“A History of the World in 6 Glasses” by Tom Standage Essay
“A History of the World in 6 Glasses” by Tom Standage, 492 words essay example
Essay Topic: history
A history of the world in six glasses tells the story of humanity, how it developed and its relation to six drinks throughout history. The author, Tom Standage is known to write about history and it's relation to things like food or the media. The overall theme of the book would be the interactions between the humans and the environment. This book goes through six drinks throughout history (beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea and cola) it shows how these drinks have made an impact on different societies, and how they have developed interactions between multiple societies. This book shows the relationship between many societies through popular drinks. I firmly believe this story tells how societies have developed from drinks by, who drunk which drinks and how they defined social statuses, how popular the drinks became, and how they brought together different societies.
The first beer was brewed between 10,000 BCE and 4,000 BCE. Beer was most popular at first in Mesopotamia and Egypt. It was seen as a gift from the gods, it was used in religious ceremonies. Also it played a central role in the adoption of agriculture. It also became of form of payment, which led to storing up and accumulating wealth. "Mesopotamians and Egyptians alike saw beer as an ancient, god-given drink that underpinned their existence formed part of their cultural and religious identity, and had a great social importance" (Standage 29). During 1000 BCE Mesopotamians turned their backs on beer, and the age of wine started to rise. Wine began to differentiate social statuses by who drank what wine. Wine drinking became popular in Greece, and when Rome adopted Greek traditions, how they drank wine was one of them. "Appreciation of different wine from different places began with the Greek, and the link between the type of wine and social status was strengthened by the Romans." (Standage 90). Beginning in 1440 CE spirits fueled the slave trade because they were used as a form of currency among slave traders. Distilled drinks played a major role in the slave trade. Also in the British, French, and Dutch cultures, which interacted when they all established sugar plantations in the caribbean and exchanged a range of products. Unlike beer and wine, rum was the resuly of convergence of ideas, materials, and people from all over the world.
Coffee is a prime example of a mixture of different cultures, since it was originated in Arabia but spread all the way through Europe and all over the world. Coffee demonstrated cultural change over time as it was first rejected by Europe and European societies, but later became accepted. "The diffustion of rationalism throught Europe, was mirrored by the spread of coffee,which promoted clarity of thought." (Standage 134). Coffee houses functioned as a information superhighway in the age of reason. Which allowed gossip culture, and intellegence to circulate throughout Europe. Proof that coffee made an impact in the cultural change, is that the French Revolution began in a coffee house.