Unedited Transcripts

Food! with Oriella Charik (Unedited)

Read the edited version, with illustrations, here

Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Welcome, all of you.
OldeSoul Eldemar: I hope you can see the program dear
Tamlorn Carterhaugh Wood: Letely it takes forever and a day for stuff to rez in SL
Ceejay Writer: It does seem a bit slow lately.
Nyx Malaspina: mymy the lag struggle was real for a second there.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Welcome, everyone, to the February Aether Salon.
Ceejay Writer is happily anticipating food!
Cassie Eldemar: oh yes, always a good subject 🙂
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Most of you know the rules already – remove lag-feeding items, bitte; the presentation is almost always in chat.
Ceejay Writer: <— always obeys rules.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: We have refreshments in the back.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Wearable chairs are available on request, but these new ones are quite comfortable.
Nyx Malaspina: nibbles on a slim volume of poetry.
Liz Wilner: good fiber, Nyx lol
Ceejay Writer: Rhymes have very few calores.
Liz Wilner: hehe
Sophie Cloud: Watch out for those weighty words.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Our speaker today has been a presenter many times previously, but I believe this is her first solo presentation. Lady Wizardess Oriella Charik is a member of Rosehaven’s Duchal Court of Trikassi, and a long-time friend of the Salon.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Welcome back, Lady Oriella.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach applauds
Cassie Eldemar: applauds
Emilly Shatner-Orr applauds
Liz Wilner: Applauds!!!
Ephemeria: applauds
Oriella Charik: Thank you Baron, delighted
Wulfriðe Blitzen applauds
Ceejay Writer claps happily
Oriella Charik: Food, glorious food!
Hot sausage and mustard!
While we’re in the mood
Cold jelly and custard!
Pease pudding and saveloys
What next is the question?
Rich gentlemen have it, boys
in digestion!
Oriella Charik: Like the orphans in Charles Dickens’ tale, we think about food a lot. Rather than enthrall you with recipes and tempt you with samples, I would like to narrow my discourse to the historical, in particular to 19th century England.
Oriella Charik: How was that food transported – and why don’t foreigners eat proper breakfasts?
Oriella Charik: In 1750 the population of England was around 6 million. This was not unprecedented; it had reached 4 million during the Roman Empire and 5 million before the Black Death.
Oriella Charik: But at these earlier points the population had ceased to grow, essentially because agriculture could not respond to the pressure of feeding extra people, and when plagues or climate change struck the population crashed. However, it grew to unprecedented levels after 1750 reaching 16.6 million in 1850
Oriella Charik: It has been argued that agrarian capitalism was a key factor in England. With those involved in agriculture divided into landowners, tenant farmers and labourers, everyone saw the advantages of better farm management and an efficient workforce.
Oriella Charik: Peasants were no longer left to their own devices and then expected to hand over any surplus food to their betters. ‘Downton Abbey’ viewers will be familiar with how this system worked.
Oriella Charik: It was already known that a crop could not be grown every year in the same field without the soil becoming exhausted. In medieval times fields were put to pasture or simply left fallow in alternate years.
Oriella Charik: This changed to ‘three field’ systems in which grain and legumes were grown. No one knew that the legumes (peas, beans, turnips and clover) were fixing nitrogen back into the soil, just that the method worked.
Oriella Charik: The final result was a complex four-field rotation system. Fallow land was down to about 20% of the arable area in England in 1700, by 1800 it had fallen to 4%.
Liz Wilner: that’s a big reduction
Oriella Charik: Animal husbandry was also benefiting from innovation. In the mid-18th century two British agriculturalists, Robert Bakewell and Thomas Coke, introduced selective breeding as a scientific practice (mating together two animals with particularly desirable characteristics) and using inbreeding (the mating of close relatives) to stabilize certain qualities in order to reduce genetic diversity.
Oriella Charik: Bakewell’s most important breeding program was with sheep. Using native stock, he was able to quickly select for large, yet fine-boned sheep with long, lustrous wool. He was also the first to attempt breeding cattle to be used primarily for beef.
Oriella Charik: Previously, cattle were first and foremost kept for pulling plows as oxen or for dairy uses, with beef from surplus males as an additional bonus. As more and more farmers followed Bakewell’s lead, farm animals increased dramatically in size and quality.
Oriella Charik: But just as a sustainable agriculture had been achieved, the development of chemical fertilisers and other external inputs undermined this sustainability. An essentially organic agriculture was gradually replaced by a farming system that depended on energy-intensive inputs.
Oriella Charik: The Agricultural Revolution has been cited as a cause of the Industrial Revolution.
Emilly Shatner-Orr: That would make sense.
Oriella Charik: As enclosure deprived many of access to land or left farmers with plots too small and of poor quality, increasing numbers of workers had no choice but migrate to the city. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, however, rural flight occurred in mostly localized regions.
Oriella Charik: Pre-industrial societies did not experience large rural-urban migration flows, primarily due to the inability of cities to support large populations. Lack of large employment industries, high urban mortality and low food supplies all served as checks keeping pre-industrial cities much smaller than their modern counterparts.
Oriella Charik: While the improved agricultural productivity freed up workers to other sectors of the economy, it took decades of the Industrial Revolution and industrial development to trigger a truly mass rural-to-urban labour migration.
Oriella Charik: As food supplies increased and stabilized and industrialized centers moved into place, cities began to support larger populations, sparking the beginning of rural flight on a massive scale. In England, the proportion of the population living in cities jumped from 20% in 1801 to 72% in 1891.
Oriella Charik: As the graph shows, England was the first to urbanise and maintained its lead in Europe.
Oriella Charik: A major problem for cities was the transport of food in bulk. Food in earlier times was of necessity local. The exception to this was transport by water, Rome had famously depended on grain shipments from Egypt. Cities without access to the sea or navigable rivers remained small.
Oriella Charik: The solution was provided by another revolution – Industry!
Oriella Charik: By the 19th century, marketing was nationwide and the vast majority of agricultural production was for market rather than for the farmer and his family. The 16th-century market radius was about 10 miles, which could support a town of 10,000.
Oriella Charik: High wagon transportation costs made it uneconomical to ship commodities very far outside the market radius by road, generally limiting shipment to less than 20 or 30 miles to market or to a navigable waterway. Canals were the first solution to this problem in England, followed by railways.
Oriella Charik: While the improved agricultural productivity freed up workers to other sectors of the economy, it took decades of the Industrial Revolution and industrial development to trigger a truly mass rural-to-urban labour migration.
Oriella Charik: As food supplies increased and stabilized and industrialized centers moved into place, cities began to support larger populations, sparking the beginning of rural flight on a massive scale. In England, the proportion of the population living in cities jumped from 20% in 1801 to 72% in 1891.

Oriella Charik: Moving grain and roots in bulk over long distances was now possible, but an efficient way of preserving other food remained elusive.
Oriella Charik: It was Nicolas Appert, chasing a prize offered by the French government, who came up with bottling food in 1804. In 1812 the world’s first commercial tinplate steel canning factory appeared in London.
Ceejay Writer: Hurrah, sorta!
Oriella Charik: One slight problem with canning was that can openers were not invented for another 30 years!
Emilly Shatner-Orr: Goodness.
Liz Wilner: my grandmother canned a lot
Ceejay Writer: Timing being everything.
Oriella Charik: Another preservation possibility was freezing. In the 1870s the first refrigerated rail cars appeared and the first cargo of frozen Australian meat arrived in the UK.
Ceejay Writer: (A gunshot was used as a can opener until they got invented, occasionally.)
Liz Wilner: lol
Oriella Charik: Eventually Britain’s food imports from the Empire become essential as agriculture proved unable to keep up. This was fine if Britannia ruled the waves, not so good in the World Wars of the twentieth century when German submersibles were operating.
Harperlass: Did they have the sort of key opening cans? Or did that come later?
Ceejay Writer: they used a hook shaped prying tool and cut around the edges, as one method.
Ceejay Writer: Keys were much later
Ephemeria: not unlike the one I use
Harperlass: when I was a child we called those canopeners
Oriella Charik: Indeed, various tools were devised
Oriella Charik: So, our food has arrived, fresh, frozen or canned. When should we eat it?
Oriella Charik: Farm labourers rose at dawn, worked until midday when they paused for a light meal and then had their supper at dusk. For urban dwellers however, particularly the well off, meals have changed in both name and timing over the centuries.
Oriella Charik: In the sixteenth century ‘dinner’ was held around 11:00 a.m. By the seventeenth century it had crept to 12:00 or 1:00 p.m. Samuel Pepys recorded several dinners he ate at 12:00 replete with heavy drinking.
Ceejay Writer: So dinner was actually second breakfast?
Emilly Shatner-Orr grins
Liz Wilner: very Hobbit-y
Oriella Charik: In the eighteenth-century fashionable diners, and the gentry and business classes in the cities who sought to imitate them, ate dinner later and later in the afternoon. By the late eighteenth century it was perhaps as late as 4:00 or 5:00 p.m.
Harperlass: Well if you rise very early and work you are ready to eat about then
Oriella Charik: Only in more recent times has it come to rest in the evening, when supper consequently became less important.
Oriella Charik: This development necessitated the invention of a new mid-day meal, lunch, which only became standard at the very end of the eighteenth century. With many urban workers no longer walking to work but being transported by trams, omnibuses and trains this new meal was no longer a family affair and so it could be kept short and alcohol free by employers!
Oriella Charik: Even more elusive is evidence for breakfast. Judging from cookbooks and dietary literature there was no such meal, or at least it was only recommended to children, invalids and the elderly who have weak digestive systems and must eat smaller meals more frequently.
Oriella Charik: What appears to have happened is that as dinner moved later in the day, people were hungrier first thing in the morning. In countries where the second meal was larger, breakfast did not become important. In southern Europe it never became a proper meal, merely coffee and perhaps a piece of bread or pastry.
Wildstar Beaumont: croissant and cappuccino 😉
Liz Wilner: 🙂
Oriella Charik: Indeed ADmiral!
Oriella Charik: In Britain the pattern was quite different. By the eighteenth-century breakfast was eaten around 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning.
Oriella Charik: Only in the nineteenth century did it emerge as a full and sumptuous meal with bacon, eggs and even steaks. Thus the three-meal-a-day pattern we are familiar with is a relatively recent phenomenon.
Ceejay Writer: It still is in my house
Ephemeria: now I’m getting hungry 🙂
Oriella Charik: Personally I prefer a boiled egg with soldiers.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: It is recent or a phenomenon?
Ceejay Writer: Yum!
Oriella Charik: The English afternoon meal called “tea” as a snack between lunch and dinner also did not emerge until the nineteenth century.
Liz Wilner: recent, i believe, Baron
Oriella Charik: And as a final additional meal, we should consider ‘brunch’, a meal which I took at the ‘Flock and Feather’ in Rosehaven today. Americans sometimes suppose they invented this portmanteau word, but it first appeared in an 1895 English magazine article.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: I meant in Fraulein Ceejay’s household.
Oriella Charik: In “Brunch: A Plea,” author Guy Beringer suggested instead of England’s Sunday dinner with its heavy meats and savory pies why not a new meal, served around noon, that started with tea or coffee. By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers.
Wulfriðe Blitzen: They called it Tiffin till they stopped going to India en masse
Oriella Charik: This kind of evidence only relates to the meal patterns of the upper classes. From the comments of dietary writers (who usually disapproved of common food) it is certain that labouring people ate four regular though smaller meals and this pattern persisted despite the shift in meal times amongst their betters.
Oriella Charik: Gus Elen well described this in a 1905 Music Hall song (which you may find on YouTube):
Ceejay Writer: I’ll look for it.
Oriella Charik: His stage character was a cockeyney coster, selling fruit and veg from a street cart
Oriella Charik: Now for breakfast I never think of ‘aving tea, I likes me ‘arf a pint of ale,
For me dinner I likes a little bit o’ meat, and a ‘arf a pint of ale.
For me tea I likes a little bit o’ fish, an’ an ‘arf a pint of ale,
And for supper I likes a crust o’ bread and cheese, and a pint and an ‘arf of ale!
Ceejay Writer: Apparently he’s fond of ale. 😉
Liz Wilner: apparently! LOL
Nyx Malaspina: dad?
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach chuckles
Liz Wilner: LOL
Nyx Malaspina: dad?
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach chuckles
Liz Wilner: LOL
Oriella Charik: And here our feast of knowledge ends. Thank you for your attention!
Ceejay Writer applauds hungrily.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach applauds
OldeSoul Eldemar: APPLAUSE!!!
Emilly Shatner-Orr applauds!
Ephemeria: Thank you Oreilla for your splendid lecture. Applause.
Liz Wilner: Applauds!!!
Wulfriðe Blitzen claps politely
Nyx Malaspina: must fly, thank you for a great presentation.
Harperlass: thank you
Ceejay Writer: Much food for thought! I enjoyed this.
Harperlass: <applauds
Oriella Charik: Next time, should there be one, I might get back to what was actually eaten
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Perhaps next season?
Oriella Charik: Indeed Baron
Ceejay Writer: That would be a full topic on its own, I’d encourage you to return?
Emilly Shatner-Orr: Oh, yes indeed
Harperlass: Please do this was enjoyable
OldeSoul Eldemar: absolutely
Ephemeria: Please do.
Wildstar Beaumont: Applauds!!!
Tamlorn Carterhaugh Wood: This waswonderful, thank you!
Liz Wilner: Applauds!!!
Cassie Eldemar: applauds
Wildstar Beaumont: great talk, Ori
Ephemeria: Applauds
Liz Wilner: well done, Ori 🙂
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: If you wish to show your support to our speaker, the Tipbot is just below the lectern.
Ceejay Writer: If I might, could I recommend a few videos to those who want to keep learning?
Oriella Charik: Please do
Ceejay Writer: Thank you Oriella!
Ceejay Writer: If you have Netflix, Kiss The Ground is eye-opening, and talks clearly about those chemicals we put in the soil. https://foodtank.com/news/2020/09/kiss-the-ground-documentary-inspires-action-to-regenerate-the-worlds-soils
Emilly Shatner-Orr: Yes, thank you very much!
Cassie Eldemar: ,thank you Ori 🙂 a wonderful presentation
Oriella Charik: Here is Gus Elen singing that song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qijcid1_2w
Ceejay Writer: And on YouTube, these series are fun and educational – The Victorian Farm, The Edwardian Farm, and The Wartime Farm.
OldeSoul Eldemar: thank you soo much
Liz Wilner: I’ve watched the Victorian Farm one
Liz Wilner: was fascinating
Ceejay Writer: Oh, Will listen to the song very soon!
Emilly Shatner-Orr must…learn..not to do…whatever it is…that ports her odd places across the room.
Ceejay Writer: Liz, it really was good! The other two series are the same group of people.
Liz Wilner: I will look at the other two!
Oriella Charik: Yes, all those Farm series were good
Cassie Eldemar: I just found them, thank you
Ceejay Writer: 😀 Hope you enjoy them!
Harperlass: Thank you for the recommendations
Liz Wilner: yes…ty Ceejay 🙂
Harperlass: and a wonderful lecture
Ceejay Writer: Our stellar speaker inspired me to remember those.
Liz Wilner: and thank you Baron for yet another fascinating hour of interest 🙂
Cassie Eldemar: take care everyone and have a wonderful day – faerie hugs
Ceejay Writer: Hugs, cousin!
Tamlorn Carterhaugh Wood: Best wishes to all. Have a safe and healthy week everyone.
Ephemeria: Thank you Oriella for you marvelous lecture
Emilly Shatner-Orr: And I will be off as well, thank you again!
Tamlorn Carterhaugh Wood: Thank you again Lady Oriella
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Danke, all of you.
Ceejay Writer: I should go – I need to fix dinner!
Ceejay Writer: And I’m very hungry for it after this.
Ephemeria: good evening everybody, till the next Salon.

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