Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"No living creature, not even man, has achieved, in the centre of his sphere, what the bee has achieved in her own: and were some one from another world to descend and ask of the earth the most perfect creation of the logic of life, we should needs have to offer the humble comb of honey.”
~ Maurice Maeterlinck, The Life Of The Bee, 1924
The hexagonal comb of the honey bee has been admired and wondered about from ancient times. The geometry of a honeycomb minimizes the amount of used material and allows the storage of the maximum amount of honey. Honeycomb candy, also known as cinder coffee, is a popular, easy-to-make treat which mimics the airy texture of real honeycomb - sugar, honey, cornstarch, and baking soda!
Honey collection is an ancient activity, dating back at least 8,000 years ago, as evidenced by cave paintings in Valencia, Spain showing two honey-hunters collecting honey and honeycomb from a wild bee nest.
So far, the oldest remains of honey have been found in the country of Georgia, dating back some 4700-5000 years. Various types of honey were packed for people's journeys into the afterlife: linden, berry, and a meadow-flower variety.
The Scottish Highlands are known to have one of the finest honeys, derived from heather flowers. This special honey is believed to have therapeutic benefits as well as folkloric healing magic (attributed to the Scottish heather). Many sorts of honeys have known anti-bacterial properties and have historically been used for wound healing and other health benefits. One particularly known honey is New Zealand Manuka honey (the only medical grade honey) derived from the Manuka (Tea Tree) plant from particular terroirs.
Honey is one the foods most susceptible to fraud through adulteration (and contamination). Some experts reckon it as the third most faked food type. The most common types of fraud apart from contamination are 1) addition of corn or rice syrup or 2) falsification of single pollen honeys for lower quality products.
Buy from trusted suppliers or use do it yourself at home tests to determine the quality of your honey. Click here for details.
For a sweet treat of honeycomb candy, click the picture below for a recipe from The Pioneer Woman.