Printed ephemera can be beguiling evidence of historic foodways. An ad for an English food merchant from 1880 uses language that blurs its time of origin. It shows familiar terms, such as "American cheese," but others, such as "green ham," that signal its antiquity. Because ads and other bits of throwaway graphic design are usually tied to brief, transitory events, they express their time succinctly and offer many paths for food historians to follow. This ad leads to investigations about what foods were popular in 1880 England, the terms used for them, the differences between city life and country life, and the rapid changes in food production at the end of the nineteenth century.

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