Wyoming Oysters

When we have turkey for a holiday meal we always have Grandma’s Oyster Dressing. We assume it was her mother’s recipe. This tradition gets me laughing every Thanksgiving. How in the world, I wonder, did a family of Wyoming ranchers end up making oysters a key ingredient of our holidays? Was great grandpa Luce so … Read more

Fun with Land Acknowledgments

Land acknowledgments play a serious role in modern American and Canadian society, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with them. While people are chuckling they can also be opening to new and perhaps uncomfortable ideas. None better than Walking Eagle News. I follow them on Twitter so I don’t miss the good stuff. … Read more

Salt Lake City Land Acknowledgment

Coming down off the fun of celebrating Utah’s Pioneer Day #PieAndBeerDay #BiAndQueerDay #CincoDeMomo in a city that sees Mormons as strange and exotic. #SexCultCommunists I went looking for Salt Lake City’s land acknowledgment. My question was whether it would be just the Shoshone, or whether it would include the Utes, Paiutes, and Goshutes. Surprise (or … Read more

Lingonberries

In Sweden they have lingonberries, a wild berry that’s harvested in the Fall and used to make jams, jellies, syrup, and preserves. Nowadays most Americans have heard of them because of IKEA, but when I was growing up it was something only Swedish-Americans knew about. It was a great treat when we’d find the finished … Read more

All Things Cosy

I’m intrigued by this article I found on BBC. “How did a bucolic dreamland became the perfect escape from real life? Anita Rao Kashi explores a whimsical world of nostalgia, tranquillity and folksy mysticism. A few weeks into lockdowns everywhere, a curious thing happened on Instagram feeds. More and more, they filled with images of … Read more

Slaver Profits in Scotland

There has been a flurry of activity around a new study linking the Atlantic slave trade to the Highland clearances. 18th and 19th centuries. Fascinating stuff. I read the Smithsonian article first. “Sure,” I thought, “we knew this already.” Or at least some of us could easily guess. If you read history, at some point … Read more

Tomten

In the novel American Gods, Neil Gaiman quotes Richard Dorson: “One question that has always intrigued me is what happens to demonic beings when immigrants move from their homelands. Irish-Americans remember the fairies, Norwegian-Americans the nisser, Greeek-Americans the vrykólakas, but only in relation to events remembered in the Old County: When I once asked why … Read more

City States in America

The Ancient World had city states. Sometimes they became empires. And then when the empires collapsed they sometimes became nations. (Although–the modern ethnic nation state is more or less a late European invention.) When I was a kid, I used to imagine, particularly on car trips, that the cities around me were like ancient city … Read more

Myth of the frontier

I keep watch for pieces about the mythology of the American West. Westerns and cowboys are the American myth, hands down. My neo-pagan friends find meaning in Norse culture, in Celtic culture, in every romanticized period of history except America. I’m not going to embed this one because it’s so long: How Historians Killed the … Read more