Sunday, June 10, 2018

COFFEE by E. Ayers


Coffee - a simple drink and a staple all over America. No one thinks of cowpokes sitting around the campfire drinking tea. Heck, no! Those men drank something as strong as they were. They drank coffee! Maybe and maybe not, often it was coffee, but it wasn't very strong.
Coffee has its roots so far back in history that we tend to think that it was strictly an American drink. It wasn't. Tea was the new comer to England. Coffee houses in England had a new drink to serve, tea, and they advertised it heavily. But once we had that little tea party in the Boston Harbor, drinking tea was considered British and coffee was patriotic. Well, we've been drinking coffee since our forefathers brought it with them from England as a household staple in the 1600's.
          But things change and sometimes quickly. The Civil War left the South broke. Obtaining coffee beans was somewhat of a luxury for many people. They cheated. They added chicory or other  beans to the supply of coffee they did have. Today we still drink coffee with chicory. It's found under the brand name of Luzianne. They carry several coffees so be sure it says chicory. There are quite a few companies that carry chicory flavored coffee.
Chicory is the root of a daisy-like plant, with leaves that taste much like a dandelion and both have the same sort of root, although the chicory tends to be fatter. There's all sorts of differences between the two, but apparently, if the root is sliced and
roasted, it gives a nutty-peppery flavor to the coffee. Today most people who like chicory-flavored coffees would tell you that it's smoother tasting yet has that special chicory kick.
Wheat has been added to coffee beans. It's harvested before the wheat ripens. But many a cook has taken the berries/grains from the wheat, toasted them, and added them to coffee. The Indians used acorns, and then acorns mixed with coffee beans. Almost any sort of bean including soybeans can be roasted and added to coffee beans. Coffee has a strong flavor that mixes well with other things.
Postum was created by Post Cereal in 1895 and marketed as a coffee substitute. There's no coffee in it. Caffeine-free, it is made from wheat bran, wheat, and molasses. It's still available today.
As people made their way west, it wasn't unusual for the supply of coffee beans to run low and they added to the beans. Even the most affluent ranch family could discover that a severe winter forced them to blend their coffee beans with other food sources to stretch supplies.
Those cowpokes may have discovered that the cattle drive, because of weather or some other factor, took longer than expected. Those beans were blended with whatever they could find.
There were wagons moseying westward that were robbed, destroyed by fire, or washed away while crossing a stream or river. With them went supplies, including the coffee beans. Pioneers looked for things to use that would make a hot beverage.
So it wasn't unusual for the woman of the house to mix the coffee beans with a little something to stretch the supply. What they used changed the flavor of the beverage. Those little
changes could make the perfect cup of coffee for some drinkers. It might add a little spark or make it milder. We do the same today when we add hazelnut or other flavor to our coffee.
The women who braved the plains, the Rocky Mountains, or other areas west of the Mississippi did what they could to provide a beverage with or without the meal. They used what they had. Coffee was a favorite and still is. Using roots, fruit/berries, seeds/grains, or nuts to the coffee often became a common practice that is carried on today. If you get a chance to try one of these old-fashioned coffees, do it. You just might find a favorite.

On A Personal Note 
I'm back and glad to be here again. Two months was a long time to be gone. But I'm almost fully recovered, and I'm back to writing. I'd like to thank all of you who sent prayers and good wishes my way. Nine hours of surgery and the only problem I have is damage that was done to an eye. With a little more luck, my eye will heal completely and I'll actually be able to see what I'm typing. Seeing is a little iffy right now, but I'm confident that in a few more months everything will be great!

12 comments:

  1. Coffee has been (still is) the 'elixir of life' for many people (me, included *grin*).

    "I never laugh until I've had my coffee." Clark Gable

    "Coffee. The favorite drink of the civilized world." Thomas Jefferson

    "Among the numerous luxuries of the table...coffee may be considered as one of the most valuable. It excites cheerfulness without intoxication; and the pleasing flow of spirits which it occasions...is never followed by sadness, languor or debility." Benjamin Franklin

    "As soon as coffee is in your stomach, there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move...similes arise, the paper is covered. Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to be a struggle." Honore de Balzac

    And, it's wonderful to hear that you're recuperating and 'back in the saddle'.

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    1. I'm so happy to be back! Thank you, Kaye.

      Caffeine, today, is also an additive to many drugs as it moves medicine quicker through the system.

      We are a Nation of coffee drinkers, but obtaining coffee often was difficult. I find it amazing what people used to stretch their precious beans, frequently with tasty results.

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    2. I'm so happy to be back! Thank you, Kaye.

      Caffeine, today, is also an additive to many drugs as it moves medicine quicker through the system.

      We are a Nation of coffee drinkers, but obtaining coffee often was difficult. I find it amazing what people used to stretch their precious beans, frequently with tasty results.

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  2. That England had coffee before tea was a big surprise to me. They're certainly all about the tea now. I love my coffee. I have two cups--okay mugs--of it every morning. Without it no one would want to know me.
    I am familiar with a few of the coffee extending ingredients like chicory and hazelnut, but I had no idea what chicory actually was.
    I'm glad you're back and that you're recovering well from your surgery, E. Great blog...

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. Life is known for tossing us curve ball.
      :-)
      Apparently dandelions can be used and taste very close to chicory. And we can thank our English forefathers who brought dandelions over to the New World so they could be certain to have salad here.
      I love my coffee, too.

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  3. Happy for you and us that you are back, Elizabeth. I've also been having vision problems and know what you are going thru!
    Love the quotes, Kaye. Since I got a Keurig a couple of years ago, I'm addicted to my Hazelnut coffee pods and H. creamer! Checking my cupboard I find: CDM chicory from NOLA, Wms of Sonoma Pumpkin Spice, Cabela's Sportsman's Hazelnut and Don Francisco's H. Cream. My family knows my shortcomings!

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    1. Thanks, Arietta. I'm so happy to be back here with my "sisters" on SotW. I've really missed everyone!
      Do you have any plain coffee in the cupboard or will I have to bring my own?
      :-)

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    2. What's left shouldn't be had! I'll get fresh and dust off the coffee pot for you tho'.

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    3. Wish I could run over for a cup right now. But I'm swamped at home. I'm pushing a contemporary book out the door, and I have another contemporary to write and a historical western to write. Both of those are Christmas themed.

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  4. Glad you are on the mend.

    Interesting facts on the making of coffee. Since I cannot stand the taste of the stuff, it was very useful to me. Doris

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    1. Thanks, Doris. It's always so nice to see you here

      Just wondering if you've ever tried Postum.

      My sis loved the aroma of coffee but hated the taste of coffee or anything coffee flavored.I didn't drink coffee until I was well in my twenties. I'd tasted it before then but it was not a favorite. It was a neighbor who got me into the habit of drinking coffee. I've drank it ever since, but I do like my tea.

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  5. So glad to have you back with us, E. Even happier the operation was a success and pray your eye will heal rapidly, too.

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