Culture of the Scotts

scotland ball

I’m bettin’ you’ll be wanting a Scot of yer own. The Scottish play the bagpipes which is the most traditional form of music played in Scotland. Edinburgh International Festival is an annual festival that celebrates the arts.  This event takes place in the Edinburgh Castle. As far as sports, the Scotts are well known for playing cricket and international football. The British were their biggest  competition when they would play football. A traditional uniform for the Scottish to wear is plaid. Their culture is pretty simple and strait forward.  No haggis about it.

“Scottish Cultural Interests.” Culture and Traditions of Scotland. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.

Greek Holidays

In modern Greece the citizens practice several holidays that we are familiar with, but with a twist unique to Greece. For example, in Greece the people don’t celebrate their birthdays, instead they celebrate the “Name-day” of the Saint that they are named after. Let’s say your name is Daniel and you were born on January 10th, some people may wish you a happy birthday on the 10th, but chances are you won’t have a party. However, you and everyone else named Daniel will celebrate on December 17th in the name of Saint Daniel. I find this very interesting and it shows how important religion is to the Greek people today.

Another interesting holiday is Christmas. In Greece Christmas is celebrated over the course of 12 days ending on the 6th of January. During these 12 days children walk up and down the streets and sing Christmas carols to people in their houses. Traditionally the children were given sweets and pastries for doing this, but recently they started getting money for doing this. According to the people, during these 12 days hobgoblins called “kallikántzari” climb out of the Earth’s core and like to cause trouble, even though they are said to be friendly. The Greek people perform various rituals to prevent the Kallikántzari from getting inside their houses. This lasts until Epiphany (the last day of Christmas) where Earth’s waters are blessed forcing the Kallikántzari back into Earth’s core. As one can see, Christmas is very important to the Greeks with lots of tradition behind it.

The most popular holiday among the Greeks is Easter which has far too many customs to go into for this blog. Easter occurs on the first Sunday after the full moon of the spring equinox in Greece and takes place over the course of a week known as Holy Week. On Holy Thursday the housewives start preparations for the celebration of Resurrection by making sweets and painting eggs red (eggs are a symbol of rebirth while red symbolizes the blood of Christ). Holy Friday is the most sacred day of the week representing the burial of Christ. Housewives avoid housework, women ad children go to church to decorate the Epitaph (Bier of Christ) and in the evening the Epitaph procession begins. Many Greeks leave the cities to celebrate in the countryside for the celebrations and festivities. There are many more Greek Holidays that I am unable to cover and many traditions and customs for these three holidays that I can’t fit into this blog, so I encourage you to do some more research if this interests you.

Sources:

“Culture.” : Greek Customs. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.

“GREEK NAME DAYS.” GREEK NAME DAYS. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.

Food Fetish of the Scottish

Ayi! Our food is sure to tickle ye fancy! The Scotts are well know for their haggis, whiskey, deep-fried Mars bars, and shortbread. Their dishes are both Celtic and Norse inspired. There are so much more unique dishes that the Scotts created such as the following: cranachan, aberdeen angus beef, smoked salmon, scotch broth, venison casserole, haggis with neeps and tatties, farmhouse cheese and oatcakes, roast lamb, clootie dumplings, and baked salmon. The most popular cheese in Scotland in cheddar. They use to have over 24 individual cheese producers around this time. Deep-frying most dishes was a big deal for in Scotland. And here we thought deep-fried  goods came from the south here in the U.S.!! Fish and chips, or batter fried cod and fries or potato chips, originated in Scotland.  Pork, although, isn’t the most desired meat in Scotland. A typical breakfast in Scotland would consist of a coffee, porridge and bacon, and even potato scones. As you can tell, potatoes are kind of a huge deal for the Scotts. Now, for a good lunch, Scotts like to have sandwiches or pies with a hot cup of tea. Lunch usually starts around 1pm. Not too late, not too early. Just in time for tea! There are two “classes” of food; highland and lowland food, also known as rich people food versus poor people food. Barley cakes, cheese, eggs, and butter were the highland delicacies during this time. Milk and fish were apart of the lowland people’s diet for everyday eats. Here are some more dishes that come from Scotland:

