An expensive material, it was traditionally used by the upper classes for ball gowns. Nowadays it is more commonly found in wedding dresses.
Lane Cake consists of four layers of white sponge cake separated by a filling of raisins and brandy, and even coconut and candied cherries. It is very popular in the South.
"Running a still" refers to the illegal distillation of alcohol.
This dates back to Prohibition (1920-1933), when alcohol was banned in America in the hope of preserving and solidifying Christianity. But the consumption of alcohol was so widespread, the ban had the effect of outlawing everyday behaviour. People took to brewing their own alcohol at home. This home-distilled alcohol was referred to as 'bathtub gin' in northern cities and 'moonshine' in the rural areas of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. Home-brewers would sell the alcohol to eager customers in towns and cities.
A hookah is a water pipe used for smoking tobacco. It consists of a flexible tube that the smoke passes through, after being cooled and filtered by water in the bowl at the bottom.
Hookahs are commonly used throughout the Arab world.
This is likely to be Dr Samuel Johnson, the eighteenth century English essayist, critic and lexicographer, and subject of James Boswell's famous biography. Dr Johnson had a cat called Hodge, who is immortalised in a statue outside Johnson's home in Gough Square in London.
This is a paraphrase of a Biblical quotation. Matthew 26:39 states that Jesus said "my Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me". He was referring to the suffering that he was about to experience in having the sins of the world laid upon him. For more information, see here.
The Jew's harp is thought to be one of the world's oldest musical instruments. Despite its common English name, it has no particular connection with the Jewish people or Judaism. In fact the name "Jew's Harp" is controversial and is avoided by many. This instrument is native to Asia and used in all tribes of Turkish people in Asia where it is variously referred to as a temir komuz, agiz komuzu or gubuz.
The instrument consists of a flexible metal or bamboo tongue (or reed) attached to a frame. The tongue/reed is placed in the performer's mouth and plucked with the finger to produce a note. The frame is held firmly against the performer's parted front teeth, using the jaw and mouth as a resonator. By changing the shape of the mouth and the amount of air contained in it, the performer creates different notes.