Forensic Science: Origins and Early Methods

The latest from Mignon Dunbar!

Forensic Science is the scientific method of gathering and examining information about the past in which is then used in the court of law. Before the emergence of forensic science methods, criminal charges heavily relied on eyewitnesses or confessions in order to bring about a conviction. This made it very easy for criminals to escape punishment.

During the Enlightenment era of the 18th century, however, more rational values began to permeate society, which heavily influenced the way in which criminal investigations took place. The use of torture to force confessions was reduced and replaced with more evidence-based, rational procedures.

Early Cases Using Forensic Science

In a 1978 murder case, in Lancaster, England, a man by the name of John Toms was tried and convicted for murdering Edward Culshaw with a pistol. After the dead body was examined, and a pistol wad was found in Culshaw’s head which matched perfectly with a torn newspaper found in Toms’s pocket, they were successfully able to convict John Toms.

In a 1816 murder case, in Warwick, England, a farm labourer was tried and convicted for murdering a young maidservant. She had been drowned in a pool and bore the marks of a violent assault, leading police to investigate the area. They found footprints and an impression from corduroy cloth near the pool which corresponded exactly to the breeches of the farm labourer.


In 1773, Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele devised a method for detecting arsenious oxide in corpses. This discovery was later expanded upon by German chemist Valentin Ross, who was able to detect the poison in the walls of a victim’s stomach. These practices were used to detect the use of poison in murder cases as early as 1832.


In 1835, Henry Goddard became the first person to use physical analysis to connect a bullet to a murder weapon. He found a flaw in the body of a victim and was able to trace the bullet flaw to a hold used in the manufacturing process.


Anthropometry refers to the measurement of the human individual. Alphonse Bertillon, a French police officer, was the first to apply this technique to law enforcement by creating a identification system based on physical measurements. Previously, criminals were only identifiable by name or photograph, inspiring Bertillon to develop a reliable system of human classification during the 1870s.


Sir William Herschel was one of the original advocates of fingerprinting for the use of identifying criminal suspects. He used fingerprints for security measures on documents as well as for prisoners to prevent those attempting to avoid serving a prison sentence. Francis Galton and Edward Henry, later implemented Herschel’s fingerprinting practices into fighting crime.


3 Great Food Cities!

Mignon Dunbar shares her latest!

Traveling and food go hand-in-hand. You can learn a great deal about the culture of a city through its cuisine. I recently read this article, which discusses some of the best food cities in the world, and thought it would be perfect to share with those who enjoy great food as much as they do traveling. If you are in the process of planning your next vacation, consider taking a trip to one of these three cities and you will not regret it.

1) San Sebastián, Spain

San Sebastián proper is home to dozens of great bars that offer amazing pintxos — the local word for tapas (small bites), most commonly located in the Parte Vieja and Gros neighborhoods. There is a nice mix of established taverns, such as Txepetxa and Paco Bueno, and newer, more experimental places like Bar ZerukoBorda Berri. Two of the more well-known restaurants include Pedro Subijana’s Akelarre and Juan Mari Arzak’s eponymous restaurant. While you can expect to pay a large amount of money to dine at either of these locations, it is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will undoubtedly remember.

2) Paris, France

Paris is a long and storied food culture that has been revitalized through the rise of ‘bistronomie.’ This refers to the movement of some of France’s top chefs opening up bistro like restaurants in which they can experiment with high-quality foods at reasonable prices. Some of the instant favorites include: Septime, Frenchie, Semilla, and Le Chateaubriand. The innovative practices of these new establishments, paired with Franc’s already rich food traditions, has the city poised to reclaim its title as the best city of gastronomy.

3) Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is a casual yet stylish city, both in terms of its people and its restaurant scene. Some of the most well-known places that fit this description the best include: Baked, a bakery with legendary sourdough, Bistrot Bizerca and the Rumbullion Lawn. Not to be missed, Honest Chocolate, a local producer, is worth stopping by for some amazing treats. Furthermore, you can also find some more flashy, world-renowned restaurants for an upscale experience at places like Luke Dale-Roberts’ Test Kitchen and Pot Luck Club.
Safe travels and happy eating! Stay tuned for more great food city recommendations and feel free to share any suggestions by connecting with me on Twitter.

