Saturday, 31 May 2014

Nordrhein-Westfalen - How I made Rheinischer Sauerbraten

I visited Japan recently and, whilst I was there, I noticed that the Japanese are very fond of European cooking and that there are a plethora of European-style restaurants in every major Japanese town or city. Of course, by European cooking, I mean French and Italian and it's interesting how other European cuisines, like the cuisines of Germany, Britain, Poland etc aren't that well known or valued around the world.

I must admit that I'd never heard of Sauerbraten (Sour Roast) before I started looking around for a dish I could make which would represent Nordrhein-Westfalen.  Sauerbraten is one of Germany's most famous dishes and I had lots of fun (and made a big mess in the kitchen) preparing the Rhineland version, Rheinischer Sauerbraten.

Sauerbraten ingredients 
I've spent a lot of time preparing stew-type dishes for this blog; whether's it Jèrriais Pais au Fou, Liberian Palava or Cambodian Somla Machou, I guess there's a basic principle in world cuisine which makes 'bunging it all in one pot' very easy!  Interestingly, my experience preparing Rheinischer Sauerbraten reminded me more of the dish I made when blogging about Korea.  It was all about cooking/preparing parts of the dish separately, then arranging them together at the end.  

Also, I must admit that this isn't actually the first time I have prepared German food for this blog - the dishes I prepared for both Indiana and Wisconsin, were basically German ones that have been exported to the United States.  I guess German cuisine is more familiar to us in terms of what we'd usually think of as American fast food?

I used a recipe from the Food network, as the inspiration for my Rheinischer Sauerbraten.  

There were four main parts to this dish:

1. The meat - Das Fleisch

Topside, after almost three days of marinating
Traditionally horse meat, but I opted for beef (Aberdeen Angus topside) - because of the nature of the dish, it's important to have a tougher cut of meat, like the topside, top rump or even silverside.  I've used this opportunity to learn a little more about the different cuts of beef and I came across a really useful guide from Delicious Magazine, which shows where the different cuts of beef are taken from.  Interestingly, cuts of beef are different in British and American English.  

The really interesting part of this recipe is that the beef should be marinated for at least three days before cooking.  I didn't have three days, as it happens, but I managed to marinate the beef for about 60 hours and it was fairly tender after I'd cooked it.  

The meat is also the 'sauer' part of the recipe, as it's marinated in red wine vinegar and pickling spices, so the beef is basically pickled for three days.  

Here is a list of the ingredients that I used:

500g Beef Topside - Rindfleisch (Huftsteak)
275ml red wine vinegar - Rottweinessig
200ml water - Wasser
Salt - Salz
Pickling spices - Beizen Gewürze
200g brown sugar - brauner Zucker

Beef topside after 45 minutes in the oven
I think Sauerbraten is traditionally a pot roast, so the beef would be roasted in a pot with vegetables for several hours.  I followed the recipe, which recommended oven roasting and so, after marinating for almost three days, I put the meat in a cake tin, sprinkled some brown sugar on top and roasted it in the oven for forty-five minutes at 180 degrees Celsius (350F).  I guess you could also braise the meat before roasting, but the method I used gave the meat a slightly cooked exterior with a succulent medium-rare interior.  

The sugar melted on the top to give the meat a really lovely glaze.  I used a lot of sugar in this dish and, I guess, the overall effect of all of that sweetness was to balance the sour elements of the dish - a clever combination!

2. The sauce - Die Sauce

Ginger snaps
Perhaps one of the most fascinating things I've learned from making this dish is the fact that you can make a really nice sauce from biscuits/cookies!  I must admit, I was a little bit doubtful, when I first read the recipe, but it worked!  And I guess it makes sense, what are biscuits after all but flour and butter?

Reserved stock from the roasted meat - Brühe aus dem Rindfleisch
500ml water - Wasser
8 crushed Ginger snap cookies - zerkleinerten Lebkuchen
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar - Rottweinessig
Sugar - Zucker
150ml sour cream - Saure Sahne
150ml raisins - Rosinen

Add sour cream and raisins to change the texture
I should say at this point that I didn't cook these parts of the dish in linear order and was doing bits and pieces simultaneously.  I've ordered them for your benefit, so it's easier to understand the various components and how to make them.  

