Monday, April 23, 2012

Men still have to be governed by deception

Herring . . . a fish, of course, but also a food staple for many cultures all over the world.  But this excellent source of protein and nutrients spoils quickly and must be preserved in some manner almost as soon as they are caught.

Before freezing was available, the only practical way to preserve the fish was cure them by means of salting and smoking.  Preserved in this manner the herring can keep for months but have to be softened and desalinated (by means of soaking) to make them edible once again.

Although the flesh of the fish is white, when the fish is heavily cured (up to 10 days) it turns a deep crimson color . . . and gets pretty stinky, as well.  From this we get red herring . . . the food product and the idiom . . .  something that distracts attention from the real issues.   But how does the fish relate to this expression?

A popular English journalist of the early 1800’s wrote a fictional story about how as a boy he had used a red herring as a decoy to deflect hounds chasing after a hare.   He further used this story as a metaphor to criticize other members of the press who printed misinformation without the benefit of verifying the facts leading to domestic complacency in the face of external threats . . . namely; falsely reporting that Napoleon had been defeated and therefore was no longer a threat to the nation. 

He wrote “It was a mere transitory effect of the political red-herring; for the scent became as cold as a stone.”

He repeated this story enough that the symbolic implication of ‘red herring’ became well-established.  The unfortunate result is that people also began to believe that laying a false trail of stinky fish was a normal practice amongst huntsmen.

Homemade Strawberry Lemonade

1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup of Water
1 Pint Fresh Strawberries
1 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice (About 8 Lemons)
5 Cups Cold Water

Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar with 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Place over medium heat and heat until the sugar in completely dissolved; swirl the pan occasionally. Let cool.

Once the simple syrup has cooled, puree strawberries in a blender with ½ cup water.

In a large pitcher, combine strawberry puree, simple syrup and lemon juice.

Add 5 cups of cold water. The amount of water you use will depend on your taste, so add as little or as much as you want to achieve your perfect sweet/tart balance.

Serve over ice. 

Men still have to be governed by deception

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