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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Food &, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 39
1. A map of the world’s cuisine

With nearly 200 countries in the world, the vast number and variety of dishes is staggering, which goes to show just how diverse your food can get. Which countries’ foods do you enjoy the most? Is there a particular characteristic of your favorite food that can’t be found anywhere else in the world? Do you know how national dishes vary by region? Explore (just some) of the world’s different cuisines discussed in The Oxford Companion to Food, from Afghanistan to Yemen, with our interactive map below:

Feeling hungry for more facts about food? Why not discover some less common types of meat, or test your knowledge in our food quiz? Bon appétit!

Featured image credit: Olives, photo by Dominique Godbout. CC-BY-2.0 via Flickr.

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2. Nine types of meat you may have never tried

Sometimes what is considered edible is subject to a given culture or region of the world; what someone from Nicaragua would consider “local grub” could be entirely different than what someone in Paris would eat. How many different types of meat have you experienced? Are there some types of meat you would never eat? Below are nine different types of meat, listed in The Oxford Companion to Food, that you may not have considered trying:

Camel: Still eaten in some regions, a camel’s hump is generally considered the best part of the body to eat. Its milk, a staple for desert nomads, contains more fat and slightly more protein than cow’s milk.

Beaver: A beaver’s tail and liver are considered delicacies in some countries. The tail is fatty tissue and was greatly relished by early trappers and explorers. Its liver is large and almost as tender and sweet as a chicken’s or a goose’s.

Agouti: Also spelled aguti; a rodent species that may have been described by Charles Darwin as “the very best meat I ever tasted” (though he may have been actually describing a guinea pig since he believed agouti and cavy were interchangeable names).

Armadillo: Its flesh is rich and porky, and tastes more like possum than any other game. A common method of cooking is to bake the armadillo in its own shell after removing its glands.

Hedgehog
Hedgehog. Photo by Kalle Gustafsson. CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

Capybara: The capybara was an approved food by the Pope for traditional “meatless” days, probably since it was considered semiaquatic. Its flesh, unless prepared carefully to trim off fat, tastes fishy.

Hedgehog: A traditional gypsy cooking method is to encase the hedgehog in clay and roast it, after which breaking off the baked clay would take the spines with it.

Alligator: Its meat is white and flaky, likened to chicken or, sometimes, flounder. Alligators were feared to become extinct from consumption, until they started becoming farmed.

Iguana: Iguanas were an important food to the Maya people when the Spaniards took over Central America. Its eggs were also favored, being the size of a table tennis ball, and consisted entirely of yolk.

Puma: Charles Darwin believed he was eating some kind of veal when presented with puma meat. He described it as, “very white, and remarkably like veal in taste”. One puma can provide a lot of meat, since each can weigh up to 100 kg (225 lb).

Has this list changed the way you view these animals? Would you try alligator meat but turn your nose up if presented with a hedgehog platter?

Headline Image: Street Food at Wangfujing Street. Photo by Jirka Matousek. CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

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3. What’s your gut feeling?

There is an unquantifiable amount of different types of food across the world, ranging from lesser known edibles like elephant garlic and ship’s biscuit to more familiar foods like chocolate and oranges. In the newly updated Oxford Companion to Food, readers will discover more than 3,000 comprehensive entries on every type of food imaginable, and a richly descriptive account of food culture around the world. The Oxford Companion to Food contains facts sure to delight foodies of all ages.

Welcome to Oxford University Press’s restaurant. We’ll take your coat. It’s time to find out just how much you know about the food you eat.

Your Score:  

Your Ranking:  

Headline image credit: Fruit and Veg, by Garry Knight. CC-BY-SA-2.0 via Flickr

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4. Keeping caffeinated for International Coffee Day

Of all the beverages favored by Oxford University Press staff, coffee may be the lifeblood of our organization. From the coffee bar in the Fairway of our Oxford office to the coffee pots on every floor of the New York office, we’re wired for work. Here’s a brief gallery of employees with their preferred roast — grabbed from a street cart, made to order, or part of an elaborate weekly routine.

coffee group

Oxford staff are ready for their next meeting!

Shakespeare-insults-coffee2

“My cappuccino from the OUP coffee bar in my Shakespeare insults mug – so I can fire creative insults and keep caffeinated at the same time…you canker-blossom!”
Hannah Charters, Senior Marketing Executive, Online Product Marketing

Rachel-princess-mug

“An Americano from the OUP espresso bar. The mug shows the mantra I like living by!”
Rachel Fenwick, Associate Marketing Manager, Online Product Marketing

Coffee Selfie

“Tall Pike in a Grande cup from Starbucks”
Jennifer Bernard, Assistant Online Marketing Manager

vaccumpotcoffee

“A Vacuum Pot Coffee at Edison Food and Drink Lab, Tampa Florida”
Erin Rabbit, Designer, Creative Services, Marketing

Ryan - Intl Coffee Day

“Grabbing coffee with a friend is one of my favorite pastimes. Good conversation over an even better coffee is the best! I’m a huge fan of locally owned coffee shops, so I always find myself recommending the Stumptown Coffee on E 8th downtown. I splurge and get the largest latte I can—iced or hot, depending on the season. The flavor is so strong! It’s a kick in the face. Otherwise, my typical go to is a cup, (or 2…or 3) of any flavored Keurig coffee in the OUP office. No match to Stumptown, but it does the job. I grew up in the south, so I like my coffee southern-style—lots of sugar and cream. Props to Mom and Dad for the sweet mug!”
Ryan Cury, Assistant Marketing Manager

P1000184

“Always opt for an espresso mid-afternoon for two equally important reasons. Firstly, it provides the boost I need to conquer the remains of the day and, secondly, it makes me feel like a giant when drinking.”
Dan Parker, Social Media Marketing Executive

single

“I enjoy a standard Americano with cold milk. Because: I can’t be done with faffy coffee.”
Kirsty Doole, Publicity Manager

P1000142

“Mine was a salted caramel mochaccino.”
Simon Thomas, Content Marketing Executive, Dictionaries

P1000180

“Mine was a lovely frothy milky latte – filling and delicious!”
Kate Farquhar-Thomson, Publicity Director

P1000178

“Decaf filter coffee, for those times when you think three coffees in three hours might be too much.”
Nicola Burton, Publicity Manager

freshpot-small

“Put that pungent brew to your lips and feel the satisfaction.”
Sam Blum, Publicity Assistant and member of the Fresh Pots Society

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5. The health benefits of cheese

By Michael H. Tunick


Lipids (fats and oils) have historically been thought to elevate weight and blood cholesterol and have therefore been considered to have a negative influence on the body. Foods such as full-fat milk and cheese have been avoided by many consumers for this reason. This attitude has been changing in recent years. Some authors are now claiming that consumption of unnecessary carbohydrates rather than fat is responsible for the epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Most people who do consume milk, cheese, and yogurt know that the calcium helps with bones and teeth, but studies have shown that consumption of cheese and other dairy products appears to be beneficial in many other ways. Remember that cheese is a concentrated form of milk. Milk is 87% water and when it is processed into cheese, the nutrients are increased by a factor of ten. The positive attributes of milk are even stronger in cheese. Here are some examples involving protein:

Some bioactive peptides in casein (the primary protein in cheese) inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme, which has been implicated in hypertension. Large studies have shown that dairy intake reduces blood pressure.

Cheese helps prevent tooth decay through a combination of bacterial inhibition and remineralization. Further, Lactoferrin, a minor milk protein found in cheese, has anticancer properties. It appears to keep cancer cells from proliferating.

Vitamins and minerals in cheese may not get enough credit. A meta-analysis of 16 studies showed that consumption of 200 g of cheese and other dairy products per day resulted in a 6% reduction of risk of T2DM, with a significant association between reduction of incidence of T2DM and intake of cheese, yogurt, and low-fat dairy products. Much of this may be due to vitamin K2, which is produced by bacteria in fermented dairy products.

Metabolic syndrome increases the risk for T2DM and heart disease, but research showed that the incidence of this syndrome decreased as dairy food consumption increased, a result that was associated with calcium intake.

Image Credit: State Library of South Australia via Creative Commons.

There is evidence that lipids in cheese are not unhealthy after all. Recent research has shown no connection between the intake of milk fat and the risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, or stroke. A meta-analysis of 76 studies concluded that the evidence does not clearly support guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats.

Participants in a study who ate cheese and other dairy products at least once per day scored significantly higher in several tests of cognitive function compared with those who rarely or never consumed dairy food. These results appear to be due to a combination of factors.

Seemingly, the opposite of what people believe about cheese turns out to be the truth. Studies involving thousands of people over a period of years revealed that a high intake of dairy fat was associated with a lower risk of developing central obesity and a low dairy fat intake was associated with a higher risk of central obesity. Higher consumption of cheese has been associated with higher HDL (“good cholesterol”) and lower LDL (“bad cholesterol”), total cholesterol, and triglycerides.

All-cause mortality showed a reduction associated with dairy food intake in a meta-analysis of five studies in England and Wales covering 509,000 deaths in 2008. The authors concluded that there was a large mismatch between evidence from long-term studies and perceptions of harm from dairy foods.

Yes, some people are allergic to protein in cheese and others are vegetarians who don’t touch dairy products on principle. Many people can’t digest lactose (milk sugar) very well, but aged cheese contains little of it and lactose-free cheese has been on the market for years. But cheese is quite healthy for most consumers. Moderation in food consumption is always the key: as long as you eat cheese in reasonable amounts, you ought to have no ill effects while reaping the benefits.

