Apr 262019
 

On this date in 1937, the terror bombing of the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War was carried out, at the behest of Francisco Franco’s nationalist government, by its allies, the Nazi German Luftwaffe’s Condor Legion and the Fascist Italian Aviazione Legionaria, under the code name Operation Rügen. The town was being used as a communications center behind the front line and was also strategically located. The operation opened the way for Franco’s capture of Bilbao and his victory in northern Spain.

The attack provoked controversy because it involved the deliberate bombing of civilians by a military air force. In fact, vital munitions factories in the town were left untouched. The sole point of the attack was to demoralize Franco’s enemies by killing civilians and destroying their property.  Such actions are now spoken of as “total war” in which there is no distinction drawn between military actions and non-combatant actions. Everything is fair game. By the end of World War II, the Axis powers had suffered the fire-bombing of Dresden and the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  These were also acts of total war. It is sometimes suggested that the bombing of Guernica was the beginning act of total war in the 20th century, and, the Geneva Conventions notwithstanding, total war is now a fact of life worldwide. But there is nothing new about total war,

In ancient and medieval times, conquering armies were known to intimidate local populations by killing or enslaving everyone whether they were soldiers or not. Men, women, and children were all fair game. There are also many instances of entire cities committing mass suicide rather than submit to a besieging army. Historically, atrocities much worse than Guernica occurred. What made Guernica do hideous was that it was completely unexpected. It was not a tactic that anyone was anticipating, and, in fact, Franco as well as Germany and Italy initially denied they have any involvement in it because they knew the worldwide perception would be strongly negative.

Even now it is impossible to estimate the number of casualties and the amount of damage to the town because both sides had their reasons for over- or under-reporting. Republicans initially put the death toll at 1,700 while Nationalists estimated about 150 killed.  Nowadays there is still enormous debate, but around 300 is a widely accepted number. Likewise, opposing sides estimated anywhere from 17% to 74% of the town was razed. Some of the confusion arises from what caused the damage – that is, the bombing itself, or bombs plus fires.

The bombing is the subject of a famous anti-war painting by Pablo Picasso, commissioned by the Spanish Republic. Until Franco’s death in 1975 Picasso’s work (according to the artist’s wishes) could not be displayed in Spain, and so was housed in New York. Now it has its own exhibit space in Madrid, although the town of Guernica would prefer to see it located there.

The bombing was also depicted in a woodcut by the German artist Heinz Kiwitz, who was later killed fighting in the International Brigades, and by René Magritte in the painting Le Drapeau Noir.

The bombing shocked and inspired many other artists, including a sculpture by René Iché, one of the first electroacoustic music pieces by Patrick Ascione, a musical composition by René-Louis Baron and poems by Paul Eluard (Victory of Guernica), and Uys Krige (Nag van die Fascistiese Bomwerpers) (English translation from the Afrikaans: Night of the Fascist Bombers). There is also a short film from 1950 by Alain Resnais titled Guernica.

Basque cuisine is a happy mix of fish and meat, especially lamb, plus vegetables with a distinctive spice palette. Marmitako is a much-loved fish stew, normally made with tuna, but salmon or cod are sometimes substituted.  Here is a video showing a traditional method of cooking. The main thing to note is that the stew is assembled and cooked without the tuna, which is added at the very end and cooked only briefly (enough to cook through and no more). The video is in Spanish, but the gist should be easy enough to grasp.

Apr 252019
 

Today is World Malaria Day, an international observance highlighting global efforts to control malaria. Globally, 3.3 billion people in 106 countries are at risk of malaria. In 2012, malaria caused an estimated 627,000 deaths, mostly among African children. Asia, Latin America, and to a lesser extent the Middle East and parts of Europe are also affected.

World Malaria Day grew out of the efforts taking place across the African continent to commemorate Africa Malaria Day. According to the most recent World Malaria Report, the global tally of malaria reached 429,000 malaria deaths and 212 million new cases in 2015. The rate of new malaria cases fell by 21% globally between 2010 and 2015, and malaria death rates fell by 29% in the same period. In sub-Saharan Africa, case incidence and death rates fell by 21% and 31%, respectively.

World Malaria Day was established in May 2007 by the 60th session of the World Health Assembly, WHO’s decision-making body. The day was established to provide “education and understanding of malaria” and spread information on “year-long intensified implementation of national malaria-control strategies, including community-based activities for malaria prevention and treatment in endemic areas.” Prior to the establishment of World Malaria Day, Africa Malaria Day was held on April 25. Africa Malaria Day began in 2001, one year after the historic Abuja Declaration was signed by 44 malaria-endemic countries at the African Summit on Malaria.

World Malaria Day allows for corporations (such as ExxonMobil), multinational organizations (such as Malaria No More) and grassroots organizations (such as Mosquitoes Suck Tour) globally to work together to bring awareness to malaria and advocate for policy changes.

The theme for World Malaria Day 2019 is “Zero Malaria Starts With Me” which highlights, among other things, the fact that a malaria vaccine is being introduced this year in several African countries, beginning with Malawi: http://time.com/5577085/malawi-malaria-vaccine/ Malaria is caused by a parasite injected into the bloodstream by mosquitoes. Thus, prevention protocols can take many forms.  You can, for example, try to eliminate standing water where mosquitoes breed, use insecticides, sleep under mosquito netting, or use insect repellent to keep from being bitten. There are also various medications that have been around for decades that help prevent contracting malaria, but none is 100% effective. Many have unpleasant side effects, have to be started before visiting malarial areas, and some have to be continued for weeks after leaving affected regions.

The new malaria vaccine, approved in 2015 is a huge step forward. Admittedly it is only 30% effective, but 30% is much better than 0%, especially when it is children under 5 years old who are likely to die should they contract malaria.  Thus, the focus in 2019 is ensuring that the vaccine is widely publicized so that as many people as possible can avail themselves of it.

