The Pattern Still Remains

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A drink popular in medieval times, it consisted of hot milk or cream curdled by the addition of white wine, ale, sack or molasses.  Spices were added for flavor.

The World Encyclopedia of Food by L. Patrick Coyle, 1982.


A man who for trifling payment was believed to take upon himself, by means of food and drink, the sins of a deceased person… Usually each village had its official sin-eater to whom notice was given as soon as death occurred.

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910. From All There Is to Know by Alexander Coleman, 1994.


How did toast come to mean to drink to someone’s health?  The toast, or slightly burned bread, spiced, was put in the wine to flavor it - hence, to drink a toast.

More About Words by Margaret S. Ernst, 1951.


Arabian hashsashin, eaters of hashish. The original charter-member assassins were a religious sect in Palestine who were sworn by their Sheikh, the “Old Man of the Mountains” to murder all Crusaders. When fervor cooled, their leader gave them hashish to drink.

In a Word by Margaret S. Ernst, 1939.

“Never drink anything without first smelling it,
Never sign anything without first reading it.
Never dive into pools of depth unknown,
And rarely drink - if you are alone.”

– Seventeenth-century philosophy. Toasts by Paul Dickson, 1991.

“If you drink you die; and if you don’t drink you die: so it is better to drink.”

Russian Proverbs by Aldren Watson, 1960.

“Women who smoke must drink something stronger than tea.”

Advice to Young Ladies from The London Journal of 1855. From Wicked Etiquette by Sarah Kortum, 1995.