Michael Tunick is a research chemist with the Dairy and Functional Foods Research Unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. He is the author of The Science of Cheese. You can find out more things you never knew about cheese.

Chemistry Book Giveaway! In time for the 2014 American Chemical Society fall meeting and in honor of the publication of The Oxford Handbook of Food Fermentations, edited by Charles W. Bamforth and Robert E. Ward, Oxford University Press is running a paired giveaway with this new handbook and Charles Bamforth’s other must-read book, the third edition of Beer. The sweepstakes ends on Thursday, August 14th at 5:30 p.m. EST.

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Image credit: Hand milking a cow, by the State Library of Australia. CC-BY-2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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6. Apples and carrots count as well

vsi

By David A. Bender


The food pyramid shows fruits and vegetables as the second most important group of foods in terms of the amount to be eaten each day: 3-5 servings of vegetables and 2-4 servings of fruit. This, and the associated public health message to consume at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, is based on many years of nutritional research. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as many other potentially protective compounds, and low in fat (and especially saturated fat). There is excellent evidence from a great many epidemiological studies that people who consume 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day are less likely to suffer from atherosclerosis, heart disease, high blood pressure, and many cancers.

Figure 2

Things have changed in my local supermarket now, but until a year or so ago, the “five a day” message appeared above the aisles containing exotic (and expensive) fruits such as mangoes and papaya, but not those containing apples and pears, carrots and parsnips. Now, however, I find a more disturbing difference. If I buy a packet of tomatoes, there is nutritional information on the package, telling me what nutrients are present, and what percentage of my daily requirement a serving contains. Some packages also tell me how much of the produce will provide one of my five servings a day. By contrast, if I buy loose tomatoes there is no nutritional information available. Similarly, when I bought a pineapple last week there was a label around the neck of the fruit, not only telling me it was a pineapple (which I knew), but where it was grown and what nutrients it contained. The next shelf contained mangoes. These had only a small bar code label that would be decoded into a price at the checkout. Three onions in a string bag were labelled with nutrition information; loose onions were not.

All this suggests that I might be misled into believing that while packaged fruits and vegetables are a source of nutrients, loose produce that I select myself from the trays is free from nutrients. Of course, this is not so, but there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that many consumers do indeed believe that unpackaged fresh produce (and indeed unpackaged meat and fish from the counter) are not nutritious, since there is no associated labelling.

It is difficult to know what to do about this. It is not likely that shoppers would read a list of nutrition information on a poster above the loose produce – indeed, it would be very annoying if people were standing reading the posters above the produce that I wanted to select. It is annoying enough when someone blocks my access to the shelves by phoning home to ask whether we should have this or that for dinner tonight. One answer might be to expand the labels on loose fruits and vegetables to include a QR code that can be read into a smart phone. I notice that my pineapple label contains a QR code that will download recipes to use pineapple to my smart phone. Perhaps QR codes could be printed on the supermarket receipt – but that is long enough already, listing every item, how much I have saved by buying special offers and “twofers”, how many loyalty points I have earned to date, how many points I have donated to charity by using my own bags, etc.

Another trend is the marketing of some fruits and vegetables as superfoods, implying that they are in some way more nutritious than other produce. Of course, different fruits and vegetables do indeed differ in their nutrient content. Blackcurrants and acerola cherries are extremely rich sources of vitamin C, containing very much more than strawberries or apricots. However, this does not imbue them with “super” status as part of a mixed diet.

The concept of superfoods was developed in the USA in 2003-4 and was introduced in Britain by an article in the Daily Mail on 22 December 2005. Superfoods are just ordinary foods that are especially rich in nutrients or antioxidants and other potentially protective compounds, including polyunsaturated fatty acids and dietary fibre.

Scanning through a handful of websites thrown up by a Google search for “superfoods” gives the following list almonds, apples, avocado, baked beans, bananas, beetroot, blueberries, Brazil nuts, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cocoa, cranberries, flax seeds, garlic, ginger, kiwi, mango, olive oil, onions, oranges, peppers, pineapple, pumpkin, red grapes, salmon, soy, spinach, strawberries, sunflower seeds, sweet potato, tea, tomatoes, watercress, whole grain seeded bread, whole grains, wine, yoghurt.

There are very few surprises in this list (apart perhaps from the inclusion of wine as a superfood, although red wine is a rich source of antioxidants, and there is some, limited, evidence that modest alcohol consumption is beneficial). Most of these are foods that nutritionists and dietitians have talked about for years as being nutrient dense – i.e. they have a high content of vitamins and minerals. The nuts, seeds, and olive oil are an exception, but they are all good sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

The labelling and marketing of the foods as superfoods seems disingenuous (or a clever marketing strategy), but if such marketing leads people to eat more fruit and vegetables and reduce their saturated fat, salt and sugar intake then it can only help to reinforce the message that the nutrition and public health communities have been preaching for more than a quarter of a century.

David Bender graduated in Biochemistry from the University of Birmingham in 1968 and gained his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of London in 1971. From 1968 until his retirement in 2010 he was a member of academic staff of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, and then, following a merger, of University College London, teaching nutrition and biochemistry, mainly to medical students. He is Emeritus Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at University College London. He is the author of Nutrition: A Very Short Introduction.

The Very Short Introductions (VSI) series combines a small format with authoritative analysis and big ideas for hundreds of topic areas. Written by our expert authors, these books can change the way you think about the things that interest you and are the perfect introduction to subjects you previously knew nothing about. Grow your knowledge with OUPblog and the VSI series every Friday, subscribe to Very Short Introductions articles on the OUPblog via email or RSS, and like Very Short Introductions on Facebook.

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Image credit: The Food Pyramid, drawn by the author David Bender

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7. Tinderbox drenched in vodka: alcohol and revolution in Ukraine

By Mark Lawrence Schrad


If Ukraine is a volatile tinderbox of political instability, the situation in its Russian-speaking east is even more dangerous: a tinderbox drenched in vodka. Aspirations and allegiances aside, the most striking contrast between the pro-European protests on Kyiv’s Maidan square and the pro-Russian, anti-Maidan protests in the east is not simply that the latter tend to be armed and forcibly occupying government buildings (rather than protesting outside of them), but also that they have a higher likelihood of being drunk and disorderly, making the situation dramatically more volatile.

Especially amidst revolution, vodka and AK-47s don’t mix, especially in Russia and Ukraine.

Lost amidst all the talk of ethnic, linguistic, and cultural ties between Ukrainians and Russians at play in the Donbass area of southeastern Ukraine, the culture of alcoholism seems almost too cliche to garner mention; yet perhaps it explains all too well the different political trajectories in Ukraine’s east and west.

By Andreas Argirakis, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

By Andreas Argirakis, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Today, both Russia and Ukraine consistently rank atop of the world’s heaviest drinking nations. Unlike moderate wine- and beer-drinking countries, they also share a “traditional vodka drinking culture,” marked by heavy intoxication, binge drinking of hard liquor, and a general acceptance of the public drunkenness that results. These patterns are not hard-wired into the DNA of Russians or Ukrainians. Instead, they are the result of centuries of autocratic rule under the Russian empire and its Soviet successor, both of which used vodka to debauch society at the expense of the state. Unfortunately, the revolutionary experiences that both the Russians and Ukrainians shared as part of those empires—most notably in 1917 and 1991—were heavily influenced by alcohol, in conditions that bear eerie similarities to the present circumstances in Ukraine.

*   *   *

Already three years into total war, and suffering widespread desertions from the front, in early 1917 Tsar Nicholas II was rapidly losing control of his country. Hearing word that his military would no longer follow orders—which included firing on its own unarmed civilians protesting in the streets—Nicholas hurried from the front line back to Petrograd to reassert control. He never made it. His train was stopped by mutinous soldiers and railway workers, who forced the tsar’s abdication in the February Revolution of 1917.

With the police in hiding or defying orders, Petrograd mobs laid siege to police stations and government ministries. Armed gangs looted homes, shops, and liquor stores. Some commandeered motor cars—which they promptly crashed, since few knew how to drive, especially through a haze of pilfered vodka. Hundreds died, and thousands more were injured in the February Revolution, yet there was a sense that things could have been much worse, were it not for the tsar’s prohibition decree at the outset of the war. “If vodka could have been found in plenty, the revolution could easily have had a terrible ending.”

With the tsar gone, political power lay with a weak Provisional Government led by Aleksandr Kerensky, while de facto power lay with the self-organized councils of workers and soldiers who manned the streets. With more demoralizing drubbings at the front, continued economic chaos, and the inability to broadcast power much beyond the walls of the Winter Palace, by October 1917, virtually no one was willing to defend the Provisional Government against the growing power of Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks.

The night of 24-25 October 1917 was relatively quiet, as the Bolsheviks discreetly took control of strategic assets: government offices, train stations, and telegraph posts. The Winter Palace itself was stormed by a relatively small and disorganized group of revolutionaries, many of whom bypassed the priceless artworks and looted instead the imperial wine cellars. Loud pops punctuated the Petrograd night—more often champagne corks than gunfire—while the snows snows were stained red: not with blood, but with burgundy wine.

Understanding that vodka was the means by which the old capitalist order enriched itself while keeping the worker drunk and subservient, Lenin and the early Bolsheviks were steadfast prohibitionists. Their equation of alcohol with “counterrevolution” was only reinforced by a series of drunken riots and pogroms in the streets of the capitol, which threatened their own tenuous hold on power. “What would you have?” the exasperated People’s Commissar of Enlightenment, Anatoly Lunacharsky, told a reporter. “The whole of Petrograd is drunk!”

