Folkways, Foodways

The most beloved food is not always the highest-end food, as any home cook knows. Two recent cases in point:

“Granny food” makes a comeback in Italy’s lean times. Nearly 20 years ago, a group of teenagers started a “festival of grandmother’s sandwiches” to protect memories of lunches that nonna used to make against a rising tide of fast food and convenience products. The BBC reports that the festival is going stronger than ever today, as tough economic times heighten interest in eating well on a budget.

“Desperation pies” take pride of place with bakers. Meanwhile, in the U.S., cooks are rediscovering the delights of pies born of ingenuity in the face of sparse ingredients — “what you would make on the farm in the winter when all the fruit was gone from storage,” as one expert told the Chicago Tribune. If chess pie, sugar pie and Amish milk pie ring your bells, check this article out.


Fallout From Green-Wood Vandalism

Last week a massive vandalism ravaged monuments and plaques at Brooklyn’s historic Green-Wood Cemetery. Damage is estimated at $100,000.

This story from the New York Daily News chronicles the destruction. It’s sad and really mystifying — these are massive structures being toppled. Someone put a lot of strength and willpower into a thoroughly rotten impulse.

The cemetery is attempting to contact descendants connected with the ruined monuments (not easy, given the age of some of the graves), as well as raise funds for repairs. More at Green-wood’s blog.