Monday, March 19, 2012

The Food Lore of Wine

Although diverse in speculation as to how wine actually came to be, it is filled with food lore. And food lore –about how food is prepared and served - is one of the more popular folklore elements. Here are some folk tales about timeless libation:

Persia: The Persian’s have a cranky woman with a headache to thank for the birth of wine. According to legend, she, out of discomfort and fatigue, began drinking fermented juice from a jar of grapes, and immediately began to feel relaxed and dosed off. After waking up completely healed, she accredited the juice as the cure to her headache.

Ancient Greece: Dionysus (son of Zeus’ thigh) is the God of Wine, Intoxication, and Fertility Zeus’ wife Hera did not like Dionysus and ordered him to be torn to pieces. His dismemberment, according to Greek tradition, and later his coming back to life was metaphorically parallel to the pruning back of grape vines to prepare them for bearing fruit.

Germany: In the small town of Varnhalt the last grape harvest of each growing season is brought home by ox cart. If not, according to superstition the harvest will be filled with sour grapes.

Southern France: Natives of South France try not to talk about their grapes too much, for fear that if they speak too much about the grapes or the wine in front of the vines, the whole crop could go bad.

Ancient Rome: According to Roman legend, spilling wine is as bad of an omen as crossing paths with a black cat, or snake falling from the roof. This folklore is often linked with Brutus’s betrayal, that wine was spilled before the royal dinner party disaster.

It is easy to see how wine has been the subject of countless folktales and food lore stories. It is found at almost every celebration in one form or other and has also been a common, everyday beverage served with meals. And the recent rise in vineyards and wineries in this county promises that whether half-empty or half-full, the wine cup will always be a central item of food lore.

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