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Introversion
10-29-2018, 03:36 AM
In my WIP, the Americas exist but for various reasons were never colonized by European forces, and no trade between the continents exists.

So, that means a scene in a British pub can't have people snacking on salted peanuts or potato crisps. Nor are they going to be smoking tobacco.

Trade between Europe and parts of Asia and Africa exists, so there will be beer (barley, and I believe hops were native to Europe?) and wine.

What might take the place of salty snacks in a pub? Roasted chestnuts?

What might take the place of tobacco? Was anything smoked recreationally in Europe before tobacco was imported?

Alessandra Kelley
10-29-2018, 04:06 AM
In sixteenth century England street food included boiled pea pods. The pods were tough and inedible, but you scraped out the peas with your teeth.

Apparently marijuana evolved somewhere on the Asian steppes.

WeaselFire
10-29-2018, 04:12 AM
Since you're rewriting history, make whatever you want fit. No reason chips couldn't have come from elsewhere, lots of things can be smoked. Marijuana originated in Asia, after all.

Jeff

Helix
10-29-2018, 04:20 AM
Pork scratchings. Ploughman's lunch. Those sorts of things.

anaemic_mind
10-29-2018, 04:26 AM
Trade between Europe and parts of Asia and Africa exists, so there will be beer (barley, and I believe hops were native to Europe?) and wine.
Yes brewing beer was how water was made safe for drinking.


What might take the place of salty snacks in a pub? Roasted chestnuts?
Pork Scratchings are a traditional pub snack. Heavenly stuff :e2cloud9: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pork_rind#Europe


What might take the place of tobacco? Was anything smoked recreationally in Europe before tobacco was imported?
I don't think it was. You could maybe just spread cannabis from the middle east instead?
Useful article here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_smoking

D. E. Wyatt
10-29-2018, 06:48 AM
No matter what Miracle Max says, you won't be able to stop off for a good MLT sandwich (no tomatoes).


Yes brewing beer was how water was made safe for drinking.


I've done some looking into this myself, as I primarily write fiction set in pre-Industrial societies (well, fantasy, but drawn from) and that's not ENTIRELY true. Water was most definitely drunk by itself without boiling for brewing first. At least some of the sources I've looked at suggested small beer was used because it provided more nutrients that what you'd get from water alone. It's really not until you get into the later Renaissance and early Modern eras that town hygiene (or lack thereof) became truly serious problems (Western Europe had a thriving bath culture until around the 14th and 15th centuries, when climate change and the arrival of the Plague killed it off).

neandermagnon
10-29-2018, 10:23 AM
Yeah, pork scratchings. They're more common than peanuts in my experience anyway. Quite a lot of popular crisp brands are made of grains rather than potatoes anyway. And they're still called crisps. No-one says "potato crisps" they're just crisps whether they're made of potato or anything else. So the only thing you wouldn't have would be the crisp varieties made out of potatoes.

The lack of fish and chips would be more of an issue as chips are way more ubiquitous than crisps (and they're not all the same as what Americans call french fries either - though french fries are a kind of chip they're nothing like chip shop chips). I would suggest maybe that they served other root vegetables with fish, e.g. parsnip chips. But they'd still just be called chips. Also, sweet potatoes make good chips and as far as I know they're imported from Africa.

The lack of chocolate and coffee strike me as being more of an issue. There would be other sweets besides chocolate but they wouldn't be as good, and people would just drink tea. There are lots of different types of tea, not just tea from the tea plant. There are all the various herbal teas so people who don't like tea (the plant) tea can still drink other kinds of tea.

When is your story set? It's illegal to smoke inside any building nowadays, including pubs. Smokers have to go outside. Though if you have an alternative history where people never take up smoking then there may never have been a need to pass a law like that. If tobacco was never a thing there's no reason why people would smoke at all. You don't need to have a substitute for all things. People smoked opium back in the 19th century but that was banned quickly due to addiction related problems. Tobacco was seen as good because it doesn't intoxicate people and it was promoted for its (alleged) health benefits originally, and if you're addicted to it it's not going to affect your ability to work and be a useful member of society. It was heavily marketed. People only became aware of the problems with it in the 60s or thereabouts and by then huge numbers were addicted and there was a huge tobacco industry so it wasn't so simple as to just tell everyone to quit. But had tobacco never been brought over here there's no reason why smoking anything would've taken off in such a big way.

waylander
10-29-2018, 02:56 PM
Coffee was around in Europe before the New World was discovered, some sources say it came from Ethiopia http://www.ncausa.org/about-coffee/history-of-coffee so no reason why your characters can't have coffee. I agree about the pork scratchings, widely available over here.

onesecondglance
10-29-2018, 03:54 PM
You can make a nice bar snack with barley itself - dry roast it and then sprinkle with salt. But yeah, pork scratchings are the daddy.

