Tis the season for skeletons and other Halloween traditions, but did you ever wonder about the origin of the phrase “skeleton in the closet?”
The prevailing view implies that someone has skeletons in said closet if the person in question has something nefarious to hide, but historically, there’s a bit more to the story.
In England, until the early 1800s, physicians were not allowed to collect and dissect bodies other than those of executed criminals. Even after an Act of Parliament was passed to allow other bodies to be used for research, doctors hid the bodies (presumably in closets or cabinets) from the squeamish eyes of the public. The bodies might still have had a great deal to reveal medically and might have been kept until all that remained was the skeleton.
Hiding a skeleton might have cast a bad light (from a legal as well as a squeamish perspective) on the keeper of same, but as time went by, humorous and/or serious references to deeds or activities not related in any way to skeletons, arose.
But skeletons don’t always get a bad rap. They have been included in Halloween celebrations all over the world for thousands of years for the purpose of warding off evil spirits.
How many skeletons do you have in your closets?
Stay safe and have a Happy Halloween!
*Thanks to Toni L.P. Kelner (Leigh Perry) for many hours of fun with her Family Skeleton series. “The Skeleton Haunts a House” is the book appearing in two of the photos.
*Photos by Patti Phillips
The temperatures are cooling off and comfort food takes center stage at our house. We fend off the chill with body warming soup and hearty sandwiches during the Fall and Winter, but every once in a while, we like mac & cheese. It works for lunch or dinner.
I like to taste test the new versions with different goodies added to the mix, but there is a basic recipe that Sheila uses (and even I can make) that is fail-safe. We sometimes prepare it ahead and serve it as a side dish if we’re expecting a crowd.
A couple of thoughts: It looks like a lot of instructions, but you’re boiling noodles, grating cheese, making a sauce, and putting it together in layers – like lasagna. No bodies were found while making the latest batch. Promise. 🙂
Here’s our famous Mac & Cheese recipe:
Ingredients for noodles
1 8 oz box small elbow noodles
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon butter or margarine for boiling water, to keep noodles from clumping
1 teaspoon butter for tossing noodles
Ingredients for white sauce
4 Tablespoons butter
5 Tablespoons flour
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
pinch ground black pepper
12 oz. Sharp Cheddar, grated
2 cups Croutons, seasoned (we use the garlic & herb variety)
Optional – 1 cup Bacon, crisp, crumbled
Optional – Whole tomato
Preheat oven to 375.
While noodles are boiling, prepare the white sauce
As the sauce thickens, stir to keep it from sticking to the pot and/or clumping.
It is ready when it is the consistency of creamy gravy.
Add pinch of black pepper.
Remove from heat and set aside. It will thicken a bit more while sitting.
Use a 2-quart baking dish. You will be assembling the mac & cheese in layers (like lasagna).
Spread 1/4 cup of sauce on bottom of baking dish.
Spread 1/3 of the noodles in the bottom.
Spread 1/3 of the remaining white sauce on the noodles.
Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese on top of the sauce.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the croutons on top of the cheese.
Repeat the layers twice more, but with the top layer, crumble the remaining croutons and spread evenly on top.
Bake at 375 until heated through and cheese is bubbly, about 20 minutes, no lid.
Serve with salad.
Create a well in the center of a whole tomato and serve mac & cheese in it.
Sprinkle crumbled bacon on top of mac & cheese as a garnish.
Prep time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 20 minutes