  • Muscatel Raisins in Bunches, for desserts, in small boxes of only 6 lb. and upwards.
  • Jordan Almonds in small boxes.
  • Almonds a la Princesse, or Soft-shelled Almonds.
  • Spanish Green Grapes, in bunches and jars.
  • Pistatio [sic] Nuts and Pomegranates.
  • Oranges, and other Green Fruits.
  • Dried apples and pears
  • French Plums, in the highest state of perfection, and of the most exquisite flavour.
  • Imperial Plums, in beautiful small square baskets.
  • Prunes de Pistole, in ditto.
  • A variety of French and Italian Liqueurs.
  • Dried Cherries, Apricots, Peaches, Pears, and Cherries in Brandy.
  • Green Truffles, Conserve of Tomatoes, prepared by the celebrated Monsieur Appert.
  • Mirabelle Plums, Apricots, Green-Gages, Cherries, and other Fruits for Tarts in bottles.
  • A great variety of Dried Vegetables, from Monsieur Malliez
  • Beautiful young preserved West India Ginger, in bottles and jars of all sizes.
  • The finest West India Tamarinds.
  • West India Green Sweetmeats.
  • West India Green Limes.
  • Guava Jelly.
  • Haricots,Rouge et Blanc.
  • Artichoke Bottoms, Eschalottes, Basolie, Champignons,and other articles invariably used in all made dishes in France.
  • A great variety of the different compound French Vinaigres et Moutards, from M. Bordin (Vinaigrier du Roi.)
  • Bon Bons — Beautiful specimens of French Confectionary — Sugar Figures and Mottoes of all kinds, from Paris.
  • Chocolate de Santé, and other kinds: et Baton Royal, from Monsieur Dumont.
  • A large supply of the finest Provence Salad Oil, from Aix, a beautiful article, in white bottles.
  • Macaroni, Vermicelli, and Cagliari Paste, of various shapes, put up in small boxes for family use.
  • Gruyer Cheeses from Switzerland. Neufchatel Cheeses from France. With a large supply of Stilton Cheeses, Selected from the finest Dairies in England, which will be found to posses in the highest degree that mellow and delicious flavour which distinguishes Stilton Cheeses.
  • Rotterdam
What a huge appetite I just got! Well enjoy the drool dripping from your mouth as you learn about the yummy meals that 18th century Scotland offered at this time.

 

 

http://www.cooksinfo.com/scottish-food

Greek food you may recognize

The Greeks throughout history have inspired the  western cultures, even after what we consider to be “Ancient Greece” fell. There influence can be found throughout modern thinking, philosophy, architecture, politics and even culture. This is all well-known to a broad spectrum of the world, but what if I told you that they might have inspired modern cooking too. There are several Greek recipes that have existed for centuries that are similar to recipes that we all know and love. Now some of these recipes may just be similar to modern recipes, but it is the similarities that are important.

Pancakes, we all know about pancakes and many of us probably love having pancakes in the morning, maybe with some eggs and bacon. Now what if I told you that Greeks have been enjoying pancakes as a breakfast food since as early as the 5th century…B.C.E! The ancient Greek poets Cratinus and Magnes referenced tēganitēs, tagēnitēs and tagēnias, which are all words deriving from the Greek word tagēnon which translates to “frying pan”. These early pancakes were made with wheat flour, olive oil, honey and curdled milk. These early pancakes may not sound as appetizing to us now, but it was a favorite breakfast dish to the ancient Greeks.

Another common type of food was soups. There were many recipes for ancient Greek soups and stews, one popular one is known as Avgolemono, which still exists today. The earliest examples of Avgolemono occur around the time of Alexander the Great (356 B.C.E – 323 B.C.E). This recipe consists of a meat broth, eggs and lemons. Other cultures started using this recipe but turned it into a lemon sauce for meats such as chicken.

The final type of food that I’m going to talk about is probably well known to have been developed by the Greeks and is actually not a food but a drink. This drink, which inspired a lot of Greek culture and is used in modern cooking and formal meetings, is wine. There are over 300 types of grapes in the Greek area and wine is made from grapes, which leads to many varieties of wine. To make this even crazier, remember that there are multiple processes, aging techniques and added ingredients which makes countless possibilities. Hesiod, a Greek poet around 750 B.C.E. described the method to create a basic but popular wine known as “Passum”. It’s hard to tell how old wine is but it is undeniable the role it played in the future.

