While I am on the middle ages kick. And expelling myths about that era. Here is a fun one. Did people (or monks) drink and brew beer because water was unsafe to drink. Maybe not.
It’s a story I’ve been guilty of treating a little too uncritically myself: “In the Middle Ages people drank beer rather than water because the water wasn’t safe.” But is that correct? No, not at all, according to the American food history blogger Jim Chevallier, who calls it The Great Medieval Water Myth
Chevallier declares (and a big hat-tip to Boak and Bailey for pointing me in his direction):
“Not only are there specific – and very casual – mentions of people drinking water all through the Medieval era, but there seems to be no evidence that they thought of it as unhealthy except when (as today) it overtly appeared so. Doctors had slightly more nuanced views, but certainly neither recommended against drinking water in general nor using alcohol to avoid it.”
He quotes the book Misconceptions About the Middle Ages, by Stephen Harris and Bryon L. Grigsby, which…
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