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    In praise of Urtica dioica

    In the bad old days before Mr Sainsbury and Mr Tesco worked their airmiles magic on the planet, this time of year was known as the “hungry gap” – the time between using up last year’s harvest and starting to eat this year’s crops. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and over dinner this evening […] More

  • Heart-shaped potato

    Go to work on a potato

    I didn’t do modern history at school so my impression of the industrial revolution is largely a mish-mash of pop history and some misremembered Industrial Archaeology courses. What I do recall is that the emphasis in the Industrial Revolution is firmly on the Industrial side. Agriculture existed as a place for people to leave to […] More

  • Cucumbers and melons in medieval manuscripts

    The fashionably late arrival of cucumbers in Europe #bad11

    You might put together a salad from what you’ve grown in your back garden, but it’s a surprisingly cosmopolitan meal. Tomatoes came from Mesoamerica and if you have potato salad, then you have the Incas of South American to thank. Recent research by Jules Janick and Harry Paris, Medieval Herbal Iconography and Lexicography of Cucumis […] More

  • Robin Ince and Brian Cox in the Infinite Monkey Cage

    The origin of modern Botany and the Infinite Monkey Cage

    Some ideas work and some ideas don’t. Sticking Prof Brian Cox and Robin Ince together for half an hour each week works. The Infinite Monkey Cage is their weekly show on Radio 4 (available worldwide as a podcast) where they discuss topics with various guests. Last week Andy Hamilton in for a chat about the […] More