07/12/2009

NEXT POST
Today is the Anniversary of the St. Scholastica Riots On this day, February 10, in 1355, Oxford University erupted in a violent riot that lasted three days, and ended with the deaths of 93 people, most of them students. The riot began when two students in a group drinking at the Swindlestock Tavern (now a branch of Abbey National Bank) in Carfax ordered wine. According to Anthony Wood, author of a 1674 history of Oxford University: John de Croydon the vintner brought them some, but they disliking it. and he avouching it to be good, several snappish words passed between them. At length the vintner giving them stubborn and saucy language, they threw the wine and vessel at his head. Croyden apparently appealed to the Mayor, John de Bereford, who caused the town bell at the church of St. Marton's to be rung, thus summoning the townsfolk into an impromptu militia. They, armed with a variety of implements, assailed Oxford, and attacking the students. Alarmed, the university Chancellor rang the bell at the university chapel of St. Marys, at which point students assembled and counter-attacked the townsfolk, forcing a retreat. The next day, Bereford went into the countryside, and returned with some 2,000 folk carrying a black banner and chanting "Slay, Havock, Smyte!" They broke into the various colleges colleges at Oxford, ransacking the buildings, and killing 63 students, and 30 townsfolk. The king, Edward III was appealed to by the Chancellor, and found in favor of the University. He ordered the Mayor and Bailiffs promenade bareheaded through the town (a public humiliation since hats indicated social status) and attend a special Mass on every subsequent St Scholastica's Day. In addition, they had to swear an oath to observe the University's privileges, and pay an annual fine of 63 pence to the University. This practice continued until 1825, when the Mayor simply refused to participate. Oddly, the "town-gown" conflict has never really disappeared in Oxford, to this day, to the point that there are pubs that are designated as "university" friendly, and others that are perceived as strictly for "townies." (Originally written for Klat/http://campusreport.com/article/today-anniversary-st-scholstica-riots)
PREVIOUS POST
Making Coffee: Pour-Over Coffee Pour-over coffee is still one of the most common ways to make coffee as well as one of the least expensive in terms of equipment. Essentially, a manual pour over coffee maker consists of a con-shaped glass, porcelain, or plastic housing that contains a coffee filter, and a container to collect the brewed coffee. The cone-shaped filter holders can be either individual one-cup serving sizes, designed to perch over a mug, and larger sizes, up to 12 cups. My very first coffee maker was a manual pour over. In my case, it was one of the plastic Melitta filter cones that I used with Melitta paper coffee filters. There are other brands besides Melitta—purists often favor the Chemex manual pour-over coffee makers because the entire thing is made of high quality tempered glass. At first, I used a plastic Melitta filter cone and a porcelain coffeepot; later I switched to a glass carafe with an air tight lid that would keep the coffee hot. In crude terms, you place a paper filter in the filter cone (you may need to fold the seams a tad on the side and bottom), add the ground coffee (ground as if for a drip coffee maker, two tablespoons per 8 oz cup, please) in the filter, bring the water just to a boil, then slowly pour it over the coffee, distributing the water evenly over the grounds. There are a few things that make a difference, and if, you keep them in mind, you can reliably produce one of the best cups of coffee you've ever had. First, you have to start with good quality coffee, second, it's amazing what a difference it makes it if you grind the coffee just before you use it, third, use pure, clean cold water, and if it's not actually enjoyable to drink the water from the tap, purchased purified water. Brewing Pour-Over Coffee Ingredients and Equipment 1 pour-over coffee paper filter and housing cone 1 container for brewed coffee Fresh ground coffee (two tablespoons per 8 oz cup, and one for the brewer) Cold drinkable water Kettle Procedure Heat the water to boiling; allow 8 ounces per cup Grind the coffee to a medium "drip" grind once you hear the water start to boil. Pour a little hot water, slowly, over the grounds to saturate them. Pause, then pour the rest, keeping an eye on the liquid level. If the water covers the grounds completely (this depends on how much coffee you are brewing), gently stir the slurry, so that all the grounds are equally saturated. Wait for the water to drip through. Serve the coffee. Here are two other, slightly more complicated methods. If you're not sure where to shop for a brew over coffee maker, you can find them online. If you want to make iced coffee, use about 1/3 less water to make the same amount of coffee, since you'll be serving it over ice. Originally written for Klat.