Re: Move over oats!

Discussion in 'Food and nutrition' started by John Sankey, Dec 31, 2005.

  1. John Sankey

    John Sankey Guest

    "Just thought that you might try being real for a change."

    A dose of being real, from my family history:

    " came from England to Canada in the latter end of August 1819
    with a Wife, and now that we have one Son, your Memorialist
    having a brother living at Ymaskaw Mountain to which your
    Memorialist came...."

    What memories must have been summed up in those few words, "came
    from England to Canada"! Ports on both sides of the Atlantic
    swarmed with con-men selling non-existent berths, accommodation
    and money exchange. Generally the worst vessels were used for the
    emigrant trade to Canada - the usual steerage hold was 1.7 m
    high; on either side of a 1.5 m aisle were bunks 3 m wide and 1.5
    m long, each for 6 adults. Infants under a year were not counted,
    children 1-6 counted only as 1/3 a person, those aged 7-13 as 1/2
    a person, for space, food and water. In fact slaves being
    deported from Africa to America usually had better quarters.
    Slaves were paid for on delivery; the healthier they were, the
    higher the shipmaster's profit. Emigrants had to pay in advance;
    dead or alive they had no redress on arrival.

    The only ventilation was through the hatches, which were closed
    in bad weather, often for a week at a time. During a storm, those
    unused to the sea, sealed up in total darkness, were frightened
    out of their wits by what, to the uninitiated, sounded like their
    ship was breaking apart. They would be thrown from their berths
    and hurled headlong among their companions who lay on the
    opposite side, together with all their food and belongings. Water
    usually leaked through the deck in such quantities that beds were
    soaked and the floor could be ankle deep in water. The bread for
    steerage passengers on the Rothiemurchus in 1817 was over a year
    old and the beef much older, while the drinking water was "no
    clearer than that of a dirty kennel after a rain ... the stink it
    emitted was intolerable". The damp below decks rotted most fresh
    food within a week. The average Liverpool-Quebec City trip took
    six weeks, but adverse weather could double that time. Those who
    had the foresight, as our Pennine ancestors did, to fill their
    bunks with oatmeal - which keeps for months and has sufficient
    nutrients to be a healthy diet for weeks on end - had to listen
    and watch as those who packed only fresh produce sickened and
    died about them. Small wonder that the historian Guillet refers
    to it as "a time of horror which could never be effaced from
    memory". (I celebrated Y2K with oatmeal, in a bowl that belonged
    to my great grandparents, to honour their memory.)
     
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  2. Enrico C

    Enrico C Guest

    On 1 Jan 2006 04:27:52 GMT, John Sankey wrote in
    <news:[email protected]> on sci.med.nutrition :

    [...]
    > Those who
    > had the foresight, as our Pennine ancestors did, to fill their
    > bunks with oatmeal - which keeps for months and has sufficient
    > nutrients to be a healthy diet for weeks on end - had to listen
    > and watch as those who packed only fresh produce sickened and
    > died about them. Small wonder that the historian Guillet refers
    > to it as "a time of horror which could never be effaced from
    > memory". (I celebrated Y2K with oatmeal, in a bowl that belonged
    > to my great grandparents, to honour their memory.)



    A fascinating narration!
    And one more point for oats! :)


    --
    Enrico C

    * cut the ending "cut-togli.invalid" string when replying by email *
     
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