Potable Water

January 18, 2011

Caught eating the second half of my sandwich


The two portion technique worked great! I had 1/2 at 11:30 and 1/2 at 1:30 and wasn’t hungry all afternoon. Sans a handful of chocolate chip trail mix!


We left GH around 4:00 and walked a mile to our hotel, got some work done, and then headed back out at 5:30 for a 1.7 mile trek in the ice and snow to dinner with our new friends.


If we can do it, anyone can!


We met the rest of our crew at Sparky’s – my first and last Dillon, Montana meal!

Matt and I ordered beers – I am LOVING Kettlehouse Cold Smoke Scotch Ale!


For dinner I ordered the Smoked Salmon Caesar with Huckleberry Dressing instead of Caesar


The salad was good enough, but two nights of smoked fish for dinner was a bit much for me.



Matt got Catfish with sweet potato fries and shared a few of those sweet puppies


Plus he shared his cornbread for dessert


On our walk home we debated if humans naturally selected to have a preference for beer after 1) Long, hard work days and/or 2) Cold weather

We think that the fact that alcohol has 7 calories per gram might mean it was desirable for energy savings OR that the fermented beverage was the best source of potable “water”  so we crave it when we’ve worked hard or need fluids from dry Western air.

What do you think!?

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{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

1 anon January 18, 2011 at 10:39 pm

7 kcals/gram!


2 Kath January 18, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Oops – typo!! Fixed, thanks


3 Ellie January 18, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Hmmm. . . I think that sounds like a good reason to drink a beer- However, I know a lot of people who feel like a beer is needed after a long hot day or doing outside chores like mowing the lawn. That one does not work with the idea. Oh and while your salad looks good that catfish looks AMAZING! I hope you got a bit


4 Nicole @ yuppie yogini January 18, 2011 at 10:40 pm

I like that you are rationalizing alcoholic beverages. I support your line of thinking! :)


5 Larbs January 18, 2011 at 10:40 pm

I obv. agree that we need it for energy and fluids plus muscle relaxation!


6 Kath January 18, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Muscle relaxation – hadn’t thought of that one!


7 Laura (Starloz) January 18, 2011 at 10:42 pm

cornbread for dessert, hello awesome idea


8 Estela @ Weekly Bite January 18, 2011 at 10:42 pm

I just drink beer because sometimes a beer just sounds good :)

Have a great night :)


9 Amanda (Eating Up) January 18, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Haha what a great question. I’m totally bringing that up at the next happy hour!


10 [email protected] January 18, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Wanted to comment on your earlier post on exercise equipment. I bought a gym quality stairmaster as soon as my husband and I got married (14 years ago). I always wanted a way to work out when the kiddos came along. I have absolutely loved it! I stairmastered my way through many a naps taken in the baby swing or next to me on the couch. That was back when the stairmaster sat right in the middle of our front room of our tiny apartment. Now it is in our bedroom in our home. I am usually watching a DVR’d Oprah while sweating away.


11 Kiran January 18, 2011 at 10:45 pm

How can I possibly answer your question with me gawking at the delicious catfish and sweet potato fries platter? 😉


12 Courtney@ the granola chronicles January 18, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Mmm, those sweet potato fries look so good! I have sweet potato & black bean soup simmering away on the stove, so that will have to do!


13 Hannah January 18, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Two nights of smoked fish sounds heavenly to me! But then again, I ate three 14oz cans of mackeral in tomato sauce last week…


14 Maryann January 18, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Yummm sweet potato fries :) Hmmm I would say maybe option one?! Or maybe before dancing if they did that back then? Haha.


15 lynn (The Actors Diet) January 18, 2011 at 10:53 pm

i don’t think i’ve ever had catfish! i’ve been craving it since seeing the movie “catfish!”


16 Allie (Live Laugh Eat) January 18, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Cville is gonna feel like the Carribean when you get back! Well, not really since we’re still seeing white dust but compared to that arctic zone, I bet you’ll be sweating.


17 [email protected] January 18, 2011 at 11:01 pm

No such thing as too much smoked fish! And I don’t drink anymore because I used to want a beer all the time whether it was hot or cold, I had worked a long day or sat on my butt, whether it was a holiday or a Tuesday. It got a little out of hand. :)


18 Sana January 18, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Brrrrr! I am glad you guys are so active in the cold!! i would be hiding!


19 Kat January 18, 2011 at 11:12 pm

I always go for walks even when its cold but I barely see anyone else. I’m glad you are walking too!


20 Bronwyn Coyne January 18, 2011 at 11:13 pm

I think people crave it after working long because it relaxes them. After the stress of long day the alcohol’s effect feels really good. The same goes for why you might want it after a hot or cold day. I know when it’s cold out nothing is as great as a nice thick dark beer, and when it’s really warm I totally enjoy a light crisp drink.


21 Nadine January 18, 2011 at 11:22 pm

My husbands a brewer (he works on developing new beers for one of the big guys in Canada), and he told me this wildly romantic story about how beer was invented the night we met, wish I could remember it!


22 Kate (What Kate is Cooking) January 18, 2011 at 11:23 pm

I think people want a beer because it makes them forget about their long days :) Also, alcohol warms you up, which feels nice if it’s cold outside!


23 Camille January 18, 2011 at 11:23 pm

That cornbread looks faaaabulous!


24 Katy (The Singing Runner) January 18, 2011 at 11:26 pm

I love this rationalization! I read in my Nutrition book yesterday about alcohol and it’s energy properties. 😉


25 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) January 18, 2011 at 11:31 pm

No fancy rationalizations needed to drink beer. Just enjoy it! haha! :)


26 marie January 18, 2011 at 11:50 pm

To me beer is a summer drink or at least not a winter drink. If I come from the outside cold I don’t want more cold. Also why I don’t have a lot of smoothies in winter…


27 Justeen @ Blissful Baking January 19, 2011 at 12:08 am

Hmm, for me, beer is a refreshing drink that I enjoy during the summer, especially with greasy food like fries! :)


28 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table January 19, 2011 at 12:12 am

I think it is awesome you are such thoughtful drinkers. LOL!