“The bourgeoisie perpetuates the most evil crimes,” Lenin wrote to Felix Dzerzhinsky in December 1917, “bribing the cast-offs and dregs of society, getting them drunk for pogroms.” Lenin ordered that Dzerzhinsky’s newly formed All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combatting Counterrevolution and Sabotage—the “Cheka”—confront the vodka threat by any means necessary. All alcohol stores were to become property of the state, bootleggers were to be shot on sight, and wine warehouses were to be blown up with dynamite. And they were.

“The very nearest future will be a period of heroic struggle with alcohol,” proclaimed Leon Trotsky, the firebrand ideologue and founder of the Red Army. “If we don’t stamp out alcoholism, then we will drink up socialism and drink up the October Revolution.” Red Guard and Cheka detachments sworn to be “sober and loyal to the revolution” fought pitched street battles against unruly mobs and drunken military detachment—with heavy casualties on both sides—not only in in Petrograd and Moscow, but Saratov, Tomsk, Nizhny Novgorod, and beyond. Russia paid a heavy price for its drunkenness and disorder in the throes of revolution. Other legacies were even more nefarious: Dzerzhinsky’s Cheka security force was subsequently rebranded the NKVD and later the KGB—the secret police force complicit in the darkest days of Soviet totalitarianism.

*   *   *

While prohibition in the Soviet Union died with Vladimir Lenin, the KGB and the Soviet dictatorship endured another seven decades. While 1989 saw the peaceful end of the Cold War and the euphoric toppling of the Berlin Wall, the communist autocracy lurched ahead for another two years in the Soviet Union itself. Amid economic chaos and political dissatisfaction, the liberation of the East European satellite states emboldened nationalists in the Soviet Baltic, Caucasus, Ukrainian, and even Russian republics. With pressures for national self-determination threatening to tear the Soviet Union apart, Mikhail Gorbachev proposed a new treaty that would remake the USSR into something of a confederation, bequeathing sovereignty to the autonomous national republics. For Soviet hardliners this was too much to bear.

On 19 August 1991—the day before the new treaty—a hard-line “State Emergency Committee” led by Vice President Gennady Yanayev staged a coup d’etat: imposing martial law and putting Gorbachev under house arrest at his Crimean retreat.

The previous night, both Yanayev and Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov had been out drinking with friends when they were summoned to the Kremlin by KGB chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov, who set the plan in motion. “Yanayev wavered and reached out for the bottle,” Gorbachev later wrote in his Memoirs. Along with the other conspirators, it is doubtful that Yanayev was sober at any time during the bungled three-day coup.

Co-conspirator Defense Minister Dmitry Yazov later confirmed that not only was Yanayev “quite drunk,” but so too were other plotters: KGB head Kryuchkov, Interior Minister Boris Pugo, and even Yazov himself. After chasing his blood pressure medications with alcohol, Prime Minister Pavlov had to be pulled unconscious from the bathroom. After that, “I saw him two or three times, and each time he was dead drunk,” Yazov testified. “I think he was doing this purposefully, to get out of the game.”

Drunk or not, the conspirators somehow forgot to neutralize their primary rival: the populist Boris Yeltsin, who’d just been elected president of the Russian republic—the largest and most important of the fifteen republics that constituted the USSR.

Yeltsin—whose own intemperance later became the stuff of legend—rallied his supporters at the legislature of the Russian Republic (the “White House”), where protesters were busy constructing protective barricades. Nonviolent protestors convinced the Soviet tank troops surrounding the White House to defect and instead defend Yeltsin and the Russian republic. In an iconic moment captured by the global news media, Yeltsin—defying threats of sniper fire—courageously clamored atop a tank turret to address the crowd, denouncing the coup and calling for a general strike. In those delicate moments when the whole country teetered on the brink of civil war, Yeltsin sternly rebuked offers of vodka, claiming “there was no time for a drink” at this moment of supreme crisis.

Yeltsin’s sober command stood in stark contrast to the coup leaders in the Kremlin—just a few miles to the east—where the irresolute putschists confronted a restive media at an ill-fated press conference. “A sniffling Gennady Yanayev, his face swollen by fatigue and alcohol, had a tough time fielding the combative questions,” recalled Russian history professor Donald J. Raleigh. “His trembling hands and quivering voice conveyed an image of impotence, mediocrity, and falsehood; he appeared a caricature of the quintessential, boozed-up Party functionary from the Brezhnev era.” That’s precisely who he was.

In the face of growing opposition and a military unwilling to follow orders, the coup collapsed on 21 August. Rather than surrender to the police, Interior Minister Pugo chose to shoot his wife before turning the gun on himself. Others sought refuge in the bottle: Prime Minister Pavlov was drunk when the authorities came to arrest him, “but this was no simple intoxication,” attested Kremlin physician Dmitry Sakharov, “He was at the point of hysteria.” When the incoherent Yanayev was carried out of his Kremlin office—its floor strewn with empty bottles—he was too drunk to even recognize his one-time comrades who had come to arrest him. Hours later, when President Gorbachev returned safely to Moscow, he’d effectively landed in a different country. Thanks to Yeltsin’s leadership in bringing down the hardline coup, legitimacy lay with Russia and the other union republics rather than Gorbachev’s USSR. The subsequent legal dissolution of the Soviet Union was only a formality.

*   *   *

What does this drunken history lesson have to do with the ongoing crisis in Ukraine? Quite a bit, actually. Both 1917 and 1991 demonstrate how political protests instantly become more complex and dangerous when mixed with a culture of extreme inebriation and general apathy toward public drunkenness. Moreover, given their shared imperial/Soviet cultural inheritance (including alcohol abuse) Ukraine is only slightly less immune from these revolutionary dynamics than is Russia.

While much ado has been made of Ukraine’s (arguably overblown) ethnic and linguistic divisions between the pro-EU, Ukrainian west and the pro-Russian east; there are palpable demographic divisions between east and west Ukraine. While on the whole, Ukraine’s health indices are lower than its European neighbors, the demographic situation deteriorates as you move from west to east across the country. Ukraine’s western provinces—which spent less time under the sway of the Russian/Soviet empires—generally have higher rates of fertility, lower rates of mortality, and higher average life expectancy than those eastern regions that have longer history of Russian domination. Perhaps not surprisingly, the eastern Donbass regions exhibiting the highest mortality and lowest life expectancy are also by far the hardest-drinking regions of an already hard-drinking nation, with cultural acceptance of inebriation most aligned with the Russian “norm” to their east. It may be only a rough approximation, but the further east you go in Ukraine, the more dangerous this revolutionary stage becomes.

So is it any surprise that—in Ukraine’s ongoing struggles between east and west—we should see different approaches to vodka, and the potential for destabilization that it presents first in Kyiv, then in Donetsk?

For context: in 2004, a horribly rigged election favoring the pro-Russian, Donetsk-based Viktor Yanukovych prompted a backlash of popular opposition, which culminated with massive protests on Kyiv’s Independence Square, or Maidan Nezalezhnosti. Building an encampment on the Maidan, the nonviolent protesters—often in excess of 100,000—endured the brutal winter to rally for free elections. Relenting to the popular demands of this so-called “Orange Revolution,” new elections swept in triumphant, pro-European factions. Unfortunately for Ukraine’s lackluster economy, these once allied political factions squabbled and split, while succumbing to Ukraine’s chronic corruption. The split in the pro-European bloc opened the door for the once-vanquished Yanukovych to emerge victorious in the freely-contested presidential election of 2010.

While in the long term the Orange Revolution may have ended in failure, in the short term, it provided perhaps the best exemplar of an effective, nonviolent, post-Soviet political protest, not the least because alcohol was explicitly forbidden in the sprawling tent cities as a bulwark against the easily foreseen drunken disturbances that were sure to result.

When the pro-European protesters again took to the Maidan against Yanukovych’s corrupt presidency in November 2013, their self-organized security forces put a premium on maintaining tranquility through sobriety. “If someone is drunk, he is out of here,” explained Evgeni Dudchenko, a security volunteer on the square, “Alcohol is forbidden here, and we don’t need any hooligans.”

That the Euromaidan protests—like those a decade earlier—remained peaceful for as long as they did can partly be attributed to this enforced sobriety. Even when the movement turned violent in the face of ever-tighter government crackdowns, culminating in the indefensible slaughter of civilian protesters by government gunmen on 22 February, there is a sense that—as with Russia’s February of 1917—Ukraine’s February Revolution could have been much, much worse. A mob of inebriate protesters meeting a drunken security battalion armed to the teeth could have multiplied the carnage many times over.

Following the government’s spilling the blood if its own people on that fateful day, the Ukrainian parliament impeached President Yanukovych, who by that time had already fled the country. Filling the leadership void in Kyiv was a weak interim government that is effectively unable to broadcast political power across the country, as evidenced by Russia’s subsequent non-invasion invasion of Crimea, and the destabilization of the Donbass and the Russian-speaking east.

