Monthly Archives: November 2015

The Burning of Buffalo and the War of 1812

Alternatively, read the complete transcript of this episode here.

Most American history books devote a page at most to the War of 1812. It is often referred to as the forgotten war. However, scholarship on the war has exploded in recent years due to the 200th Anniversary of the beginning of the war in 2012.

Drawing of citizens fleeing Buffalo, NY December 30, 1812. Drawn by LeGrand St. John. Courtesy of Buffalo History Museum.

Drawing of citizens fleeing Buffalo, NY December 30, 1812. Drawn by LeGrand St. John. Courtesy of Buffalo History Museum.

The War of 1812 may be a lesser known episode within the larger narrative of American history, but for inhabitants of Buffalo, NY and the surrounding region- the War of 1812 still holds a place of fascination and remembrance.

Join Elizabeth Garner Masarik and Tommy Buttaccio as they discuss the War of 1812 and how the Burning of Buffalo transformed this once frontier town overnight, and even travel with them to the Buffalo History Museum as they speak with Cynthia Van Ness, Director of Archives, about documents pertaining to this obscure episode of American history.

Burnin

Birds eye view at the junction of main and tupper. Drawn by LeGrand St. John. Courtesy of Buffalo History Museum.

Suggested readings:

Alan Taylor. The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, and Indian Allies. New York: Knopf, 2010.

Carl Benn. Native Memoirs from the War of 1812: Black Hawk and William Apess. Johns Hopkins Press. 2013.

Nicole Eustace. 1812 : War and the Passions of Patriotism. University of Pennsylvania Press. 2012.

For a discussion on using rhetoric of rape and sexuality for political means see:
Sharon Block. Rape and Sexual Power in Early America. Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, 2006.

Burned residence chimneys drawn by LeGrand St. John. Courtesy Buffalo History Museum.

Burned residence chimneys drawn by LeGrand St. John. Courtesy Buffalo History Museum.


Featured Image: The Burning of Buffalo. Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Burning of Buffalo.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed November 20, 2015. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-f6d1-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Feasting in the Renaissance

Did we whet your appetite on Sunday? Good. There’s more where that came from.

Instead of mangling Italian on the podcast (as we’re all wont to do), Tommy saved some of his choicest bits for this little follow-up post, expanding on the feasting traditions of Rome in the sixteenth century.


 

In Rome in the mid sixteenth century, great banquets were held in order to commemorate Holy days and special events and have meetings with political guests. These guests were high ranking officials in the Catholic Church, Italian aristocrats who lived in Rome. As shown in the entry for April 1536, in Bartolomeo Scappi’s cook book The Opera Of Bartolomeo Scappi, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V attended a banquet when he visited Rome for Lent that year.

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Woodcut of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, 1500-1558 | Penn Libraries call number: GC5 A100 527w / Flickr| CC-BY

These dinners were so large that necessity dictated a menu be printed out for guests, with meals like Trippe di vitella alessate servite con cascio and canella sopra, the delectable tripe and veal served with a cinnamon sauce we mentioned, and Pollanche nostrali affaggiante con limoncelli tagliati sopra, a young chicken with a lemon sauce, (not piccata?!) and with confections like Biscotelli di marzapane, or gingerbread biscotti, Mostacciuoli Napoletani, which were a type of almond cookie, and Frittelle fatte con sugo di sambugo servite, or Pancakes with a sambuco liqueur sauce. These featured dishes, while extravagant for their time, could conceivably be seen in an Italian restaurant in today.

wedding feast

John Singer Sargent, “The Marriage at Cana” | Metropolitan Museum of Art, 50.130.154b

Furthermore, a striking feature of these banquets is that each of these meals was featured on a menu prepared by Scappi and his kitchen stewards. These menus had each separate serving with each meal portioned out and weighed. The cooks who prepared the meal were not the only “modernizing” factor for food and banquets, but the servants also helped traverse the culinary field into modernity by helping develop new serving methods, similar to how food is served today in restaurants. As these guests continued to go to these parties, they developed new attitudes not only about food, but how to prepare food as well.

