Vinegar mysterious, colored liquids: the colors varied

VinegarChris Nacey Writing 101 Final draft 2-19-1997When I was a child, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my mother.She liked to cook and so did I.

Because of this, I learned my way around thekitchen. I knew the place for everything, and I knew the uses of mosteverything. There was only one paradox, in my knowledge of the kitchen: vinegar.My mother had one bottle of vinegar for as long as I can remember. She neverused it in cooking, or taught me how to for that matter. Our bottle of WhiteWine Vinegar sat in our cupboard: on the bottom shelf, enigmatically, untouched,detached. I knew that my mother wouldn’t have it without reason. It was in thekitchen, so I concluded that it must be some sort of, rarely used, cookingstaple.

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I would never have guessed then that vinegar had so many uses.Just the other day, I was in the mall visiting a friend that works atFrankincense and Myrrh. While there, I happened upon some bottles that caughtmy eye. They were attractive looking ornamental bottles. Each one was filledwith mysterious, colored liquids: the colors varied from red to brown to yellow.In the liquids were berries’, sprigs of herbs, and things of the such. Ithought they looked interesting, so I picked up a bottle that I recognized ashaving sage in it. I took a look at the label.

On the label were listed theingredients: sage, rosemary, and southernwood leaves. When I read the front ofthe bottle, I was surprised to find that I was looking at an herbal vinegar hairrinse. Before this I never knew that such a thing existed.

After my experienceat the mall, I became aware that vinegar didn’t just belong in the kitchen.This intrigued me. I decided to find out more about vinegar and its uses.Nobody knows the exact origins of vinegar, but there are many storiesand beliefs surrounding this strange liquid.(Oster 3) The Roman Army wasrecorded to have mixed vinegar with water to make a sort of Gatorade for thesoldiers. In the eighteenth and nineteenth century United States, similardrinks known as “shrubs” or “switchels” were made by field laborers.

To makethese drinks, they mixed either fruit juices or water, with sometimes salt, andfruit-flavored vinegars.(Oster 4) The earliest recorded use of vinegar, however,was in Babylonia around 5,000 B.C.

There, it was typically made from dates, andcommonplace as a medicine.(Oster 3)Throughout history, vinegar has been used medicinally. Via modernscience we know vinegar to have antibacterial and antiseptic properties.(Oster5) But before the convenience of laboratory analysis, Hippocrates (commonlycalled the father of medicine) recommended vinegar to his patients. One suchrecommendation was a vinegar, honey, and pepper douche for “femininedisorders.

“(Oster 5) Folklore has it that during a plague epidemic inMarseilles, four robbers drenched themselves with what is now known as “FourThieves Vinegar.” In doing so, legend say that they were able to pilfer thediseased and deceased without getting infected themselves.(Geddes) In the CivilWar, vinegar was issued to counter scurvy.

More recently, in World War I,vinegar was commonly accepted as treatment for wounds.(Oster 5)Other more modern medicinal uses for vinegar also exist. A mixture ofapple cider vinegar and water, if used properly, can help reduce acneproblems.(Geddes) A similar solution has been known to help with indigestion iftaken regularly.(Oster 42) Cold apple cider vinegar can also help relieve thepain of sunburns.(Geddes)Vinegar also has many uses around the house. Because vinegar is acidicby nature, it is very useful for a spectrum of cleaning uses and other tasks.

Vinegar is relatively inexpensive and, by comparison to the mass-produced toxicchemical cleaners, potent. For most home uses, one would usually dilute thevinegar in water. A one gallon bottle of apple cider vinegar could replace awhole box full of harmful chemicals found littering the common home. Vinegarcan both remove stains from wooden furniture and act as polish.(Oster 33) Whenyour drain gets clogged, you don’t need to buy the toxic liquid plumber. Youcan pour a handful of baking soda down the drain, add a half a cup of vinegar,and then cover the opening for five to ten minutes. Doing this will unclog yourdrain.

(Geddes)I have found several innovative uses for vinegar. The uses listed hereare only a few of the many that exist. After learning about them, I have foundways


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