The Jerusalem artichoke is neither from Jerusalem nor an artichoke. It does, however, have a similar taste to an artichoke. It belongs to the sunflower family, and originated in North America.
According to Jamie Oliver, "Jerusalem artichokes are sweet and almost garlicky and mushroomy and gorgeous." You can check out his recipe for them here.
"Alonson fon!" (53) As a child, Hana had learned this song in a French class in Toronto and stood on a bench to sing it, her left hand on her heart. These invented words suggest a child singing a song in words she does not comprehend. These words mimic the sounds of the opening words of the French national anthem, "La Marseillaise": Allons enfants de la patrie, Le jour de gloire est arrivé! Let's go, children of the fatherland, The day of glory has arrived!
Caravaggio is punning on the word trenchant.
speaking of ren. - etc
also, connect with where Hana et al stand - at the end of WWII -- also the break between old world & new world
From the song: When I Take My Sugar to Tea by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irving_Kahal
reference to the Germans v Allies fighting over the towns as they retreated, see earlier notes on this
The type of warfare needed to take this very clever and well-fortified towns was no longer in use, hence the need for mediaeval scholars.
Luckily, we now have the internet with handy pages like this one on how to defend your medieval castle. http://www.ehow.com/how_4558988_defending-medieval-castle.html
If you're very interested you can learn mediaeval war skills in Sussex: http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/sussex/hi/people_and_places/newsid_8840000/8840777.stm