Scappi

Bartolomeo Scappi | Public Domain/ Wikimedia Commons

Aristocratic and papal banquets differed from both the medieval feast that came before it, and the Haute French meal that came after it, but it can be seen as a bridge connecting the two; a bridge between pre-modern and modern culinary standards. With the emergence of these banquets as seen in Renaissance Italy, new techniques, attitudes, manners and events contributed to these early modern people feeling cosmopolitan, fashionable, and modern.

 

 


 

Post Notes

For some old cookbooks:

Adams, Adrienne. A Fifteenth Century Cookry Boke. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1962.

Scappi, Bartolomeo. The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi (1570): L’arte et prudenza d’un maestro Cuoco (The Art and Craft of a Master Cook). Translated by Terence Scully. Buffalo, NY: University of Toronto Press, 2008. First published 1570 by Scappi. Digital file.

Works on feasting:

Albala, Ken. The Banquet. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2007.

Elias, Norbert. The History of Manners. Translated by Edmund Jephcott. New York: Pantheon Books, 1982

Freedman, Paul. Food The History of Taste. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2007


Featured Image: The Feast in the House of Levi | Public Domain/ Flickr 

A History (and Food!) Buffs Thanksgiving

All of us probably have a really clear image of Thanksgiving dinner: the roasted turkey, the savory stuffing, the cranberry sauce (or can-shaped cranberry log), and of course, the sweet, flaky pies. But even though this has become the standard menu of this traditional American feast,  it doesn’t really have a lot in common with the first Thanksgiving that took place in the fall of 1621.

E. Stuart Hardy | Public domain/ Wikimedia Commons

E. Stuart Hardy | Public domain/ Wikimedia Commons

How about swapping out that lovely bread stuffing for, say, cornmeal porridge? Or the pumpkin pie for some wild nuts and blueberries? Averill, Sarah and Tommy discuss the history of feasting, the food served at the first Thanksgiving, and how we got the turkey-centric meal we love today.

Sarah Josepha Hale. Painted by James Reid Lambdin (1807-1889) | Public domain/ Wikimedia Commons

Sarah Josepha Hale, painted by James Reid Lambdin (1807-1889) | Public domain/ Wikimedia Commons

 

Show Notes & Further Reading: 

The First Thanksgiving:

Barter, Judith A., et al. Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine. Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 2013.

Gambino, Megan. “What Was on the Menu at the First Thanksgiving?” Smithsonian Magazine. November 21, 2011.

Hale, Sarah Josepha. Northwood: A Tale of New England. Boston: Bowles & Dearborne, 1827.

Hodgson, Godfrey. A Great & Godly Adventure: The Pilgrims & the Myth of the First Thanksgiving. New York: PublicAffairs, 2006

Moniz, Amanda. “A short course on the history of Thanksgiving foods.” The Washington Post, November 22, 2013

Prendergast, Neil.  “Raising the Thanksgiving Turkey: Agroecology, Gender, and the Knowledge of Nature,” Environmental History, Vol. 16, No. 4 (October 2011), pp. 651-677.

Philbrick, Nathan. Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War. New York: Penguin Group, 2006.

Stavely, Keith & Kathleen Fitzgerald. America’s Founding Foods: The Story of New England Cooking. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

Wills, Anne Blue. “Pilgrims and Progress: How Magazines Made Thanksgiving,” Church History, Vol. 72, No. 1 (Mar., 2003), pp. 138-158.

For some old cookbooks:

Adams, Adrienne. A Fifteenth Century Cookry Boke. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1962.

Scappi, Bartolomeo. The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi (1570): L’arte et prudenza d’un maestro Cuoco (The Art and Craft of a Master Cook). Translated by Terence Scully. Buffalo, NY: University of Toronto Press, 2008. First published 1570 by Scappi. Digital file.

