Thursday, November 26, 2009

this ghost of the school-boy pie

"Cattle are very fond of pumpkins; it is pleasant to see what a feast the honest creatures make of them in the barn-yard; they evidently consider them a great dainty, far superior to common provender. But in this part of the world, not only the cattle, but men, women, and children — we all eat pumpkins. Yesterday, the first pumpkin-pie of the season made its appearance on table. It seems rather strange, at a first glance, that in a country where apples, and plums, and peaches, and cranberries abound, the pumpkin should be held in high favor for pies. But this is a taste which may probably be traced back to the early colonists; the first housewives of New England found no apples or quinces in the wilderness; but pumpkins may have been raised the first summer after they landed at Plymouth. At any rate, we know that they were soon turned to account in this way. The old Hollander, Van der Donck, in his account of the New Netherlands, published in 1656, mentions the pumpkin as being held in high favor in New Amsterdam, and adds, that the English colonists — meaning those of New England — "use it also for pastry."
"What bread-and-milk, what rice-puddings, can possibly equal the bread-and-milk, the rice-puddings of the school-boy?
"But this ghost of the school-boy pie, this spectral plum-pudding, sitting in judgment upon the present generation of pies and puddings..."

Susan Cooper
Rural Hours

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Conrad Gessner - Historiae Animalium

Conrad Gessner
Historiae Animalium (check it out)

also, for a fabulous little bestiary of creatures--mostly piscine--by Gessner and his ilk, don't miss Gunther's post from earlier this year on Miszellen(~miscellany?).

more sea monsters here: cryptomundo.

and, lastly, it seems june '03 was a good month for monsters on giornale nuovo. actually, upon closer inspection it seems fair to ask, what month wasn't a good month for monsters over there?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

fizzgiggious fish, &c.

The Fizzgiggious Fish,
who always walked about upon Stilts,
because he had no legs.

There was an old man in a tree,
Whose whiskers were lovely to see;
But the birds of the air pluck'd them perfectly bare,
To make themselves nests in that tree.

The Tumultuous Tom-tommy Tortoise,
who beat a Drum all day long in the
middle of the wilderness.

There was an old person of Crowle,
Who lived in the nest of an owl;
When they screamed in the nest, he screamed out with the rest,
That depressing old person of Crowle.

There was an old person of Dundalk,
Who tried to teach fishes to walk;
When they tumbled down dead, he grew weary, and said,
"I had better go back to Dundalk!"

Edward Lear
from More Nonsense

(and check out the nonsense botany on Project Gutenberg)

Saturday, November 14, 2009