To make the sauce, I simply crushed the Gingerbread biscuits in a saucepan, then added the stock from the beef, which had been baking in the oven for forty-five minutes and two cups of water (around 500ml). I then added the red wine vinegar and sugar, brought everything to the boil, then simmered until other parts of the meal were ready.

A few minutes before I was ready to serve the meal, I poured the contents of the saucepan into a plastic mixing bowl, added the sour cream and raisins and stirred.  As you can see from the photo, the sour cream does change the texture and colour of the sauce.  

3. The Cabbage - Der Kohl

Chopped apples
I cheated slightly in this part, buying cabbage that was ready for cooking.  You might have noticed that I've used a lot of Waitrose ingredients with this particular dish and this is mostly due to time constraints and the fact that I've recently discovered online grocery shopping!  

300g red cabbage - Rotkohl
2 apples - Äpfel
150g apple sauce - Apfelmus
Sugar - Zucker
200ml red wine vinegar - Rottweinessig

Apples and red cabbage go really well together
I'm not a massive fan of red cabbage, but combining red cabbage with apples is a great idea!  I guess the first rule of German cooking should be 'don't run out of red wine vinegar' - which is exactly what happened to me by the time I got to the cabbage.  I substituted with some of the liquid that was left over from the marinade, although the cabbage was very vinegary as a result.  

Making this part of the meal was quite straight forward.  I first added the apples to a large saucepan, then the marinade liquid/red vinegar, followed by the red cabbage and apple sauce.  I brought everything to the boil, then simmered until the whole meal was ready.  It's important to keep stirring these ingredients, as the apple softens and mixes in with the cabbage.

4. The Noodles - Die Spätzle

Spätzle mix
Making the Spätzle (little sparrows) was really good fun and very messy!  I've made noodles before, when I cooked Mongolian Tsuivan, however, this time was a bit different, as Spätzle are something like a cross between noodles and gnocchi.  

4 eggs - Eier
175ml milk - Milch
Salt - Salz
Black pepper - schwarzer Pfeffer
Nutmeg - Muskat
450g flour - Mehl

Frying the Spätzle
The recipe said 450g of flour, but I didn't trust it and only put in 350g, which I now regret, as my mixture was too liquidy and my Spätzle didn't turn out exactly the way I wanted - still, we live and learn.  So, definitely use 450g flour and mix in the eggs, milk, pepper and nutmeg.  

I brought a large saucepan of water to the boil, then used my potato ricer to separate the Spätzle mixture into long strings which dropped into the boiling water.  You can make quite a lot of Spätzle with the amounts suggested above and I did three batches in the boiling water, removing the Spätzle batches after a few minutes of boiling.  

The best bit is frying the Spätzle in butter, which gives them a crispier texture.  This was the very last thing I did, before assembling all four elements together; meat, sauce, cabbage and Spätzle to make Rheinischer Sauerbraten!  It was immense!!

Rheinischer Sauerbraten

Meat, sauce, cabbage and Spätzle

Image credits:

All images were taken by me on my trusty Canon EOS 1100D.  Feel free to use these images with the Creative commons license:

- Attribution
- Non-commercial
- Share alike

Monday, 26 May 2014

Nordrhein-Westfalen - Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy'

As well as having been the capital of West Germany for a good part of the 20th century, Bonn was also the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven, one of Europe's greatest composers.  At a time when Vienna dominated Europe's musical scene, it's hard to imagine how a backwater like Bonn could have produced a talent as prodigious as Beethoven's.

Except that Bonn wasn't really a backwater in the late 18th century, being part of the Electorate of Cologne, a vestige of the Holy Roman Emperor, it was ruled by the Archduke Maximilian Francis, youngest child of the Hapsburg ruler Maria Theresa.  Max Franz was a big music fan and an early patron of Beethoven, Bonn's very own child prodigy, later seen as a musical successor to Vienna's Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  

In the Shadow of Mozart

It's hard with the distance of time, to separate the different eras in which European composers lived, so I was surprised to learn that Beethoven wasn't so much a contemporary of Mozart, as a generation later than Mozart and a composer who, in many ways, grew up in Mozart's shadow.  Mozart was the original child prodigy who took Europe by storm in the years immediately before Beethoven's birth in 1770.  