Since Malawi is the center of the vaccination effort this year, let’s think about Malawi cuisine. This video shows how to make the staple, nsima, a cassava porridge, plus boiled spicy greens, and meat:

Apr 222019
 

Today is the birthday (1904) of Julius Robert Oppenheimer, a theoretical physicist who tends to be remembered as the wartime head of the Manhattan Project at the Los Alamos Laboratory that developed the first nuclear weapons. The first atomic bomb was successfully detonated on July 16th, 1945, in the Trinity test in New Mexico. Oppenheimer later remarked that it brought to mind words from the Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” After the war ended, Oppenheimer became chairman of the influential General Advisory Committee of the newly created United States Atomic Energy Commission. He used that position to lobby for international control of nuclear power to avert nuclear proliferation and a nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. After provoking the ire of many politicians with his outspoken opinions during the Second Red Scare, he suffered the revocation of his security clearance in a much-publicized hearing in 1954, and was effectively stripped of his direct political influence. He continued to lecture, write and work in physics. Nine years later, President John F. Kennedy awarded (and Lyndon B. Johnson presented) him with the Enrico Fermi Award as a gesture of political rehabilitation.

Oppenheimer’s achievements in physics have tended to be overshadowed by his work at Los Alamos, which had little to do with theoretical physics. Oppenheimer described it as more of an engineering project than a scientific one. There were a few theoretical issues to resolve, but the great bulk of the work had to do with turning theory into practice, which was not his specialty. Nor was organization, apparently. Before taking the job at Los Alamos one of his colleagues described him as a man who couldn’t organize a hamburger stand. Yet he turned out to be a master of efficiency at the job. He routinely attended meetings in the various sectors of the project and was consistently deeply involved, affable and encouraging – much to everyone’s surprise.

He did have the reputation for being something of a show-off in terms of his breadth of knowledge outside of physics. He had, for example, taught himself Sanskrit in order to be able to read Hindu sacred texts. In a new paper I am writing, I quoted him:

If we ask, for instance, whether the position of the electron remains the same, we must say ‘no;’ if we ask whether the electron’s position changes with time, we must say ‘no;’ if we ask whether the electron is at rest, we must say ‘no;’ if we ask whether it is in motion, we must say ‘no.’ The Buddha has given such answers when interrogated as to the conditions of man’s self after his death; but they are not familiar answers for the tradition of seventeenth and eighteenth-century science.

You might be able to glean from this remark (or maybe not) that his colleagues would occasionally tire of his frequently self confessed erudition. In fact, more than one of the scientists at Los Alamos who had been trained in Europe remarked that he was no more sophisticated than a competent European schoolboy, but he thought a great deal of himself and was good at self promotion.

Before being involved in the Manhattan Project, Oppenheimer’s theoretical work was well he regarded. He was responsible for the Born–Oppenheimer approximation for molecular wave functions, work on the theory of electrons and positrons, the Oppenheimer–Phillips process in nuclear fusion, and the first prediction of quantum tunneling. With his students he also made important contributions to the modern theory of neutron stars and black holes, as well as to quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, and the interactions of cosmic rays. As a teacher and promoter of science, he is remembered as a founding father of the American school of theoretical physics that gained world prominence in the 1930s. After World War II, he became director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

It is generally agreed that Oppenheimer brought a level of focus and intensity to discussions in Los Alamos that were essential for the completion of the project under enormous time pressure. These discussions would often go on well into the night, and Oppenheimer was famous for the martinis he made for the meetings as the night wore on. So, I’ll give you his recipe, even though it is not my custom to depart from food too often.

Start with 4 ounces of gin and add a dash of dry vermouth. Stir the mix with ice until chilled. Strain into a martini glass whose rim has been dipped in equal parts lime and honey. Repeat as needed.

Apr 212019
 

Today is the feast day of Anselm of Canterbury, also called Anselm of Aosta (Anselmo d’Aosta) after his birthplace and Anselm of Bec (Anselme du Bec) after his monastery. He was a Benedictine monk, abbot, philosopher and theologian of the Catholic church, who held the office of archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109 after serving in other capacities in monasteries in continental Europe. Beginning in Bec, Anselm composed dialogues and treatises with a rational and philosophical approach, sometimes causing him to be credited as the founder of Scholasticism (a dubious claim). Despite his lack of recognition in this field in his own time, Anselm is now famed as the originator of the ontological argument for the existence of God and of the satisfaction theory of atonement. He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by a bull of Pope Clement XI in 1720.

As archbishop of Canterbury, he defended the church’s interests in England amid the Investiture Controversy (a long, involved wrangle between Anselm and English kings about his ability to be archbishop). For his resistance to the English kings William II and Henry I, he was exiled twice: once from 1097 to 1100 and then from 1105 to 1107. While in exile, he helped guide the Greek bishops of southern Italy to adopt Roman rites at the Council of Bari. He worked for the primacy of Canterbury over the bishops of York and Wales but, though at his death he appeared to have been successful, Pope Paschal II later reversed himself and restored York’s independence.

Anselm’s works are considered philosophical as well as theological since they endeavor to render Christian tenets of faith, traditionally taken as a revealed truth, as a rational system. Anselm also studiously analyzed the language used in his subjects, carefully distinguishing the meaning of the terms employed from the verbal forms, which he found at times wholly inadequate. His worldview was broadly Neoplatonic, as it was reconciled with Christianity in the works of St Augustine and Pseudo-Dionysius, with his understanding of Aristotelian logic gathered from the works of Boethius. He or the thinkers in northern France who followed him—including Abelard, William of Conches, and Gilbert of Poitiers—inaugurated one of the most brilliant periods of Western philosophy, innovating logic, semantics, ethics, metaphysics, and other areas of philosophical theology.

Anselm held that faith necessarily precedes reason, but that reason can expand upon faith: “And I do not seek to understand that I may believe but believe that I might understand. For this too I believe since, unless I first believe, I shall not understand”. This is possibly drawn from Tractate XXIX of St Augustine’s Ten Homilies on the First Epistle of John. Regarding John 7:14–18, Augustine counseled “Do not seek to understand in order to believe but believe that thou may understand”. Anselm rephrased the idea repeatedly and his aptest motto might come from the original title of the Proslogion, “faith seeking understanding”, which broadened to “an active love of God seeking a deeper knowledge of God”. Once faith is acquired and held fast, however, he argued an attempt must be made to demonstrate its truth by means of reason. I’ll say amen to that

I recently read a blog about making a three course meal to celebrate the feast of Anselm, the first course an Italian antipasto celebrating his birth in Italy, the second course, a French roast to celebrate his time as abbot in Normandy, and the third, an English apple cake for his Canterbury days. This is ludicrously anachronistic (not to mention the fact that the antipasto had ingredients indigenous to North America). Italian, French, and English cuisines were not bounded categories in the Middle Ages. It is quite likely that Anselm ate much the same food in his birthplace as in the places he traveled. This would have been especially true of Normandy and England in the days when England was a province of Normandy, where Anselm served under the same king in both places. Rather, I will speak of lampreys (a sardonic choice given that Anselm’s second nemesis, Henry I, is reputed to have died from eating too many lampreys, against his doctor’s advice).

