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A nifty article to ponder over the port and Stilton from the WSJ today on the origins of cheese-making:

Researchers on Wednesday said they found the earliest known chemical evidence of cheese-making, based on the analysis of milk-fat residues in pottery dating back about 7,200 years. The discovery suggests Europe’s early farmers added a cheese course to their diet almost as soon as they learned to domesticate cattle and started regularly milking cows.

Scientists led by geochemist Richard Evershed at the U.K.’s University of Bristol tested ancient, perforated clay pots excavated at sites along the Vistula River in Poland, and found they had likely been used by prehistoric cheese mongers as strainers to separate curds and whey—a critical step in making cheese.

I have on occasion smelled some cheeses which might well be 7000 years old.

Have I ever recommended an omelet made with Pecorino Romano before?  You ought to give it a try.   (Mince some garlic and cook it into the egg while you’re about it.)

And thinking of early cheese reminded me again of the Mothe’s three-sentence summary of the Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jean M. Auel, which has always made me laugh and laugh:  “Woman tames fire, Woman has roll in the hay.  Woman domesticates horse, Woman has roll in the hay.  Woman invents agriculture, Woman has roll in the hay.”

UPDATE:  Oh, why not:

stay puff“Althaiophobia” – the fear of marshmallows.

So the middle gel informed me this morning.

I bugged out my eyes like Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein and said, “You’re putting me on.”

The word does, indeed, appear on the innertoobs, but not on any particularly reputable sites that I can find (and no, I refuse to take Ask Yahoo’s word for it), so I remain dubious.

I can understand a dislike of marshmallows (I don’t like them myself), but a fear?

UPDATE:  In the spirit of conservation, as I am putting a word into circulation here I feel obliged to retire another. Henceforth, I decree that use of the term “Gangnam-style” will constitute a flogging offense.  Thank you for your cooperation.

FredvegasGreetings, my fellow port swillers!

Today is the sesquicentennial of the high tide of the Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862, the day on which theUnion Army under Burnside made its ill-fated frontal charge against Lee’s forces entrenched on Marye’s Height.  Truly one of the bravest yet most asinine actions of the entire War.

Rayther than boring you with my own blathering, I would heartily recommend that you nip over to The Civil War Daily Gazette.  Make sure you scroll down, too, because Eric’s working up of the story to this point is really quite good.

On a totally personal note, I happened to be law school classmates with a descendant of Gen. Thomas R.R. Cobb, the Confederate commander of the the troops behind the stone wall on the Sunken Lane in front of the Heights.  (Cobb was mortally wounded in the attack.)   Also, I believe I’ve mentioned before that my godparents own property southeast of town on a hill overlooking the Rappahannock?   The remains of several Confederate gun pits and a trench system are still to be seen there.

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