Works on feasting:

Albala, Ken. The Banquet. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2007.

Elias, Norbert. The History of Manners. Translated by Edmund Jephcott. New York: Pantheon Books, 1982

Freedman, Paul. Food The History of Taste. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2007


Feature Image: Jennie A. Brownscombe, The First Thanksgiving (1914) | Public Domain/ Wikimedia Commons 

The Founding of APO

Elisabeth George, PhD Candidate in History at the University at Buffalo, talks about the founding of AIDS Project of the Ozarks (APO), an AIDS service organization that operates out of Springfield, MO and was incorporated in 1985.


2012 AIDS Quilt DC

2012 AIDS Quilt, Ryan White and Pedro Zamora (Ted Eytan/Flickr|BY-SA)


Show Notes and Further Reading.

There is lots on the AIDS crisis and disease in the United States. See, for example:

  • Brier, Jennifer. Infectious Ideas: U.S. Political Responses from the AIDS Crisis. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • Cohen, Cathy. The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1999.
  • Farmer, Paul. AIDS and Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame, Updated Edition. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.
  • Lekus, Ian. “Health Care, the AIDS Crisis, and the Politics of Community: The North Carolina Lesbian and Gay Health Project, 1982-1996” in Modern American Queer History, edited by Allida M. Black (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2001): 227-252.
  • Shilts, Randy. And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic, 20th Anniversary Edition. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2007.
  • Verghese, Abraham. My Own Country: A Doctor’s Story. New York: Vintage Books, 1994.
  • Ramirez-Valles, Jesus. Compañeros: Latino Activists in the Face of AIDS. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2011.
Here are a couple of interesting related links about AIDS service organizations, political movements, and efforts to increase understanding and awareness of AIDS in the US:
And a couple of good histories on the American New Right and the Reagan-era social and political climate when the AIDS crisis emerged:
  • McGirr, Lisa. Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001.
  • Wilentz, Sean. The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008. New York: HarperCollins, 2008.

Featured image: AIDS quilt, Washington, D.C. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA.  

Getting Ready for Sunday’s New Episode!

The Buffs are thinking about the history of the AIDS epidemic this week as we gear up for our newest episode, which will feature a fascinating interview with historian Elisabeth George on community reaction to AIDS in Southeastern Missouri. Join us on Sunday to learn more about this important history!

In the meantime, brush up on the history of HIV/AIDS with these great articles:

Dan Royles, Sexual Pleasure, AIDS, and Gay Politics, NOTCHES: (re)marks on the history of sexuality

Natasha Geiling, The Confusing and At Times Counterproductive 1980s Response to the AIDS Epidemic, Smithosonian Magazine


 

Featured Image: carnagenyc/Flickr Creative Commons|BY-NC

Veterans Day and A History of Federal Benefits for Vets

Marissa, Sarah, and Averill discuss veterans benefits and a history of federal support for U.S. veterans.

The History Buffs Producers thank our nation’s veterans for their service!

 

Show Notes & Further Reading:

Goldberg, Chad. Citizens and Paupers: Relief, Rights, and Race from the Freedmen’s Bureau to Workfare. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Skocpol, Theda. Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins of Social Policy in the United States. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992.

Disability, Responsibility, and the Veteran Pension Paradox

Office of Public Affairs: History of Veterans Day

Highlights of the Veterans Access Choice and Accountability Act 2014

Native American Veterans

Conference Focuses on Services to Native Veterans and Ways for Improvement

Examining Access and Quality of Care for Women Veterans

Image: World War I-era photographs shows crowds filling streets surrounding City Hall in celebration of Armistice Day, November 11, 1918. Photograph shows replica Statue of Liberty, which was unveiled on April 6, 1918 during the Third Liberty Loan drive. Library Company of Philadelphia. Accession Number: 7066.Q.34