Lampreys are fish that superficially resemble eels in that they have scaleless, elongated bodies, and can range from 13 to 100 cm (5 to 40 inches) in length. They were eaten throughout Europe in Roman times through the Middle Ages, and were highly prized, especially in Lent, because their flesh has a meaty texture. Here is a Norman recipe from Le Viandier from around 1300 for grilled lamprey in sauce:

¶ Lemproye frite a la saulce chaulde soyt seignee par la gueulle / & ostes la langue faictes bien seigner boutes en broche & gardes le sang car cest la gresse & la fault eschaulder comme vne anguille en broche. puis affines gingembre canelle graine de paradis: noix muscade: & vng peu de pain halle trempe en vinaigre & le sang deffaictes tout ensemble faictez bouillir vne once puis mettes dedans vostre lemproye toute entiere & ne soit pas trop noire la saulce.

The basics of the recipe are that you should bleed the lamprey and keep the blood. Thread the lamprey on a spit and roast it. Make a sauce by boiling together ginger, cinnamon, grains of paradise, nutmeg and a little bread soaked in vinegar and the blood. Make sure that the sauce does not darken. Serve the grilled lampreys whole in the sauce.

Apr 202019
 

Today is the birthday (1745) of Philippe Pinel, a French physician who was instrumental in the development of a more humane psychological approach to the custody and care of psychiatric patients than was previously available. He also made notable contributions to the classification of mental disorders. Pinel was born in Jonquières, in the modern department of Tarn in the south of France. He was the son and nephew of physicians. After receiving a degree from the faculty of medicine in Toulouse, he studied an additional four years at the Faculty of Medicine of Montpellier. He arrived in Paris in 1778. He spent fifteen years earning his living as a writer, translator, and editor because the restrictive regulations of the old regime prevented him from practicing medicine in Paris. The faculty did not recognize a degree from a provincial university like Toulouse. He failed twice in a competition which would have awarded him funds to continue his studies. In the second competition, the jury stressed his ‘painful’ mediocrity in all areas of medical knowledge, an assessment seemingly so grossly incompatible with his later intellectual accomplishments that political motives have been suggested. Discouraged, Pinel considered emigrating to America. In 1784 he became editor of the medical journal Gazette de santé, a four-page weekly. He was also known among natural scientists as a regular contributor to the Journal de physique. He studied mathematics, translated medical works into French, and undertook botanical expeditions.

At about this time he began to develop an intense interest in the study of mental illness. The incentive was a personal one. A friend had developed a ‘nervous melancholy’ that had ‘degenerated into mania’ and resulted in suicide. What Pinel regarded as an unnecessary tragedy due to gross mismanagement seems to have haunted him. It led him to seek employment at one of the best-known private sanatoria for the treatment of insanity in Paris. He remained there for five years prior to the Revolution, gathering observations on insanity and beginning to formulate his views on its nature and treatment.

Madame Helvétius

During the 1780s, Pinel was invited to join the salon of Madame Helvétius.  After the revolution, friends he had met at Madame Helvétius’ salon came to power. In August 1793 Pinel was appointed “physician of the infirmeries” at Bicêtre Hospital. At the time it housed about four thousand imprisoned men—criminals, petty offenders, syphilitics, pensioners and about two hundred mental patients. Pinel’s patrons hoped that his appointment would lead to therapeutic initiatives. His experience at the private sanatorium made him a good candidate for the job.

Soon after his appointment to Bicêtre Hospital, Pinel became interested in the seventh ward where 200 mentally ill men were housed. He asked for a report on these inmates. A few days later, he received a table with comments from the “governor” Jean-Baptiste Pussin. In the 1770s Pussin had been successfully treated for scrofula at Bicêtre; and, following a familiar pattern, he was eventually recruited, along with his wife, Marguerite Jubline, on to the staff of the hospice.

Appreciating Pussin’s outstanding talent, Pinel virtually apprenticed himself to the unschooled but considerably experienced custodian of the insane. He wrote that he wished to “enrich the medical theory of mental illness with all the insights that the empirical approach affords”. He practiced a strict, nonviolent, nonmedical management of mental patients that came to be called “moral treatment” or “moral management,” though “psychological” might be a more accurate term.

Although Pinel always gave Pussin the credit he deserved, a legend grew up about Pinel single-handedly liberating the insane from their chains at Bicetre. This legend has been commemorated in paintings and prints, and has lived on for 200 years and is repeated in textbooks. In fact, it was Pussin who removed the iron shackles (but sometimes using straitjackets) at Bicêtre in 1797, after Pinel had left for the Salpêtrière. Pinel did remove the chains from patients at the Salpêtrière three years later, after Pussin joined him there.

While at Bicêtre, Pinel did away with bleeding, purging, and blistering in favor of a therapy that involved close contact with and careful observation of patients. Pinel visited each patient, often several times a day, and took careful notes over two years. He engaged them in lengthy conversations. His objective was to assemble a detailed case history and a natural history of the patient’s illness.

In 1795, Pinel became chief physician of the Hospice de la Salpêtrière, a post that he retained for the rest of his life. The Salpêtrière was, at the time, like a large village, with seven thousand elderly, indigent, and ailing women, an entrenched bureaucracy, a teeming market and huge infirmaries. Pinel missed Pussin and in 1802 secured his transfer to the Salpêtrière. It has also been noted that a Catholic nursing order actually undertook most of the day to day care and understanding of the patients at Salpêtrière, and there were sometimes power struggles between Pinel and the nurses.

