35 / talismans of home
mine are green corn tamales, bought from a lady outside a Safeway.
Mere Belief via long reads
Memory is mostly accurate, most of the time. We agree on the general picture of what happened far more often than we don’t. In this sense, what I remember of the past is basically true. But for a writer, the details are everything. What shifts are often the small details.
Every culture has these talismans of home, and in troubled times they become much more
Food preservation is not unique to Syria but it does provide a way to preserve common heritage, especially amid the ongoing conflict, extending the shelf life in a feeling of belonging to the land until there is a peaceful resolution enabling return. Makdous has helped sustain trust, connections and identity inside and outside the country.
Plastic eating bacteria in the news again.
Archeologists, like all experts, know that history is far more complex than what they can discern from ruins. For example, the evolution of Homo sapiens is often tied to substantial increases in protein consumption, and also access to cooking. Beyond fuel we don’t know much about how else wood played roles in ancient societies because wood, unlike stone (or bronze or iron) doesn’t usually last long enough to be part of the archeological record. But then discoveries happen, which is awesome.
Highly recommend this book on the history of Wood, which teases out all the curiosities of Wood’s role, from growing our brains to how much naval supremecy in the 17-19 century was based on access to tall, straight trees for masts.