Friday, January 14, 2011

Vinegar—The Under-Appreciated Condiment

“A-haunting we will go, a-haunting we will go, heigh ho, it’s scary-o, a haunting we will go.”

Thus began each meeting of my childhood group, The Ghost Club. We marched in a column, clothed in sheets stolen from our beds. It was a summer thing. You know how those summer affairs are. Hot and heavy for a while, forgotten once the weather turns cooler.

We had a whole series of rituals we performed from singing our anthem to drinking vinegar ala communion. In fact, I remember no business at this meeting, just rituals and costumes and vinegar. The drink was meant to weed out those who weren’t truly serious about our organization.

And it is true, we didn’t have kids clamoring to become members, so maybe it worked. Or, maybe because we lived in rural Ohio, the mere thought of riding your bike 3 miles in the summer heat and humidity to drink vinegar didn’t appeal to more than a few of us. Whatever. We were an elite group.

So, as I wrote earlier, being a vinegar aficionado from way back, I couldn’t believe there was no day honoring it. So, I am declaring tomorrow, January 15th, National Vinegar Day. Unfortunately for this new holiday, I can’t seem to find a food quote that flatters vinegar. There are all these really positive sounding quotes for chocolate, but not so much for vinegar. Why is that?

First, the diff between white and apple cider vinegars. Yes, I know they are different colors. But why?

First, vinegars are made from alcohol, so apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apples and distilled white vinegar is made from fermented grain or sometimes by adding acetic acid to water. Thus the color difference is explained. Apple cider vinegar has a fruitier taste compared to the grain-alcohol taste of distilled white vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar is mainly used for cooking and food preservation purposes. The acidity ranges from 5-6% acidity. You see apple cider touted as a health aid because of the minerals and malic acid it contains that distilled white vinegar does not.

White Distilled Vinegar is mainly used for cleaning purposes and disinfecting. It is good for external body use on sores, sunburns, and itches. The acidity ranges from 4-7% acidity. If you find 10% acidity vinegar, be careful. It can burn your skin.

I love word origins (called etymology). Vinegar came to us from the Latin vinum aegrum (meaning “weak wine”) into Old French vin aigre (meaning “sour wine”).

To celebrate, perhaps you’d like to make some flavored vinegars to spice up your salads and marinades. Try these:

Here is one tweet-style for you tweet freeks (or is that tweat freaks?):

Orange and Bay Vinegar Recipe:

2 boil 2.5c cdr vngr N strlzd jr+zest.5 orng/8 fr baylf Por vngr on Lid it Lv n snny plc ~2wk Strain Por n2 nu strlzd jr Kp cool/dry/drk

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