Thursday, May 18, 2006

Toast and Toasting

Ever wondered about the term making a "toast"? I have. According to a very interesting website,, making a toast to someone's health dates back to the 6th century BC, when ancient Greeks did it for practical reasons. According to the site, "To spike the wine with poison had become an all too common means of dealing with social problems — disposing of an enemy, silencing the competition, preventing a messy divorce, and the like. It thus became a symbol of friendship for the host to pour wine from a common pitcher, drink it before his guests, and satisfied that it was a good experience, raise his glass to his friends to do likewise." (Hence the toasts "to your health"and "to life.")

Okay - but why the term "toast"? According to the same source, ancient Romans would drop pieces of burnt bread into their sub-par wine to make it more palatable. I can't swear to the veracity of this, but it sure makes a good story!

"Wine is life" --- Petronius, Roman writer.


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