Even after Yanukovych had been toppled and the regime’s police and military forces had melted away, the major confrontations—and even shootouts—between competing, armed Maidan factions had their roots in drunken disagreements. Still, at the very least, in the midst of a potentially revolutionary situation, the protesters on the Maidan acknowledged, confronted, and mitigated the potential destabilization from vodka, making the protests there far less dangerous than they could have been.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the more recent armed occupations in Ukraine’s heavy-drinking Donbass region that constitute the “anti-Maidan” movement. Beginning 6 April 2014 in the eastern cities of Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Luhansk, small numbers of violent activists—armed with everything from homemade clubs to firearms—clashed with local police, stormed and occupied regional administration buildings and other strategic installations, demanding greater political autonomy from Kyiv, and in some cases outright annexation by Russia in a repeat of the scenario in Crimea.

These protests differed not only in terms of aims and means, but also temperament. In Kharkiv, local residents complained that the protesters were not local, but rather that they were drunken hooligans dispatched from Russia to infiltrate and destabilize their town and intimidate their residents. Ukrainian special forces succeeded in clearing the separatists there, but not before they vandalized and torched the place, leaving behind a mess of garbage and empty liquor bottles. Yet the most noteworthy confrontations came further south in Donetsk—the former stronghold of ousted president Yanukovych.

In Donetsk, violent protesters fought their way into the local administration building, and displaced the Ukrainian flag with the black, blue and red tricolor of their newly declared “People’s Republic of Donetsk.” In a scene eerily reminiscent of the accounts of the drunken State Emergency Committee back in 1991, the organizers of this self-proclaimed mini-state in Donetsk appear to have done so while staggeringly drunk.

From the first clashes with police outside the building, many in the pro-Russian mob were drunk, in stark contrast to the sobriety of the Maidan. The party, it seems, continued once the separatists occupied the building, where thirty protesters were found completely drunk, and empty bottles of vodka, whisky, and tequila littered the stairways to the meeting rooms where the independent Donets Republic was proclaimed.

Manning the barricades outside the occupied Donetsk City Hall: armed protesters wandered freely, “while people lit fires in the street and drank beer and vodka.” Both outside the building and within, secessionists accosted the media while visibly drunk.

In his series of incredible reports from the region, Vice News reporter Simon Ostrovsky noted that at the beginning of “day two of the People’s Republic of Donetsk, it smells like there’s been a huge frat party here.” In something of a throwback to the press conference of the shaky State Emergency Committee, Ostrovsky then interviewed the leader of the Donetsk “Coordination Council” Vadim Chernyakov, who slurred through his speech, visibly hung over and slurring his speech—even admitting as much,  apologizing for his “headache” as his eyes rolled back in his head.

It didn’t take long for the separatists to re-learn the historical lesson that alcohol and guns don’t mix in a revolutionary scenario: after recovering from their hangovers, the leadership decreed that the defenders of the building should dump all of their vodka and “follow a prohibition law” to maintain some semblance of order in such tumultuous times.

Still, in dispelling the false equivalence between the Maidan and anti-Maidan forces, the cultural context cannot be overlooked. “Unlike the pro-Europe protest movement in Kiev,” reports the New York Times, “the stirrings in Donetsk have so far attracted little support from the middle class and seem dominated by pensioners nostalgic for the Soviet Union and angry, and often drunk, young men.”

Whether or not discipline holds in Donetsk and throughout the Ukrainian east is yet to be seen, as Kyiv tries—in fits and starts—to reassert control over violent Russian-minded secessionists and local pro-autonomy protesters. Yet the task of all sides looking to bring stability to the region is made infinitely more difficult by the unpredictability generated by the region’s alcoholic inheritance. Recent events have demonstrated as much, as Vasily Krutov—the head of Kyiv’s counter-terrorism operation in the Donetsk region—was almost torn apart by a mob of Kramatorsk locals, some who were visibly intoxicated. Even more troubling—in one of his last dispatches before being kidnapped by the pro-Russian separatists in Slovyansk—Ostrovsky chronicled how a handful of the most drunken and agitated anti-Maidan protesters stumbled onto the Kramatorsk airbase, manned by heavily armed and understandably jittery soldiers. Such drunken provocation could easily have ended in tragedy—one that could have provoked even greater backlash locally, and even a pretext for greater Russian intervention in Ukraine.

The lamentable reality is that—in such times of revolutionary change and political crisis—we overlook that “cliche” of vodka only at our own peril.

Mark Lawrence Schrad is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Villanova University and author of Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy, and the Secret History of the Russian State.

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8. 18 facts you never knew about cheese

Have you often lain awake at night, wishing that you knew more about cheese? Fear not! Your prayers have been answered; below you will find 18 of the most delicious cheese facts, all taken from Michael Tunick’s recent book The Science of Cheese. Prepare to be the envy of everyone at your next dinner party – just try not to be too “cheesy”. Bon Appétit!

800px-Weichkaese_SoftCheese

  1. The world’s most expensive cheese comes from a Swedish moose farm and the cheese sells for £300 a pound.
  2. You can’t make cheese entirely from human milk since it won’t coagulate properly.
  3. The largest cheese ever made was a Cheddar weighing 56,850 pounds, in 1989.
  4. 97% of British people are ‘Lactose Persistent’ and are the most lactose tolerant population in the world.
  5. Genuine Flor de Guia cheese must be made in the Canary Islands by women, otherwise it won’t be considered the genuine article.
  6. The expression “cheesy” used to mean first-rate, but sarcastic use of the word has caused it to mean the opposite.
  7. The bacteria used for smear-ripened cheeses are closely related to the bacteria that generates sweaty feet odour.
  8. Cheese as we know it today was (accidentally) discovered over 8,000 years ago when milk separated into curds and whey.
  9. Edam was used as cannonballs (and killed two soldiers) in a battle between Montevideo and Buenos Aires in 1841.
  10. An odour found in tomcat urine is considered desirable in Cheddar.
  11. Each American adult consumes an average of 33 pounds of cheese each year.
  12. Descriptions of the defects in the eyes of Swiss-type cheeses include the terms “blowhole” and “frogmouth”.
  13. There are over 1,265,000 dairy cows in the US state of Wisconsin alone.
  14. A northern Italian bank uses Parmesan as loan collateral.
  15. Sardinia’s Cazu Marzu, which means ‘rotten cheese’, is safe to eat only if it contains live maggots.
  16. Cheese consumption in the United Kingdom is at a measly 24.0 pounds per capita.
  17. This cheese consumption isn’t even close to Greece who lead the way with a whopping 68.4 pounds per capita.
  18. Dmitri Mendeleev was a consultant on artisanal cheese production while he was also inventing the periodic table of the elements.

All of these cheese facts are taken from The Science of Cheese. The Science of Cheese is an engaging tour of the science and history of cheese, and the only book to discuss the actual chemistry, biology, and physics of cheese making. Author Michael Tunick is a research chemist with the Dairy and Functional Foods Research Unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service.

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Image credit: Weichkaese Soft Cheese. Photo by Eva K. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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9. Is coffee the greatest addiction ever?

Some of you may know that today is National Coffee Day. I've, personally, been trying to ignore the free/discounted offers around New York City since I'm trying to cut back, and decided to distract myself by putting together this quick video post about coffee and caffeine. Now, I would be reimiss if I did not first mention the fantastic book Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine by Stephen Braun. This is a

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10. Everything you ever wanted to know about Prohibition

Prohibition, or “the Noble Experiment,” refers to the period between 1919 and 1933 when the sale, manufacture, and distribution of alcohol were illegal in the United States. Although it may have lasted only 14 years, Prohibition was the culmination of decades of protest and lobbying and has ramifications that are still felt today. It remains the focal point of the ongoing debate surrounding the potential dangers and benefits of alcohol and people’s right to drink as they please.

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11. The phonetic taste of coffee

By Anatoly Liberman

All sources inform us about the Arabic-Turkish home of the word coffee, though in the European languages some forms were taken over directly from Arabic, so that the etymological part of the relevant entry in dictionaries and encyclopedias needs modification.  There is a possibility of coffee being connected with the name of the kingdom of Kaffa, but this question need not bother us at the moment.  The main puzzle is the development of the form coffee rather than its distant origin.  The OED is, as always, helpful, but particularly instructive is the array of variants found in a book with the funny title Hobson-Jobson.  Far from being a book of humor, it is a wonderful dictionary of Anglo-Indian words.  In its pages we find recollections about a very good drink called Chaube (1573), Caova (1580), cohoo (1609) and, surprisingly for such an early date, coffee (also 1609), cahue (1615), coho, and copha (1628).  The route to Europe is supposed to be from Arabic quahwa via Turkish kahveh.  Later coffee became the standard form in English.  But, as we can see, there was no real progression: in 1609 some people said cohoo, while others already knew coffee.  The cause may be that the Arabic and the Persian pronunciations competed, one being prevalent on the coast of Arabia, the other in the mercantile towns.  The writers quoted above were mainly English, Dutch, French, and Italian.  All of them recorded the foreign word according to their speech habits, though some may have repeated what they had heard from their countrymen.  (Incidentally, the transliteration of the Turkish word as kahveh and the Arabic as qahwah may not be quite right, for the so-called round gaf of the Turkish word, as this consonant is known among the Anglo-Indians, sounds very much like Arabic q.  I would be grateful to specialists for either corroborating or refuting this statement.  Perhaps there are dialectal differences of which I am unaware.)

