Friday, 21 December 2012

Mild Ale and Mackerel

Now there's a combination. I wonder if the beer and food pairing gods approve of such a juxtaposition?

But it isn't a putative pairing under discussion. Just a bizarre health warning. Cautioning the poor about eating certain foods. Preventing them from catching cholera, supposedly. Wankers.
"CHOLERA PRECAUTIONS. Notices bave been posted outside the various metropolitan hospitals warning the public against the excessive use of mackerel and mild ale at this season of the year, as the larger fish are liable to contain a small worm which would be injurious and likely to cause cholera and other diseases. The caution with regard to the drinking of large quantities of mild ale is given specially to the working classes, as the beverage produces profuse perspiration, and renders the body liable to a chill, which would be likely to lead to serious consequences."
Liverpool Echo - Saturday 14 June 1884, page 4.

I'm not sure that I follow that. Drinking Mild makes you sweat so you're likely to get cholera? I think poor food hygiene is a more likely cause.

Thankfully a medical expert was able to put everyone's minds to rest:

Writing to Mr John Sayer, Professor Huxley says:- It is perfectly true that mackerel, like all other fish, are more less infected by parasites — one of which, small thread-worm, is often so abundant as to be conspicuous when the fish is opened. But it is not true that there is any reason to believe that this threadworm would be iujurious to a man, even if he swallowed it uncooked and alive, and to speak of it a possible cause of cholera is sheer nonsense. I have no doubt that the 'excessive use of mackerel and mild ale,' whether separately or in combination, would be followed by unpleasant results, not only at this season of the year, but at any other. But I undertake to say that the consequences would be the same whether the fish contained thread-worms or not. It is very much to be regretted that the food supply of the people should be diminished, and that the fishing population should be robbed of the fruit of their labours by the propagation of statements which are devoid foundation, and if you think the publication of this letter will be of any use to the public and to the fishing interest, it at your Service."
Western Daily Press - Tuesday 24 June 1884, page 7.

Thank god today's newspapaers are so much more responsible and never print stupid health scare stories.

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