Showing posts with label wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wine. Show all posts

Thursday, September 26, 2013

How to Choose Wine, 1689

Jan Vermeer, The Glass of Wine (c. 1660)
"Good Wine ought to be clean, pure, and clear, inclining to a red, called Claret, or Cherry-colour; but let it be of stony and mountainous Places, situate towards the South. Let it be of an excellent Odour, for such wine increases the subtill Spirits, nourishes excellently, and breeds very good Blood; let it be of a pleasant Taste, but let it by no means be too sharp or sweet, but of a middle temper, for if too sweet, it inflames, obstructs, and fills the Head, but the sharp or sowr Wine hurts the Nerves and Stomach, and begets Crudities... The gross, stinking, corrupted, flat Wines, are unpleasant to the Taste, and unwholesom; all which are to be avoided, for they cause the Head-ach, corrupt the Blood, breed melancholick Spirits, and in short, are destructive to the whole body."  
John Chamberlayne, A Family-Herbal (1689)
Here's a tip: if the sommelier tries to interest you in a gross, stinking, corrupted, flat wine, just say no.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How to Keep Wine from Going Sour, 1649

Pieter Bruegel, Summer (1637)
"How to keep wine from sowring. Tie a piece of very salt Bacon on the inside of your barrell, so as it touch not the Wine, in so doing your Wine will never sowre." 
Francisco Dickinson, A Precious Treasury of Twenty Rare Secrets (1649)
Didn't finish the bottle at dinner? Just stuff some bacon in there. Your wine will stay fresh, plus it will have a nice porcine nose.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

How to Change a Diaper, 1612

"Dear Past, Do you have any advice for new parents?"

The Cholmondeley Ladies, c. 1600-1610
"How the childe must be made cleane... The Nurse, or some other, must sit neare the fire, laying out her legges at length, having a soft pillow in her lap, the doors and windowes being close shut, and having something about her that may keepe the wind from the child... If hee bee very foule, shee may wash him with a little water and wine luke-warme, with a spunge or linnen cloth. The time of shifting him is commonly about seven a clocke in the morning, then againe at noone, and at seven a clocke at night: and it would not be amisse to change him againe about mid-night; which is not commonly done. But... after hee hath slept a good while do everytime shift him; lest he should foule and bepisse himself." 
Jacques Guillemeau, Child-birth or, the Happy Deliverie of Women (1612)
Well, the fireside yoga pose and the windproof baby-changing cape increase the difficulty level a little. But on the plus side, you only have to do it three times a day, and wine is involved. (Sommelier? Is this a job for zinfandel?)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How to Serve Wine to Your Toddler, c. 1450

Early Sippy Cup?
Guido Reni, Drinking Bacchus (c. 1623)

"I will speak briefly about care of the child up to the age of seven... concerning wine, children should always drink common wine, diluted more or less according to the strength of the wine and the lesser or greater age of the child, because older children can drink their wine mixed with less water; white is better than red."

Michele Savonarola, Ad mulieres ferrarienses (c. 1450)

The author also pleads that women nursing infants should drink "good and delicate wines, not large and smoky." He does not explain what type of wine pairs best with mashed bananas.

Monday, July 22, 2013

How to Mix Drinks for Ladies, 1892

"The Ladies' Great Favorite. A large glass, a squirt of Seltzer, a spoonful of fine sugar, fill a wineglass half full with sherry and the other half with port wine, 1 dash of brandy; mix this well. Fill your glass with shaved ice; ornament with orange and pineapple, and top it off with ice-cream; serve with a spoon." 
William Schmidt, The Flowing Bowl (1892)
Ah, the history of the girly drink. But it's not totally clear when and how to combine the glasses of various delights. Perhaps the ornamental sundae functions as a decoy while the lady puts away the wineglass full of booze.