Gil is a strange guy. He likes to comment on EVERYONE’s canele posts and usually slams anyone who thinks that they may have some good advice to share with their readers – right or wrong. The funny thing is, he’s only been making canele for a couple of years (less professionally) and he got his start just like everyone else – through trial and error. I also find it interesting that he loves to criticize everyone else but has never done an instructional post of his own. And judging by some of the canele photos on his blog, there’s a good reason for that. I live in Philly and must admit that I have never tasted his canele but with that attitude, who would want to?
The widespread use of Punch cartoons in books and teaching materials on nineteenth century history is hardly surprising: these often striking images are a convenient visual aid for understanding a period in which photography was in its infancy. Yet the use of this graphic record in an unreflective manner is fraught with difficulties and may detract from the material’s historical usefulness. Several illustrated texts, and at least one academic account of the Great Famine of 1845-50, have been guilty of this unimaginative use of sources, and consequently can be accused of having missed the point of the illustrations. The historical significance of Punch in the later 1840s lay as much in its aspiration and ability to mould public perceptions of events, as in its satiric commentaries on those events. The paper provided no direct record of the mass sufferings of the Irish peasantry (in contrast to the Illustrated London News’ graphic depictions), but Irish affairs occupied many of its pages in the famine years. Perhaps its greatest importance to the historian is as a simultaneous shaper and expression of British public opinion – a phenomenon vital to our understanding of the Famine as a whole.