Senate bean soup: since time immemorial on the menu in the U.S. Senate ~

Bean soup has been served in the Senate dining room since time immemorial. However, its origins are as murky as what’s in the bowl. Apparently, around 1904, a bean soup showed up, and it’s been on the Senate menu ever since that time. According to legend, in 1903, Idaho Democratic Senator Frank Dubois demanded that bean soup be available every day at the Senate dining room, where it’s stayed on the menu for more than a hundred years, but no one has ever located any evidence of that resolution. Another…

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Election Cake: an American almost forgotten tradition

In the first known cookbook written in the United States, Amelia Simmons’s 1796 American Cookery, you’ll find some recipes that seem familiar like the pumpkin pie or the roast turkey, but also the so-called Election Cake. American Cookery’s recipe speak about “thirty quarts of flour, 10 pound butter, 14 pound sugar, 12 pound raisins, 3 doz eggs, one pint wine, one quart brandy, 4 ounces cinnamon, 4 ounces fine colander seed, 3 ounces ground allspice; wet flour with milk to the consistence of bread over night, adding one quart yeast;…

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The sad history of London’s Speakers’ Corner

Free speech laws in United Kingdom include some notorious exceptions: Saying anything to incite religious and racial hatred, threaten the monarchy, or endorse terrorism may be considered unlawful. But there is one place in all of London where, informally, these restrictive speech laws don’t apply. Political monologues, religious oration and fiery debates can be found here every Sunday morning of the year, although there are sharp peaks in attendance surrounding political events such as the recent Brexit vote. On this day, October 14, 1855, a carpenter mounted his soapbox complaining…

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Milltown Cemetery – Belfast, Northern Ireland

We are in the Ballymurphy area of Belfast, Ireland. Milltown cemetery is a sprawling graveyard full of history, conflict and tragedy. It has seen some of the largest funeral processions in all of Ireland and is the final resting place of more than 200,000 souls. It was opened in 1869 as part of the broader provision of services for the city of Belfast’s expanding Catholic population, when the historic Friar’s Bush Cemetery was becoming overcrowded, and only families with burial rights were allowed to be interred there. Although the Milltown…

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Democracy Sausage: come to vote, leave with a sausage!

In Australia, cheap sausages in cheap white bread lathered in cheap sauce help grease the wheels of democracy. On election days, humble sausages, also called affectionately “snags”, are barbecued outside polling areas either for free or to raise money for local causes. Slingers of “democracy sausages” can be sure to get lots of customers among waiting voters, since not voting in Australia gets you fined. In 2016, sausage sizzling at the polls reached its highest profile yet. During the year’s federal election, Twitter released a snag-on-bread emoji to accompany its…

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