Pinel created an inoculation clinic in his service at the Salpêtrière in 1799, and the first vaccination in Paris was given there in April 1800. In 1795 Pinel had also been appointed as a professor of medical pathology, a chair that he held for twenty years. He was briefly dismissed from this position in 1822, with ten other professors, suspected of political liberalism, but reinstated as an honorary professor shortly thereafter. In 1794 Pinel made public his essay ‘Memoir on Madness.’ In it Pinel makes the case for the careful psychological study of individuals over time, points out that insanity isn’t always continuous, and calls for more humanitarian asylum practices.In 1798 Pinel published an authoritative classification of diseases in his Nosographie philosophique ou méthode de l’analyse appliquée à la médecine. Although he is properly considered one of the founders of psychiatry, this book also establishes him as the last great nosologist of the 18th century. While the Nosographie appears completely dated today, it was so popular in its time that it went through six editions between its initial publication and 1818. Pinel based his nosology on ideas of William Cullen, employing the same biologically-inspired terminology of ‘genera’ and ‘species’ of disorder. Pinel’s classification of mental disorder simplified Cullen’s ‘neuroses’ down to four basic types of mental disorder: melancholia, mania (insanity), dementia, and idiotism. Later editions added forms of ‘partial insanity’ where only feelings were affected rather than reasoning ability.

In his book Traité médico-philosophique sur l’aliénation mentale; ou la manie, published in 1801, Pinel discusses his psychologically oriented approach. This book was translated into English by D. D. Davis as a Treatise on Insanity in 1806, although Davis substituted Pinel’s introduction for his own, leaving out among other things Pinel’s strong praise for Alexander Crichton. Pinel’s book had an enormous influence on both French and Anglo-American psychiatrists during the 19th century. He meant by “alienation” that the patient feels like a stranger (alienus) to the world of the ‘sane’. A sympathetic therapist living in that world might be able to journey into the patient’s experience, understand the ‘alienated’, their language, and possibly lead them back into society.

In 1802 Pinel published La Médecine Clinique which was based on his experiences at the Salpêtrière and in which he extended his previous book on classification and disease. Pinel was elected to the Académie des Sciences in 1804 and was a member of the Académie de Médecine from its founding in 1820. He died in Paris in 1826.

The central and ubiquitous theme of Pinel’s approach to etiology (causation) and treatment was “moral,” meaning the emotional or the psychological not ethical. He observed and documented the subtleties and nuances of human experience and behavior, conceiving of people as social animals with imagination. Pinel noted, for example, that: “being held in esteem, having honor, dignity, wealth, fame, which though they may be factitious, always distressing and rarely fully satisfied, often give way to the overturning of reason”. He spoke of avarice, pride, friendship, bigotry, the desire for reputation, for conquest, and vanity. He noted that a state of love could turn to fury and desperation, and that sudden severe reversals in life, such as “from the pleasure of success to an overwhelming idea of failure, from a dignified state—or the belief that one occupies one—to a state of disgrace and being forgotten” can cause mania or ‘mental alienation’. He identified other predisposing psychosocial factors such as an unhappy love affair, domestic grief, devotion to a cause carried to the point of fanaticism, religious fear, the events of the revolution, violent and unhappy passions, exalted ambitions of glory, financial reverses, religious ecstasy, and outbursts of patriotic fervor.

Pinel developed specific practical techniques, rather than general concepts and assumptions. He engaged in therapeutic conversations to dissuade patients from delusions. He offered benevolent support and encouragement, although patients who persistently resisted or caused trouble might be threatened with incarceration or punishment if they were not able to control themselves. Pinel argued that psychological intervention must be tailored to each individual rather than be based solely on the diagnostic category, and that it must be grounded in an understanding of the person’s own perspective and history. He noted that “the treatment of insanity (l’aliénation mentale) without considering the differentiating characteristics of the patients [la distinction des espèces] has been at times superfluous, rarely useful, and often harmful”, describing the partial or complete failures of some psychological approaches, as well as the harm that the usual cruel and harsh treatments caused to patients before they came to his hospital. He saw improvement as often resulting from natural forces within the patient, an improvement that treatment could at best facilitate and at worst interfere with.

Pinel generally expressed warm feelings and respect for his patients, as exemplified by:

I cannot but give enthusiastic witness to their moral qualities. Never, except in romances [novels], have I seen spouses more worthy to be cherished, more tender fathers, passionate lovers, purer or more magnanimous patriots, than I have seen in hospitals for the insane, in their intervals of reasonableness and calm; a man of sensibility may go there any day and take pleasure in scenes of compassion and tenderness.

Pinel is generally seen as the physician who, more than any other, transformed the concept of ‘the mad’ into that of patients needing care and understanding, establishing a field that would eventually be called psychiatry. His legacy included improvement of asylum conditions; broadly psychosocial therapeutic approaches; history-taking; nosography (the science of the description of syndromes); broadly-numerical assessments of courses of illness and treatment responses; and a record of clinical teaching.

At the most trivial level it ought to be obvious that mental health and diet are linked. When I am not feeling well mentally, I consult my acronym F.E.D.S (Food Exercise Dehydration Sleep). 99% of the time one of these factors is out of whack. In this case, “Food” does not mean that I should eat anything, but that something is out of kilter in what I am eating. Often I am running low on something. I’m not going to make some major claim about specific foods and mental wellbeing. It’s complicated. The usual suspects do show up, however — foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (cold water fish, seaweed, and walnuts), whole grains, lean protein, leafy greens, and fermented foods with active cultures (yogurt, kefir, kimchi, tempeh etc.) – and are shown to contribute to healthy mental states in one way or another. Walnuts on the list caught my attention, because even in Pinel’s day they were considered “brain food” because they look like brains (well – a little). Walnuts in a salad with leafy greens and maybe some sliced chicken dressed with yogurt would make a great combination of a number of healthy ingredients.

 

Apr 192019
 

The Treaty of London of 1839, also called the First Treaty of London, the Convention of 1839, the Treaty of Separation, the Quintuple Treaty of 1839, or the Treaty of the XXIV articles, was signed on this date in 1839 between various European powers, recognizing and guaranteeing the independence and neutrality of Belgium and establishing the full independence of the German-speaking part of Luxembourg. Article VII required Belgium to remain perpetually neutral, and by implication committed the signatory powers to guard that neutrality in the event of invasion.

Since the Treaty of Vienna in 1815, Belgium had been a part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. In 1830 Catholic Belgians broke away and established an independent Kingdom of Belgium. They could not accept the Dutch king’s favoritism toward Protestantism and his disdain for the French language. Outspoken liberals regarded William I’s rule as despotic. There were high levels of unemployment and industrial unrest among the working classes. There was small-scale fighting, but it took years before the Netherlands finally recognized defeat.

