Friday, October 07, 2005

Yes...tradition sucks...

This in an email from Al who is commenting about the French lawmaker's quip that they've been making wine since the Romans-

...who didn't find the Gauls all that attractive in their drinking habits (not that the Romans didn't have their problems with drinking either). Generally the Romans diluted their wine before drinking, and actually, the Gauls preferred beer to wine until the Roman culture brought them around.
I recall that Herodotus (or was it Tacitus?) mentioned how the Gauls would get truly wasted on beer, and how that repulsed him. Of course the Romans thought that the gassiness of beer and belching produced by it was unhealthy, too. This contributed to the view that the Gallic culture was utterly barbaric.

And on one of the ways they made their wine (a 'methode traditional', eh?) -

Cato wrote (circa 150 BC) about how to make Coan wine, which was apparently a favorite;
"CXII. Recipe for Coan wine: Take sea-water at a distance from the shore, where fresh water does not come, when the sea is calm and the wind is not blowing, seventy days before vintage. After taking it from the sea, pour into a jar, filling it not fully, but to within five quadrantals {amphorae, ~32 galllons total?} of the top. Cover the jar, leaving a space for air, and thirty days later pour it slowly and carefully into another jar, leaving the sediment in the bottom. Twenty days later pour in the same way into a third jar, and leave until vintage. Allow the grapes from which you intend to make the Coan wine to remain on the vine, let them ripen throughly, and pick them when they have dried after a rain. Place them in the sun for two days, or in the open for three days, unless it is raining, in which case put them under cover in baskets; clear out any berries which have rotted. Then take the above-mentioned sea-water and pour 10 quadrantals {~60 gallons?} into a jar holding 50 {~300 gallons vat?}; then pick the berries of ordinary grapes into the jar until you have filled it. Press the berries with the hand so that they may soak in the sea-water. When the jar is full, cover it, leaving space for air, and three days later remove the grapes from the jar, tread out in the pressing-room, and store the wine in jars which have been washed clean and dried."
Yum! Nice hints of salt and kippers with every sip!

Okay...not the type of thing I'd be interested in.

And it does make you wonder about the value of 'tradition' it really all that great?
Apparently not all the time. So while arguments can be made that a tradition exists, obviously those individual traditions need to be evaluated one-by-one to make sure we aren't just following along the wrong path just because our forebears didn't know better.
(Something I mentioned in my Tradition Sometimes Sucks post...)

(Say Al, you might want to lighten up your reading list, too...)


Post a Comment

<< Home