Saturday, June 28, 2008

O, for a muse of fire!

...that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention (or at least give me something interesting to write in this, my first ever blog post). I've been toying with the idea of starting a blog for awhile now, because it seems to me the ideal marriage of modern technology and the apparently primal urge to record our thoughts and experiences. Through my late teens and into my early 20s, I faithfully kept a journal, in which I recorded my adolescent angst, staggering insights, and the occasional attempt at awful poetry (the latter of which were actually pretty successful, if awfulness was in fact my goal). There was also copious retro-hippieish doodling of random organic shapes, but interspersed with this baser matter was some serious introspection and self-examination - always dear to the heart of any nascent writer - so my journal was often a useful tool in Figuring Things Out. I've always found that writing things down, whether by hand or keyboard, helps clarify my thoughts: the act of committing ideas to an external medium allows them to (apparently) organize themselves.

These days, I'm feeling fairly self-aware and on top of who I am, my place in the world, and what I want to accomplish in it - at least, more than I was at the age of 20, which is still sayin' summat. One of my main objectives in starting this blog is to further explore and share two of my primary passions: vegan cooking and Elizabethan/early modern literature, history, and material culture, including the areas in which they intersect. So maybe Gervase Markham will be veganized (or maybe not), but other stuff will inevitably filter in. I sincerely doubt that I'll be divulging intimate details shared by the likes of Samuel Pepys, but my hope is that this will be an interesting, educational, and maybe even entertaining experience. Hell, even if no-one else reads it, god knows I love shooting my mouth off; all I've ever needed is a forum in which to do so.

A few things about me will suffice to get us to (yes!) my first recipe, which will have to appear in my next post because tempus fugit, etc. As the daughter of an English mother and a Greek father, I grew up exposed to very solid ideas about cultural identity. Both my parents were amazing cooks, but very conventionally meat-and-dairy centered, and their respective childhoods in WWII England (my mom) and Depression-era Chicago  (my dad, one of 12 children!) ensured that neither of them was what you'd call "picky" when it came to foodstuffs. I swear there is probably no part of an animal that either of them wouldn't have tried at least once. My mother's strong personality, and my own interest in all things medieval and early modern, resulted in my own identification with England and Englishness, and one of the primary ways this has been expressed is through food, that greatest of cultural signifiers. Welsh rarebit, Cornish pasties, savory pies, scones with cream and jam, bread and butter pudding...who doesn't love this stuff? Of course, almost none of it is anywhere close to vegan, but that doesn't mean that it can't be. So stay tuned, and let's see if we can't drag that sceptered isle's culinary traditions into this Brave New Vegan World!

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