13-year old Beethoven, by an unknown artist
Like all child prodigies, both Beethoven and Mozart had pushy fathers who channelled their own creative frustrations into their progeny.  Beethoven's father was an alcoholic who lied about Beethoven's age, to promote the idea of him as a child prodigy, the 'in' thing in European courts on the lookout for a 'new' Mozart. 

Actually, Beethoven's father held him back in many ways.  Because of his father's alcoholism and the death of his mother when he was just seventeen, Beethoven took over the guardianship of his younger siblings, a responsibility that hampered his creative development and kept him in Bonn, at a time when he wanted to live in Vienna.

We're not sure whether or not Beethoven actually met Mozart, when he first travelled to Vienna in 1787. It's possible that Beethoven sat in the audience at one of Mozart's concerts, but didn't actually get to meet the great maestro.  By the time Beethoven moved to Vienna in 1792, Mozart was dead.  

Phenomena and Noumena

The music of Mozart and Beethoven heralded a new departure in European culture and a move from the highly-ornate and complicated Baroque period, to the thematically simpler and romantic period, now known as Classical.  Both Mozart and Beethoven were influenced by the principles of the Enlightenment and the wider political and cultural changes that were transforming late 18th-century Europe.  

Rain, steam and speed (1844) JMW Turner
Revolutions in the American colonies and in France rocked the status quo and prompted an artistic response that celebrated the 'brotherhood of man', the poetry of Friedrich Schiller and William Blake, as well as the music of Mozart, Beethoven and many others. Beethoven spent his teenage years reading Schiller and he used the words of Schiller's Ode to Joy in his Ninth Symphony, perhaps his most famous work. 

Artists of the time were also influenced by the Prussian philosopher, Immanuel Kant.  Kant talked a lot about the difference between phenomena, i.e. things as we experience them and noumena, things as they exist in themselves, beyond our direct experience.  When you listen to Beethoven's music, you can sense that he moved his art into the realm of noumena rather than phenomena.  I guess it was the noumena which gave Romanticism its characteristically uplifting (and occasionally frightening) nature.  Just look at the paintings of J.M.W. Turner or read the poetry of John Keats and you'll see what I mean.  

A self-sustaining Artist

Beethoven graffiti in Graz by southtyrolean
Both Mozart and Beethoven gave us an image of 'the artist', that remains popular today; tortured by their own creativity, misunderstood, impoverished, romantic and wild.  Beethoven's appearance was shabby and many in his audience wondered how such an unkempt figure could produce music that was so beautiful.

In the Baroque period, composers and musicians were seen as little more than servants, more important than the kitchen staff, but less important than the valets. However, at a time when revolution loomed and royal purses became more constrained, many courts could no longer afford to pay for an entire orchestra and this seems to have prompted a move towards the self-sustaining artist.  Mozart was one of the first to attempt to have a career that was independent of the patronage of a single court and this unsettled his contemporaries.  He was a bit ahead of his time, unfortunately, and died in poverty at the early age of 35.  

By the time Beethoven came along, the idea of a self-sustaining artist had gained more currency and Beethoven was able to win patronage from many different sources and sustain an unprecedented level of independence.  It's interesting when you compare this with Joseph Haydn, who spent most of his career in the servitude of the Hungarian Esterházy family and was only able to work for himself towards the very end of his life.  

The Music of Beethoven

During my research into Beethoven, I sometimes found it difficult to get my hands on full-length versions of many of his symphonies, piano concertos and sonatas or string quartets.  These days, our 'knowledge' of classical composers like Beethoven, Mozart or Haydn, generally comes from television advertisements or popular CD collections along the lines of Best of . . . In our increasingly fast-paced world, it seems as though we don't really have the patience for an entire symphony or concerto.  

It means that much of Beethoven's work will remain unheard by a sensory-overloaded 21st century audience. I tried to listen to as much of Beethoven's work as I could, but there was so much of it that I find myself discriminating (as The Best of collections do) in favour of his most well-known works.

If you only listen to one entire symphony in your life, then it should be the Symphony no. 9 in D minor, opus 125, aka 'Beethoven's Ninth'. It's perhaps the best piece of music ever written and resonates down the centuries in a way that inspires the noblest feelings, even in a 21st century listener.  I'm embedding a YouTube video, so you can listen to the whole thing (it's only an hour long - just sit back, close your eyes and submit to Beethoven's noumenal journey to the essence of human existence).  