Several researchers wondered how hw could become f.  This, I think, is less of an enigma than many people think.  The opposite change of f to hv (with a guttural h, that is, kh, approximately as in German ach and Dutch Schipol) often occurs in non-standard Russian.  At one time, the consonant f was alien to it, and names like Filip (stress on the second syllable) turned into Khvilip.  The same substitution still happens in Russian dialects.  To produce the consonant f, one needs a passage of air (otherwise, the result will be p) and active lips (or at least an active lower lip).  The group hv satisfies both conditions, except that breath and the lips participate in its production consecutively instead of concurrently, as happens in f.  Since, as a general rule, seventeenth-century Europeans could not pronounce hw or hv, they combined both elements of articulation in one sound and ended up with f.  Its voiced partner v fits the situation even better, and we should applaud the man who wrote caovaChaube (that is, khaube) is a close relative of caova, because b is also a labial sound. Some speakers were lazy and left out w altogether; hence cohoo and its likes.  For comparison, one may cite Finnish kahvi and Polish kawa.

The vowels give us grief too.  Both Arabic and Turkish have a in the first syllable, while the English word has o.  The Dutch for coffee is also koffie, as opposed, for instance, to German K

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12. We also give thanks for beer

OUP’s Online Marketing Manager Stephanie Porter reflects on the beers to accompany her Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving is all about tradition, and if you are like my family, your dinner will probably be served with wine. But having recently spent some time with The Oxford Companion to Beer and its Editor-in-Chief Garrett Oliver, I am thinking about adding a little twist to the end of the meal.

“Dessert, often thought of as the province of sweet wine, is actually usually better with beer. The maxim in wine—that the wine must be at least as sweet as the dessert—does not hold force with beer. In fact, it is the relief of sweetness from the palate that is the key to success. After a few forkfuls, the palate is overwhelmed by the sugar in most desserts. That is one reason why coffee often seems so pleasant with dessert; it is not nearly as sweet as the dessert.”

So after the turkey has been carved, eaten, and relocated to the fridge for tomorrow’s sandwiches, I will be breaking out a few choice beers to serve alongside my cousin’s famous French silk pie. Here are a few easy suggestions for incorporating a delicious brew into your Thanksgiving dinner. According to The New Republic reviewer Alexander Nazaryan, it might be almost as American as apple pie.

Pour a coffee flavored stout with your pecan pie:

Not to suggest that you have to forgo the coffee altogether, but my mouth starts to water just thinking about this pairing.

“Bigger beers with some caramel or roasted character tend to do best. With a chocolate tart, for example, we can pair a coffeeish, chocolaty imperial stout. In this pairing, we have both contrast and harmony—the
roasted malts match the chocolate, whereas the beer cleanses the palate of sweetness; the dessert can come back tasting fresh.”

I would aim for something with rich flavor, but that isn’t too heavy. I might go for two of my all-time favorite beers, Full Sail Session Black or Köstritzer Schwarzbier. But any of the beers listed in this link—Great Brewer’s Beers with a coffee flare—(or in your grocer’s isle) could have a similarly great effect.

Swap a Pumpkin Ale for your Pumpkin Pie:

As full as I am after a big meal, it just wouldn’t feel like Thanksgiving without a little something sweet to finish it all off. And since pumpkin ale is an American original, it seems even more fitting.

“As a general rule, pumpkin ale has an orange to amber color, a biscuit-like malt aroma, and a warming pumpkin aroma. Modern pumpkin ales are almost always made with “pumpkin pie spices,” which usually include cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and sometimes vanilla and ginger. The finish tends to be dry because of many fermentable sugars derived from the pumpkin.”

Pumpkin ale has seems like it has secured its place in bars and bottles across the country, so you should have no trouble picking up this new classic. I love the light flavor of Brooklyn’ Brewery’s Post Road Pumpkin Ale, but as this would be in lieu of pumpkin pie, I might go for something with even more pie-like goodness like Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale. Check out Draft Magazine’s Pumpkin picks, too.

Pour a rich barrel-aged beer over vanilla ice cream:

This pairing is all about pleasant contrast. Concurrent with the flavor of the wood itself may be the flavor of whatever beverage the barrel h

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13. Hosting a holiday party with special guest Christmas ale

Oxford staffers Stephanie Porter, Tara Kennedy, and Lana Goldsmith are here to show you how to pair beer with cheer as we enter the holiday season.  Below is the first of our posts that will be featured every Thursday this month.

Now that the calendar has turned the page to December, holiday season is in full swing. Aside from the lights and decorations flooding streets and buildings everywhere, this is the season of holiday parties! We will be celebrating The Oxford Companion to Beer through the month of December, and to kick off the month, we are turning our attention to hosting a holiday beer tasting.

First, a brief overview of the season’s beer history about the special brews available this season from contributor Chris J. Marchbanks.

Christmas ales is a catch-all descriptive phrase given to special beers made for Christmas and New Year celebrations, often with a high alcohol content 5.5%–14% ABV and marked by the inclusion of dark flavored malts, spices, herbs, and fruits in the recipe. A medieval instance of a Christmas ale was called “lambswool”—made with roasted apples, nutmegs, ginger, and sugar (honey)—so-called because of the froth floating on the surface. Today’s versions tend to be based on old ale, strong ale, and barley wine recipes, using cinnamon, cumin, orange, lemon, coriander, honey, etc. to create a warming, dark, and luscious festive beer. See old ales and barley wine. This tradition is closely related with the “wassail”, a mulled wine, beer, or cider usually consumed while caroling or gathering for the Christmas season. Most country breweries produce a Christmas or seasonal ale, some with long histories—notably in Belgium, England, Scandinavia, and the United States—which are usually matured for many months. There is no fixed recipe for these special ales as it is an opportunity for the brewer to expand boundaries and explore new tasty ingredients for Christmas, as the brewer’s gift to yuletide. The category includes some of the strongest beers brewed in the world including Samiclaus, which is a rich, aged Doppelbock with 14% ABV, originally brewed by Hurlimann in Switzerland but now in Austria at the Eggenberg Brewery. In the United States, Christmas Ale at Anchor Brewing (also known as “Our Special Ale”) contains a different blend of spices every year and helped spawn an interest in Christmas ales in the early days of the craft beer movement.

Since beer can have a cornucopia of flavors in every glass, you and your guests talk about the subtleties of each different beer. I might play a matching game where everyone writes down what they taste, and then the host can read the flavors from the label; or steam the labels off and have each person guess which label goes with which beer based on design. Either way, you will want to know how to create the perfect pour, and luckily, we know just the man to show you.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Now that you have the pour down, what can you serve your beer in? It turns out that beer glassware has a long history, and the glass you serve it in matters. Take a quick tour of some of the elaborate glasses beer used to be served in, and grab some ideas of what will best suit your chosen suds.

Click here to view the embedded video.

You may not be an expert, but you are definitely ready to pepper your guests with a little beer wisdom. So have fun, b

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14. Another lesson from Garrett Oliver: rice in beer

Rice is not the first thing that comes to mind when you are drinking a nice, cold beer. And if you’re a beer connoisseur, even less so. For many years, it has been considered to be an affront to the institution of craft beer making to use rice. However, some beer makers are toying with the use of rice in beer again as homage to the practices that occurred before the Prohibition. This counterculture attitude reflects how beer brewers are looking to the past to evolve current drinkers’ palates. The following excerpt from the The Oxford Companion to Beer goes into detail on exactly how rice is used. Enjoy! — Nathalie

Anheuser-Busch is the largest single buyer of rice in the United States. Budweiser beer is brewed with rice making up a large portion of the grist.

[...]

It is commonly held, at least among craft brewers, that the use of rice in beer is to be abhorred. To quote Maureen Ogle, from an article in the LA Times, “Rice is considered by many brewers to be what the nasty, industrialized brewers use to water down their beer” and “craft brewers treat rice almost as if it were rat poison.” The article goes on to state that rice lowers the body, flavor and color of beers made with elevated rice adjunct levels, which seems rather to reinforce the notion.

In fact, German brewers arrived in America to find that it was difficult to make good beer using the high-protein, six-row barleys available in the United States at the time. Looking for ways to dilute the malt, they began to use rice and corn. The end result bears little resemblance to good German or Czech lagers but their customers enjoyed this form of beer and millions of people still do. Although rice may once have been a cheap alternative to barley malt, it no longer is. Sharply rising prices have resulted in much higher material costs for brewers employing rice in their mashes.

Interestingly, despite the assertions by many American craft brewers and beer enthusiasts that rice is anathema, some craft brewers are experimenting with production of “pre-Prohibition” lagers that mimic the beers made in the United States in the late 1800s. These are relatively highly hopped but are very light bodied, the result of the use of up to 20% rice in the mash. Other craft brewers are experimenting with the use of specialized rice types that actually add interesting flavors to the beers.

View more about this book on the

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15. Coffee or tea?

By Anatoly Liberman


It’s tea now.  Once again I have little to add to what anyone can find in the OED and other easily available sources, though it will be a pleasure to continue singing praises to Hobson Jobson, and there is a redeeming quality to this post: at the end I’ll say something about tea caddy.  But first here are three quotations.  “That excellent and by all physicians approved China drink called by the Chineans Tcha, and by other nations tay, alias tee, is sold at the Sultana Head Coffee House, London.” (Mercurius Politicus, Sept. 30, 1658; The Century Dictionary).  “I remember well how in 1681 I for the first time in my life drank thee at the house of an Indian chaplain, and how I could not understand how sensible men could think it a treat to drink what tasted no better than hay-water” (1726), and finally, “There is among our people, and particularly among the womankind a great abuse of Thee, not only that too much is drunk…but this is also an evil custom to drink it with a full stomach; it is better and more wholesome to make use of it when the process of digestion is pretty well finished…. It is also a great folly to use sugar candy with Thee” (1672; the last two quotations are from Hobson Jobson).  In 1545 Chiai was said “to remove fever, headache, stomach-ache, pain in the side or joints,” and many other ailments, including gout.  I remember reading similar nineteenth-century ads, except that they recommended cigars for alleviating pain and clearing the lungs.

