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Posts Tagged ‘fishing

“Food is culture, habit, craving, and identity”*…


Brian Fagan is an archaeologist, a profession that we associate with dust and soil and stone, but here he attempts to capture the history of fishing in ancient civilization. It is not just fish that elude the historian: fisherfolk have always lived on the margins — of land and in recorded history (and still do). ‘To a scholar,’ writes Fagan, ‘the illiterate fishing people of the past are elusive, and their trade is a challenging puzzle of clues.’ So assembling a history of fishing means, well, fishing among archaeology, anthropology, history, marine biology and oceanography and paleoclimatology — ‘to mention only a few’.

Fagan has to fish deeply sometimes and into unexpected places. He investigates the ears of several-thousand-year-old men buried in what is now Israel, which show damage consistent with diving in cold, deep water. He uncovers the giant middens of mollusc shells that appear all over the planet, because though molluscs yield a tiny amount of protein — they are ‘small meat packages sealed in heavy inedible shells’ — they are easy to catch. ‘To knock a limpet from a rock,’ wrote Darwin, ‘does not require even cunning, that lowest power of the mind.’ Darwin was wrong: the ability to subsist on shellfish allowed humans to live through the lean seasons. It enabled survival.

Fishing, writes Fagan, “has created the modern world”…

The ways in which fishing– more than agriculture and husbandry– were central to the rise of civilization, from social organization to technology: “Holy mackerel! Civilization begins with fishing.”

* Jonathan Safran Foer


As we spread our nets, we might recall that it was on this date in 1910 that French chemist, engineer, and inventor Georges Claude switched on the first public display of neon lights– two large (39 foot long), bright red neon tubes– at the Paris Motor Show.  Over the next decade, Claude lit much of Paris.  Neon came to America in 1923 when Earl Anthony purchased signage from Claude, then transported it to Los Angeles, where Anthony installed it at his Packard dealership… and (literally) stopped traffic.

Claude in his lab, 1913




Written by LW

December 3, 2017 at 1:01 am

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me”*…


Although well-known for her massive novels The Fountainhead (about an architectural genius who blows up his own skyscraper) and Atlas Shrugged (about a group of fiercely individualistic anti—union entrepreneurs who band together and go on strike), Ayn Rand was something of a culinary devotee–or so the publication of this hitherto unsuspected book of recipes would suggest.

Written in her trademark “romantic realist” style, this large collection includes recipes unique to its author, such as “I Need No Warrant for Being Green Beans,” “Rational Pumpkin Muffins of the Highest Intelligence,” and “Chicken Baked Only for Itself.”…

More– including a recipe for an old standard, made Objectively better– at “Preparing Eggplant Rollatini With the Highest Competence.”

See also Mc Sweeney’s “Recipes that would be officially approved by the Ayn Rand Institute.”

* Ayn Rand


As we decide to diet, we might recall that it was on this date in 1992, at 11:00 a.m., that the current world record brown trout was caught on the Little Red River in Arkansas by Howard “Rip” Collins.  At forty-pounds, four ounces, it far exceeded the previous record-holder, a 38-9 brown caught by Mike “Huey” Manley of North Little Rock four years earlier.

Collins and his catch



Written by LW

May 9, 2016 at 1:01 am

“There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot”*…

From “Sage Fishing Advice from NBC’s Parks and Recreation’s Ron Swanson” on GoFishN.  More of Swanson’s sagacity at Ron Swanson Says.

* Stephen Wright


As we untangle our line, we might recall that it was on this date in 1890 that Idaho became the 43rd state.  Officially known as “The Gem State” (Idaho is one of only two places in the world– with the Indian Himalaya Mountains– where star garnets can be found), its license plates have encouraged one to think of it as ‘The Potato State”; indeed, Idaho yields roughly one-third of the potatoes grown in the United States.  But less well known is the fact that Idaho is home to the world’s largest factory producing barrel cheese, the precursor ingredient of processed cheese.


Written by LW

July 3, 2012 at 1:01 am

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