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In the 1400s and 1500s a number of near-mythical trading ports were reported by sailors, including Brasil, Antillia, and of course, Zacton.

Zacton was somewhere in the general area of China, and was supposed to produce many valuable spices. This is a bit confusing, as our best guess for where Zacton actually is -- modern-day Quanzhou -- never really produced a lot of spices, but presumably this was based on it being a major Asian trading port.

By the mid-to-late 1800s this was largely all sorted out, although the Chinese language has remained consistently difficult for Westerners to Westernize. Zacton is probably the same port variously named Zaiton, Zayton, Tsiuenchau, Chinchew, and Quanzhou. However, it may also be the port formally known as Canton, Kwangchow, or Kwong Chow, and which now is called Guangzhou.


Water pie is a simple pie that was reportedly popular during the Great Depression, although I can find no documentation of this popularity. It is quite popular on current baking websites, however, and is universally reported as a delightful Depression-era treat, sometimes alternatively named 'depression pie'. It is essentially a shortbread pie, or a large, gooey sugar cookie with a crust.

To make a water pie, you get yourself a pie crust, and fill it with about a cup and a…

So about those three women.


Singularity Girl stopped by for a socially-distanced visit in our garden. I've known her since she was thirteen. Her family had just made it to Canada after surviving the Siege of Sarajevo. She turned up at an audition meeting for a play I was workshopping with teenagers. She wanted to write, not act. Despite her not having gone through the usual process to be part of the writing team, and her young age, I believed…

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