If you discovered water that could be millions or billions of years old, would you taste it?
Barbara Sherwood Lollar does it all the time. She's a geologist in the department of Earth Sciences at the University of Toronto, and collaborated with other researchers on analyzing water found in a Canadian mine in Timmins, Ontario. They published the findings in the journal Nature in May, showing that the water is between 1.5 and 2.6 billion years old.
Ask Joe Henderson any question and odds are he’ll give you a very thorough answer. But ask him how to save one of the most endangered breeds in the world, the Randall Lineback, he’ll give you a very short retort: You have to eat it.
Henderson, a Washington, D.C. real estate executive and farmer, raises around 250 Randall Linebacks on the rolling hills of his Chapel Hill Farm in Berryville, VA. And what exactly is a Randall Lineback?
“Well, we don’t know what to call it,” says Henderson.
At 5:31 p.m. Eastern, raise a glass to the decades that have elapsed since the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, officially ending 13 years of Prohibition and re-legalizing the production, purchase and consumption of alcohol in the United States.
“What America needs now is a drink,” quipped President Franklin D. Roosevelt when Ohio, Pennsylvania and Utah ratified the 21st Amendment on December 5, 1933.
Of course, numerous “speakeasies” - named because patrons often had to whisper a password through a locked door to gain admittance - sprung up in Prohibition’s wake. Police Commissioner Grover Whalen estimated that New York alone had over 32,000 speakeasies, and the neo-speakeasy fad persists in cocktail bars. (You can also drink in bars that were speakeasies in the ‘20s and ‘30s and that are still serving today.)
Other things arose out of Prohibition, including the real creativity with which determined drinkers evaded the law. Popular songs of the era just before Prohibition included “What’ll We Do On A Saturday Night (When The Town Goes Dry),” “Everybody Wants A Key To My Cellar” and even Irving Berlin’s “You Cannot Make Your Shimmy Shake On Tea.”
Interested in trying terrapin? A handwritten recipe from the mid-1800s on how to stew those adorable aquatic turtles might just do the trick.
“Remember to remove the toe nails,” reads the weathered, barely legible recipe card.
The staff at the University of Iowa Libraries scanned and uploaded this recipe, along with thousands of others, from handwritten American and European cookbooks from the 1600s to the 1960s.
This is the latest effort by the University of Iowa Libraries to transcribe history through the power of the internet, and it’s a rare opportunity for both serious historians and food lovers alike to get a taste of bygone times.