Themis, on Mar 26 2007, 08:58 PM, said:
However, when I think of European culture in general, I do think of drinks and food together rather than people going out just to drink - and if they do, not with the intent of drinking too much. But everything changes...
I always do too. Except England. Dear Lord, can those guys drink! I did a regular consulting job for a software firm in Sussex for several years. The programmers always hauled me to the pub at 6 pm, and they were knocking back pints while I'd nurse a whisky (which is delicious there, tasted like it was made with very soft water -might have been Irish, come to think of it - and they serve it in a small snifter like brandy). Then we'd go home and the partner and his wife would have wine with their dinner.
They catered lunches and always offered wine and beer with the lunches (sandwiches true to English form - cucumber, tomato, watercress, and turkey with cranberry jelly). (Beer, IMO, is a killer both in calories and in the quantity of consumption I've often seen among beer drinkers.) True wimp that I am, I had a glass of white wine with lunch - and then dozed off in solitary splendor in the 15th century bakery where they'd set up my computer - just me and the look of history past and the smell of loaves past, and I zonked right out.
I swear, I've never seen so much booze as in England!
That's why I absolutely believe SparkyCola about the booze problem in the UK.
Unfortunately, the English booze like we do (or vice verse) - beer/cocktails before dinner, drinks with dinner, etc., while places like Italy and France generally have wine with food. I had Swiss German neighbors for a while in Austin and I adored them. For them, it was a glass of wine with dinner and if you had company, another glass during several hours of conversation. And most French aperitifs are really digestive aids of one kind or another.
I'm a booze wimp, which is a mercy being the child of an alcoholic father. My brother inherited the alcoholic gene, and although he's been sober for many years, I remember what a fight it was for him to get that way. I count my blessings every day that booze and I don't like each other, because that's one battle I'm profoundly grateful not to have to face.
While we're rhapsodizing about Europe, let's not forget that includes the Scandanavian countries, where consumption of hard liquor skyrockets during those long winters. Not everybody's a big believer in moderation. Must be all the snow....
And now that I think about it, I can further that theory, having spent a miserable two weeks in Anchorage right before Christmas one year. The road from the airport to downtown is, so I'm told, lined with whorehouses on either side! Entertainment there apparently consists of movie theatres, whorehouses, girly shows and drinking. The hotel restaurants are usually empty but the bars do a booming business! This just goes to show ya - a long, cold winter apparently demands serious booze (and possibly serious whoring, judging by the Anchorage night life.). They think of themselves as very much a bush town - a sort of Wild West mentality - and it shows. I understand you can do cool things in the summer, like ski down Mendenhall glacier. YES! Unfortunately, I only made two business trips to Anchorage, and both were during the winter nasties. If I'd stayed much longer, I would have been knocking back Stoli shots with the best of 'em. Fortunately, I was rescued in the nick of time.
Edited by Rhea, 27 March 2007 - 12:03 AM.