What were some of our most popular stories this year? Let’s take a look.
Recipe adaptations and blog posts about food culture
We published several recipes in conjunction with First Chefs: Fame and Foodways from Britain to the Americas (Jan 19 – Mar 31, 2019), including one for pirate botanist William Hughes’s hot chocolate, which he called the “American nectar”. The First Chefs exhibition and these accompanying recipes were the work of the Before ‘Farm to Table’: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures team at the Folger. But it’s not just about recipes: Some of our most popular blog posts explored the cultural and economic forces that shaped food production and consumption in the early modern period.
- What was Italian food like before the country of Italy existed?
- What kind of cultural anxieties did attitudes towards mushrooms in Shakespeare’s England reveal?
- Which of these three caffeinated drinks was the most popular: coffee, tea, or chocolate?
Austin Tichenor of the Reduced Shakespeare Company wrote several blog posts about onscreen depictions of Shakespeare’s life, adaptations of his plays, and references to his status as cultural icon. Contrasting the British sitcom Upstart Crow with the Kenneth Branagh film All Is True, Tichenor observes how creator Ben Elton has “taken the same sets of facts, texts, and cultural associations to script two distinctly different creations — a mournful minor-key family drama in All Is True and a bright workplace/domestic comedy in Upstart Crow.”
Shakespeare also came to Netflix in 2019 in the form of The King, which Tichenor used as a launchpad to examine Shakespeare’s father-son triangle with Prince Hal, Henry IV, and Falstaff.
And finally, 2019 was a big anniversary year for Star Trek, which, if you hadn’t realized, owes a “striking… thematic and linguistic debt to William Shakespeare.”
Ready to test your Shakespeare knowledge? Take our Shakespeare trivia quiz. And speaking of trivia, explore the history behind the Shakespearean Final Jeopardy clue that unseated “Jeopardy” champion James Holzhauer this summer.
Want more quizzes? See how well you know the mothers in Shakespeare’s plays by taking this quiz we published for Mother’s Day, and discover which iconic object from a Shakespeare play matches your personality by taking this quick quiz.