A History of the World in 6 Glasses
150,00 years ago, water had been the basic drink that mankind drank. Nomads would rely on water to survive, however, water had many pesticides and impurities that caused people to become sick and die. Beer was the first staple beverage in civilizations. It became important to all aspects of ancient life, social, religious, and economical. As civilizations began to brew beer it led them into a more modern world. Beer transitioned the nomadic life of early people to a stationary life. Beer was not invented though, it was simply a mistake that was waiting to he discovered. As nomads began to settle and harvest grain, it became a major staple in their diet. Storing was difficult to store in a way where it would stay safe for consumption. A popular porridge dish called gruel was a very common meal made with cereal grains. When left out, a chemical transformation would take place converting it into beer. Once discovered, beer was brewed constantly, improving the taste. Beer played a large part in the development of civilizations; it brought people together to share drinks and showed hospitality and familiarity. Beer was also very important in religion. This is because the process that converted gruel into beer was believed to be a gift from the gods. The finest and sweetest brews would be offered to gods as thanks. In Egypt, many people believed that Osiris, the god of the afterlife and agriculture, discovered beer. Therefore, beer was used as an offering in the afterlife and was buried with people when they died. As time went on, beer was not only a drink, but also a sign of being civilized and human. When beer was drunk, it showed that a person was sophisticated. As time progressed and people and civilizations became more advanced, beer was used as currency. Men, women, and children were granted amounts of beer as pay. Beer was also believed to cure illnesses and was often used as medicine and prescribed as antidotes. Beer was not only a simple drink, but also a drink that shaped civilizations and advanced lives.
When nomads began to slowly transition from gathering to agricultural driven civilizations, life was hard to adapt to. What made nomads begin to settle down? Tom Standage believes that once beer was discovered and many people started to grow grains needed for brewing, people settled down in order to gather the grains and replant them. The change was not immediate; it took place over a couple thousand years. Because beer was such a major role in the life of ancient people, it made sense to stay around and continue growing grains. Grain takes a long time to grow and it cant be grown and harvested in a couple weeks, so nomads slowly began to wait for the grain to be grown so more beer could be made. Also Standage makes a point, that since the first civilizations began in the Fertile Crescent, the land and soil was rich and full of nutrients. The growing of grains was not the only part of beer that helped transition the nomads to a stationary lifestyle, it was also the fact that once beer was made, it was very difficult to store. And the complete fermentation process of beer takes approximately a week; it would require people to stay in one place for a significant amount of time. While beer-making may not have been the only factor that transitioned people from a traveling lifestyle of hunting and gathering to a static, agricultural lifestyle; it played a large part in the transition and influenced greatly the civilizations to come.
Wine, an exotic drink, so expensive only the very elite could afford to drink it. The definition of wine has greatly changed over thousands of years. It was mainly religiously used because of its very expensive price and it was said to be worthy for consumption by the gods because it was so scarce and costly. Greece was the first civilization to begin drinking wine. Since wine...
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