All About Thyme
  A Monthly Calendar of Times & Seasonings

  Celebrating the Mysteries, Magic, and Myths of Herbs
Susan Wittig Albert  
November 5, 2018
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This Month's Special Days:
A Potpourri of Celebrations

Herb of the Year for 2018: Hops
Flower of the Month for November: Chrysanthemum
November is National Sweet Potato Awareness Month
Week 1. National Fig Week.
November 6: Election Day.
November 10: St. Martinmas Eve, the traditional end of harvest, with the Winter Solstice only six weeks away.
November 11: Veterans' Day in the U.S., Remembrance Day in Canada. It is also Martinmas.

Week 2. World Kindness Week.
November 13: Indian Pudding Day.
November 15: National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day.
November 17: Great American Smokeout.

Week 3. National Farm-City Week.
November 22: Yes, it is—Thanksgiving!
November 25: In England, it's Stir Up Sunday. In the US, it's National Eat a Cranberry Day.

Week 4. National Family Week.
November 28: National French Toast Day.
November 30: John Mason of New York City, patented the Mason jar on November 30 1858, and changed homemakers. food preservation habits forever.


When I was a girl, Vaporub was my mother's staple cold medicine. When my brother or I began to sniffle and sneeze, out came that little blue jar, and when bedtime rolled around, we were put to bed with Vicks on our chests. At the time, of course, we had no idea what was in the stuff, only that it smelled good and cleared our heads. It wasn't until much later that I learned that it was herbal medicine that did the trick: the magic of eucalyptus and peppermint.


Things to Do in November

* We know you love sweet potatoes, a traditional accompaniment to the holiday turkey. But you don't have to smother this versatile vegetable in lots of add-on calories to make it taste good. If you're cooking light, you might want to give these delicious oven-fried sweet potatoes a try. Or how about some luscious sweet potato rolls? Sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotene and are a good source of protein, calcium, and vitamins E and A—as well as fiber, of course. They're an ally in the battle against such chronic health issues as heart disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

* If you want to do Martinmas right, celebrate it as they do in Germany, where Martinmas celebrations begin at the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of this eleventh day of the eleventh month. Traditionally, bonfires were built and children carrying lanterns paraded through the streets, trading songs for candy. Wikipedia tells you all about St. Martin and the many traditional ways his feast day is celebrated.

November 11 (the eleventh month, eleventh day, eleventh hour) was also the end of World War I, and is now the day we honor all who have served in our armed forces. For a first-person account of the end of that terrible war, check out this Eyewitness to History site. And for a gallery of historic Veterans Day posters, go here.

* November 13 is Indian Pudding Day. Read about the history of Indian Pudding, beloved of many New Englanders, and check out Fannie Farmer's famous 1896 recipe.

* French toast isn't just for breakfast. Nobody knows for sure how French toast began, but recipes date back to the sixteenth century. In France, it was called pan perdu or lost bread, because it was a way of using lost (stale, unusable) bread. In England, it was known as "poor knight's pudding"—a basic, affordable dish that a family with a few chickens and a cow could afford. Here's a recipe from Tudor times:
To make Poor knights Pudding. Cut two penny loaves in round slices, dip them in half a pint of Cream or faire water, then lay them abroad in a dish, and beat three Eggs and grated Nutmegs and sugar, beat them with the Cream then melt some butter in a frying pan, and wet the sides of the toasts and lay them in on the wet side, then pour in the rest upon them, and so fry them, serve them in with Rosewater, sugar and butter.

* Stir-up Sunday? Find out about this traditional British celebration.

* National Eat a Cranberry Day. Native Americans applied crushed cranberries to wounds and used them to treat scurvy, a disease caused by a lack of vitamin C. To prevent scurvy, eighteenth-century American whalers and mariners carried a large supply of cranberries on their voyages. More recently, these tart red berries have been shown to prevent urinary tract infections, reduce the risk of kidney stones, and help fight gingivitis. For a peck of great-tasting cranberry recipes, visit the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers page. Our favorite: Cranberry Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake.

* Find out what Susan has been up to by visiting her blog, Lifescapes. Gardening, reading, writing—there's always something interesting going on. You can also keep tabs on her daily activities (and see some great photos of the plants and animal friends at MeadowKnoll) on her Pinterest board, Writing a Life on a Texas Homestead.

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Who's Susan Albert?

Susan Wittig Albert is the author of two recent memoirs: An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days and Together, Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place. Her fiction, which has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list, includes Loving Eleanor and A Wilder Rose (biographical/historical novels); the China Bayles mysteries; the Darling Dahlias mysteries; the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter; and a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries written with her husband, Bill Albert, under the pseudonym of Robin Paige. She is founder and current president of the Story Circle Network, a member of the Texas Institute of Letters, and Honorary President (2012-2014) of the Herb Society of America. More

To find out what's going on in Susan Albert's life in the Texas Hill Country, read Susan's blog.

Follow Susan on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, & BookBub.

Who's China Bayles?

She's the beloved fictional herbalist in Susan Wittig Albert's popular mystery series, set in Pecan Springs TX. For more about her books, visit

For more about herbs and the passing seasons, read China Bayles' Book of Days.

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The Darling Dahlias & the Poinsettia Puzzle

It's Christmas, 1934, and the citizens of little Darling, Alabama, are unwrapping a big package of Christmas puzzles. You'll enjoy your holiday visit to Darling, where real people have courage, respect for their neighbors, and the dream of doing their best, even when they're not sure what that is. Preorder now, read in October, cherish all year.


Susan's latest books!

Loving Eleanor

Don't miss Susan's prizewinning novel about the friendship of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok.

"This warm, extensively researched novel will entrance readers and inspire them to look further into the lives of two extraordinary women." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Now available!

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The General's Women

A compelling novel about love, betrayal, and ambition by New York Times bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert, The General's Women tells the story of two women—Kay Summersby and Mamie Eisenhower—in love with the same man: General Dwight Eisenhower.

Available in ebook and print.

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A Wilder Rose

Named to Kirkus' best of Indie 2013 Books! Susan's historical / biographical novel tells the story of Rose Wilder Lane's collaboration with her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder in the writing of the famous Little House books.

"Pitch-perfect... A nuanced, moving, and resonant novel... an absolute pleasure." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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