Sources:

“Pancakes.” Pancakes. World Public Library, n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2015. <http://www.worldlibrary.org/articles/Pancakes&gt;

“Avgolemono.” IFood.tv. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2015. <http://ifood.tv/greek/avgolemono/about&gt;.

“History of Greek Wine – Wine Tours.” Wine Tours History of Greek Wine Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2015. <http://winetours.co.uk/destinations/all-wine-notes/history-of-greek-wine/&gt;.

Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2015. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Greek_cuisine&gt;.

Medieval Cuisine

The type of food available to people in medieval times depended largely upon their social class. Nobles had access to foreign foods, spices and meats while the poor only had what was readily available to them, such as cereal grains, barley, oat and rye. Curing, transportation and the upkeep of meat made it an expensive commodity. 

Religion was also a large influence on the consumption of food in medieval times. Catholics and Christians sometimes had to go several months without eating meat, with the exception of fish. These fasts were not to cleans the body of food or to say that a certain food was bad, but more so to show constraint. In medieval Europe, two meals a day was the social norm. It was also a social status because the nobility could afford not to eat a third meal, due to the lack of manual labor. Breakfast was looked down on and considered a meal for the weak and elderly.  It was considered immoral to break a fast to early. Meals were often eaten as a group or family, even the servants would join.  Eating by one’s self was looked down upon.  

Etiquette was very different for the rich. Cleanliness was emphasized  by the  use of hand towels before meals. Women weren’t even allowed to participate in large feast because of the stringent views that they were to be neat and delicate at all times. Women had to seclude themselves to private quarters during these times.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_cuisine

Method to the Madness of War

In one of many dissertations, R. Brian Ferguson reveals that warfare has only existed for around 10,000 years and became frequent about 6,000 years ago. Before that, war was almost non-existent.  Sure there were fights, but never on a country wide scale. Usually, they were simply family vendettas.  Douglas Fry and Patrik Soderberg recently published a study stating that among 21 modern age hunter gatherer groups, there were only about 148 deaths by violence among coexisting groups. This number seems small when compared to the death toll in World War One, ranging from 5 million- 13 million, and microscopic when compared to 50 million in World War Two. This influx of death can be attributed to better weapons, but made us think we needed those devastating weapons in the first place?

War is often caused by clashes between different identity groups such as Catholics and Protestants, Israelis and Palestinians, Christians and Muslims, ect. Extremists on both sides build up anger and frustration until most of the society becomes so volatile and filled with rage that the majority of the population participates in “moral exclusion” which is withdrawing moral and human rights from opposing groups, and denying them respect. This unfortunate side effect of group mentality makes it all too easy to belittle, oppress, or even kill those with opposing views. William James suggests warfare was so prevalent because of its positive psychological effects. Now before you begin thinking of the negatives of war, consider this: during war society feels a sense of unity, the sense of belonging as you fight a collective threat. It inspires not only soldiers, but the common people to behave unselfishly and honorably for the sake of the country or identity group. War time breaks up the monotony of everyday life and individuals feel more alive, more alert, feelings which release a number of positive “feel good” chemicals that can have unbelievable effects on morale.

Unfortunately, there is only speculation about what factors go into waging wars. Other popular opinions include the drive to gain territory, wealth and power. War is often initiated by governments but is often desired by the general population. We also know that war is related to group identity. Humans have a need for identity and belonging. We tend to cling to our groups identity and feel a sense of pride in being American, Catholic, Muslim ect.

Taylor, Steve. “The Psychology of War.” Psychology Today. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Sept. 2015.

“Profile: R. Brian Ferguson.” Profile: R. Brian Ferguson. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Sept. 201

Battle of Grunwald

In July of 1410, one of the largest medieval wars took place. That battle went by many names, but is best known as the Battle of Grunwald. It’s known to be one of the most important battles in European history. It took place in between the villages Grunwald and Tannenburg and was fought by the Polish and the Tuetons. The Polish and Luthanians were led by  King Wtadystaw the 2nd and the Germans were led by Grandmaster Urich Van Jungingen. Throughout the duration of the war, most of the Tuetonic leadership were either captured of killed. Despite the Tueton’s loss, they did not lose much territory. They withstood the siege of their fortress Malbork, however they did not regain much of their former glory and due to the financial burden of war, it caused internal conflicts and economic downturn in their territory. Having joined armies, the Polish and the Luthanians held the number advantage in the war, having somewhere in between 16,000 and 39,000 men while the Tuetons had around 11,000 to 27,000. Many casualties were suffered by both sides. On the Polish side 5,000 were found dead. On the Teuton’s side, 8,000 were killed, 14,000 were captured.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Grunwald