The terribly sad thing about Beethoven's Ninth is that he never got to hear it himself.  Perhaps because of his rigorous training in childhood, Beethoven began to lose his hearing when he was only 26 years old.  It's quite tragic that he couldn't fully interact with the world and enjoy the full volume of the orchestra performing his greatest works but, perhaps, his deafness forced the music inside him and increased the noumenal quality of work he produced in later life?

A Song for Europe

The final movements of Beethoven's Ninth contain the Ode to Joy, Schiller's words set to music.  It's a really inspirational piece and exudes an optimism that promises a better world in which all men (and women?) are equal.  

O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!
Sondern lasst uns angenehmere anstimmen,
und freudenvollere.

Oh friends, not these sounds!
Let us instead strike up more pleasing
and more joyful ones!

This piece of the Ninth Symphony is used as the Anthem of Europe, by the European Union.  On a day when the results of the recent European elections have come in, I find myself wanting to listen to Beethoven's Ninth more than ever!

Image credits:

The image of the painting of 13-year old Beethoven by an unknown artist is taken from Wikimedia commons and is believed to be in the public domain.  You can see more information about the file at its description page.

The image of Turner's painting is also in the public domain.

The image of the Beethoven graffiti in Graz, Austria is by flickr member southtyrolean, who is originally from South Tyrol in Italy.  You can see more of southtyrolean's photos at his photo stream.  Thanks for sharing this image with us, using the Creative Commons license.  

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Nordrhein-Westfalen - The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum

I always like to discover some new literature from the place I'm blogging about so, when it came to Nordrhein-Westfalen, my research brought me to the door of Heinrich Böll, one of Germany's best-known writers.

I'd never heard of Böll before, so it was a pleasure to read his novel The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum which is set in the Rhineland, in 1970's West Germany.  Throughout his life Böll was somewhat of a rebel and, I'd imagine, a thorn in the side of the authorities - he refused to join the Nazi youth in the 1930's, although he was later drafted into the Wehrmacht.  He was interested in society's misfits and dealt with topics that were both uncomfortable and challenging for the West German government.

The novel was quite short and written in an usual style, as the narration is somehow done 'at a distance'.  I'd recommend it to anyone interested in modern German literature and, to give you a taster, I've picked out some of the novel's key themes below.

Theme: Post-war pessimism

Cologne 1945 by Gordon Ross
Böll is one of Germany's post-war writers associated with Trümmerliteratur - or the 'literature of the rubble'. Trümmerliteratur deals with the issues of a post-war society that has to deal with the physical and moral devastation caused by war.  It's well-known that Böll was strongly affected by the destruction caused in Cologne by Allied air raids.  He felt indifferent towards the new city that rose from the ashes of World War Two and his novel is full of pessimism and resentment towards the West German authorities.

Böll's novels were incredibly popular in the ex-Soviet Union, which makes a lot of sense, as he focused on the moral emptiness of capitalism and the banality of the reconstructed West Germany that was his home. Katharina Blum is unemotional and disengaged from the world around her and she is hostile to the authority figures who are pursuing her because of her involvement with Ludwig, a young left-wing radical she met at a party.

Theme: Red scare

Post-war Germany found itself divided in a new, politically-polarised world of capitalism v communism. Whilst Brandenburg and Saxony fell under the influence of the Soviet Union and eventually became the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Nordrhein-Westfalen became the heart of the capitalist Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) with it's new capital in Bonn.  

Böll's novel deals with the fear of communism that had such an influence on the politics of 1970's West Germany.  New left-wing organisations such as the RAF (Rote Armee Fraktion), aka the Baader-Meinhof gang, were terrorising West Germany with bank robberies and bomb attacks, kidnapping leading capitalists and killing police officers. 

I remember being amazed, when the Internet first came along, to learn about the RAF and Baader-Meinhof group - it's not exactly the kind of thing we were taught about in school and learning about this 'carefully concealed' chapter of history was my first experience of the kind of autonomy online research can provide. Despite their violent acts, the RAF gained a certain amount of sympathy amongst working-class West Germans and Katharina Blum, in a way, epitomises the ambivalence of a non-political West German towards the government's campaign on terror.

