Marmalade, Alcholism and the Catholic Reformation

Discussion in 'History' started by lightgigantic, Sep 15, 2006.

  1. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Found this .....

    I have no idea how well known are the following facts. I always thought that marmalade, jelly etc. were very old inventions, but they are actually quite recent and, curiously enough, a consequence of the Protestant Reformation. Before Luther there was no need for sugar in Europe, because there was an overproduction of honey. This traditional sweetener was a by-product of the apiaries, the main function of which was the production of wax for candles. This product was a monopoly of the Catholic monasteries and convents. Wherever these were closed or abolished, there emerged a market for something that, up to that time, had been a scarce luxury (that came originally from India): sugar. Coincidentally, the discovery and conquest of a New World in the tropics opened up the possibilities for the large scale production of sugar. I don’t know if it is possible to make marmalade with the help of honey, but sugar surely became the ideal component for the preservation of fruits. Another by-product of the Reformation, due to the newly created scarcity of honey and widespread availability of sugar-cane, was obviously the large scale production of rum and other sugar-cane brandies like the Brazilian cachaça. Earlier brandies were mostly made of wine and, being quite expensive, were consumed only once in a while by aristocrats and the royalty. As soon spirits became cheap, alcoholism reached an entirely new and much, much higher level all around the world.

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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    No one thought to coin the term "alcoholism" at the time, but constant drunkenness was commonplace in Europe. The Europe of the Dark Ages was the Third World from the perspective of public health. The water was undrinkable. They may not have been able to afford distilled spirits, but ale was plentiful and most people drank it simply to quench their thirst so throughout their waking hours Europe had a buzz on. This of course contributed directly to the stagnation of the economy--and consequently the water supply--so it was a death spiral.

    It was the importation of coffee from Ethiopia that turned this around. Boiling and adding an acid was about as satisfactory a process for disinfecting water as adding alcohol, and suddenly a new safe drink was available. One that contained a stimulant instead of an intoxicant!

    Many of the milestone events of post-Enlightenment Europe, including the founding of the Royal Academy and Lloyds of London--took place in coffee houses. It has been argued, with a few scholarly nods of agreement, that coffee may have figured prominently in the ability of Europe to lift itself out of the Dark Ages.
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  5. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    Damn! I knew coffee was great stuff, but.....The Drink that fueled the Enlightenment. How come no coffee company has used that one yet?
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  7. rich68 Registered Senior Member

    after reading that i think i need a drink!

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