It will be seen that the main question about tea is the same as about coffee, namely: How did the form tea conquer its numerous rivals?  And the rivals were indeed many, though they can be divided into two groups: those beginning with ch- and sounding cha, chai, and the like, and those beginning with t- and spelled tee, tea, thee, etc.  Both variants are still known in the European languages: for example, English has tea (like Malay te), while Russian has chai (like Chinese Mandarin chha, according to one system of transliteration), homophonous with the first syllable of the word China.  In this case, the Malay may have been an intermediary between China and the rest of the world, but the word’s source is Chinese, for, as Hobson Jobson explains, “te [is] the utterance attached to the character in the Fuh-kien dialect.”  Knowing nothing about Chinese, I can only repeat what specialists say, and they seem to be unanimous in explaining the origin of the two variants.

The numerous forms of coffee (see them in the post for November 23) show that there was no progression in the development of the English name of this beverage.  We only witnessed different episodes in the history of its adaptation—a usual process in the fortunes of exotic articles of trade, plant and animal names, and so forth.  The same holds for tea.  Different forms coexisted, were affected by the pronunciation and spelling of the word in other languages (in English, Dutch and French influence has to be reckoned with), and at long last one such form became standard.  The state of “peaceful coexistence” is testified to by the first of the three quotations given at the beginning of this post and by an almost identical ad in The Gazette, which, also in 1658, advertised a China drink, “called by the Chinese Toha, by other nations Tay, alias Tee.”  Apparently, the norm had not yet solidified.  In 1711 Alexander Pope rhymed tea with obey.  In 1720 the rhyme tea / pay occurred.  In 1770 Samuel Johnson extemporized the verses in which tea was coupled in rhyme with me

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16. The food and drink we’re wishing for this holiday season

By Lana Goldsmith, OUP USA


This year we are delighted that beer geeks, foodies, industry professionals, and many others just curious about all-things-beer have added The Oxford Companion to Beer to their holiday wish list, along with other Oxford companions such as The Oxford Companion to Wine and The Oxford Companion to Food. But we also wanted to know what else the beer connoisseurs and oenophiles are putting on their holiday reading wish lists. Check out some of their recommendations below.

Bob Townsend from the Atlanta Journal Constitutions Drink: A Beer, Wine, and Spirits blog recommends these books:

- Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah by Jeremy Cowan with James Sullivan

- Brewed Awakening: Behind the Beers and Brewers Leading the World’s Craft Brewing Revolution by Joshua M. Bernstein

- The Great American Ale Trail: the Craft Beer Lover’s Guide to the Best Watering Holes in the Nation by Christian DeBenedetti

Jon Bonné at the San Francisco Chronicle recommends:

- Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All by Brad Thomas Parsons

- Terry Theise’s Reading Between the Vines

According to Esquire.com:

- “The New Beer Bibles a Man Should Read” include The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. by written by Greg Koch, Steve Wagner and Randy Clemens

But what do the book people want in their kitchen? What are they hoping to drink and eat through the holiday season? We took a survey and put together a list from OUP staff of all the things they’d like to go along with this stellar set of books.

JENNIFER ABRAMS, Senior Demand Planner
Le Creuset Signature Round Wide Dutch Oven:
This item from Le Creuset would be a perfect addition to my current cookware collection. I have a new love of making Jambalaya and this would be a wonderful pot to utilize!

All-Clad d5 Stainless-Steel 4-Qt Soup Pot:
I have recently found a great recipe for Wild Mushroom soup, and I’m looking to change over my cookware to stainless-steel. A soup pot would encourage me to find additional recipes.

TIM BARTON, Managing Director, Global Academic Publishing
A bottle of Barbera from Piemonte in Italy, since it reminds me of a fantastic year I spent there after university, teaching E

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17. Life in a brewery

What kind of crazy things happen at a brewery bar? What is some of the interesting stuff you can do with beer? What’s proper beer etiquette? If you don’t like beer, what beer should you try? How do you become a brewer? How do you break into the brewing industry?

Interviews with the Eric Peck, Brooklyn Brewery Tour Guide and Bartender, and Tom Price, Brooklyn Brewery Brewer and Lab Manager, reveal life inside a brewery. Editor-in-Chief of The Oxford Companion to Beer, Garrett Oliver is brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery and is the foremost authority on beer in the United States.

Interview with the Brooklyn Brewery Bartender

Click here to view the embedded video.

Interview with a Beer Brewer and Lab Manager

Click here to view the embedded video.

Garrett Oliver, editor of The Oxford Companion to Beer, is the Brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery and author of The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food. He has won many awards for his beers, is a frequent judge for international beer competitions, and has made numerous radio and television appearances as a spokesperson for craft brewing.

The Oxford Companion to Beer is the first major reference work to investigate the history and vast scope of beer, featuring more than 1,100 A-Z entries written by 166 of the world’s most prominent beer experts. It is first place winner of the 2012 Gourmand Award for Best in the World in the Beer category, winner of the 2011 André Simon Book Award in the Drinks Category, and shortlisted in Food and Travel for Book of the Year in the Drinks Category. View previous Oxford Companion to Beer blog posts and videos.

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18. Kosher beers for Hanukkah

By Garrett Oliver


I always knew that my family was a little different, but it wasn’t until my mid-teens that I realized exactly how weird we were. An African-American family living in the suburban greenery of Hollis, Queens, at the outskirts of New York City, we thought little of the fact that my father’s big hobby was hunting game birds. With dogs, no less. Often on horseback. Around the holidays, my Aunt Emma made wonderful chopped liver, and in the springtime, our table was often festooned with matzoh bread. It never occurred to us that these last two items were Jewish food traditions that rarely made forays into our community, and to this day, none of us are sure how they got there.

In a way, I think that this sort of culinary experience is at the heart of being an American, and as I travel the world, it’s one of the things that makes me proud of this country. As I prepare for Hanukkah celebrations with friends, I’m glad to say that beer is very much at the heart of the holiday meals. Some of my friends keep kosher, and many do not, but thankfully most beers are considered “kosher by default” in most parts of the world. Jewish dietary laws, kashrut, is interpreted by local councils of rabbis. In the United States, Canada and Israel, some people only eat foods that are specifically certified as kosher by rabbis, especially around Passover. At my brewery, we actually have some of our beers certified kosher for Passover, and a rabbi comes and blesses the beer!

Unless your own diet is very strict, there are very few beers that would ever cross your table that are off-limits, so you can tuck right into your holiday beer pairings. It’s nice to start off the meal with light, spritzy saisons, the farmhouse ales of Belgium. They’re dry and lively, and often show appetizing peppery and lemony aromatics. Re-fermentation in the bottle gives them a Champagne-like carbonation and texture, which is one reason why we often drink them out of Champagne flutes. Full-flavored beers can work wonders with the classics on the table, especially beef brisket and latkes. Both of these dishes are fatty, a little salty, and typified by caramelized flavors (no wonder we love them!), and beers with caramel and roasted flavors work well here. British and American brown ales are a good place to start, bringing light chocolate, caramel and coffee flavors that harmonize with everything, even sautéed Brussels sprouts. If you want something more complex, go for dark Trappist and abbey ales, where the dark color and caramel flavors come from highly caramelized sugars rather than grains. This translates into dried fruit and raisin-like flavors, along with rum-like flavors that remind me of Cracker Jacks or the burnt surface of a crème brulee.

When it’s time for dessert, beer really does outshine all other beverages. My favorite dessert beer style is imperial stout, a strong dark beer originally made for Catherine the Great. Brewed with large amounts of malts that have been roasted as dark as espresso coffee beans, imperial stouts taste like dark chocolate, coffee and dark fruit, making them a perfect foil for a range of desserts. With chocolate desserts, they play harmony, rowing in with similar flavors. With pastries such as rugelach, the coffee-like character is perfect, and the beer has just enough sweetness to match without becoming cloying. And these beers are a wonder with ice cream too — many people enjoy making ice cream floats with imperial stouts. Just make sure to have a soft-drink version ready for the kids!

The great thing about serving and bringing beer to the holiday table is that it’s fun. Everyone’s had one at some point or another, and though wine is great and has a wide range of flavor, it rarely surprises people. Beer, however, can be very surprising, because it can tastes like almost anything, from lemons and bananas to chocolate and coffee. Some friends and family might even leave your holiday table having discovered something brand new to like, and wouldn’t that be cool? This time of year I can’t help wishing that my Aunt Emma was still here; I’ll bet that Belgian abbey ales would have been great with her chopped liver, but I never learned how to make it. So among the other things you do this Hanukkah, teach the kids how to make your latkes! Though I’ll bet they’re not quite as good as mine.

Garrett Oliver, editor of The Oxford Companion to Beer, is the Brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery and author of The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food. He has won many awards for his beers, is a frequent judge for international beer competitions, and has made numerous radio and television appearances as a spokesperson for craft brewing.

The Oxford Companion to Beer is the first major reference work to investigate the history and vast scope of beer, featuring more than 1,100 A-Z entries written by 166 of the world’s most prominent beer experts. It is first place winner of the 2012 Gourmand Award for Best in the World in the Beer category, winner of the 2011 André Simon Book Award in the Drinks Category, and shortlisted in Food and Travel for Book of the Year in the Drinks Category. View previous Oxford Companion to Beer blog posts and videos.

