pique themselves.”
Juliet Corson teaches the poor to cook, 1877
It’s the birthday of Juliet Corson, Gilded Age cooking teacher who gave free classes and free books to poor women and children in hopes that teaching them to cook would improve their lives.
The dangers of eating hot bread
One of the perks of baking bread at home — maybe half the point of baking bread at home — is the privilege of hacking off the crust while it’s still hot, slathering it with butter, and eating it messily over the sink. Cookbooks will tell you that bread only develops its full flavor after it cools, which may be true. They will also tell you that if you slice bread while it’s hot, you’ll crush it, which is definitely true. But I do it anyway. Damn the torpedoes and all that.
Thank God I didn’t live in the nineteenth century, though, because then, it would probably have killed me. Or so people said…