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Expensively wrapped cats...& a little about incense

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ScienceDaily reported this week on the TLC ancient Egyptians applied to the mummification of certain favored animals, including cats and crocodiles:

"Mummification of animals has been thought of as cheap and cheerful, but this shows that a significant amount of effort, knowledge and expense was afforded to them," explained Dr Buckley. "Cats in particular received special attention and this fits with the idea of cats having a special place in Egyptian life."

Cats were associated with the Egyptian goddess Bastet, who was particularly revered. To mummify a cat for its journey to the afterlife, the typical recipe would have been 80 per cent fat or oil, 10 per cent pistacia resin, 10 per cent conifer resin and a pinch of cinnamon.

Resin was commonly used even before mummification, as incense for the graves. You might not be surprised to learn that pistacia resin is part of the genus Pistacia, which includes a variety of species--some producing resin, some not. The most popular of this genus is the Pistacia vera, aka the Pistachio.

Resin-as-incense continues today, perhaps the most popular being Pistacia lentiscus, or gum mastic--the first chewing gum. And the most notorious? That would have to be Abremlin Incense, a secular recreation of Qetoret, the kind of incense forbidden for lay use in Exodus:"Whoever makes any like it, to smell it, he shall be cut off from his people" (Exodus 30:37-38). If you're curious about making your own (not necessarily verboten) incense, Scents of Earth has a primer.

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9 Exhilarating Close-Up Photos of Sharks
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Dive into the world of Shark, a new book by award-winning photographer Brian Skerry.

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Hamilton Broadway
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Food
A Hamilton-Themed Cookbook is Coming
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Hamilton Broadway

Fans of Broadway hit Hamilton will soon be able to dine like the Founding Fathers: As Eater reports, a new Alexander Hamilton-inspired cookbook is slated for release in fall 2017.

Cover art for Laura Kumin's forthcoming cookbook
Amazon

Called The Hamilton Cookbook: Cooking, Eating, and Entertaining in Hamilton’s World, the recipe collection by author Laura Kumin “takes you into Hamilton’s home and to his table, with historical information, recipes, and tips on how you can prepare food and serve the food that our founding fathers enjoyed in their day,” according to the Amazon description. It also recounts Hamilton’s favorite dishes, how he enjoyed them, and which ingredients were used.

Recipes included are cauliflower florets two ways, fried sausages and apples, gingerbread cake, and apple pie. (Cue the "young, scrappy, and hungry" references.) The cookbook’s official release is on November 21—but until then, you can stave off your appetite for all things Hamilton-related by downloading the musical’s new app.

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