Gypsies in the City: Culture Patterns and Survival by rena gropper

By rena gropper

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In many cases the practice is rooted in ritual and superstition rather than gastronomy, but not always. A French Dominican in the seventeenth century observed that the Caribs had most decided notions ofthe relative merits oftheir enemies. As one would expect, the French were delicious, by far the best. This is no surprise, even allowingfor nationalism. Tbe English came next, I'm glad to say. The Dutch were dull and stodgy and the Spaniards so stringy, they were hardly a meal at all, even boiled.

Just as there are foods credited with inducing lust, others have been adopted as promoters of chastity. Again, it is usually only by a doctrine of sympathetic magic that such recommendations can be justified. O n a visit to Canterbury in the late twelfth century Giraldus Cambrensis vindicated barnacle geese as Lenten food for clergymen on the false assumption that they reproduced without sex and therefore might be expected to nourish without exciting inappropriate lusts. As we shall see in a moment, modern dietetics were founded, in part, in the early nineteenth century, as a result of an attempt to create a diet conducive to chastity.

Among mineral components of food, iodine is needed to keep goiter at bay, calcium against osteoporosis and iron against anemia. The most conspicuous case in history is that of scurvy, which is a deficiency disease pure and simple, caused by lack of the vitamin C in ascorbic acid.

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