Archive for September, 2006

Another Repost…Political Chocolate

It’s not that I’m lazy that I’m reposted again, we’ve been out of town 7 of the last 9 days, and the trip home yesterday was brutal. I have several posts in the works (mostly food but it will have to include an airline rant), will get to it asap. In the meantime, please to enjoy:



From the Discovery Channel

March 29, 2006— The Medicis, the family that dominated the Italian Renaissance, used chocolate as a powerful political tool to impose the Florentine taste in European courts, according to an exhibition that traces the history of chocolate from its arrival to Europe in the 16th century.

The exhibition, at the Civic Museum of Monsummano Terme, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Florence, brought to light a 17th century letter which contained the secret jasmine chocolate recipe of Grand Duke Cosimo III, hidden in a footnote.

Double chinned, bovine eyed, chocoholic Cosimo III (1642–1723), was determined to put to an end to Spain’s supremacy in making chocolate.

Indeed, the Spaniards managed to turn the Maya and Aztec’s spiced cocoa drink into a delicate, sweet drink aromatized with vanilla, musk, and amber. Read the rest of this entry »


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A History Lesson (reposted)

I believe this is by Michael Quinion.

Weird Words: Etheromaniac
A person addicted to ether as an intoxicant.

Some have been known to inhale it, but true etheromaniacs drank it.
The imbibing of ether was a widespread practice in parts of Ireland
during the nineteenth century. Some contemporary reports point to a
temperance campaign by one Father Matthew in 1838 for starting it,
while others say it was an unintended result of a crackdown by the
authorities at that time on the illegal brewing of poteen, whiskey
made from potatoes.

The effects of ether were like those of alcohol, but the drinker
passed through the stages of intoxication to insensibility much
more quickly. He also sobered up after only a few minutes with no
hangover. One problem with drinking ether was that it turns into a
gas at body temperature. To get around this, the usual technique
was to drink a glass of cold water followed by a shot of ether. The
water cooled the mouth and throat sufficiently to get the ether
into the stomach in liquid form. A frequent side effect was violent
belching of flammable gas. Since houses were lit by naked flames,
ether drinkers sometimes set themselves and others alight.

Read the rest of this entry »

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