With the treaty, the southern provinces of the Netherlands, independent de facto since 1830, became internationally recognized as the Kingdom of Belgium, while the province of Limburg was split into Belgian and Dutch parts. The Grand Duchy of Luxemburg was in a personal union with the Netherlands and simultaneously a member of the German Confederation. The treaty partitioned the grand duchy which lost two-thirds of its territory to Belgium’s new Province of Luxembourg in what is termed the ‘Third Partition of Luxembourg’. The partitioning left a rump Grand Duchy, covering one-third of the original territory and inhabited by one-half of the original population, in personal union with the Netherlands, under king/grand duke William I (and subsequently William II and William III). This arrangement was confirmed by the 1867 Treaty of London, known as the ‘Second Treaty of London’ in reference to the 1839 treaty, and lasted until the death of William III 23rd November 1890.

Belgium’s de facto independence had been established through nine years of intermittent fighting. The co-signatories of the Treaty of London—Great Britain, Austria, France, the German Confederation (led by Prussia), Russia, and the Netherlands—now officially recognized the independent Kingdom of Belgium, and at Britain’s insistence agreed to its neutrality. The treaty was a fundamental “lawmaking” treaty that became a cornerstone of European international law; it was especially important in the events leading up to World War I.

On 31st July 1914 the mobilization of the Belgian Army was ordered, and the Belgian king at the same time publicly called Europe’s attention to the fact that Germany, Great Britain and France were solemnly bound to respect and to defend the neutrality of his country. When the German Empire invaded Belgium in August 1914 in violation of the treaty, the British declared war on 4th August. Informed by the British ambassador that Britain would go to war with Germany over the latter’s violation of Belgian neutrality, German chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg exclaimed that he could not believe that Britain and Germany would be going to war over a mere “scrap of paper”.

The Treaty of London also guaranteed Belgium the right of transit by rail or canal over Dutch territory as an outlet to the German Ruhr. This right was reaffirmed in a 24th May 2005 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in a dispute between Belgium and the Netherlands on the railway track. In 2004 Belgium requested a reopening of the Iron Rhine railway. This was the result of the increasing transport of goods between the port of Antwerp and the German Ruhr Area. As part of the European policy of modal shift on the increasing traffic of goods, transport over railway lines and waterways was now preferred over road transport. The Belgian request was based on the treaty of 1839, and the Iron Rhine Treaty of 1873. After a series of failed negotiations, the Belgian and Dutch governments agreed to take the issue to the Permanent Court of Arbitration and respect its ruling in the case.

In a ruling of 24th May 2005, the court acknowledged both the Belgian rights under the cessation treaty of 1839 and the Dutch concerns for part of the Meinweg National Park nature reserve. The 1839 treaty still applied, the court found, giving Belgium the right to use and modernize the Iron Rhine. However, Belgium would be obliged to finance the modernization of the line, while the Netherlands had to fund the repairs and maintenance of the route. Both countries were to share the costs of a tunnel beneath the nature reserve.

I have given quite a few classic Belgian dishes in previous posts, any one of which would fit the bill. Here is rabbit with prunes which is only one of many dishes enjoyed by both Flemish and Walloon Belgians.

Konijn met pruimen

Ingredients

4tbsp flour
1 rabbit cut in four pieces
salt and black pepper
butter
4 medium white onions, peeled and finely chopped
2tbsp brown sugar
250 gm stoned prunes, coarsely chopped
2 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cloves
75 cl dark Belgian beer
2 slices bread
Belgian mustard
vinegar (optional)

Instructions

Season the rabbit pieces on both sides with pepper and salt, then dredge the meat in the flour using a method that suits you. I put the pieces in a big brown paper bag with the flour. Close the top tightly, trapping air in the bag, and shake vigorously.  This will coat the rabbit evenly and leave any excess in the bottom.

Heat a knob of butter in a large casserole over medium heat. Put the rabbit pieces in the pot and let them turn golden brown on both sides, without cooking through. Remove from pot. Add the onions to the same pot. Once they have softened, allow them to lightly caramelize by adding the brown sugar.   Add the prunes to the onions, and put the meat back in the pot with the thyme, bay leaves and cloves. Pour in the beer until all ingredients are covered. Spread a thick layer of spicy mustard on the slices of bread, place the bread on top of the rabbit and put the lid on the pot.

Let the dish simmer for at least an hour on low heat. Do not overcook. Farm raised rabbit should take the same time to cook as chicken. At the end, taste the sauce and if it is too sweet for you, add a splash of vinegar.

Belgians often eat this dish with fries or potato croquettes. It will also work with boiled new potatoes and spring vegetables.

Apr 182019
 

Today is the anniversary of Paul Revere’s “midnight” ride in 1775. It has mythic status in contemporary US popular consciousness largely because of the boost it was given by Longfellow’s poem, which is full of factual errors (yet is treated as real history). Propaganda displacing truth is nothing new. Note that the ride occurred in 1775, not the legendary year of 1776, and marked the real beginning of the Revolutionary War – over a year prior to the Declaration of Independence.

Revere was born in the North End of Boston on December 21st, 1734, according to the Old Style calendar then in use, or January 1, 1735, in the modern calendar. His father, a French Huguenot, born Apollos Rivoire, came to Boston at the age of 13 and was apprenticed to the silversmith John Coney. By the time he married Deborah Hitchborn, a member of a long-standing Boston family that owned a small shipping wharf, in 1729, Rivoire had anglicized his name to Paul Revere. Their son, Paul Revere, was the third of 12 children and eventually the eldest surviving son. At 13 he left school and became an apprentice to his father. The silversmith trade afforded him connections with a cross-section of Boston society, which would serve him well when he became active in the American Revolution. Although his father attended Puritan services, Revere was drawn to the Church of England. Revere eventually began attending the services of the political and provocative Jonathan Mayhew at the West Church. His father did not approve, and as a result father and son came to blows on one occasion. Revere relented and returned to his father’s church, although he did become friends with Mayhew, and returned to the West Church in the late 1760s.

