Monday, 16 November 2020


A short few years after the millennium. It was 2005, give or take. I met an old boy in Newport city, South Wales. At the time I was a young man in my early 20s. We got chatting. 

He told me that his grandfather had been a Navy man responsible for clearing out the stores. Nobody are done that for quite some time. At the back of the stores he discovered barrels of salted meat which had been there since the Napoleonic wars. 

Being courageous they decided to test the Navy’s traditional methods for food preservation. They cooked them up. 

The meat had not rotted at all. It was so well preserved they ate a delicious meal from it, imagining themselves sharing the same meal as their forebears. 

Which, by some way is quite literally true as the cow involved had indeed been alive during the lifetime of Napoleon and had been shared by men living a century apart. 

The Napoleonic wars between the British and the French, according to the official records, lasted between 1803 and 1813 (Wikipedia). 

I was listening to the story 200 years after the event. The gentleman’s grandfather we can assume ate the meat 100 years after the event, give or take.

This says much for food preservation techniques which existed before modern electric fridges.

His words were: “We living now assume it is old history. Storybook, not the lives of real people. But remember those barrels of meat. That is how close we are.”

I do not remember the gentleman’s name. But I remember the information he saw fit to pass forward from his life experiences and wisdom. May this blog serve somewhat is an epitaph. 

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