Book Report: A History of the World in 6 Glasses

Rating: 4 out of 5.

You know a book is good when you start repeating things you learn in it to everyone you talk to. This one, A History of the World in 6 Glasses, by Tom Standage (2006), is one of those books, all right. I never would have even heard of it, but it was referred to in This Is Your Mind on Plants, and it sounded so interesting that I ordered it, along with a book on coffee, as soon as I finished Michael Pollan’s book.

They had to work hard to make that cover do what it needed to do.

The fun premise of the 6 Glasses book is to look at how the preferred beverages of humans throughout history (beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and Coca-Cola) affected their health, civilization, and progress. It’s so full of tidbits that I’d never thought of before that it did a GREAT job of relaxing me over the weekend and getting my mind off the rest of my life. Here are a few things I learned (don’t worry there’s LOTS more):

  • Beer was one of the main reasons people stopped being nomadic and started settling down: they needed to store it.
  • Beer, wine, coffee, and tea were important because they had properties that made water safer to drink. Boiling water to make beer, tea and coffee killed germs, and antibacterial properties of wine did the same.
  • The Greeks and Romans thought it barbaric to drink wine straight. It had to be watered down.
  • The first corporate logo to be developed was for Twinings Tea.
  • One reason there were so many sugar cane plantations needed in the New World (and thus the need for so many slaves) was all the English people insisting on sugaring their tea.
  • Oh, so much more, especially about history and how these beverages affected it.
  • Coffee is legal and encouraged because it makes workers more effective and alert.

I really enjoyed reading about all sorts of noble people and their beverage obsessions, but also how even the regular folks had their beverages. People were paid in beer for much of recorded history (THAT helped start writing systems!). There have always been systems to show social standing by what kind of wine or tea you serve and how you serve it.

Standage gives just enough information about each drink to keep you wanting more, without bogging you down in chemistry or complexities, so it’s fun as well as educational. That’s my kind of book!

By the way, I’m not the only one who ordered books after reading This Is Your Mind on Plants. Kathleen ordered two different books that Pollan referred to. He makes you just want to keep reading and reading!

I May Have Become Boring, But I Have Updates!

It appears that I have become extremely boring, or maybe I’ve always been, but people figured it out. I’m just joking around, but I was sad to see only 11 people looked at my post yesterday. I don’t think I’ve had so few hits since I was first starting out! It’s okay, because I found the information on black folks and swimming useful, and I’ll have all the links shared on the blog so I can find them again!

Honestly, I find myself boring right now, since I work until so late that there’s no way to go do much interesting afterward (because work is an hour behind me, so their 5 pm is my 6 pm). You can only post so many photos of the view of the ocean. It’s still there, though. Lucky for us, we went back to the German/Austrian restaurant last night, so I can share how pretty our beer glasses were. Lee appears to be in love with his beer. I got the same dark Hefe that I had last week. I think that may be my favorite kind of beer now.

I love my beer.

I ate some brats and sauerkraut, which was darn good comfort food, and splurged on an apple strudel dessert. That’s the only dessert I’ve had since we’ve been here (other than a little ice cream from the grocery store)! Lee says we’ve become old people, because he was displeased to miss the news and Jeopardy last night. We’ve become the people all those drug ads are aimed at. Help!

Since I didn’t do much other than work and knit yesterday, let me be more interesting and share that, despite a week of rain and more rain, the fencing for Apache and Fiona is moving along. It appears that the fabrication stage of all the fence posts is over, and the installation stage has begun. Apache will have a larger place to hang out than he’s in now, but one that will be easy to keep free of lush grazing.

This picture tells all. It’s rainy, Carlton has stayed glued to the nephew all week, and soon the portable round pen will be a round pen, not cattle fencing! In the far background by the RV, you can see a LOT of fencing material ready to be used.

One good thing about all the rain is that indoor activities had to be done, so all the burned-out can lights throughout the downstairs at the ranch house got replaced. Kathleen says it’s like the sun’s shining in there now. That has to perk everybody up! I’m so grateful to see how well things are being cared for in our ridiculously long absence. I guess it’s our turn to leave and never get to come home. (I assure you, we are GOING home on Friday; gas situation is good now.)

Here’s another H-brace that’s up. Looks like we have yellow flowers blooming now. Sniff. I miss my ranch.

Other than that, I’m happy that all’s well with our business. Since the restrictions are lifting, we seem to be getting more clients, and we got some new caregivers, too, thanks to an amazing job fair that Kathleen, Meghan, and I’m sure some others put together last week. The Hearts Homes and Hands team is a bunch of incredible people, and Lee and I are so grateful for the very hard work Kathleen and the crew are doing. I did my part by explaining how personal assistance services work to a coworker who needs one for his mother. He can’t be our client, but maybe he can recommend us to someone else!

It’s off to work for me, and apologies for being so dang boring! It’s not boring at home, though, because yesterday’s sunset was beautiful. I’m so glad people posted lots of photos on Facebook. Here’s the one I was sent from the ranch. Thanks to the family for sending it! I miss you!

Sunset May 18

Surprise Guests!

Yesterday, we were going shopping in Bandera when we saw a car that looks just like Blackie, Lee’s late-life crisis sports car. Out came the relatives, Kathleen and Chris. What a fun surprise!

Hey. We know them.

I now had a co-shopper, which made the last couple of stores way more fun. We stopped in a little boutique that is sorta like a mini Bling Box (they go to the same markets). The woman who was obviously the owner said, “You’re wearing Effie earrings.” I thought it was impressive she recognized who made my earrings. It turned out, she and her husband own the jewelry shop. That explains it. The original owner left it to them, so she’s getting a crash course in Native American jewelry. Ha!

Dang. Should have brought Apache.

We got a couple of things. I had to get this ring, of white buffalo turquoise, with a tiny blue spot. It fits so comfortably!

It’s big, but fits great.

We had a nice meal and got some jeans, then decided to go hang out at their bed and breakfast. We needed beverages, so headed out to the winery near our resort. We had a fun experience even though we were hurrying to get to the cabin before sunset.

White wine we had last night. Once it breathed a bit, it was great.

We found Chris at the brewery next door. He was having a great conversation with the owner about how they can their beers. We got Lee a surprise stout in a can. They canned it and made labels for us!

Continue reading “Surprise Guests!”