Revere’s father died in 1754, when Paul was legally too young to officially be the master of the family silver shop. In February 1756, during the French and Indian War (the North American theater of the Seven Years’ War), he enlisted in the provincial army. Possibly he made this decision because of the weak economy, since army service promised consistent pay. Commissioned a second lieutenant in a provincial artillery regiment, he spent the summer at Fort William Henry at the southern end of Lake George in New York as part of an abortive plan for the capture of Fort St. Frédéric. He did not stay long in the army, but returned to Boston and assumed control of the silver shop in his own name. On August 4th, 1757, he married Sarah Orne (1736–1773). They had eight children, but two died young, and only one, Mary, survived her father.

When British Army activity on April 7th, 1775, suggested the possibility of troop movements, Joseph Warren sent Revere to warn the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, then sitting in Concord, the site of one of the larger caches of Patriot military supplies. After receiving the warning, Concord residents began moving the military supplies away from the town. One week later, on April 14th, general Gage received instructions from secretary of state William Legge, earl of Dartmouth (dispatched on January 27th), to disarm the rebels, who were known to have hidden weapons in Concord, among other locations, and to imprison the rebellion’s leaders, especially Samuel Adams and John Hancock. Dartmouth gave Gage considerable discretion in his commands. Gage issued orders to lieutenant colonel Francis Smith to proceed from Boston “with utmost expedition and secrecy to Concord, where you will seize and destroy… all Military stores…. But you will take care that the soldiers do not plunder the inhabitants or hurt private property.” Gage did not issue written orders for the arrest of rebel leaders, as he feared doing so might spark an uprising.

Between 9 and 10 p.m. on the night of April 18, 1775, Joseph Warren told Revere and William Dawes that the king’s troops were about to embark in boats from Boston bound for Cambridge and the road to Lexington and Concord. Warren’s intelligence suggested that the most likely objectives of the regulars’ movements later that night would be the capture of Adams and Hancock. They did not worry about the possibility of regulars marching to Concord, since the supplies at Concord were safe, but they did think their leaders in Lexington were unaware of the potential danger that night. Revere and Dawes were sent out to warn them and to alert colonial militias in nearby towns.

In the days before April 18th, Revere had instructed Robert Newman, the sexton of the North Church, to send a signal by lantern to alert colonists in Charlestown as to the movements of the troops when the information became known. In what is well known today by the phrase “one if by land, two if by sea”, one lantern in the steeple would signal the army’s choice of the land route while two lanterns would signal the route “by water” across the Charles River (the movements would ultimately take the water route, and therefore two lanterns were placed in the steeple). Revere first gave instructions to send the signal to Charlestown. He then crossed the Charles River by rowboat, slipping past the British warship HMS Somerset at anchor. Crossings were banned at that hour, but Revere safely landed in Charlestown and rode to Lexington, avoiding a British patrol and later warning almost every house along the route. The Charlestown colonists dispatched additional riders to the north.

Riding through present-day Somerville, Medford, and Arlington, Revere warned patriots along his route, many of whom set out on horseback to deliver warnings of their own. By the end of the night there were probably as many as 40 riders throughout Middlesex County carrying the news of the army’s advance. Revere did not shout the phrase later attributed to him (“The British are coming!”): his mission depended on secrecy, the countryside was filled with British army patrols, and most of the Massachusetts colonists (who were predominantly English in ethnic origin) still considered themselves British. Revere’s warning, according to eyewitness accounts of the ride and Revere’s own descriptions, was “The Regulars are coming out.” Revere arrived in Lexington around midnight, with Dawes arriving about a half-hour later. They met with Samuel Adams and John Hancock, who were spending the night with Hancock’s relatives (in what is now called the Hancock–Clarke House), and they spent a great deal of time discussing plans of action upon receiving the news. They believed that the forces leaving the city were too large for the sole task of arresting two men and that Concord was the main target. The Lexington men dispatched riders to the surrounding towns, and Revere and Dawes continued along the road to Concord accompanied by Samuel Prescott, a doctor who happened to be in Lexington “returning from a lady friend’s house at the awkward hour of 1 a.m.”[Ahem!!!]

Revere, Dawes, and Prescott were detained by a British Army patrol in Lincoln at a roadblock on the way to Concord. Prescott jumped his horse over a wall and escaped into the woods; he eventually reached Concord. Dawes also escaped, though he fell off his horse not long after and did not complete the ride. Revere was captured and questioned by the British soldiers at gunpoint. He told them of the army’s movement from Boston, and that British army troops would be in some danger if they approached Lexington, because of the large number of hostile militia gathered there. He and other captives taken by the patrol were still escorted east toward Lexington, until about a half mile from Lexington they heard a gunshot. The British major demanded Revere explain the gunfire, and Revere replied it was a signal to “alarm the country”. As the group drew closer to Lexington, the town bell began to clang rapidly, upon which one of the captives proclaimed to the British soldiers “The bell’s a’ringing! The town’s alarmed, and you’re all dead men!” The British soldiers gathered and decided not to press further towards Lexington but instead to free the prisoners and head back to warn their commanders. The British confiscated Revere’s horse and rode off to warn the approaching army column. Revere walked to Rev. Jonas Clarke’s house, where Hancock and Adams were staying. As the battle on Lexington Green unfolded, Revere assisted Hancock and his family in their escape from Lexington, helping to carry a trunk of Hancock’s papers.

In 1861, over 40 years after Revere’s death, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow made the midnight ride the subject of his poem “Paul Revere’s Ride” which opens:

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year

Longfellow’s poem is not historically accurate, but the inaccuracies were deliberate. Longfellow had researched the historical event, using such works as George Bancroft’s History of the United States, but he changed the facts for poetic effect. The poem was one of a series in which he sought to create American legends including The Song of Hiawatha (1855) and The Courtship of Miles Standish (1858). Longfellow was successful in creating a legend: Revere’s stature rose significantly in the years following the poem’s publication. In the process, however, Longfellow seriously undervalued and underrated the complex early warning system that the New England militias had in place (of which Revere was one part), and made it seem that Revere single-handedly aroused the countryside. My rule is always: CHECK YOUR FACTS!!!

