A Curious History of Food and Drink by Ian Crofton

By Ian Crofton

Ever puzzled the place noodles got here from? How Worcester Sauce used to be invented? or perhaps who the "Cucumber King of Burma" was once? starting with the hippo soup eaten in Africa in 6000 BC, via to the damaging blowfish loved in modern Japan, A Curious historical past of foods and drinks finds the unusual origins of the foods and drinks fed on all through history.
From the pheasant brains and flamingo tongues scoffed via the Roman emperor Vitellius, to the weird makes use of of licorice (once a remedy for sore feet), Ian Crofton uses unique sources--including journals, cookbooks and manuals--to exhibit the weird, unique and informative tales at the back of the cuisine loved via our ancestors.

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The large, red Concord grape is the most common labrusca. Although it is widely used in jams and jellies to provide a “grapey” taste, the same flavor is undesirable in wine. Native vines are resistant to the voracious root-destroying aphid phylloxera, but vinifera vines are not. Bringing them to America was akin to a sacrificial offering to this minute louse. Americans would not fully understand the withering of their imported vines until the late nineteenth century, during the French struggle against phylloxera.

The loophole that 34 Soil and Society Congress left the wine industry arguably did it more harm than an outright prohibition would have done. With a complete ban, wine could have gained status as a drink of moderation after Repeal. As it was, the quality of wine had been so degraded (by the dismal efforts of home winemakers and the loss of professional skills and winemaking infrastructure) that it took the industry almost fifty years to recover. Even though the swift passage of the Twenty-first Amendment was a crushing political failure for the Drys, they influenced legislation governing Repeal.

The high-end producers have been able to navigate the choppy seas of the past few years successfully, producers in the middle tier less so; and for the low-end producers, the situation has been dire. Bordeaux is known mostly for trophy wines that can fetch several hundred dollars a bottle on release. The critic Robert Parker refers to Bordeaux as a touchstone for quality. But Bordeaux is actually a vast region that produces everything from the high-end grands crus to bulk wine, sold in huge containers.

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