History A’la Carte Jan 2017

It can't possibly be a surprise that I read tons of history articles each week. I just can't help myself--I've got to share some of the fascinating things I've come across. Here are a few of my recent favorites: 

Odd Jobs: Clowns, Jesters, and Fools in Medieval and Tudor England

 Even in medieval times, people needed entertainment.  And court entertainers, fools, jesters, jugglers, minstrels, led a life much different from both their royal “employers” and the run of the mill populace.The Tudor and Elizabethan eras were considered a “Golden Age” of folly and most of the Tudor kings and queens record regular payments and expenses for court fools.

Not sure this is going to replace Netflix anytime soon though.

“We Have Conquered Pain!” The Uses & Abuses of Ether in History 

Ether was an incredible breakthrough. Up until that point, surgery had been brutally painful. The patient, fully awake, would be restrained while the surgeon cut through skin, tissue, muscle, and bone. Surgeons were lauded for their brute strength and quick hands. A capable surgeon could remove a leg in under a minute. But with the discovery of ether, the need for speed in the operating theater had now vanished.

Don't know about you, but I'm really, really glad for this discovery and all that came after!


Hairstyles of the 1860s are some of the most beautiful of the nineteenth century.  Hair was arranged in enormous rolls or plaited into intricately woven patterns.  Women donned crowns of flowers or bound their hair up into silken nets or velvet hoods.  But what it took to get these styles was another thing all together..  

How to Serve a Flaming Bird, c. 1465

How to Dress a Peacock With All Its Feathers, So That When Cooked, It Appears To Be Alive and Spews Fire From Its Beak.

Absolutely what I want to serve next Thanksgiving, or maybe for Christmas...

A Dish Fit for a King: Feasts in Medieval England

Those food critics who rated British food poorly over the years after the war wouldn’t have recognized the elaborate fare of a Medieval feast. No lumpy gravy, overcooked roast beef or soggy Yorkshire in sight. More possibilities for our next holiday meals.

Perhaps I need to stop now before my family doesn't know what hit them. 😉 Until next time--have fun with a little history!

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    • Teresa Broderick on January 21, 2017 at 1:41 pm
    • Reply

    Really enjoyed this post. I’m with you on the ether. I had a growth removed from just above my top lip some years ago. Even though they injected the area three or four times it kept wearing off for some reason. They had to finish cutting it out and stitching it up with no numbness on my part. I had to be held down for the stitching I don’t mind telling you and I cried buckets!!
    I too read history articles all the time. Can’t get enough of them.

    1. Oh my, that sounds awful! It really is amazing how critical pain relief is to modern medicine!

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