By Tiria Barnes
For this contribution to The Gale Review, I challenged myself to find the 10 most random sources I could in Gale Primary Sources. Armed with a cup of tea and the potential for banter I began to search, hoping to find some gems. I can safely say I was not disappointed!
1. The first term I searched on the platform was ‘orange juice’. After meandering through a few newspapers, I came across an insightful article from 2002 in The Times Digital Archive which compared different types of fresh orange juice from various supermarkets. Unfortunately for Sainsbury’s, Robin Young was not impressed with their Taste the Difference Freshly Squeezed orange juice and, for ‘using a prestige varietal’s name so cavalierly’ (the Valencia orange), gave them minus one star for ‘misbehaviour’.
2. After taking a few moments to consider a career in orange juice tasting, I then decided to search ‘Peter Pan’ on the Gale Primary Sources platform. To my excitement, I found an intriguing photograph of J.M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan and Neverland, in Nineteenth Century Collections Online. Barrie’s pensive look suggests that he’s deciding whether to buy a meal deal or make a packed lunch. We all know how it will end, of course…
3. I then thought that it would be fun to see if I could find any interesting articles on the Komodo Dragon. Using The Telegraph Historical Archive, I stumbled across a newspaper article from 1935 discussing the arrival of two Komodo dragons in a zoo and their eating habits. Raw meat and white rats, apparently. Sounds appetising.
4. The next term I searched in Gale Primary Sources was ‘chicken pox’. With help from The Telegraph Historical Archive, I found an article published in 1971 discussing Queen Elizabeth II’s chicken pox. What would I give to see the Queen covered in spots?!
5. I then decided to try and find a tasty recipe. After searching ‘couscous’, I came across a recipe in The Times Digital Archive. Having only tasted savoury couscous before, I was enlightened by this sweet recipe and feel it would make an adequate student meal. (With a side of beans on toast, or a bowl of cereal, of course!)
6. Next, I searched ‘cocker spaniel’ on the platform, and found a thought-provoking article from 1887 in Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers. According to the article, the puppy refused to eat breakfast until his face was washed. Such manners can only be admired.
7. Taking a more festive turn, I searched ‘mulled wine’. To my excitement, I managed to find a recent article from The Times discussing how mulled wine and mince pies can help improve fitness! Move over protein shakes!
8. Remaining on the food theme, I used Archives of Sexuality and Gender to find an interesting article from the publication Sister in 1974 which listed beliefs in Chinese folklore about certain food. It surely explains why there are so many whistlers amongst us…
9. My next random article was in The Telegraph in 1997 and is about the life of twins Freddie and Frankie Cox. They not only ate the same things and finish each other’s sentences but also ended up marrying a set of twins. The pinnacle of twin goals.
10. Last, but certainly not least, I used the search term ‘candyfloss’ and found an advert in The Times Digital Archive for Cotton Candy Gourmet Bites. I am a massive fan of the selling technique: ‘Fluffy Stuff Cotton Candy’s Gourmet Bites look suspiciously like face-cleaning pads but taste nothing like them.’ I am curious as to how the writer of the piece appears to know what face-cleansing pads taste like!