[Bordermarch] The Muscadine
David.Lathrop at valero.com
Wed Aug 1 09:40:07 PDT 2012
Last night the family unit, that would be HE Elisabeth little Harley, and I, picked about 10lbs of muscadine grapes from our private stash.
After washing, squashing, boiling, straining, re-boiling, stirring in pectin and sugar, boiling again and stirring for 2hrs, and then pouring finished
jelly juice into jars, we had some muscadine jelly!
HE Elisabeth is a jelly lady, but I am no jelly man.
Making jelly is very time consuming, I could have been watching TV instead.
Muscadine grapes were discovered by Marco Polo in 1282 during his exploration along the southern coast of Orellana Ecuador .
He brought samples back to Spain where the muscadines thrived in the deep loamy soil near the Carpathian Mountains.
Due to their perfectly round shape and their very tough outer skin, the muscadine grapes were often used as ammunition in the medieval black
powder firearms for target practice instead of expensive lead shot.
Having nothing better to do, the children of the day would make up little songs about the muscadine grapes splattering into great globs of purple
juice when they flew out of the rifle barrels and smashed into the makeshift latex targets.
One of those songs called "Mother of Mercy" has been passed down from generation to generation and is now sung by HE Elisabeth to our grandchildren
as a bedtime lullaby,
It goes something like this:
Round and round the purple ball flies,
so rest your head and close thine eyes.
Tonight sleep tight little child of mine,
for tomorrow we harvest thy muscadine!
We'll gather thy grapes and squash a few,
don't put in your mouth they're hard to chew.
We'll gather thy grapes and squash a few.
Mother of mercy they're hard to chew!
Since the medieval children could not pronounce the word "muscadine", they instead called it a "muski".
As quaint as it sounds, the word "muski" stuck with the children even as they evolved into young adults.
Firearms were quickly becoming the weapon of choice throughout medieval Europe, and the "muski" became a commonplace word used to describe
the target ammunition of choice.
Through recent discoveries in the Vatican's archives we now have original ledgers from the Pope's quartermaster that are dated to the 13th century!
These ledgers show that 700 bushels of "muski-balls" were ordered for the Pope's army during the inquisitions.
The word "musket" as in Davey Crockett's musket, describes a very powerful type of firearm that can propel a muski-ball to great distances.
"Musket's" etymology can now be traced directly to the lowly muscadine grape.
As a side note, the Musketeer, (rapier fighter) can also trace their lineage back to the muscadine grape.
The children who gathered muscadine grapes for the soldier's muskets used long pointy sticks to spear the grapes that were out of reach.
The soldiers began calling the children "muski-skewers" and the name just evolved from there.
More information about the Bordermarch