Odious and Peculiar

Philology and esoterica: scribblings, ravings and mutterings.

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Forging the Sampo

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Bird Families of the World
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The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire
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American River Touring Association

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Friday, February 12, 2010
John Derbyshire eulogizes rhubarb, as well he might. I too fondly remember our patches in the Wyoming yard of my youth, dipping the ends in sugar. And rhubarb baked goods are noble things. But I was unaware of its historic renown:

Rhubarb has an interesting and exciting history. The Emperors of China used it as a diplomatic weapon, withholding exports of rhubarb to nations that had displeased them. See here:

The imperial commissioner Lin Zexu, who was sent to Canton in 1839 to put an end to the opium trade, wrote a letter to Queen Victoria pointing to the "fact" that the foreign barbarians surely would die if they could not obtain tea and rhubarb from China.

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And now we foreign barbarians would die if we could not get cheap sneakers.
I'm familiar with Lin Zexu but I never knew about his rhubarb connections...How long does it keep? Or would they send candied rhubarb?
Hi Peculiars( Mr & Mrs!)

Interestingly, in Yorkshire ( Northern UK) there is a unique "forced rhubarb triangle", just south of Leeds.
It is as deserving of it's own "Appellation Controlee", as any food !
There, long, anemic , stringy looking pink shoots, with yellow leaves, grow in the dark,in blacked out greenhouses!
They are an extra early season delicay, best baked in the oven with some demorara sugar, and a large dollop of Fromage frais - Heaven on a dessert plate!!

I had some only last week !.


P.S Hope the Rafting Trip goes well!
Sounds marvelous, John! Consider my jealousy aroused!

Rafting trip was great, posts to come.
Hi P

June still remembers your kindness when we last visited Santa Fe- a wonderful experience ! - you must visit us in UK one day!

Your new pictures site is stunning - really well done - such evocative photos- you have a keen eye for a scene!!

Hope Steve & Libby have told you our news - our beloved , wonderful sleek working lab, Petra, has been mated to another full bred working dog! Will get scan results on 10th April - we are pretty excited !!

Thanks John! No, hadn't heard about Petra yet: congrats, what a delight! Yes, must see the UK someday. I got a nice little teasing glimpse of the southwest Highlands and Isles on our flight home from Turkey. Must visit the ancestral homeland, and wouldn't dream of it without saying hello to you. My best to June!
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