The 18th Century Gin Craze and it’s Association with Murder

19th-century-London-England-Gin-Craze

Gin was highly consumed in poorer areas of London, England as it was a cheaper alternative to beer. Gin was unregulated during the early 18th century, and was often badly distilled and filled with harmful compounds like oil of vitriol which is similar in construct to modern day turpintine, sulfuric acid, and methylated spirits. By 1750, gin consumption was at its peak, with the city of London consuming 11,000,000 (11 million) gallons per year. In the poorest areas of London, specifically upon the east end, it was not uncommon for everyone in public to be permanently drunk; an analogue to the modern day crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980’s. All members of society consumed gin including men, women, and children, with many cases exhibiting severe addictive traits as was the case with Judith Darfour, who took her child into a heath, murdered them to sell their petticoat clothing and acquire more gin, then attended work later that day as if nothing had occurred. Gin related crime soared and Mothers Ruin which refers to “women who killed their family members to acquire funds for gin” was responsible for the deaths of thousands of men, women, and children. When the death rate climbed higher than the birth rate, the British government was forced to intervene, outlawing small gin distilleries and ending the era referred to as the “Gin Craze”

The Advent of the Restaurant in Paris, France

L'Art-du-Cuisinier-book

The modern concept of the restaurant is a French idea, with the term “restaurant” being derived from the term “restaurer” which means to ”provide food for” in French, with a more literal translation of “restoration” in that a restaurant is a place to restore, replenish, and refill one’s energy. Chef Antoine Beauvilliers (pronounced “ann-twon boo-vill-ee-yay”) opened the Grande Taverne de Londres Restaurant (pronounced “gran tah-vern de lon”) in Paris, France in 1782. Fine cuisine was served at private tables, to the general public, an experience which until then had only been available within the homes of the nobility. The main idea which caught on was not only the introduction of the serving of food, but that the food being served wasn’t preselected as was customary during dinner banquets for nobility. The ability to choose from a selection of items upon a restaurant’s menu was very popular once made available to the Parisian public. The timing for this invention was absolutely perfect as the abolition of the French monarchy and related nobility during the French Revolution left many extremely talented chefs suddenly without work which lead to a large number of these chefs opening up restaurants of their own

The Reason Beer Bottles Are Brown and Green

brown-green-beer-bottlesAlcoholic beverages like beer are brown in color because clear glass allows ultraviolet light to penetrate which can alter the flavor profile. Bottles inevitably became tinted brown to prevent ultraviolet light from achieving full penetration. After World War II, green bottles became popular due to shortages of brown glass

The Bulking Agents Used in the Saffron Spice

saffron-bulking-agentBecause saffron is so expensive it’s often mixed with other plants which are not actually saffron but are closely related to saffron to build up the bulk of the weight of a purchase. Turmeric is a primary example of a plant often used to help bulk up supplies. Distributors also use plastic as it helps add weight and eye appeal whilst actually providing nothing more than visual esthetics. Scientists can perform deoxyribonucleic acid examinations to determine if a sample is actually pure saffron or not. High quality saffron should have a humid scent which indicates that it was picked fresh. If the scent of saffron is slightly rancid, it means that it is old or of low quality

The Lifetime Imprisonment of Typhoid Mary for the Spread of Disease Via Food Preparation

Typhoid-Mary

Mary Mallon was an Irish cook who was imprisoned for life for not washing her hands properly prior to preparing food. Mallon, an immigrant often referred to as “Typhoid Mary” unknowingly spread typhoid as she did not see a need to wash her hands frequently. Everywhere Mallon worked, people got sick or died which eventually lead to her apprehension. In 1882, the German physician Robert Koch had published a paper proving that microorganisms transmit disease. This discovery gave birth to microbiology. In 1907, New York City, United States of America sanitary expert George Soper had tracked the typhoid outbreak down to Mallon. Suspecting Mallon was immune to the disease but still a carrier, Soper pleaded with Mallon to be tested, however Mallon refused, and angrily chasing Soper off with a dining fork. After being visited by the health board of New York City, Mallon found herself under quarantine where she remained for 3 years until she swore an affidavit to never work as a cook again. 5 years afterwards, another outbreak of typhoid occurred, this time traced back to Mary Brown, however Brown was Mallon working under an assumed identity. Mallon was quarantined once again, never being let out and dying from pneumonia while imprisoned

The Financial Costs of High Society Dinner Parties During the Victorian Era

high-society-dinner-party

During the 19th century, a typical high society dinner menu for 20 people would have cost $100.00 in total, for the Earl of an estate, equivalent to the annual salary of a maid for 2 full years of service. When accounting for inflation, the cost of hosting and entertaining a monarch during this period was even more costly, costing hosts approximately $500,000. Earl’s needed to constantly be aware of and ready for a royal visit as their title is considered one step below the pole position of Duke, which of course is one step below the title of King or Queen