Theme: Fear of an Independent Woman

Katharina finds herself in the unusual position, for the 1970's, of being an independent woman.  After her marriage breaks down, she finds a job as a cleaner and manages to put away some money, so she can buy her apartment.  Whilst trying to establish whether or not she is really guilty of aiding and abetting a revolutionary, a lot of the 'evidence' of Katharina's guilt is based on the fact that she has her own life and could, potentially, choose any number of male sexual partners.  

River Main, 1970 by Barbara Ann Spengler
As it happens, she was involved in a love affair with a high-ranking government official - a married man - and her efforts to protect his name make the authorities even more suspicious of her behaviour, so that the conclusion is her being found guilty.  

It's as though she is guilty of being a single woman with control over her own life and, therefore, not answerable to or under the control of any man.  Katharina, for her part, has a long list of men who've done wrong by her, despite her attempts at being independent, she is ultimately limited by the rules of a man's world.  

As a single woman she's also seen as 'fair game' by the male investigators.  When one of the investigators tries to hit on her 'she in her dry way had given him to understand that, irresistible though he might be in his own eyes, he was not so in hers'

Theme: The Power of the Media

This theme is one we understand really well today, but I think Böll's novel must have been one of the first to deal with the power that the Media has to influence the outcome of a legal process.  Because she has no man to protect her, the male-dominated media tears Katharina's life to shreds, the argument being that, as a figure of 'public interest', she no longer has the right to privacy or benefit of the doubt.

Because of her coldness and apparent lack of remorse, the Media decides that Katharina is guilty and hound her in the papers, painting her out to be heartless, communist and immoral.  It's interesting how 'appearing remorseful' can play such an important part in public trials - we've seen it very recently in the case of Oscar Pistorius.  Katharina's emotional coldness is a major factor in her perceived guilt.

Theme: The Anarchy of Carnival

I was also quite interested in the fact that the backdrop to Katharina's story is the spring Carnival - as popular in the Rhineland, as it is in Venice or southern Europe.  Carnival is a time when the normal rules that govern society are suspended - it's a chance to let your hair down and unleash your sexuality, but it's also a time of anarchy and grotesque danger.  I've noticed that carnival is quite often the backdrop for crime novels and movies.

The action of The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum starts on Weiberfastnacht, the first Thursday of the German carnival weekend, also known as the 'women's carnival'.  It's on Weiberfastnacht that Katharina goes to the party, where she meets Ludwig and brings him back to her apartment.  It really is her night, before the nightmare of the carnival weekend, when she sees her life crumbling before her eyes.  The novel ends on Rosenmontag - the biggest day of the Rhineland carnival - and the joys of those around her contrast with the miserable situation Katharina finds herself in.   

Image credits:

The image of Cologne after the Allied bombings in 1945 was shared by Flickr member, Gordon Ross, who is originally from Vancouver in Canada.  You can see more of Gordon's images on his photo stream

The image of the RAF logo is in the public domain, you can see more information at the file page on Wikimedia Commons.  

The image of the woman with the German car was taken by Flick member Ladycliff, aka Barbara Ann Spengler, who now lives in Arizona.  This photo was taken by the River Main in 1970.  You can see more of Barbara's photos on her Flickr account.  

Thanks to Gordon and Barbara for sharing these images with us, using the Creative Commons license

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Nordrhein-Westfalen - The Descent of Man

Although the coal-mining industry is in decline in Germany, as elsewhere in Europe, the cultural and sociological impact of mining is still felt, even in the 21st century, whether it's through the physical effect that mining has had on the landscape, or the legacy of rapid industrialisation that has left the Ruhr/Rhine valleys with significant conurbation, the current population of the Ruhr/Rhine metropolitan area being around 11 million people.  It reminds me a lot of similar conurbations in England - Birmingham, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire - also a result of 19th century industrialisation.

The Origins of Man

Skulls of Homo Erectus, Neanderthalensis and Sapiens
One indirect result of mining in the 19th century, as I learned when I was blogging about dinosaurs, was the discovery of fossils and dinosaur bones, which coincided with a growing interest in Richard Owen's terrible lizards, but no doubt also sparked renewed interest in the origins of man/woman.  The Neanderthal Valley, just outside Dusseldorf, is most famous for the discovery, in 1856, of a now extinct species of human being we call Homo (Sapiens) Neanderthalensis.  I've put the Sapiens in brackets, as we're still not 100% sure whether Neanderthal man/woman was a different species of human or a sub-species.

