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Alcohol and writing

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Mon June 15th, 2009, 2:14 pm

Mind you, sausages in ale gravy or chicken in red wine sauce are extreme weaknesses of mine! Also sherry trifle and Tira misu made with coffee liqueur - yum!
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Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

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Alaric
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Post by Alaric » Mon June 15th, 2009, 2:54 pm

Ever since I went to an abatoir for a school excursion many years ago and found out what's actually in them, the notion of sausages makes me go icky. :o I just refuse to eat them now.

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Vanessa
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Post by Vanessa » Mon June 15th, 2009, 2:59 pm

You could always make your own....... :D

I would imagine the local butchers' sausages would be the better ones or the more expensive variety in supermarkets - I would never get those pink and insipid looking things you can get, I would imagine those are all fat and cereal! Yuck!
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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Mon June 15th, 2009, 3:01 pm

[QUOTE=Alaric;30805]Ever since I went to an abatoir for a school excursion many years ago and found out what's actually in them, the notion of sausages makes me go icky. :o I just refuse to eat them now.[/QUOTE

I buy my sausages from an award winning butcher in the next village along, recommended by Rick Stein. No way I buy where I don't know the source.
Had to laugh the other day. Went into the butchers and there was a photograph on the counter or three black and pink saddleback pigs, grubbing in a field. One of them had a blue biro cross on its pink bit. 'That's this one,' said the butcher, pointing to several joints, 'and the field is that one just over there by the level crossing.' Nothing like what you see is what you get!
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Ken
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Post by Ken » Mon June 15th, 2009, 4:29 pm

[quote=""EC2""]Mind you, sausages in ale gravy or chicken in red wine sauce are extreme weaknesses of mine! Also sherry trifle and Tira misu made with coffee liqueur - yum![/quote]

Hi EC!

One day when I am a rich and famous writer, I'll invite you to try my 'coq au vin' made with a cheeky little Cotes de Rhone and flambeed in cognac!

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Post by Chatterbox » Mon June 15th, 2009, 4:35 pm

(Didn't mean to suggest that you were a borderline alchy, Ken! Tho the OP sounded a bit... defensive...?)

The French approach -- that wines, liqueurs, etc. enhance the food experience and should be savored as tastes in their own right instills a more healthy approach, IMO. The other extreme is what you see in some parts of Russian/Polish society, where there's more emphasis on getting plastered on vodka and related grain alcohols. I know that there are differences between vodkas, but compared to the difference in tastes among wine... A Russian friend of mine (married to a Pole) now training as a sommelier says no one can really compare the two!

Ken, one reason that SKP's characters are quaffing ale all the time is that it served as a proxy for water, which wasn't safe to drink. Some of it was strong, but a lot of it wasn't. I'll let EC and others weigh in on this, but I also believe that wine was occasionally watered? Certainly it was in the ancient Greek days, and I believe in ancient Rome -- the vessels used to mix wine and water survived, as did occasionally scornful references in prose/poetry to people who drank unmixed wine and got soused.

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Ken
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Post by Ken » Mon June 15th, 2009, 4:55 pm

[quote=""Chatterbox""](Didn't mean to suggest that you were a borderline alchy, Ken! Tho the OP sounded a bit... defensive...?)

Ken, one reason that SKP's characters are quaffing ale all the time is that it served as a proxy for water, which wasn't safe to drink. Some of it was strong, but a lot of it wasn't. I'll let EC and others weigh in on this, but I also believe that wine was occasionally watered? Certainly it was in the ancient Greek days, and I believe in ancient Rome -- the vessels used to mix wine and water survived, as did occasionally scornful references in prose/poetry to people who drank unmixed wine and got soused.[/quote]

No offence taken Chatterbox! Having re-read my OP, I can see what you mean.
As for watering down the wine, I guess you are right, but if the water was not fit to drink, what did it do to the wine??

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Lauryn
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Post by Lauryn » Mon June 15th, 2009, 5:57 pm

[quote=""Ken""] As for watering down the wine, I guess you are right, but if the water was not fit to drink, what did it do to the wine??[/quote]

Alcohol is a reasonably effective disinfectant, as most first-aiders in HF seem to know :D so I imagine that if you drank a cup of water, you'd be getting more harmful bacteria than your body could cope with, and if you mixed a bit of water into your wine, the alcohol would kill enough bacteria off that your body could handle the rest.

As for adding alcohol to the writing process, as a lubricant so to speak, my experiences have been mixed. I have kept a journal for much of my life, and some of the entries from my university days are priceless diatribes on whatever thought passed through my drunken mind - hilarious, and so unworthy of publication that those particular volumes are under lock and key. :eek: :D :eek:

I have found that booze has two effects on me: it removes my inhibitions, and it magnifies my mood. Some of those inhibitions are there for good reason - such as the inhibition not to speak my mind in the wrong company. The mood magnification is a great thing when celebrating, and bloody awful when I'm angry. What does that mean for my writing? If I'm in despair over being blocked, bad news. If I know the idea is there, but it's shy, a glass of wine and a deliberately empty mind can lure it out into the open.

So, to sum up, alcohol is another tool to me, requiring a bit of judgment to apply. I'm neither for or against it, applied appropriately. After all, you can always edit later. :D
Last edited by Lauryn on Mon June 15th, 2009, 5:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: case in point - spelling
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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Mon June 15th, 2009, 6:51 pm

I do strongly suspect that another reason why men drank so heavily in past centuries was the constant presence of violence, in and out of warfare. People still use alcohol to numb trauma, not that it's a particularly good solution. It was probably a vicious cycle. They drank to forget the upsetting effects of the violence, and the drink encouraged them to be more violent.
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Post by Chatterbox » Mon June 15th, 2009, 7:19 pm

Re Margaret's post, a fascinating but chilling look at the trauma of war on combattants is in Chris Hedges' book, "War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning". He was a former war correspondent in the Balkans, and drew on his experiences there and later research to address the question of why people seem addicted to killing each other in such an organized fashion (i.e. war). It's a largely contemporary analysis, but alcohol does play a key role in it. And since so much of the Balkan warfare (despite the modern weapons) was of a kind that would have been recognized in the days of the French routiers, for instance, it might be of interest to anyone trying to get inside the head of a fighting man. It is a brilliant and very well written book, IMO. (It was published just before the Iraq invasion, and consequently Hedges got a lot of flak here.)

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