Monday, July 23, 2012

My curiosity was widow's peaked

I was reading a book in which a character in the story had a widow’s peak.  And I thought to myself, “I wonder why a pointy hairline is called that.”  

A widow’s peak is the name given to a growth of hair on the forehead that forms a point.  Most often this feature is associated with women but men can also have a widow’s (or widower’s) peak.

If you believe in 19th century folklore, then you would think that a peak of hair in the middle of one’s forehead would indicate that that person is destined to become a widow(er) at a young age.

The association between the genetic anomaly and mournful bride seems unlikely, but not really.  16th century widows wore a specific style of cap.  This cap . . . a mourning cap as it were . . . had a point of fabric the came down in the middle of the forehead much like the hairline formation.  

Now it may not have escaped your notice that certain vampire’s have this same hairline . . . most notably Bella Lugosi’s Dracula, although he wasn’t the first.  This doesn’t have anything to do with widows . . . although the character certainly created a few.

So, why did the Count have a pointed hairline?  It is likely a connection to people a blood disorder known as porphyria that often have this trait . . . along with sensitivity to light.  

Eddy Munster also had this distinguishing feature . . . although he was a werewolf.  That’s because at this point in popular culture the widow’s peak had been associated with many villains . . . not that Eddy was bad even though he was a monster. 

By the way, the character in my book wasn't evil and not a widower, either, for that matter.

Summer Squash with Ravioli

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
4 Cups Summer Squash (Zucchini And Yellow Squash), Thinly Sliced
1/2 Cup Onion, Thinly Sliced
2 Cups Cooked Chicken, Chopped  
1 Cup Heavy Cream  
1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest  
.5 Cups Grated Parmesan Cheese  
Salt And Pepper To Taste  )
2 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Chives  
1 Lb Cooked Ravioli (see my recipe for homemade)

Heat olive oil in a skillet. Sautee squash and onions over high heat until tender (5-7 minutes). Lower heat and add lemon zest and heavy cream. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until cream begins to thicken slightly. 

Stir in chicken and mix until heated through. In a large pot or serving dish combine squash/cream mixture, ravioli, Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste, and enough reserved cooking water to make sauce smooth and creamy. 

Sprinkle with chives, parmesan cheese and serve.

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