Happy New Year to all.  May it offer new vistas and joy in the everyday details of life.

I was going to tell all about my new header, with the wild-eyed, long-haired grinder.  But I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by the mysteries of blogging, as well as its rewards.

Why were my numbers going off the little dial that a food historian expects?  Turns out that Andrew Sullivan in Powered by Fido had picked up on my post about dogs powering butter churns (and on Nicky Twilley’s follow up post, Hot Dog). Who could not be happy that the canine contribution to human buttery happiness is finally being recognized?

Of course, I, totally mistakenly, thought the message was that buttery happiness depended on huge amounts of labor, hence my fascination with Maytag washing machines that could handily churn butter too.

But no, the message that the various re-postings of this blog picked up on is that dogs once had to work.  Hot diggety dog.

And the moral I draw is that I need snappier titles.

Then over at academia.edu, my article on pan de semita (semitic bread) gets hits every day.  Who are all these people interested in breads on the Mexico-US border?  Anyway it must be a huge disappointment. I argue that the idea these breads are specifically Jewish is based on false etymology.

And then there was my post on pheasants for Christmas dinner in my childhood in postwar Britain.  I was bowled over to hear from one of my heroines, Leslie Land, that she too thought that hanging game was essential and neglected in the United States.

And then comes a comment from Marcella Hazan. Now you have to understand that on my increasingly-selective cookbook shelf sit her original green and purple paperbacks, held together with scotch tape, their pages splattered and yellowing. I could change them for newer editions, but no, not in a hundred years, because they are so much part of my culinary past.

Rachel, this is magnificent! It has a novelistic quality to it. If there were the appropriate anthology available, it ought to be anthologized. Without indulging in the adjectival prose that characterizes so much contemporary food writing, it communicates something profound and believable about taste. Victor, who doesn’t tolerate even the scent of supermarket fowl, said “I could go for this, but a pity that such a small bird had to be distributed to so many guests”. I miei complimenti. I wish I had met you when I was younger.


Thank you Marcella. What greater compliment could I and my culinary heritage ask for?

Well, enough of me and my readers.  On to lots of other good stuff, including the wild-eyed grinder.  And Happy New Year again.


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