Writings and Photography

TRAVEL

Photos, videos, and writings from my three trips to the United States:

PHOTOGRAPHS

VIDEO

WRITINGS ON SOUTHERN FOOD IN CHICAGO


BRITISH HISTORY

Brief Histories of English Cultural Phenomena:

Rural England:

A Witchcraft-Infested Land: Demythologising England’s Rural Past

Nostalgia for an imagined rural idyll that existed in England prior to industrialisation and urbanisation is not grounded in reality. When, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, people poured out of the English countryside and into cities, they faced many new challenges and hardships, but they also escaped from a world filled with the worst kinds of ignorance and superstition.

British Folk Beliefs and Culture:

The Eighteenth Century:

The Highly Spiced Cuisine of 18th Century England

For the better off at least, the English cookery of past centuries was highly spiced and featured a wide variety of seasonings.

Urban Music in Eighteenth Century London

Three hundred years ago, long before drill music came along, the air of London was filled with the sound of obscene and criminally-linked music.

The Nineteenth Century:

Hot Sauce and Devilled Bones in Nineteenth Century England

Before Tabasco was mass-produced, the English already had their own bottled hot sauce – Clarence’s Cayenne Sauce. And long before chicken wings slathered in Frank’s sauce became a popular bar snack, Englishmen were enjoying ‘devilled bones’ covered in a hot sauce that a food critic of the time claimed ‘destroys the palate, and ought to have no place in cookery’!

The Lives of the Rural Poor in Nineteenth Century England

Long days, back-breaking work, poor living conditions, and a monotonous, uninspiring diet.

Backwoods Horror in Nineteenth Century Devon

A violent clan living in squalor on a run-down old farm; a hatred of civilisation and religious authority; a house shared with animals; the suggestion of incest; and the traveller who escapes back to the safety of urban modernity… Although this sounds like a typical American horror film scenario, the Cheriton family actually existed in nineteenth century rural Devon and became so notorious that they even made the pages of the New York Times.

The Folk Beliefs of Nineteenth Century Devonians: An Overview

Despite Christianisation, the onset of scientific advances, and the Englightenment, the common people of Britain (and plenty of its more formally educated citizens) continued for a long time to adhere to a wide variety of magico-religious folk beliefs. The West Country county of Devon was a bastion of such beliefs and practices, up to at least the beginning of the twentieth century.

Source Texts On English Folk Beliefs:


EUROPEAN HISTORY

Western European Herbalism

Traditional Western European medicinal and magical uses of a variety of herbs and plants.


SOUTHERN HISTORY

The English Roots of Southern Culture

Arguably more than any other region of the United States, the South has most closely preserved its origins in the England of old. In its speech ways, food, architecture, gardens, culture, and folklore, the South remains deeply English at its core.

The Survival of Old English Speech Ways in the American South

The accents, dialect, and vocabulary used in the Southern states of the US (as well as the African American Vernacular English of American blacks descended from slaves of the old South) are very different from the ‘American English’ you will find in many other parts of the US. The reason for this is that Southern speech ways are derived from the speech of settlers who came from very specific areas of Britain.

The British origins of Black Southerners’ folk beliefs

When ‘hoodoo’ is examined, it becomes clear that the true origins of a number of black Southerners’ folk beliefs lie in Britain.

Thomas Sowell and the Misrepresentation of Old South Culture

Sowell misunderstands and misrepresents the culture both of the Old South and of England.


BRITISH ORIGINS OF SOUTHERN FOOD


MISCELLANEOUS

European-American Folk Traditions

When settlers from the British Isles and Germany arrived on the shores of North America, they brought with them not only Christianity, but also a variety of folk beliefs and practices related to every aspect of life and death.

Red Stripe Beer: ‘Jamaican Pride in a Bottle’?

A look at the true origins of Red Stripe, beyond the promotional myth-making.


NON-EUROPEAN TRADITIONS

Articles at HubPages on saints and spirits in non-European folk religion:

Baron Samedi
An important spirit in the Voodoo religion.

Santa Muerte
A skeletal Latin American folk saint.

Maximón
A Mayan folk saint also known as San Simón.