The Best Resources for Planning a Trip to Iceland

Tremendous Times

The Best Resources for Planning a Trip to Iceland

My Instagram feed is loaded with photos from Iceland. It’s a little bittersweet because: it’s so freakin’ pretty but — le sigh — I’m not there. Of course, even though I’m slightly envious, it’s wonderful getting to see other people fall in love with Iceland, too.

Iceland in January was delightful, but looking at everyone’s pictures now, well, it looks almost like a completely different country. My journey to Iceland was snowy and cold. I wore multiple layers of clothing while traipsing landscape that was blanketed in white. I even visited the largest waterfall in Europe — a place you might imagine would be overrun with tourists — and encountered only four other people on the trail. I can only imagine how different Iceland is during the summer months.

I can’t wait to get back and see what an Icelandic summer is like. However, whether you’re planning your Iceland trip in…

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Meta Mint

You might have heard about Skaručna before. Not the village, after which the restaurant is named after, but the restaurant itself takes all the fame. Their fame is attributed to delectable homemade food presented as a feasting marathon. But the fact is that Skaručna is much more than big pieces of meat and great wine. It’s a story of passion, dedication and love. Sounds almost too cheesy for a place with custom made cast iron 1m long baking trays. Yes, the meat sizes are unconventional, for example steaks can be thick up to 8 cm, and their famous home speciality is whole leg of ox, big enough to feed 15 people. The recipe is a creation of Pulinoga, Slavko Žagar Sr., who started with the restaurant.

Today the man of the show is Slavko Žagar Jr. A waiter, cook, entertainer, gardener and interior decorator. He lives with the restaurant his…

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Coconut Bread

Mikey's In My Kitchen

I am back in my kitchen, babes.

I spent most of the day Sunday making some meals for a friend and trying a couple new recipes. Boy did it feel good to make a complete disaster of my kitchen. I am still finding coconut shred’s throughout the house.

This simple, one bowl, coconut bread is fast to whip up and smells absolutely amazing. It turned out beautifully with a golden brown crust on the top. There is a slight hint of cinnamon followed by the nutty chew of coconut. A tasty bread that is great for breakfast, lunch or a midday snack.


Baking is so therapeutic for me. I usually will turn on some music and get totally lost in whatever it is I’m making. Whether it’s cooking or baking, I love to watch simple ingredients transform into beautiful dishes. I think one of the ways I show love best…

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Chocolate waffles

Chef in disguise

For this month’s secret recipe club, my assignment was Sara’s blog Cupcake muffin. Sara is one of the nicest people I got to know through the secret recipe club and she has an amazing collection of recipes! Just take a look at her recipe list and you will understand the dilemma that I faced when I tried to pick this month’s recipe

After bookmarking about a dozen recipes, the kids got to make the final decision. They chose her chocolate waffle recipe and they LOVED every bite! I served them with hazelnut butter and baby grapes that the kids picked from my parent’s garden earlier in the week.

I stuck by Sara’s recipe except for adding a little coffee,cinnamon and cardamom to the batter. I do that with all chocolate recipes. You don’t taste the coffee but it enhances the chocolate flavor.

Homemade chocolate waffles

Chocolate Waffles

(adapted from Waffleizer, original…

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Ftoot bread “Nabulsi cheese and seeds bread”

Chef in disguise

Our Arabic flavor recipe for the month of July was Ftoot bread. This bread is popular in Palestine , particularly in the city of Nablus. It is a rustic looking bread infused with Nabulsi cheese,and seeds.The recipe varies slightly from one area of palestine to another. The amount of cheese and the types of seeds and fat used are the main differences. Some areas in Palestine add a little oregano or some minced onions and sumac to the bread. Today I will be sharing Ghadeer’s (our host for July) recipe. My go to recipe for this bread is a little different. It is my mum’s and I will post it soon.

Ftoot bread is usually served for breakfast with some sort of jam. The delicious contrast between sweet and savory is a great way to start the day.

Ftoot cheese bread

The name “Ftoot”, means crumbled and it refers to the cheese that…

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