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December 2017 Source Guide
Places: Louisiana's Levee Ablaze!
People: Santa's Scary Helper
Decorative American Firebacks
To help protect their wood-fired hearths, early Americans installed cast-iron firebacks, a tradition familiar to their British ancestors. Their decorative designs make them collectibles.
The House on Hampton Hill
When Rich Prario decided to return to New England, he spent two years searching for the right historic house, finding one with ties to one of America’s most notable folk art portraitists.
A Working Family
Hank and Cindy Tilbert dreamed of building a cozy home and family in northern Ohio, a New England-style colonial home on 9 acres. Building it with their own hands in affordable stages, it now showcases Cindy’s collection of American antiques.
Squash, an American Native
Squash, together with maize and beans, nourished Native Americans for millennia and was soon adopted by European immigrants and the rest of the world. We look at the culinary and cultural history of squash from acorn to zucchini, whether raw, cooked, or preserved with smoke.
Poor Man's Silver: 18th-Century Tinware
Tin-plated iron was as decorative as it was useful. Developed in the 18th Century and soon a specialized trade, we show you how skilled artisans made the earliest (and some of the most decorative) tinware.
Barns are rapidly disappearing from the landscape. Help us preserve these iconic symbols of America’s agrarian heritage by sending us photos of old barns and sharing stories of their reclamation.
Classic Hopping John
Today’s New Year’s Day tradition began as a simple meal in South Carolina’s antebellum African-American community, but the flavor of modern versions barely hints at the taste and texture of the original dish—made with Carolina Gold rice, field peas, and slow-smoked pork. We share the real recipe and where to buy historical ingredients.
Start Your Own Sweet Holiday Tradition
Sweetmeats in paper cones hanging on Zuckertütenbaum (sugar-bag trees) soothed the fears of new first-graders two centuries ago in the German states. We’ve adapted this tradition for keepsakes you can make to decorate your tree at Christmastime.