In my post on the battles of Lexington and Concord that followed from Revere’s ride, http://www.bookofdaystales.com/lexington-and-concord/ I noted that colonial cooks in New England typically used British cookbooks, but by the late 18th century, strictly North American books were gaining in popularity. In particular, American Cookery, Or The Art Of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry And Vegetables, And The Best Modes Of Making Pastes, Puffs, Pies, Tarts, Puddings, Custards And Preserves, And All Kinds Of Cakes, From The Imperial Plumb To Plain Cake. Adapted To This Country, And All Grades Of Life, by Amelia Simmons (1796) was an important resource because its recipes used North American ingredients. She is described as “an American orphan,” and it is noted that the book was “published according to act of congress.” Most of the recipes are gargantuan, but can be cut down to modern household size.

This recipe for poultry seems reasonable enough:

To smother a Fowl in Oysters.

Fill the bird with dry Oysters, and sew up and boil in water just sufficient to cover the bird, salt and season to your taste—when done tender, put into a deep dish and pour over it a pint of stewed oysters, well buttered and peppered, garnish a turkey with sprigs of parsley or leaves of cellery: a fowl is best with a parsley sauce.

This chicken pie seems impossible, however. SIX chickens (not to mention a pound and a half of butter)?

A Chicken Pie.

Pick and clean six chickens, (without scalding) take out their inwards and wash the birds while whole, then joint the birds, salt and pepper the pieces and inwards. Roll one inch thick paste No. 8 and cover a deep dish, and double at the rim or edge of the dish, put thereto a layer of chickens and a layer of thin slices of butter, till the chickens and one and a half pound butter are expended, which cover with a thick paste; bake one and a half hour.

Or if your oven be poor, parboil, the chickens with half a pound of butter, and put the pieces with the remaining one pound of butter, and half the gravy into the paste, and while boiling, thicken the residue of the gravy, and when the pie is drawn, open the crust, and add the gravy.

Apr 172019
 

On this date in 1853 president Domingo Faustino Sarmiento of Argentina asked Michel Aimé Pouget, a French soil expert, to bring new vines to Argentina to invigorate the nation’s wine industry. The day is now celebrated as Día Mundial del Malbec or Worldwide Malbec Day, with official events in over 60 countries. Pouget experimented with the adaptation of French varietals to Argentina’s diverse soils and ecozones and determined that Malbec grew well, especially in the up lands of Mendoza by the Andes. A decade later, France underwent a Phylloxera Plague that affected the Rhône region devastating ages old vineyards. Meanwhile, stocks in the Americas were resistant, and Argentine Malbec vines flourished. Malbec became the dominant varietal wine in Argentina, whereas in France Malbec grapes are used in blends to make Bordeaux wines.

Until the 1990s, Argentina was more interested in quantity rather than quality, and “Argentine wine” was synonymous with “cheap rotgut.” But, in the 1990s, the Argentine government teamed up with French vintners to elevate the quality of indigenous varietals. Argentina’s most highly rated Malbec wines originate from Mendoza’s high altitude wine regions of Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley. These districts are located in the foothills of the Andes mountains between 800 m and 1500 m elevation (2,800 to 5,000 feet). Argentine vintner Nicolás Catena Zapata has been widely credited for elevating the status of Argentine Malbec and the Mendoza region through serious experimentation into the effects of high altitude.

The grape clusters of Argentine Malbec are different from its French relatives, having smaller berries in tighter, smaller clusters. This suggests that the cuttings brought over by Pouget and later French immigrants were a unique clone that may have gone extinct in France due to frost and the phylloxera epidemic. Argentine Malbec wine is characterized by its deep color and intense fruity flavors with a velvety texture. While it doesn’t have the tannic structure of a French Malbec, being more plush in texture, Argentine Malbecs have shown aging potential similar to their French counterparts. Increasingly Argentine Malbecs take home top prizes in European competitions.

In 2011, Wines of Argentina, responsible for promoting Argentine wines around the world, established April 17th as Malbec World Day. Lis Clément, their Head of Marketing and Communications at the time, founded this day because she was convinced this celebration would help position Malbec as one of Argentina’s wine gems. Nowadays, more than 60 cities around the world (coordinated by the Foreign Affairs Office of Argentina) host events around Malbec, Argentine food and lifestyle. Each year, a theme is created to link Malbec and Argentine culture. This framework allows every celebration to be creative and adapt to each country’s culture.  Although Malbec originated in France it is fair to say that Argentina is its new home.

When I lived in Argentina, any night out with friends involved a bottle (or two or three) of Malbec. In fact, in Buenos Aires “wine” and “Malbec” are virtual synonyms. Empanadas were a common accompaniment. I have mentioned Argentine empanadas before, and given recipes, but this time I will give you a version from Mendoza – Malbec country. They are a little spicier than other empanadas and contain boiled eggs (and sometimes abundant onions).

Empanadas Mendocinas

Ingredients

Dough

3 cups flour
1 egg yolk
½ cup lard, chopped in small pieces
¾ cup to 1 cup warm milk
½ tsp salt

Beef filling

1 lb ground beef
3 cups diced white onions
½ cup lard
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
½ tbsp ground cumin
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
¼ cup sliced green olives
salt and pepper to taste

1 egg, white and yolk separated and lightly whisked

Instructions

Empanada dough

Sift the flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Add the lard and pulse until you have a mix that resembles coarse sand. Add the egg yolk and a small amount of milk. Pulse and continue adding milk until small dough clumps start to form. Turn the dough out on to a board and knead into a ball. Divide in two, wrap in foil and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Beef filling

Combine the ground beef, paprika, red pepper, cumin, salt and pepper in a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together.  Melt the lard in a large frying pan, add the onions and salt, and cook until the onions are soft. Add the meat mixture to the onions and cook on medium heat until the meat is browned, stirring frequently. Let the meat mixture or picadillo cool down, and then mix in the chopped green onions and chopped oregano.

Assembly

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into thin sheets and cut out round disc shapes for empanadas using a small plate as a guide. Add a spoonful of the meat mixture on the center of each empanada disc, add a slice of egg and some sliced olive.  Brush the edges of the empanada discs with the egg whites. Fold the empanada discs and seal the edges gently with your fingers, twist and fold the edges of the empanadas with your fingers, as a final step use a fork to press down and finish sealing the empanadas. (Getting this part right takes practice – and watching professionals). Lightly brush the top of the empanadas with the egg yolk and let them rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until ready to bake.

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden on top. Serve warm.

