Beehives as weapons — and more weird facts about food
Daniel Neman is a food writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Containers for food, it turns out, have been used in battle going back all the way to the Stone Age.
I am speaking here about beehives. Our earliest ancestors covered beehives in mud and threw them into enemy caves. Romans put them into catapults and hurled them at their foes.
And before there were cannonballs, sailors would throw beehives on other ships’ decks. The word “bombard” even comes from the Ancient Greek word “bombos,” which means “bee.”
These days, of course, people are more interested in the honey than the hives. Honey is so popular that a whole industry has sprung to fraudulently source it.
More, people are more interested in the honey than the hives. Honey is so popular that a whole industry has sprung to fraudulently source it.
The United States increased the tariff on Chinese honey in 2001. Ever since then, Chinese honey producers have been shipping their product to other countries in order to illegally hide their true source. It is estimated that nearly 100 million pounds of honey each year, or about one-sixth of all the honey sold in this country, is in violation of the law.
Meanwhile, even domestic honey is frequently mislabeled. The problem is that bees fly wherever they want, and while the producer may assume the bees are spending all of their time among orange blossoms, only scientific analysis such as DNA tests can confirm how much of the nectar actually came from clover, or even poison ivy.
Sometimes, honey on the shelves isn’t even honey at all. It’s just corn syrup with yellow food coloring.
Fortunately, the book has some happier news involving vanilla.
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