What is an Alewife?

14 Jan

Why alewife?  I found this word referenced first in Jessica Prentice’s Full Moon Feast.   The word sparked my interest partly because of the historic relationship between alewifery and midwifery.  An alewife would brew more than just beer– her job would overlap a bit with the wortwife, who grew and sold herbs, and the wortwife often dealt in midwifery.  It’s reasonable to think that in some villages these roles were all combined in one woman.  Some people think that my energy is widely dispersed:  I work as a dancer, a yoga teacher, a prenatal yoga teacher, a birth doula, I study Body Mind Centering, and I ferment.  I’m doing so many things, and yet, somehow it all feels the same to me.  “Alewife” clarifies the  link between my fermentation practice and the rest of what I do .

I haven’t made a true beer yet.  I may at some point.  My fermentation practice started with Kombucha, next I experimented with chutney, then Tej, a form of mead, then saurkrauts. I’m sure there were a few other things in there.   Lately, I’ve expanded to tibicos, also known as water kefir.

ale:

1.  a beer (compare lager) fermented in an open vessel using yeasts that rise to the top of the brew

2. (formerly) an alcoholic drink made by fermenting a cereal, esp barley, but differing from beer by being unflavoured by hops

3.  (chiefly) another word for beer

(thank you, World English Dictionary)

wife:

for my purposes:  woman

alewife:

1.  a species of shad or herring

2.  a woman who brews and sells ale, or who operates an alehouse (archaic).

yes, this is an alewife fish.

brew:

transitive verb
1:  to prepare (as beer or ale) by steeping, boiling, and fermentation or by infusion and fermentation
a : to bring about : foment <brew trouble>b : contrive
3: to prepare (as tea) by infusion in hot water
intransitive verb
1: to brew beer or ale
2: to be in the process of forming <a storm is brewing
(thank you, Webster’s dictionary)
ferment:
noun

1.  Also called organized ferment. any of a group of living organisms, as yeasts, molds, and certain bacteria, that cause fermentation.
2.  Also called unorganized ferment. an enzyme.
3. fermentation.
4.  agitation; unrest; excitement; commotion; tumult: The new painters worked in a creative ferment. The capital lived in a political ferment.
verb (used with object)

5.  to act upon as a ferment.
6.  to cause to undergo fermentation.
7.  to inflame; foment: to ferment prejudiced crowds to riot.
8.  to cause agitation or excitement in: Reading fermented his active imagination.
(thank you, dictionary.com)

Advertisements

One Response to “What is an Alewife?”

  1. narf77 December 7, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    Holy mackerels…I made it right back to the beginning, the “Alpha” of your blog. I have enjoyed every single post and am now going to have to hunt to see if I can’t find a local source of Jun. I love the idea of using honey and green tea. Again, thank you SO much for your wonderful blog and your generosity with sharing your experiences. Nothing like checking out someone elses moves to prevent you from blowing your top (quite literally 😉 ) in the kitchen 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Old Ways Herbal

Vermont Herb School, Clinical Herbalist, Plant Remedies, & Herbal Farmcraft Wisdom.

thesoporificcabbage

A great WordPress.com site

Naturally DIY

Homemade solutions for healthy living

Brooklyn Alewife

a record of home brewing experiments

Conscious Baby

Sessions, classes, & resources for the first two years

Tea Foodie [by Zanitea]

a journal of tea-inspired foods and recipes

Adventures in Local Food

A blog of the Food Action Committee of the Ecology Action Centre

Urban Herbwifery

your source for herbal wisdom, green living tidbits, and natural pregnancy and labor information

martinezyoga

Salvador Martinez, NYC, RYT 500

nourish

Learning to live healthy while living with Fibromyalgia.

%d bloggers like this: