When The Crackers Have Gluten, And Gluten Makes Your Date Homicidal

Cactus 50

Depression-Era Santa Starved From Lack Of Milk & Cookies

1937 Cactus

Actually, Santa wasn’t the one lacking that year. The UT Zeta house hosted a Christmas party for needy children, and a makeshift Santa proved too svelte for the outfit. It does make you wonder if folks left out perfectly good milk and cookies for Santa during the lean years.

The irony is that the tradition didn’t even START until the lean years. In an era of such economic hardship, many parents used the gesture as an example of generosity and gratitude for the gifts they¬† would receive on Christmas Day. The Greatest Generation indeed.

Mini Jack O’ Lanterns

Sunset magazine, Oct 2018

No, this isn’t a Halloween decoration. It’s the Japanese art of hoshigaki, and it starts this month! Last October’s issue of Sunset profiled the Yamanaka family of Northern California, detailing how they dry persimmons. From picking, air drying, and even massaging Hachiya persimmons, the entire family gets in on the action.

Once dried, the persimmons are shriveled but still moist and chewy. The sugary goodness inside will migrate to the edge, forming a white coat. They say the flavors are similar to dates and honey.

I’ve never tried persimmons in my life. What about you? They really do look like tomatoes, don’t they? That last one looks just like the roma in my fridge.

No time like the present; we’re smack dab in the middle of persimmon season. Why, you could even steal Sarah Ward’s recipe for persimmon and apple crumb pie.

Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and that would make a fine Turkey Day treat!

Farmers Market Looking Weak Today

Nat Geo July 1928

Imagine yourself in Famagusta, a city on the east coast of Cyprus, over 90 years ago. The tiny Mediterranean island of Cyprus currently has a population just over a million, or a scooch more than the capital of Texas. So you can imagine how sparsely populated it must have been in 1928. You could hit the open-air market early for coffee in the cafe on the left. Then you could purchase fresh fruit and grab a goat carcass to go.

Or if you were feeling especially fancy, you could travel 30 miles to dine at the restaurant  in nearby Nicosia. There they would serve you a meal of nutty breads, ripe olives, sour cheese, roast goat, and you could wash it all down with a draft poured from a pink-clay pitcher.

While gnawing on tough goat, you could enjoy the lovely view of the Ayia Sophia mosque, as it was known back then, meaning “Holy Wisdom” in Greek. Take in the scars of Turkish cannon balls hurled at her walls, the broken buttresses and ruined belfries, and the one Gothic turret elongated into a minaret. Today it is known as Selimiye Mosque. The foundation stone is from 1209, so yeah, it’s old.

Stop by tomorrow for more images and history from the little island of Cyprus!