On the brewing side - boiling isn't one hundred-percent necessary to making beer, and there's evidence that boiling only really came standard practice when mass production started. However, hops have strong anti-microbial properties, which is one reason they became the defacto bittering ingredient*, and alcohol also helps in that regard, so beer would have been at least a little safer to drink than the plain water it was made from.

It's not clear exactly when you're setting this story - the kind of beer available will be quite different depending on which century you're in. While US hops were used widely in British brewing from the nineteenth century onwards (the history of British brewing is very closely linked to the history of taxation - we have historically tended to use whatever ingredients are most cost-effective!), US styles of beer have very limited influence until the 20th Century. However, there was significant cross-pollination of styles from Europe and extensive trading.




*: over things like nettles and other herbs that were traditionally used pre-industrially

Introversion
10-29-2018, 04:58 PM
Thanks, everyone! Very helpful.

Have to think about coffee, but it's a good point about an Ethiopian source for it! That could be useful.

For those who asked: I'm setting this in the 20th century, mostly 1950s/1960s. It's a magical realism / alt-history setting. In this Earth, some plants, "properly" processed and combined with "proper" rituals, are a source of magic. Since my world hasn't really worked out the "physics" of this, which substances have had their potential "unlocked" has been largely due to luck.

Other than this minor detail :ROFL: I'm trying to hew to this Earth as much as I can. Thus, no, potatoes and tomatoes won't be native to Europe in my world.

Alessandra Kelley
10-29-2018, 06:37 PM
Coffee was around in Europe before the New World was discovered, some sources say it came from Ethiopia http://www.ncausa.org/about-coffee/history-of-coffee so no reason why your characters can't have coffee. I agree about the pork scratchings, widely available over here.

Was it Ethiopia? Anyhow, it was the Sufi mystics on the Arabian peninsula who developed and popularized coffee as a drink in the fifteenth century to help people stay awake for long prayer sessions. And it spread from there. Thank you, Sufis!

Layla Nahar
10-29-2018, 06:49 PM
I want to read this story.

Just saying.

shortstorymachinist
10-29-2018, 07:52 PM
I want to read this story.

Just saying.

QFT. Chop chop, Introversion!

Cobalt Jade
10-29-2018, 09:02 PM
You can make a nice bar snack with barley itself - dry roast it and then sprinkle with salt. But yeah, pork scratchings are the daddy.

Pork scratchings = chicharrones?

I'm pretty sure coffee originated in Ethiopia. A legend says a man was tending his goats in the mountains, and he noticed how lively and frisky the goats became when they ate a certain kind of berry. The goat herder tried it himself and the rest was history.

benbenberi
10-30-2018, 01:32 AM
Pork scratchings = chicharrones?

Yes! AKA (US): pork rinds. A wonderful thing.


I'm pretty sure coffee originated in Ethiopia. A legend says a man was tending his goats in the mountains, and he noticed how lively and frisky the goats became when they ate a certain kind of berry. The goat herder tried it himself and the rest was history.

Yes. It spread from there through the Middle East, and via Turkey to Greece & the Mediterranean world. The Venetians adopted it first in western Europe. It took most of a century to spread from there to the rest of Europe, but it was well established as a delightful drink everywhere by the mid/late 17c.

Tea only became popular in Europe in the 18c, after the establishment of regular trade with China.

Imagine, if you can, the whole of ancient Greece, the entire rise & fall of Rome, the middle ages, most of the Renaissance -- entirely without a regular source of caffeine!! :sleepy:

(But they did have booze. Plenty of booze. Morning, noon and nighttime booze.)

frimble3
10-30-2018, 05:48 AM
Even now you can buy beet crisps and carrot crisps (salty and naturally sweet). You could have turnip crisps, well.

Or crackers! Savoury biscuits? Pita crisps! Anyhow, exciting spicy flavours, or, indeed bits of pork rind, mixed in. Not to mention dips.

Sardine onna cracker. Slice of herring onna cracker! Sardines or herring by themselves. Ham? Pork floss?

Boiled eggs, pickled boiled eggs!
Pickled cucumbers, onions, olives, and assorted vegetables. And fruits, I suppose - pickled apples! If someone can pick it, someone will pickle it.

Anything from the 'tapas' family.
Toasted chickpeas!

