So why shouldn’t I wet my appetite?

I know it’s banned in English, but it seems perfectly natural to me, just as natural as wetting one’s whistle: if it don’t rain it won’t grow, and the road to the kebab shop is awash with Blairite pub extensions.

Gordonio, a medical treatise published in 1495, is against drinking between meals but recommends they be preceded by a bath taken with camomile and marigold and followed by a dose of atriaca, an “ancient pharmaceutical concoction composed of many ingredients but principally of opium. Used against the bites of wild animals.” In Modern that’s having a spliff. Current opinion seems, however, to be divided as to the effects of smoking on ones appetite.

The etymology of (a)triaca is very interesting: Hispanic Arabic attiryaq -> Classical Arabic tiryaq -> Latin theriaca -> Greek theriake (antidotos), (antidote against a poisonous bite from) a wild animal, feminine of theriakos, of wild animals, -> therion, diminutive of ther, wild animal.

Treacle comes from the same root, which surely means that Tate & Lyle used to market Golden Syrup for colonial pest control, and that it was used to poison the lion on the tin.

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  1. Wtf? How in the hell is that like “having a spliff”? You do realize weed isn’t an opiate, right?

  2. I think I must have been meandering metaphorically. Can you help me work out what I was on about before & after?

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