The Second Persian Invasion of Greece (480 B.C.E.-479 B.C.E)

    The Second Persian Invasion of Greece took place about 10 years after the first invasion where the Persian Kin Darius suffered from an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Athenians (Greeks from the city of Athens). By the time of the Second Invasion King Darius had died and the throne was given to his son Xerxes who became known as “The King of Kings”. After 10 years of preparation the Persian army and navy departed for Greece. Within these 10 years the Athenians were able to build a large navy of their own due to the recent opening of a silver mine. Once word reached the Greeks that Xerxes was bringing an army so large that it “drank rivers dry as it passed”. Modern estimates place the Persian army at about 500,000 men (the Persians claimed to have over 5 million) and the navy at 1,207 ships. Many of the Greek city-states submitted to Xerxes by giving gifts of water and earth, however, the two most powerful city-states, Athens and Sparta, refused to surrender and lead the defenses. The Spartan King Leonidas led his 300 elite Spartan  Bodyguards and roughly 6,000 other Greeks to defend Thermopylae, the only point on land that the Persians had to cross in order to reach Athens. Meanwhile, Themistocles led the Athenian navy to hold Artemisium, the easiest point for the Persian navy to cross. This dual strategy of holding the navy and army at bay could only work if both points were successfully held and both the Persian army and navy were defeated. This was not the case, King Leonidas and his soldiers were able to repel the Persian army for several days with few casualties to the Greeks and large casualties to the Persians, but a Greek traitor named Ephialtes was able to lead the Persian forces around the Greeks and flank them. Upon realizing this most of the Greeks retreated with the exception of Leonidas and his Spartans who were all slain in battle. The Athenian navy was forced to retreat after learning of this defeat but were able to to send falsified information to King Xerxes regarding their tactics and successfully split his army. Once the Persian navy reached Athens, it found itself completely surrounded by Greek ships and due to the size of the Persian fleet they were unable to maneuver to avoid damage. Xerxes retreated and left 300,000 soldiers and his best general to continue the fight but this army was defeated by an alliance of Athenian and Spartan soldiers at Plataea. This and another great victory against the Persian navy in the same month ultimately won the war for Greece and Persia never retaliated.

Sources:

http://www.historynet.com/greco-persian-wars-xerxes-invasion.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_involving_Greece

Scotland Warfare

Anyone else seen the series called Outlander?  Loooove!  But I’m not going to talk about how hot Jamie is and his Gaelic accent.  In the 1700’s, Scotland was at war with England because British were trying to take over the lands of  the clans that roamed around Scotland around that time.  Rude right?  The Brits had rifles and the Scots only steel swords. Fair?  The Battle of Culloden, in 1746, was the final battle fought on British turf.  The Jacobites were unfit to go up against the British army.  The battle was short and the army was brutally beaten.  During this time, Britain and Scotland were constantly butting heads because James the first set up a rebellion against the Scottish clans.  Britain was trying to restore the former glory of the house Stuart.  Why may you ask?  Well, according to told history,  

Ground Andrew Brown

I became a decent writer after 7th grade. The school year had just ended and the neighborhood kids and I were out and about throwing a football around. We weren’t reckless hooligans at the time, however we weren’t particularly careful either. The last football throw I had made that summer had been my longest, tightest spiral to date, but also my least accurate as I watched it soar and smash into the manager’s house window.  That was my first and last day of summer vacation that year. My step-dad grounded me for the entirety of summer break,  not even granting me freedom for my birthday in the dead middle of summer. Days became weeks as I sat on my bed, not a thing to do. T.v., games and even the other parts of the house became off limits to me. When the boredom became too great, I finally picked up one of the books from my library called “Goosebumps”. From that day forth I became an avid reader. I read for pure enjoyment. As one would expect, as my reading skills improved, so did my writing. I had teachers doubting the authenticity of my work, believing it to be plagiarized or written by others. In the end, I am thankful for that summer, for if not for that period of solitary confinement, I may have never learned of the joys of getting lost in a book.