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marycatelli

tidbits cross time

Aztec commoners were not permitted on the city streets while wearing sandals.

In the 1950s, a writer in Ebony bragged about how black cooking was increasingly being reserved for the black woman's own children, instead of her having to cook for

During World War II, they invented "deboning" -- removing bones, fat, and less nutritious cuts from the carcasses before shipping it oversea.

In rural China during the 1970s, an unmarried woman is not supposed to wear jewelry, a mark of adult status that she is entitled to don on her wedding day.

St. Ambrose was chosen for bishop when he was trying to calm two groups disputing over the election. He wasn't even baptized at the time.

A Russian advice book, from the time of Ivan the Terrible, warned about letting your slave maidservants talk to old women. You might think it harmless, unlike her talking to a man, but you never knew, the old woman might be a witch. Also, you should avoid all medicine, because it's all magic, which is wrong.

There were comets the year Mithridates was born, and also the year of his ascension to the throne. For a long time this was written off -- until someone compared them to the Chinese astronomical records, and realized they were true.

Many Americans discovered the existence of frozen foods when grocers had to post the ration points list during World War II, which listed the points for frozen foods as well as any other.

For an Aztec baby, the parents burned a fire to "fix" the endowment from the sun for life; during this time, no fire could be lent, for fear of weakening the child.

Bees have in many areas a reputation for chaste virginity -- and for preferring continence. Many cultures say that you should refrain the night before you work with bees. In Eastern European, sending the bride to walk through an apiary was a virginity test: they would sting her if not a virgin.

In the 1970s, unmarried Chinese peasant women preferred floral cloth to the rationed colors they would to stick to once married, such as olive or navy blue.

In the 1950s psychologists, trying to find women's real views on convenience foods, gave women one of two shopping lists and asked them to describe the woman who wrote them. The only difference was whether the coffee was instant. The woman who bought instant coffee was savaged as lazy, selfish, and disorganized -- a bad wife, and a spendthrift. It even affected their view of other goods; canned peaches were obviously a woman looking to give her family a treat if she didn't buy instant, but further proof of her laziness if she did. They then tried again adding a blueberry pie mix to both lists, and found that shifted the non-instant-coffee woman to the same category as the instant coffee one.

Every eight years, the Aztecs "rested" maize. That is, they cooked it without any condiments.

Cyprus had a glut of oranges during World War II because it was too bulky to risk precious shipping space. Palestine went for making marmalade -- North African soldiers ate most of it.

Roman law distinguished between wild animals and tame ones. Cows were tame, and your cow remained your cow if it wandered onto other people's land, but a tamed wolf that escaped was no longer yours, it had regained its freedom.  Bees were uncomfortable in this.  Sure bees left and then returned, like doves, but what about swarms?

The first technique mead-makers used to test sugar concentration was trying to float a raw egg. If it floated, the mix was sugary enough.

Cake mixes first became popular among farmer's wives who had to feed the farmer and his hands two or three calorie-laden meals a day.

Aztec myth recounted how a god had to leap into fire to become the sun. A splendid god was chosen to this, and a weak, ugly one was prepared as a second-stringer. The splendid one tried four times and failed; the other jumped in at once, became the sun, and inspired the other to follow and become the moon. Originally the moon was as bright as the sun, but this equality could not be tolerated, so it was struck in the face to dim it.
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