65. Tea (Part 1)

In this episode we discuss the earliest mentioned records of tea in China, as well as Britain’s slow-starting but insatiable obsession with the beverage. Yumiko Hutchenreuther returns as guest.

2 thoughts on “65. Tea (Part 1)”

  1. Ares says:

    Do you really believe those stories about masking the smell of the rotten food with spices. Sounds like something that was invented later as an illustration how awful the middle ages were.
    I mean, if a person eats something rotten, he’ll probably get sick regardless of spices used.
    Plus, if someone is wealthy enough to afford spices, why would he eat bad food in the first place?

    1. Adam says:

      You’re right – I was a bit flippant about that point. I don’t believe that anyone was eating truly spoiled or rotted meat to the point that it would make you truly sick; however, there’s a gap between perceived food spoilage (when something starts to seem off) and true food spoilage (when something will make you ill). That gap is there for our safety – we’re over-sensitive to protect us from any chance of food poisoning. Your options for meat storage before refrigeration are basically salting, smoking, or drying, none of which are terribly appealing compared to fresh if done to the extent that they’ll actually prevent spoilage. You’re also right that spices were only affordable to a small number of wealthy people. So no, it wasn’t widespread, but I also believe that heavily spicing meat, which was a massive craze in early modern Europe, could help stretch a side of beef a few extra days without having to turn it into jerky. Less wealthy people were doing the same with leeks and garlic, which were cheap and plentiful. Rotten meat was still not consumed, but it’s not a complete fabrication either – just a more nuanced one than I gave it credit for.

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