Mintz - Chapter 3 - Consumption
Mintz - Chapter 3 - Consumption 0780
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Date Created: 09/17/14
Mintz Chapter 3 CONSUMPTION In modern times sugar is everywhere and easily accessible for people of all different economic classes Sugar was introduced to the previously plain English diet in 12quot century o Grain was the core part of the poor s diet quotlimited agricultural production and a narrow diet during 12quot to late seventeenth century now a good desired by the wealthy and soon to be affordable to lower classes o However as more people started consuming more sugar nutrition didn t really improve in other ways 5 principle English uses of sugar BUT these distinctions usually depend on the amount of sugar used AND can be used for more than one purpose at one time which is why it s so beloved o Medicine I One of first uses along with spice first known in England o Spicecondiment I Subtly changes flavor o Decoration I Claylike paste sugar must be mixed with other materials to make this o Sweetener I Though this seems obvious took on this role as sugar become a more common commodity o Preservative I One of sugar s oldest uses o Food but not until the late 18quot century Fluctuating amount and method of consumption of sugar shows social and economic differences in England39s population Sugar grouped with all others spices because seen as exotic luxurious and imported from a tropical region stable importation by 14quot century At first consumption of sugar increased because the wealthy were consuming more not necessarily because it was becoming more affordable for other economic classes Uses and preferences of sugar combined with other flavors and foods certainly changes over time and even quickly at times too 16 century more and more people in lower economic classes start using sugar especially as a decoration more Decorative uses include marzipan a sweet paste that could form edible sculptures o The wealthy especially made grand sculptures for feasts and special occasions o Sculptures soon took on a significance as symbols especially political ones Late 18 century increased importance of sugar no longer sign of status if lots of sugar decorations served to guests and sugar uses began to be included in everyday use As symbolic importance decreases economic and dietary importance increases o As it became cheaper and easier to access no longer sign of status but now sign of potential profit Sugar transformed from quota luxury of kings into the kingly luxury of commoners pg 96 Spread of Islam also influenced spread of medicinal use of sugar Culture Muslim Jewish and Christian doctors from Persia to Spain knew about sugar as a medicine I They brought it to Europe and incorporated it into their practice I The Crusaders also brought back multiple practices back with them quotsecularquot virtue of sugar in that religious authorities considered it not to be food unlike all of the other quotdrug foods such as tea coffee chocolate tobacco etc Most likely because there were no obvious noticeable side effects to behavior or person after consuming sugar unlike after caffeine alcohol or nicotine Sugar in the medical practices quotlike an apothecary without sugar came to mean a hopeless situation Interesting to note that as price of sugar became cheaper price of honey rose Important acknowledge that there was some criticisms of medicinal sugar ie syrups O O o Decreased effectiveness of bitter medicines o Could be used to mask poison o More luxury for rich than remedy Sugar increased role as sweetenerpreservative as other exotic goods like tea coffee and chocolate were imported Sugar much easier to incorporate into customers taste preferences than say bitter tastes If preference for sweet taste will like all things that taste sweet unlike specific bitter tastes Beverages sweetened by sugar specifically tea became more quotBritish because of traditionritual and being produced more often in British colonies Tea was most economical of beverages combined with sugar like coffeechocolate and most tolerable in different varieties East India Company monopoly led to rise of other countries companies most successful of which was the John Company managed by Britain who competed for trade As tea became a more popular beverage so did smuggling tea a more popular business Consumption of tea highly encouraged because therefore increased consumption of sugar Colony closely connected to city sugar and tea are so important to British diet that maintaining their supply became a political and economic matter Beer would actually have been better for the hungry than tea in that it had more calories the poor had a false feeling of warmth after drinking a cup of tea that made them think they were getting enough nutrition o White bread and tea were no longer viewed as luxury items 0 Uses of sugar by the poor o Sweeten their tea o Sweeten complex carbs like porridgebread using molasses Sugar helped addition of new foods and beverages into the daily lifeculture Always hierarchical society each level has its own set of associated behaviors and attitudes Cultural quotmaterias objects their names behaviors and mindsets can move up or down the status ladder such as lord to commoner o When this happens the material changes in meaning and significance o More often diffuses downwards than upwards 0 quotRituaization quotthe incorporation and symbolic reinvestment of new materials pg 122 of sugar s use in the daily life o quotextensification more and more people were becoming more familiar with the different uses of sugar I New meanings have no connection to the past given by the most frequent users in the specific social group o 18 century sugar is less of a luxury and more everyday commodity because of more frequent and greater consumption o quotintensification more emphasis on past meanings connection to past sugar uses for special occasions without the underlying social or political implications 0 Preserved fruit is another example of a luxury turned common food o quotjam and the working class Angeliki Torode 1870 and onward 0 Sugar was continuously added to people s daily diet and preferences o Began to overtake preferences for meat so people began to be deficient in protein since they preferred bread butter tea instead of porridge and milk I Investigation in Dundee Scotland quotdecline of nutritional standards despite increase in income 0 Women and children started working factoryjobs o Brought about need for quotconvenience eating so that wives could easily and quickly prepare food to open up more free time for work o These convenient foods could stand for long periods without spoiling or need of refrigeration 0 Sugar became a necessary accompaniment to wheat products and hot beverages 0 People began to prefer preserved fruit over fresh fruit 0 Teacoffeechocolate never replaced alcoholic beverages but did compete with them 0 Summary of chapter starts at pg 138
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