Why were pies in the 1600s baked in such improbable shapes? Over at HiLobrow, Tom Nealon investigates, and Deb Chachra drops some science on the question.
Chachra, an engineering professor, offers this hypothesis:
Why are the shapes of the pies so fabulously baroque compared to today’s plain round or square pies? One reason might be to help provide structural integrity to a high-walled pie that wasn’t baked in a supporting tin. Thin walls tend to buckle or fall over when they’re flat; adding an angle or a curve makes them much more stable. (You can see this by trying to balance a piece of paper on its edge, then folding it in half and trying it again.) Especially in the larger pies, having scalloped or sharply curved edges would make the pie walls more stable without having to use a thicker crust. The same principle can be seen in crinkle crankle walls, serpentine walls that are usually only one brick wide — the alternating curves means that the wall can be made very thin, while still not falling over (and thus use fewer bricks). Of course, using different patterns of curves and angles for each type of pie may also help differentiate the contents, and would also provide different ratios of crust to filling for different kinds of pies.
Nealon's has some really funny history in it, so it's worth reading the whole piece.
This year, I helped University of Chicago science fiction writer and renaissance scholar Ada Palmer and science historian Adrian Johns host a series of interdisciplinary seminars on "Censorship, Information Control, & Revolutions in Information Technology from the Printing Press to the Internet."
Archaeologists at an excavation site for London’s Thames Tideway Tunnel (the “super sewer”) dug up a 500-year-old skeleton who died with his boots on. Based on the location of the find, the boots, and other signs, the fellow may have been a fisherman or sailor. From National Geographic: “It’s extremely rare to find any boots […]
Countries surrounding the North Sea imposed an outsize impact on world affairs. But the sea itself was once land, and might have stayed that way had world temperatures been a degree or two different. Lee Rimmer wonders: What if Doggerland had survived? The cultural impact of changing the movement of tribal groupings within northwestern Europe […]
Take a scroll through any app marketplace and you’ll see that the doors are wide open for any game these days – and any game developer. Like any creation, virtual or analog, it all starts with an idea. And if you’ve got one of those, the Complete Unity Game Developer Bundle can walk you the […]
At the rate the world is shrinking, you don’t need to be a globetrotter for a second language to be a useful skill. And if you’re looking to learn that second language (or a third, or fourth), uTalk Language Education is the learning program that makes progression not only easy but fun. If you can’t […]
Smokers on the go can breathe a little easier. With an innovative, easy-loading spiral design, the Twisty Glass Blunt offered a smoother, more consistent draw than conventional pipes. Now the Twisty Glass Mini delivers the benefits of its heavy-duty sister pipe in a more discreet package. For those that haven’t already made the Twisty Glass […]