Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I learned something

Yesterday I received a new book –

The Search for God and Guinness  A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World

I’m only a few chapters into it and I must say I am quite impressed.  The beginning of the book touches on the philanthropy of the Guinness clan in Ireland (I’m sure to be expanded on further later) with some interesting bits of trivia…but what has captured me so far has been a fairly detailed history of beer.

I won’t go into detail (not wanting to spoil the book for you), but there was one piece that I almost had to call BS on- That during the first meeting between the pilgrims and the Indians, X asked for Beer.   Come on….really?  With all the firewater jokes and clichés, you expect us to believe that they asked for beer?  Time for some research.

This lead me to “Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth 1622 Part 1”, a detailed firsthand account of those early days and an interesting read unto itself.  In it, beer is mentioned 9 times (Tobacco 4 times, wine not at all)….including the following passage-

Friday, the 16th, a fair warm day towards; this morning we determined to conclude of the military orders, which we had begun to consider of before but were interrupted by the savages, as we mentioned formerly. And whilst we were busied hereabout, we were interrupted again, for there presented himself a savage, which caused an alarm. He very boldly came all alone and along the houses straight to the rendezvous, where we intercepted him, not suffering him to go in, as undoubtedly he would, out of his boldness. He saluted us in England, and bade us welcome, for he had learned some broken English among the Englishmen that came to fish at Monchiggon, and knew by name the most of the captains, commanders, and masters that usually came. He was a man free in speech, so far as he could express his mind, and of a seemly carriage. We questioned him of many things; he was the fist savage we could meet withal. He said he was not of these parts, but of Morattiggon, and one of the sagamores or lords thereof, and had been eight months in these parts, it lying hence a day's sail with a great wind, and five days by land. He discoursed of the whole country, and of every province, and of their sagamores, and their number of men, and strength. The wind being to rise a little, we cast a horseman's coat about him, for he was stark naked, only a leather about his waist, with a fringe about a span long, or little more; he had a bow and two arrows, the one headed, and the other unheaded. He was a tall straight man, the hair of his head black, long behind, only short before, none on his face at all; he asked some beer, but we gave him strong water and biscuit, and butter, and cheese, and pudding, and a piece of mallard, all which he liked well, and had been acquainted with such amongst the English.

HOLY CRAP…..the first thing Samoset asked for, of all things…was BEER.  This book rocks Smile

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