About Me

When not at work with students, I spend my time in my room either reading, calculating something using pen and paper, or using a computer. I read almost anything: from the pornographic to the profound, although my main interests are mathematics and physics. "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." -Erasmus

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Teetotaling, almost

I used to drink beer with friends; there's nothing like conversation that is smoothened by the flow of alcohol. We used to call the drinking sessions our research meetings; we liked to talk about physics and math questions that we found interesting. Sometimes we talked about the progress of our research.

Sadly, the last few times I did drink beer (and other drinks with higher alcohol percentages), even though it was not to excess, I ended up feeling unwell. I'm not sure what it is in beer that doesn't agree with my stomach (am I developing a beer allergy?), but because it kept on happening when I drank beer, I decided to give up beer. No such effects from wine.

When I was an undergrad, I didn't drink wine because I didn't like the taste. Whenever my Dad brought out a bottle, I sampled it, but couldn't make myself drink more than half a glass. I learned the reason later; my Dad preferred dry wine, while I preferred sweet wine. I discovered the difference when I sampled Sangria, and noticed that it was sweet. A little more reading and sampling led me to sweet wines.

While reading about wine, I chanced upon the notion of alcohol belts. It seems that Europe can be divided into three regions based on the most popularly consumed alcoholic drink. The highest latitudes would be the vodka belt, the next highest would be the beer belt, while the lowest latitudes (or the ones nearest the equator) would be the wine belt. The reason such a belt exists is probably climate:  vodka is made from potatoes, beer from grain and cereals, and wine from grapes. The ease of access to the ingredients is affected by latitude-- no grapes in the vodka belt, for example.  

My resolution this year: drink more wine, instead of beer or other spirits. I've read about the health benefits, and Novellino isn't expensive. It helps that there's a nearby shop where I can buy it at a discount.  I've limited myself to sweet wine (I don't understand the European desire to drink something dryer), and only to a glass right after dinner.

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