The Father of Modern English


As I promised in a previous post, here’s my almost certainly true and accurate explanation of why the language you’re reading now is the result of one man’s writing back in the 14th century. Yes, of course, I mean Chaucer; author of The Canterbury Tales. Thanks to him, you’re reading this in modern English. In his day, there wasn’t a cohesive form of English, but rather several dialects that were all Middle English (see map); each was influenced by its own invaders or immigrants, and in … click below for more ↓

Not the Chaucer You’re Looking For


I received a couple of new Chaucer books recently and, despite my love of reading Chaucer, frankly, I was disappointed by both. My expectations for both greatly exceeded what little joy I received from them. I was deeply disappointed by both. And I’m here to tell you why. Let me back up a bit, before I get into my reviews. I have a couple of dozen books by or about Chaucer and his language on my bookshelves, which suggests he is a serious interest to … click below for more ↓

What Bread Would Chaucer Have Eaten?


I was mulling over the growth of the whole ‘artisan bread’  movement as I made another batch of dough last week to cold ferment in the fridge. As I lay in bed reading one night, I started to wonder what sort of bread Chaucer would have eaten. Or Shakespeare. That led to: how was bread made 500 years ago? 1,000? What ingredients did they use? How did the technology and techniques develop? How was yeast’s work discovered and when? How authentic is today’s bread? Aside, that … click below for more ↓

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