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Image credit: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout via Brooklyn Brewery.

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19. Roast Goose, the Mrs Beeton way

With Christmas approaching, we are looking towards the food we’ll share on the day itself. If you’re looking for ideas, who better to consult that Mrs Isabella Beeton herself, who authored the seminal Household Management at just 22 years old. Below is her sage advice on that classic Christmas meat, roast goose.

Ingredients:
Goose
4 large onions
10 sage-leaves
¼ lb. of bread crumbs
1 ½ oz. of butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg

Choosing and Trussing
Select a goose with a clean white skin, plump breast, and yellow feet: if these latter are red, the bird is old. Should the weather permit, let it hang for a few days: by so doing, the flavour will be very much improved. Pluck, singe, draw, and carefully wash and wipe the goose; cut off the neck close to the back, leaving the skin long enough to turn over; cut off the feet at the first joint, and separate the pinions at the first joint. Beat the breast-bone flat with a rolling-pin, put a skewer though the under part of each wing, and having drawn up the legs closely, put a skewer into the middle of each, and pass the same quite through the body. Insert another skewer into the small of the leg, bring it close down to the side bone, run it through, and do the same to the other side. Now cut off the end of the vent, and make a hole in the skin sufficiently large for the passage of the rump, in order to keep in the seasoning.

Mode
Make a sage-and-onion stuffing of the above ingredients; put it into the body of the goose, and secure it firmly at both ends, by passing the rump through the hole made in the skin, and the other end by tying the skin of the neck to  the back; by this means the seasoning will not escape. Put it down to a brisk fire, keep it well basted, and roast from 1 ½ to 2 hours, according to the size. Remove the skewers, and serve with a tureen of good gravy, and one of well-made apple-sauce. Should a very highly-flavoured seasoning be preferred, the onions should not be parboiled, but minced raw: of the two methods, the mild seasoning in far superior. A ragout, or pie, should be made of the giblets, or they may be stewed down to make gravy. Be careful to serve the goose before the breast falls, or its appearance will be spoiled by coming flattened to the table. As this is rather a troublesome joint to carve, a large quantity of gravy should not be poured round the goose, but sent in a tureen.

Time – A large goose, 1 ¾ hour; a moderate-sized one, 1 ¼ hour to 1 ½ hour.

Seasonable from September to March; but in perfection from Michaelmas to Christmas.

Average cost, 5s. 6d. each. Sufficient for 8 or 9 persons.

Note
A teaspoon of made mustard, a saltspoonful of salt, a few grains of cayenne, mixed with a glass of port wine, are sometimes poured into the goose by a slit made in the apron. This sauce is, by many persons, considered an improvement.

Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management is a founding text of Victorian middle-class identity. It offers highly authoritative advice on subjects as diverse as fashion, child-care, animal husbandry, poisons, and the management of servants. The Oxford World’s Classics edition is an abridged version, edited by Nicola Humble, which does justice to its high status as a cookery book, while also suggesting ways of approaching this massive, hybrid text as a significant document of social and cultural history.

For over 100 years Oxford World’s Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford’s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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Image credit: Crispy grilled goose for Christmas. Photo by Chikei Yung, iStockphoto.

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20. Christmas dinner with the Cratchits

Following yesterday’s recipe for roast goose by Mrs Beeton, here’s that classic Christmas dinner portrayed by Charles Dickens in the famous scene from A Christmas Carol. Here Ebeneezer Scrooge watches with the Ghost of Christmas Present as the Cratchit family sits down to roast goose and Christmas pudding.

‘And how did little Tim behave?’ asked Mrs Cratchit, when she had rallied Bob on his credulity, and Bob had hugged his daughter to his heart’s content.

‘As good as gold,’ said Bob, ‘and better. Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.’

Bob’s voice was tremulous when he told them this, and trembled more when he said that Tiny Tim was growing strong and hearty.

His active little crutch was heard upon the floor, and back came Tiny Tim before another word was spoken, escorted by his brother and sister to his stool before the fire; and while Bob, turning up his cuffs — as if, poor fellow, they were capable of being made more shabby — compounded some hot mixture in a jug with gin and lemons, and stirred it round and round and put it on the hob to simmer; Master Peter, and the two ubiquitous young Cratchits went to fetch the goose, with which they soon returned in high procession.

Such a bustle ensued that you might have thought a goose the rarest of all birds; a feathered phenomenon, to which a black swan was a matter of course — and in truth it was something very like it in that house. Mrs Cratchit made the gravy (ready beforehand in a little saucepan) hissing hot; Master Peter mashed the potatoes with incredible vigour; Miss Belinda sweetened up the apple-sauce; Martha dusted the hot plates; Bob took Tiny Tim beside him in a tiny corner at the table; the two young Cratchits set chairs for everybody, not forgetting themselves, and mounting guard upon their posts, crammed spoons into their mouths, lest they should shriek for goose before their turn came to be helped. At last the dishes were set on, and grace was said. It was succeeded by a breathless pause, as Mrs Cratchit, looking slowly all along the carving knife, prepared to plunge it in the breast; but when she did, and when the long expected gush of stuffing issued forth, one murmur of delight arose all round the board and even Tiny Tim, excited by the two young Cratchits, beat on the table with the handle of his knife, and feebly cried Hurrah!

There never was such a goose. Bob said he didn’t believe there ever was such a goose cooked. Its tenderness and flavour, size and cheapness, were the themes of universal admiration. Eked out by apple-sauce and mashed potatoes, it was a sufficient dinner for the whole family; indeed, as Mrs Cratchit said with great delight (surveying one small atom of bone upon the dish), they hadn’t ate it all particular, were steeped in sage and onion to the eyebrows! But now, the plates being changed by Miss Belinda, Mrs Cratchit left the room alone — too nervous to bear witness — to take the pudding up and bring it in.

Suppose it should not be done enough! Suppose it should break in turning out! Suppose somebody should have got over the wall of the back-yard, and stolen it, while they were merry with the goose — and supposition at which the two young Cratchits became livid! All sorts of horrors were supposed.

Hallo! A great deal of steam! The pudding was out of the copper. A smell like a washing-day! That was the cloth. A smell like an eating-house and a pastrycook’s next door to each other, with a laundress’s next door to that! That was the pudding! In half a minute Mrs Cratchit entered — flushed by smiling proudly — with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top.

Oh, a wonderful pudding! Bob Cratchit said, and calmly too, that he regarded it as the greatest success achieved by Mrs Cratchit since their marriage. Mrs Cratchit said that now the weight was off her mind, she would confess she had her doubts about the quantity of flour. Everybody had something to say about it, but nobody said or thought it was at all a small pudding for a large family. It would have been flat heresy to do so. Any Cratchit would have blushed to hint at such a thing.

At last the dinner was all done, the cloth was cleared, the hearth swept, and the fire made up. The compound in the jug being tasted, and considered perfect, apples and oranges were put upon the table, and a shovel-full of chestnuts on the fire. Then all the Cratchit family drew round the hearth, in what Bob Cratchit called a circle, meaning half a one; and at Bob Cratchit’s elbow stood the family display of glass. Two tumblers, and a custard-cup without a handle.

These held the hot stuff from the jug, however, as well as golden goblets would have done; and Bob served it out with beaming looks, while the chestnuts on the fire sputtered and cracked noisily. Then Bob proposed:

‘A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God bless us!’ Which all the family re-echoed.

‘God bless us every one!’ said Tiny Tim, the last of all.

A Christmas Carol has gripped the public imagination since it was first published in 1843, and it is now as much a part of Christmas as mistletoe or plum pudding. The Oxford World’s Classics edition, edited by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, reprints the story alongside Dickens’s four other Christmas Books: The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life, and The Haunted Man.

For over 100 years Oxford World’s Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford’s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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Image credit: Reproduced from a c.1870s photographer frontispiece to Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. By Frederick Barnard (1846-1896). Digital image from LIFE. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

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21. Christmas beers

By Garrett Oliver


For those of us who celebrate Christmas, this time of year is resplendent with sights, songs, and smells that bring the holiday instantly to mind. Most of us who grew up with a real Christmas tree in the house are instantly transported by the smell of a freshly cut fir tree. For others, it’s the smell of pies baking. For the ancients, it was frankincense and myrrh. For me… it’s latex paint. Wait, I can explain! As many families do, we always had a lot of people over to the house around Christmastime, and many of them were folks who might only visit once a year. So the holidays were a natural time to spruce the house up, including whatever interior painting needed doing that year. So my olfactory memory of Christmas blends pine needles, interior latex eggshell paint, pies baking, and the unique smell of brand new plastic toys and electronics. At one time, though, especially in Europe, one of the classic smells of the Yuletide was Christmas ale.

Brewers have always made special beers for religious holidays, and over the last few hundred years Christmas ales have been popular during the holiday season. Though Christmas ale is basically a catch-all descriptive phrase, these beers tend to have several things in common. Almost all of them are dark, or at least go for a rich amber color suggesting heartiness. They also tend to be stronger than average, ranging from 5.5% at the low end to more than 14% for age-worthy after-dinner beers. Belgium, England, Scandinavia, and the United States are all major producers of these beers, though in this country we tend to use more inclusive names such as holiday ale. At one time, especially in England, Christmas ales were often spiced and sometimes mulled. Wines, ales, and ciders were often served this way around the holidays and were referred to collectively as wassail, a drink often consumed while caroling. Today, many American craft breweries produce spiced ales at the holidays, harking back to the old tradition.

