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Tea/time [Oct. 29th, 2006|06:59 pm]
Had some Earl Gray tea, which is flavored with oil of bergamot. I headed for Google when I realized that I had no idea what oil of bergamot was. It turns out not to be one of those highly active herbs (some ingredients in some herbal teas bring me very unpleasant reactions.) It also turns out that Henriette's Herbal Homepage, where I found the information about oil of bergamot, has all sorts of interesting stuff in it, including the full texts or substantial excerpts from about twenty classic books on herbs, all from the 1930's or earlier.

Among them is Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World (1919), which includes in its entry on Cannabis sativa the news that "Hempseed was served fried for dessert by the ancients. In Russia, Poland and neighboring countries, the peasants are extremely fond of parched hempseed and it is eaten even by the nobility. The oil expressed from the seed is much used as food during the time of the fasts in the Volga region." I wonder how some fried hemp seed would go with a nice cup of Earl Gray?

In my search for information about oil of bergamot, I also ran across Love to Know, the wiki-ish web site that is making available online the 1911 version of the Encyclopedia Britannica. I recall hearing about this project, but I'd never gotten around to actually looking at the site. So now I've got yet another way to spend time I don't have on teh Interwebs. I recall Kenneth Rexroth (I think it was him- might have been someone else) saying that the article on the polar regions in the 1911 Britannica was one of the great unknown works of English prose of the 20th century. Now I guess I'll have to check it out, and it's long. Most of the 1911 encyclopedia's articles are long. People apparently had more time for reading in 1911. They had more time for a simple cup of tea, too, without having it send them off on a two hour Internet searching binge.

Now back to my regularly scheduled life.