A regular pub is called 'The Boar's Head'. One specializing in pork products: 'The Boar's Head to Tail'!

onesecondglance
10-30-2018, 11:42 AM
1950s to 1960s - the age when the stereotype of British ale as thin, weak, and watery was forged... in the post-war period, taxes and rationing meant that recipes featured fewer and cheaper hops, increased use of sugars* and adjuncts like grits in place of (relatively expensive) barley, and lower ABVs.

Your pub would have a couple of beers on cask: mild, bitter, and, if they're lucky, a porter or stout. None would likely be above 5% ABV, most 4% or lower. The mild would be cheapest and lowest in strength, relatively dark in colour, though not as dark as the porter/stout. This is your everyday beer.

The bitter would be more expensive and more heavily hopped, though nowhere near either today's or pre-war standards - some might remember this and complain about it. Usually the bitter would be designated a "best bitter", historically to distinguish it from other varieties in the brewer's range, but by this point most small breweries stuck to a few beers. So if you want bitter, you ask for a pint of best, and the lads at the bar raise their eyebrows at you being fancy.

City pubs would likely also have a lager, British brewed rather than import, though using imported (likely Czech) hops. Lager was particularly popular in London. Compared to today's standard lagers, it would be lower-carbonation and not served anywhere near as cold - so more like a very pale ale (which, curiously, is much closer to the traditional lagers I've drunk in Germany).

In any pub, the beer runs the risk of being kept poorly and going off (sometimes called "stale"). Vast amounts of money have been spent since the 1960s on improving serving technology to help with this, but back in those days it was largely the skill of the publican that kept the beer drinkable. You might choose a pub based on how well they kept their beer. Badly kept beer can become either oxidised (sweet sherry and cardboard-y kind of flavours), go sour from wild yeast (slightly tart/puckering, some farmyard-like/sweaty aromas and flavours), or, in the worst case, become infected (anything from vinegary to metallic flavours, none subtle or able to drink around - you'd know the second you poured it, let alone drank the stuff).

Beer historians like Ron Pattinson, Pete Brown, and Boak & Bailey have excellent resources on British pubs and beers in this period, including photos, recipes, brewing records, and interviews.



*: sugars have long been used in British beer for flavour, so it's not as simple as saying "sugar is a cheap substitute for barley", but that's definitely true in some cases.

kmarcks
10-30-2018, 04:41 PM
You would have to serve yam crisps because sweet potatoes are native to the Americas.

WeaselFire
10-30-2018, 04:54 PM
No matter what Miracle Max says, you won't be able to stop off for a good MLT sandwich (no tomatoes).

Why? Tomatoes may have originated in the Americas but, since history is being rewritten, have Polynesians bring them back to Southeast Asia and migrate into India. Unless India is now out of the realm too. Just because you're removing Europeans from having traveled to the Americas doesn't mean other cultures couldn't or didn't. Trade routes will always find a way and it's human nature to see what's over the horizon.

Jeff

benbenberi
10-30-2018, 05:06 PM
That reminds me - sugar is another thing that's going to be different if there's no New World colonization. Sugar was a great luxury in Europe & not part of everyday cooking/food prep throughout the middle ages because sugar cane was only grown on a fairly small scale (in China, India, eventually a few places around the Mediterranean) & not very much could be imported. The first exploits of European colonialism in the 15c -- the Portuguese conquest of Madeira, & especially the Spanish conquest of the Canary Islands -- enabled the first large-scale cultivation of sugar and development of industrial sugar refining practices, and also the dependence of the sugar industry on large-scale slave labor. Sugar only became really significant in European cuisine and economies, though, with the colonization of the New World. Sugar beets didn't exist till the 18c, & their development was directly caused by the desire to create a product that was identical to cane sugar but could be made in places where sugar canes wouldn't grow.

Think of everything in everyday life that depends on sugar to make it. Now take it all away. None of it exists.

(Or, as Jeff suggests, you can radically revise the history of world economies to give sugar a different backstory. If you can take industrial-scale slavery out of the picture, so much the better.)

Introversion
10-30-2018, 06:07 PM
Yeah, I’m aware that cane sugar won’t exist in this Europe, and was planning to use beet sugar instead.

No industrial-scale slavery here, at least not in the Americas and most of Africa. (Would-be colonizers of these continents tend to just disappear in unpleasant ways.)

In many ways, this world is running at a slower, less energetic pace. Though Europe avoided a second great war, I think the post-WW2 model is a good one for me — material things are a bit dearer. Technological development in many areas is slower. World populations are lower, in part because growing food without mass production of synthetic fertilizers is harder. (I’m waffling as to whether the oil fields of the Middle East are an exploited resource in this world, but certainly those in North America aren’t.)