Actually, as with the Iguanadons of Bernissart, the Belgians probably have more right than the English or Germans to claim the discovery of dinosaurs and homo neanderthalensis.  The first Neanderthal skull was actually found in Belgium in 1829, although it wasn't recognised as a Neanderthal skull until much later, in the 1930's.

Neanderthal Man by Matt Celeskey
The New Man of Dusseldorf

By some quirk of history, the Neanderthal Valley was named after a 17th century protestant theologian from Bremen, Joachim Neander (thal actually means 'valley', so it's 'Neander's Valley').  It was a place that he loved to visit and a source of inspiration for the hymns that made him famous. 

Neander's grandfather was also a musician and changed the family name from the Germanic Neumann (Newman) to the Greek Neander, as was fashionable at that time.  So the extinct human species that populated much of pre-historic Europe is, ironically, called 'new man'.

I'd imagine that the Greek meaning hidden in Neanderthal wasn't lost on 19th century scientists who would also have been, no doubt, versed in the Classics.  Perhaps this influenced the permanent choice of name for this creature which was, by the way, first proposed by the Anglo-Irish geologist, William King.  I must admit that I'm slightly amused by the alternative name for homo neanderthalensis, proposed by the German biologist, Ernst Haeckel, which was homo stupidus!  Say it like it is, Ernst!

Darwin and the Caveman

On a more serious note, our understanding of Homo Neanderthalensis has interesting things to say about modern human culture and how we feel about Darwinism and the theory of evolution.  Traditionally, Neanderthal man/woman has been depicted as a kind of 'caveman/woman' - slightly bigger than modern man/woman, with a pronounced forehead - a bigger brain, yes, but definitely stupider than us.  In popular culture, the Neanderthal man/caveman is depicted as very definitely not us - we're obviously much smarter, more modern and only distantly related, as though Neanderthal man/woman was the result of a bad marriage.

Exhibit comparing skulls by Matt Celeskey
The reality is that Neanderthal man/woman may not just be a distant relative but may, indeed, be part of our ancestry.  The relationship between homo neanderthalensis and homo sapiens (ourselves) still seems to be a controversial one - traditional schools of thought say that Neanderthal man/woman was overpowered by the superior homo sapiens and became extinct, essentially because of their stupidity or inability to adapt to the changing political landscape.

As I hinted at in my blog post about the Celts in England, I can't help wondering whether the reality wasn't more complicated than that - perhaps rather than one species/tribe replacing the other, they somehow merged and we are actually part Neanderthal, part Sapiens.  I can sense that you're squirming after having read that last sentence, the question is why?

The Descent of Man

By coincidence and unrelated to my research on Nordrhein-Westfalen, I've started watching the 1970's BBC documentary The Ascent of Man, presented by the wonderful Jacob Bronowski.  The series assumes that man/woman have ascended, in the pyramid of species, to the superior position we see ourselves in today.  However, a lot of what I've been reading recently (The Naked Ape, When Languages Die . .) has made me think more about what I would call The Descent of (Wo)man - a descent in two senses:

1. Descent from the trees - the way we've evolved has been influenced by our decision to come down from the safety of the trees and fight for survival on the open plain.

2. Descent into system-slavery - rather than living a natural life, in tune with the rhythms of the universe - the moon, stars, sun, animal and plant life - we have created systems - clocks, computers, calendars - which control our lives and reduce them to unnatural rhythms, bringing us down into a kind of slavery, over which we have little control.

I'm beginning to think we really are homo stupidus after all.

You can watch Part 1 of The Ascent of Man - Lower than the Angels below:

A note on the sexism of the Homo Neanderthalensis discussion

Homo Neanderthalensis is very much a man!  Everything you read or watch in relation to the origin of our species, talks about man or cavemen, rather than woman or cavewoman.  There is an inherent sexism in this area of science that is very difficult to get away from, although I've tried!

Image credits:

For this blog post, I wanted to highlight the photos of Flickr member hairymuseummatt a.k.a. Matt Celeskey who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  These photos were taken at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology in the University of New Mexico, as well as the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in Ohio.

You can see more of Matt's photos on his photo stream.  Thanks Matt for sharing these images with us, using the Creative Commons license.