As you go shopping for your Christmas table, remember that beer can work wonders with a wide array of holiday foods. Belgian saison, Belgian witbier (white beer), and Bavarian weissbier (also known as hefeweizen, the fruity German wheat beer style) are light and spritzy, making them great earlier in the day, especially with brunch. As you move into dinner, French farmhouse ales, called bières de garde, have nice caramel and earthy anise-like flavors, making them particularly good with turkey and ham. Belgian Christmas ales, almost universally dark, strong and plummy, are great with lamb, duck, and goose.

Traditional Mexican cuisine reaches some its greatest heights at Christmas, when people make the complex and time-consuming dark mole sauces, many of them based on nuts, chilies, and chocolate. Served with chicken, duck or the traditional turkey, these can be wonderful with rich, dark porter beers; there the roast character of the beer will pick up perfectly on the chocolate in the sauce. Also from Mexico, one of my favorite Christmas dishes is chile en nogada, a poblano pepper stuffed with spiced minced pork and fruit, covered in a walnut-based frosting, and studded with pomegranate seeds. It’s as beautiful to look at as it is delicious to eat, and it’s great with those massive West Coast “double IPAs”. The big hop flavors really pick up on the flavor of the poblano pepper, while the bitterness provides the cutting power for this super-rich dish.

After dinner it’s time for big chocolaty imperial stouts and fruity, warming barley wines. While they aren’t sweet, both of these have enough residual sugar to work with desserts, and they’re often a far better match than dessert wines. Barley wines, which are well-aged beers usually over 9% ABV, bring concentrated malt and dark fruit flavors that are great with cheeses, especially the British Christmas classic, Stilton. Many years ago, shortly after Christmas, I visited with a friend in the English countryside. “Mummy always gets a Stilton at Christmas” he intoned, and the Stilton — at least a foot across — was wheeled out on its own purpose-built cart. It looked like it could feed a family of five for the entire winter, and I’ve little doubt that it actually did. Some British barley wine was a magnificent accompaniment. Imperial stouts are at least as good with Stilton, and even better with desserts, especially ice cream, chocolate cakes, tarts, and all sorts of cookies.

Finally, Christmas is a great time to go out and put together a little after-dinner beer tasting. Many of the world’s greatest beers cost scarcely more than a fancy cup of coffee. If you’re having people over or going to visit friends and family, why not gather up ten beers you’ve been curious to taste? There will be plenty of people to taste them with you, and hopefully plenty of time for tasting. After all, Christmas isn’t just for the kids, and although you might not be unwrapping a bright yellow Tonka truck on Christmas morning, adulthood does have its privileges. For the designated drivers (our heroes!), make some ludicrously sinful spiced hot chocolate; my personal favorite is from Jacques Torres. Here’s wishing everyone a happy, healthy, wonderful Christmas — and don’t forget to touch up the paint.

Garrett Oliver, editor of The Oxford Companion to Beer, is the Brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery and author of The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food. He has won many awards for his beers, is a frequent judge for international beer competitions, and has made numerous radio and television appearances as a spokesperson for craft brewing.

The Oxford Companion to Beer is the first major reference work to investigate the history and vast scope of beer, featuring more than 1,100 A-Z entries written by 166 of the world’s most prominent beer experts. It is first place winner of the 2012 Gourmand Award for Best in the World in the Beer category, winner of the 2011 André Simon Book Award in the Drinks Category, and shortlisted in Food and Travel for Book of the Year in the Drinks Category. View previous Oxford Companion to Beer blog posts and videos.

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Image credit: Pint of beer by the fireside. Photo by Marbury, iStockphoto.

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22. Quiz on the word origins of food and drink

Did you know that ‘croissant’ literally means ‘crescent’ or that oranges are native to China? Do you realize that the word ‘pie’ has been around for seven hundred years in English or that ‘toast’ comes from the Latin word for ‘scorch’? John Ayto explores the word origins of food and drink in The Diner’s Dictionary. We’ve made a little quiz based on the book. Are you hungry for it?

Your Score:  

Your Ranking:  

John Ayto is a freelance writer and the author of many reference works, including the Dictionary of Slang, the Dictionary of Modern Slang, and Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Seasoned generously with literary wit, The Diner’s Dictionary is a veritable feast, tracing the origins and history of over 2,300 gastronomical words and phrases.

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23. Comfort food

By Georgia Mierswa


This Valentine’s Day-themed tech post was supposed to be just that—a way to show that all that sexy metadata powering the Oxford Index’s sleek exterior has a sweet, romantic side, just like the rest of the population at this time of year. I’d bounce readers from a description of romantic comedies to Romeo and Juliet to the three-act opera Elegy for Young Lovers, and then change the Index’s featured homepage title to something on the art of love to complete the heart shaped, red-ribboned picture.

I didn’t do any of these things. I got distracted. As it turns out, searching the word “chocolate” (“It is not addictive like nicotine but some people, ‘chocoholics’, experience periodic cravings”) reveals a whole smorgasbord of suggested links to delectable food summaries and from my first glimpse at the makings of a meringue, I was gone—making mental notes for recipes, stomach rumbling, eyes-glazing over. Mmm glaze.

In the end, my “research” was actually quite fitting to the season. Because, really, when it comes to Valentine’s Day in the 21st century, only a handful of things are reliable and certain—and almost all of them are made with sugar.

Best Mouthwatering Dessert Descriptions


Best Quote About Doughnuts…or Anything

“When Krispy Kremes are hot, they are to other doughnuts what angels are to people.”
– Humor writer Roy Blount Jr, New York Times Magazine

Best Etymology Entry

  Snack was originally a verb, meaning ‘bite, snap’. It appears to have been borrowed, in the fourteenth century, from Middle Dutch snacken, which was probably onomatopoeic in origin, based on the sound of the snapping together of teeth… The modern verb snack, ‘eat a snack,’ mainly an American usage, is an early nineteenth-century creation.

Top 5 Favorite Random Food Facts

  1. Attempts to can beer before 1930 were unsuccessful because a beer can has to withstand pressures of over eighty pounds per square inch.
  2. Brownies are essentially the penicillin of the baking world.
  3.  Boston is the brains behind Marshmallow Fluff.
  4. There is such a thing as the “Queen of Puddings” …and it sounds amazing:
  5.   Pudding made from custard and breadcrumbs, flavoured with lemon rind and vanilla, topped with jam or sliced fruit and meringue.
  6. Cupcakes are known by some as “fairy cakes”.


Best Relevancy Jump

The overview page for “cake”….

  Plain cakes are made by rubbing the fat and sugar into the flour, with no egg; sponge cakes by whipping with or without fat; rich cakes contain dried fruit.

….leads to a surprising related link: “Greek sacrifice”

  Vegetable products, esp. savoury cakes, were occasionally ‘sacrificed’ (the same vocabulary is used as for animal sacrifice) in lieu of animals or, much more commonly, in addition to them. But animal sacrifice was the standard type.

The Entry I Wish I Hadn’t Found:

  Flaky crescent-shaped rolls traditionally served hot for breakfast, made from a yeast dough with a high butter content. A 50‐g croissant contains 10 g of fat of which 30% is saturated.

Best Food-Related Band Names

 
Best Overall Summary of What Food Is

  Food is a form of communication that expresses the most deeply felt human experiences: love, fear, joy, anger, serenity, turmoil, passion, rage, pleasure, sorrow, happiness, and sadness.

Georgia Mierswa is a marketing assistant at Oxford University Press and reports to the Global Marketing Director for online products. She began working at OUP in September 2011.

The Oxford Index is a free search and discovery tool from Oxford University Press. It is designed to help you begin your research journey by providing a single, convenient search portal for trusted scholarship from Oxford and our partners, and then point you to the most relevant related materials — from journal articles to scholarly monographs. One search brings together top quality content and unlocks connections in a way not previously possible. Take a virtual tour of the Index to learn more.

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Image credit: Croissants chauds sortis du four. Photo by Christophe Marcheux/Deelight, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

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24. A quiz on Prohibition

Old Man Prohibition hung in effigy from a flagpole as New York celebrated the advent Repeal after years of bootleg booze. Source: NYPL.

How much do you know about the era of Prohibition, when gangsters rose to power and bathtub gin became a staple? 2013 marks the 80th anniversary of the repeal of the wildly unpopular 18th Amendment, initiated on 17 February 1933 when the Blaine Act passed the United States Senate. To celebrate, test your knowledge with this quiz below, filled with tidbits of 1920s trivia gleaned from The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America: Second Edition.

Your Score:  

Your Ranking:  

The second edition of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America thoroughly updates the original, award-winning title, while capturing the shifting American perspective on food and ensuring that this title is the most authoritative, current reference work on American cuisine. Editor Andrew F. Smith teaches culinary hist ory and professional food writing at The New School University in Manhattan. He serves as a consultant to several food television productions (airing on the History Channel and the Food Network), and is the General Editor for the University of Illinois Press’ Food Series. He has written several books on food, including The Tomato in America, Pure Ketchup, and Popped Culture: A Social History of Popcorn in America. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink is also available on Oxford Reference.

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25. Sound bites: how sound can affect taste

The senses are a vital source of knowledge about the objects and events in the world, as well as for insights into our private sensations and feelings. Below is an excerpt from Art and the Senses, edited by Francesca Bacci and David Melcher, in which Charles Spence, Maya U. Shankar, and Heston Blumenthal look at the ways in which environmental sounds can affect the perceived flavour of food.

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