Doesn’t it feel like November has been going on forever? Perhaps it’s because I am eager for December to arrive so I can justify listening to Christmas music, but this month just seems to be dragging on. Some zealous neighbours on our street have already put up their Christmas lights, but my Better Half is adamant that any Christmas decorations must not appear on our property until December 1st. I guess I know what I’m doing next Sunday!
This week I gave Devour a makeover – do you like it? Is it easy to navigate? I quite like the way it’s coming together, but am always looking for feedback from you, dear reader. If there’s anything you would like to see, let me know. I aim to please.
What I posted:
- Baguettes + “The Painted Girls”
- Chipotle Potato Gratin with Jalapeño Gouda
- Cream Scones with Currants and Cinnamon Sugar
“Ivanhoe” is full of chivalric cliches and courtly language; it probably isn’t for everyone, but I rather enjoyed it for a change. 12th century England seems like a terrifying place – Scott himself says that “fiction itself can hardly reach the dark reality of the horrors of that period,” – with every road and pathway beset with marauders and outlaws, and every castle holding a plotting, villainous scoundrel seeking to dishonour noble knights and kidnap their fair maidens. Where else but a chivalric hero novel would you find someone who, “unscathed by the lance of his enemy, had died a victim to the violence of his own contending passions”?
In “Ivanhoe,” the most noble and sympathetic character in my opinion is the beautiful, intelligent “Jewess” (not my term!), Rebecca of York. She is exotic, rich, and talented in the arts of healing, so obviously is held in suspicion by the men of the time. Evidently, holding greater intelligence and healing ability than most men makes her guilty of witchcraft. Being Jewish didn’t help, either – 12th century England was blatantly anti-Semitic.
Similarly, Cleopatra remains one of the cleverest, richest and most powerful women in history. By the Roman senators of the time, however, she was simply seen as a threat to their power. They used her status as a foreigner, her wealth and her intelligence as reasons to ostracize her and try to seize her fabulously wealthy Egyptian kingdom. Like Rebecca, she was labelled a witch who allegedly enchanted both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony and poisoned their minds with her exotic arts. Cleopatra definitely did not fit the ideal of a Roman woman who was supposed to be obedient, soft-spoken, and entirely dependent on her husband.
I don’t mean for this to be a feminist rant, but bear with me! Although 1100 years separate them, Cleopatra and Rebecca both had to contend with misogynists who used strikingly similar arguments against them. Intelligence, wealth, and exoticism strike fear into the hearts of weak men, and they retaliate with prejudice and violence. Just some food for thought.
Okay. Maybe I should choose something a bit lighter for my next read! Any recommendations? If you are on GoodReads, find me here.
What I dunked in my coffee: I poured a healthy serving of Baileys in my coffee, then dunked fresh Orange Almond Madeleines into it. Recipe coming soon!
Until next time,