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Project Meander

In 1944, cartographer Harold Fisk created a map of the “meander belt” of the Mississippi, reconstructing the river’s braided history in glorious pastels. Inspired by this Army Corps of Engineers achievement, designer Robert Hodgin set about creating software that could replicate the winding course of rivers over time. “I am fascinated by these types of natural processes,” Hodgin says of his Meander, “and love finding ways to simulate them with custom code.” Combine the magical, serpentine results with seemingly vintage terrain maps—conjured from Hodgin’s imagination, bearing place names such as “Upper Disaster River”—and you get historical maps of rivers that never existed. Hodgin is a co-founder and interactive director at the digital-design firm Rare Volume, in New York City. A recent release of 30 unique river maps—“I will never print the same map twice”—sold out in half an hour (for $225 apiece). A second run will come on sale soon. ( —Cullen Murphy


Benedictine Spread

Jennie Carter Benedict, Louisville restaurateur and author of 1904’s The Blue Ribbon Cook Book, conceived Benedictine spread in the early 20th century. Lightened by lots of cucumber, the refreshing cream-cheese-based dip was an instant Kentucky Derby classic. I hadn’t heard of it until the recent holidays, but now I’m basically addicted, nearing the end of a batch made by Bourbon Barrel Foods—a food marketplace in Kentucky that is also the U.S.’s first soy-sauce micro-brewery. I snack on it with crackers and vegetables, or, for a Norwegian spin, toasted rye and dill. I highly recommend Bourbon’s version, but I’m sure—and I pray—a decent substitute can be made at home. ($10, —Clementine Ford


Raising the Bar

Finding a job can be as stressful as losing one. Finding, loving, and keeping a job might be the greatest challenge of all, especially for recent college graduates. May I introduce (in full disclosure) my friend and wise counsel, Sandy Golinkin, C.E.O. of Raising the Bar. We’ve all been there: unreturned phone calls, rejected applications, and the dreaded line “Unfortunately, we’ve filled that position but will keep you in mind.” Sandy, a former magazine publisher, offers online classes as well as one-on-one consultations. Also, I told you she’s a friend, but her way of navigating résumés, interviews, old-fashioned etiquette, and proper dress helped guide my son out of an unfulfilling job to his current position as a top sales associate at one of the best hotels in N.Y.C. ( —Richard David Story


All Creatures Great and Small

Yorkshire is known for pudding, Brontës, and the occasional serial killer (the Yorkshire Ripper). But the county is also famously the setting of All Creatures Great and Small, the movie and subsequent 1970s BBC television series based on the autobiographical novels by James Alfred Wight, who took his hero’s name, James Herriot, as his pen name. In them, James is a young veterinarian who begins his apprenticeship under a brilliant fussbudget, Siegfried Farnon, in rural Yorkshire in the 1930s. The beloved show, which ran for seven seasons, has a new adaptation that captures the charm of the original in part because it gives the area’s lush fields, narrow roads, and old stone houses an almost magical luster. Downton Abbey romanticized a vanished world of aristocrats and their servants; All Creatures Great and Small burnishes the humor and pathos in the lives of farmers, animals, and the veterinarians who tend to both. (U.S. premiere, January 10, —Alessandra Stanley

Issue No. 78
January 9, 2021
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Issue No. 78
January 9, 2021