As to why can’t this or that thing from the Americas come to Europe in roundabout means, well, they could, but mostly they haven’t, because that’s just the way I’m writing it. :Shrug:

autumnleaf
10-30-2018, 06:33 PM
No industrial-scale slavery here, at least not in the Americas and most of Africa. (Would-be colonizers of these continents tend to just disappear in unpleasant ways.)

Did the Arab slave trade also disappear?


World populations are lower, in part because growing food without mass production of synthetic fertilizers is harder.

Also, New World crops like corn and potatoes produce more calories per acre than the grains that were the traditional Old World staples. Without those introductions, population growth may have been slower.

I'm curious as to whether Australia/NZ are also un-colonized. No macadamia nuts?

benbenberi
10-30-2018, 06:40 PM
Yeah, I’m aware that cane sugar won’t exist in this Europe, and was planning to use beet sugar instead.

Note that sugar beets are not the natural form of beetroots. They were developed -- with the work subsidized by the govt of Prussia -- expressly to create a cheaper local substitute for cane sugar, & their spread was largely state-sponsored for a long time & took off largely when the Napoleonic Wars disrupted the sugar trade. Without large-scale demand for sugar already present, how do you get sugar beets to happen? What other changes in your story's backstory does this require, & what else do those changes lead to? Just some questions to ponder... the web of history is densely interconnected, and changing bits here & there will have consequences.

Introversion
10-30-2018, 08:51 PM
Did the Arab slave trade also disappear?

I haven't worked out exactly which regions are able to fend off such things, but thanks for the reminder about that one!


Also, New World crops like corn and potatoes produce more calories per acre than the grains that were the traditional Old World staples. Without those introductions, population growth may have been slower.

Very true.


I'm curious as to whether Australia/NZ are also un-colonized. No macadamia nuts?

Have to think about that one. In this world, it largely depends on whether a region has the right kinds of plants, has "unlocked" their magic potential, and whether that magic is useful for defense. I guess it's unrealistic to suppose that every exploitable region has that combination.


Note that sugar beets are not the natural form of beetroots. They were developed -- with the work subsidized by the govt of Prussia -- expressly to create a cheaper local substitute for cane sugar, & their spread was largely state-sponsored for a long time & took off largely when the Napoleonic Wars disrupted the sugar trade. Without large-scale demand for sugar already present, how do you get sugar beets to happen? What other changes in your story's backstory does this require, & what else do those changes lead to? Just some questions to ponder... the web of history is densely interconnected, and changing bits here & there will have consequences.

Good point, thanks. I'll have to think on that one.

I'm trying hard to resist "world-building paralysis", so I'll not figure all of this out in advance, but I really do appreciate the suggestions in this thread. Would like to avoid making egregious errors around the historical basis of things we take for granted today.

frimble3
10-31-2018, 01:17 AM
Sugar cane was only grown on a fairly small scale (in China, India, eventually a few places around the Mediterranean) & not very much could be imported.
Once they realise that there's a big market in Europe (and no cheap, easy competition from the West Indies, what's to stop China and India to step up production? And the rest of South East Asia to develop an export industry as well?
Sure, they might have to give up some food-growing capacity, but, hey, if there's money in it?
Much as the Scottish clearances cleared out the population to make room for more-profitable sheep for the landlords.

Helix
10-31-2018, 04:41 AM
And Australia is a huge exporter of cane sugar.

Roxxsmom
10-31-2018, 04:58 AM
It can be interesting to tweak something about the world we live in (or in an alternative world, for that matter) and try to imagine different possible ripples from that change. It's fun to imagine what people might use instead of potatoes as a starchy, salty staple and what the effects might have been, and a world without tomato sauce for pizza (oh noes), no turkeys for Christmas dinners, and to speculate whether the development of beet sugar would have been hastened or slowed in a world where cane sugar was even harder to come by and more expensive than it was in real history.

We obviously can't know for sure how things would play out, but it's fun to look at different logical possibilities. Enjoy writing this!

neandermagnon
10-31-2018, 10:40 AM
Well geese were the bird of choice for Christmas until recently so it's not hard to find a replacement for Christmas turkey. My family even had a goose rather than a turkey one year due to not many people being expected for Christmas dinner and some of those that were being vegetarian.

I thought most sugar in the UK comes from sugar beet anyway. I just looked it up to check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Sugar yep two thirds of our sugar comes from sugar beet.

waylander
10-31-2018, 12:44 PM
I prefer goose for Christmas and wil lbe cooking one this year, plenty of other options amongst traditional roasts too.