Apr 162019
 

Today is World Voice Day, a worldwide annual event devoted to the celebration of the human voice. The aim is to demonstrate the enormous importance of the voice in the daily lives of people. World Voice Day also strives to bring global awareness to the need for preventing voice problems, rehabilitating injured voices, training the artistic voice, and researching a variety of applications of voice. A goal of World Voice Day is to encourage all those who use their voice for business or pleasure to learn to take care of their voice, and know how to seek help and training, and to support research on the voice. Having been an actor, singer, and teacher all of my professional life, I take the training and development of the voice extremely seriously.

Voice production is studied and applied in many disciplines, including medicine, speech-language pathology, music, physics, psychology, drama, phonetics, anthropology, and biology. World Voice Day was established on April 16th with the main goals of increasing public awareness of the importance of the voice and alertness to voice problems. This celebration started in Brazil in 1999 as the Brazilian National Voice Day. It was the result of a mixed initiative of physicians, speech-language pathologists and singing teachers who belonged to the former association Sociedade Brasileira de Laringologia e Voz  (Brazilian Society of Laryngology and Voice), under the presidency of Dr. Nedio Steffen. This Brazilian initiative was followed by other countries, such as Argentina and Portugal, and Brazilian National Voice Day became International Voice Day. In the United States, the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery officially recognized this celebration in 2002 and in that year the event became World Voice Day.

In 2012 three voice researchers, Prof. Johan Sundberg (Sweden), Prof. Tecumseh Fitch (Austria), and Dr Filipa Lã (Portugal) invited voice experts from a number of countries to form an international website group for the celebration of World Voice Day. The website was coordinated by Prof. Johan Sundberg and Dr. Gláucia Laís Salomão (Brazil). Presently the group consists of 66 members who initiate and help coordinate events for World Voice Day in their respective countries. Currently the website is coordinated by Mara Behlau, Thays Vaiano and Mauro Andrea. You can find it here: http://world-voice-day.org/

With very little effort I could produce dozens of extraordinary videos showcasing the colossal range and potential of the human voice. Instead I give you one – a demonstration of a number of vocal techniques from a Tuvan master:

There are numerous examples of vocal techniques in which one singer can produce two notes simultaneously in Central Asia, including Tibet, Mongolia, and NW China, but in my experience Tuvan singers have the most complex and varied styles.

For a dish du jour I was going to present an audio only recipe, thinking that I could find one from an old radio show.  Before television was ubiquitous, radio chefs were quite common. But in search for an example I found this oddity: a young man attempting to follow a recipe from Gordon Ramsey’s television show listening to the audio only.  It’s an odd premise because you are meant to see what Ramsey is doing, but it does show how much the vocal component can contribute:

Apr 152019
 

Today is the birthday (1858) of David Émile Durkheim (the David part is usually omitted), a French sociologist who was one of the principal architects of modern social science.  Although principally a sociologist, many of his works had a profound influence on the development of anthropology at the beginning of the 20th century. Much of Durkheim’s work was concerned with how societies maintained their integrity and coherence in the modern era when traditional social and religious ties had waned in importance and new social institutions had come into being. What kept societies together?

Durkheim’s first major sociological work was The Division of Labour in Society (1893), which introduced the concept of an “organic” society: a society held together (like the organs of a body) because different parts of the society performed different functions, all of which were necessary for the wellbeing of the whole. Furthermore, an organic society is not simply the sum of its parts; its coherence is an entity in its own right – greater than, and different from, the individuals that make it up. In 1895, he published The Rules of Sociological Method and set up the first European department of sociology, becoming France’s first professor of sociology. In 1898, he established the journal L’Année Sociologique.

He published Suicide in 1897, pioneering modern social research and distinguishing social science from psychology and political philosophy. In Suicide he argues for suicide being a “social fact” as well as an individual event, and that social facts and individual events are completely different entities. For example, if economic conditions worsen in a society the number of suicides per annum will increase (and the amount of the increase can be predicted within a range). However, statistics cannot predict which individuals will commit suicide. The aggregate number of suicides and the cause of the number’s rise and fall are social facts; who actually commits suicide is an individual fact. Sociology deals with social facts, psychology deals with individual facts. They are separable sciences with different methods and purposes.

The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life of 1912 was Durkheim’s foray into anthropology and cross-cultural comparison, and on the whole is not highly thought of these days in anthropological circles in its specifics because it is based on a fallacious 19th century conception of the evolution of culture. The simple equation that Durkheim uses – indigenous Australians have the most primitive technology in the world, therefore their religion must also be the most primitive – is just plain wrong. The broad strokes are still used, though. Durkheim argues that religion is a metaphor for society itself, and that God and society are the same thing (just put in different terms). People realize that there is a collective force binding them together as a society, and call that force “God” – and even worship or revere it because it is unknowable yet enormously powerful. If the God is angered, the society is disrupted, therefore it must always be appeased.

Durkheim was deeply preoccupied with the acceptance of sociology as a legitimate science. He refined the positivism originally set forth by Auguste Comte, promoting what could be considered as a form of epistemological realism, as well as the use of the hypothetico-deductive model in social science. For him, sociology was the science of institutions, if this term is understood in its broader meaning as “beliefs and modes of behavior instituted by the collectivity” and its aim being to discover structural social facts. Durkheim was a major proponent of structural functionalism, a foundational perspective in both sociology and anthropology (now largely superseded in anthropology on a conscious level, but still active deep down). In his view, social science should be purely holistic. That is, sociology should study phenomena attributed to society at large, rather than addressing the specific actions of individuals.

He remained a dominant force in French intellectual life until his death in 1917, presenting numerous lectures and published works on a variety of topics, including the sociology of knowledge, morality, social stratification, religion, law, education, and deviance. Durkheimian terms such as “collective consciousness” have since entered the popular lexicon.

Durkheim was a left-wing patriot, more tied to his country than to international socialism. The outbreak of the Great War caused him considerable anguish because it promoted right-wing nationalist sentiments in France. Furthermore, several of his students and his own son André died in the trenches, and he never recovered from the emotional shock.  Durkheim collapsed of a stroke and died in Paris on November 15th, 1917 at the age of 59.

Durkheim was born in Lorraine in the Vosges district, famous for quiche and chocolate. It is also renowned for bouchées à la Reine, a kind of vol-au-vents made with mushrooms. In Lorraine, morels are the preferred mushrooms and they can be found in the abundant old apple orchards. Here is a video for you. It’s in French, but should not be too puzzling for you: