> M Sheffield wrote: > > > We used to serve beer and red wine at comfortable temperatures; now we > > chill them to hide their flavours (or even replace them with some fizzy > > brown sugary liquid). > > Shame on you :-) I like my pints at quaffable temperatures, and my red > wines similarly :-)
Do what Americans do: Chill American beer, which is formulated for
temperatures close freezing and drink the imported beer at about 10 deg F,
5 deg C warmer. Cool the red wine slightly if it's at room temperature
(65 - 72 deg F; 18 - 21 deg C).
> > We used to enjoy 3/4, 6/8, 9/8 musical signatures; now we are fed only > > 2-beat rock -- and the younger generation knows _nothing_ else.
It's really hard to get away from that music. But the younger ones do
turn out to know and love other kinds of music when they are not making a
> > I have no particular memories of halloween as a child in Britain either. > > 5th November, yes, but not halloween as a celebration. > > Me too.
My memories of Halloween in the US before 1960 do not include the 'trick
or treat' costumed children going from house to house. I always thought
that this custom arose from our criminal element trying to teach kids
the protection racket. Now I learn it's from our ubiquitous Scottish
hertitage. . . thanks, Jim.
> > At least the halloween period is short. Christmas, on the other hand. Do > > you really enjoy two months of being told to buy, buy, buy? By the time > > 25th December arrives, thank goodness it's nearly over.
The US custom of commercializing Christmas started full force during the
Depression. President Roosevelt fixed the US Thanksgiving at roughly four
weeks before Christmas to make a recognizable 'Christmas' buying season.
With fancier market tecniques and inventory control, the gift purchasers
now get out early (used to be just after Halloween; now is mid-Sept) in
order to get the gifts they want at the beginning-of-the-season sale
prices. and they can 'lay them away' at the store (by paying part of the
total price) until closer to Christmas. It's very hard not to buy
presents for your kids if you grew up with nothing.
Prior to the Depression, only a few families had Christmas trees and lots
of gift-giving. And those families were German-speaking. My great-great
grandfather and his wife came from Saarbrucken before it was ever either
Germany or France -- they considered themselves Alsatian -- and I still
have two ornaments from my great-grandfather's tree (now place high on the
mantel in a safe place). And my father remembered lots of presents on
Christmas morning from his childhood.
Remember, most US customs originated in the countries from which we
immigrated. . .
Priscilla Burrage Vermont US