William M. Dowd photoOver the years, I've occasionally written about cider. Not that sickening sweet diluted stuff sitting in bottles on your supermarket shelf, but real cider. The sort of beverage enjoyed throughout Europe for centuries and in this country until the 20th. (For example, 'All things cider and how to taste them' back in December.)
Brian Palmer, writing for Slate.com, has an interesting take on the topic of cider and speculates on whether it is making a comeback in this country. Here's how he begins:
"During the 1840 presidential election, opponents of William Henry Harrison portrayed him as a hard-drinking bumpkin. In a savvy act of political jujitsu, Harrison embraced the charge, branding his campaign paraphernalia with a portrait of pure Americana: a log cabin and a barrel of cider. Harrison rode the image to a 234-60 Electoral College victory over incumbent Martin Van Buren.Go here for the full essay. And, go here and enter the word CIDER in the search box for a list of related stories.
"Shortly after the Harrison landslide, Americans would begin to drift away from his beloved libation. ... A century later, cider would be almost completely forgotten. Most Americans now consider cider -- if they consider it at all -- to be in the same category as wine coolers or those enigmatic clear malt beverages: chemically suspect, effeminate alternatives to beer. And who can blame them? America's mass-market ciders are comically weak and inexplicably fizzy. Many are made not from cider apples but from the concentrated juice of eating apples, which is a bit like making wine from seedless table grapes. ... Let's get back to our roots."
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