29 Ida January 19, 2011 at 12:14 am

when beer was the only safe thing to drink it was weaker, so I wonder how many calories it had. I think people like beer for the happy feelings that result from its consumption


30 Mama Pea January 19, 2011 at 12:57 am

I don’t know what this means, but that title reminds me of the Jeopardy! category Potent Potables.


31 Allison @ Happy Tales January 19, 2011 at 1:50 am

I think people drink beer for the way it makes them feel (helps ’em relax) annnd it helps people feel warm too (always good for those cold winter months!)


32 Ella January 19, 2011 at 1:53 am

Interesting question! topics like these bring me back to your blog. I think the potable water hypothesis is hugely important, especially considering that many cultures drank various forms of alcoholic/fermented beverage for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and only sometimes for the intoxicating effects… although clearly the intoxicating effects were very important to them as well!


33 Beatrix @ Beaglebea January 19, 2011 at 2:04 am

Smoked salmon caesar salad..would have never thought of that :)


34 Emmy (WIne and Butter) January 19, 2011 at 3:08 am

Thats a nutrition question my boyfriend would be interested in answering! I live in the Uk and it was SO cold here last winter that I had a glass of wine virtually every night after work as well as a few glasses in the pub every weekend. I also had this weird compulsion to stuff my face 24/7 – and normally I dont even snack! I figured it was genetically programmed – my body was trying to fatten up and also insisting I got drunk if I was going to be insane enough to leave the house… still doesnt fully explain the need for white wine in the hot summer months though … 😉 xox


35 Ashton January 19, 2011 at 5:54 am

Cold Smoke is hands down one of my top three beers!! I live in Montana, glad you stopped by!! The west half of the state has a ton of good beer!


36 Lauren January 19, 2011 at 6:48 am

Great conclusion. Alcohol seems to make you smarter. 😉


37 Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) January 19, 2011 at 7:31 am

I think you are dead on with your thinking. I also think that after working like that, your body gets something from the carbonation. I don’t know why, but I crave soda when I am really hot and have been working in the yard.


38 Allie @ Healthy Balance, Healthy Life January 19, 2011 at 7:54 am

Maybe potable water except not a good way to hydrate when alcohol dehydrates!


39 Allie January 19, 2011 at 8:27 am

Aww, you look so cold out there! Glad everything is going well and you get to go home soon :) Dinner looks very good!


40 Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) January 19, 2011 at 8:28 am

I love your rationalization. I think it makes total sense. That being said, I tend to want a glass of beer when I’m feeling hot in the middle of summer more than in the middle of winter. But that might be just personal preference. 😀

Your meal looks fabulous! 😀


41 Liz @ Tip Top Shape January 19, 2011 at 8:46 am

The potable “water” thing makes sense. I think I read somewhere that wine consumption was similar, since clean water was hard to find.


42 [email protected] Sweet Life January 19, 2011 at 8:47 am

I think Matt’s fried food looks better than your salad! Glad you’re still having a good time in the wild west and finding some good eats, too.


43 Anne @ butter and bear January 19, 2011 at 8:53 am

I do think that exercise + cold weather makes you crave beer more than usual. I know whenever we go skiing, I always want a beer at the end of the day and I am normally a wine person. Hope you have a safe trip home tomorrow:-)


44 RhodeyGirl January 19, 2011 at 9:13 am

I don’t know, but it does make sense.

The only time I MUST have beer is when I’m skiing. It’s the weirdest thing! I could drink Blue Moon after Blue Moon after a day on the slopes.


45 JenATX January 19, 2011 at 9:39 am

I don’t think Kath & friends were rationalizing their drinking, they were just wondering about how humans came to love beer. Its a pretty interesting question! Coming from an anthropology perspective rather than nutrition, it would make sense that humans like beer for the energy. Some even think that it was invented before bread. Bread or beer; both good to me.


46 Kath January 19, 2011 at 10:13 am

Exactly, thanks :)


47 Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day January 19, 2011 at 9:44 am

I think there are some good minerals in beer… and the simple carbs give you so much energy!


48 cathyb.@brightbakes January 19, 2011 at 9:46 am

I think the cold has something to do with it…If the evidence of our Wisconsin community is any proof!
cathy b.


49 Shannen January 19, 2011 at 9:48 am

trader joe’s ‘exposed’- i thought you guys might be interested in this! http://www.chow.com/food-news/64791/trader-joe-s-exposed/


50 Kath January 19, 2011 at 10:14 am

Checking it out now..


51 Ashley (The Vegetable Life) January 19, 2011 at 9:50 am

I really wish I liked beer. My hubby loves it and is always looking for new ones to try, but I just don’t have a taste for it! I am much more of a wine girl! I hope someday to grow my taste for beer…


52 Eileen January 19, 2011 at 9:52 am

Ben Franklin said it best: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

There is something specific about the properties of beer, though … why else would runners crave it so intensely? I guess it’s the combination of carbs + high water content.


53 Katie January 19, 2011 at 9:55 am

In the old days, in England and elsewhere, people almost exclusively drank ale or watered-down wine morning noon and night because their water supply wasn’t safe.


54 Amanda @ Cakes and Ale January 19, 2011 at 10:03 am

I do know that in Medieval England workers would drink weak beer throughout the day as a means of hydration. I think the primary reason they chose beer over water was because it was less likely to make them sick! Water back then was pretty questionable in terms of drinkability – lots of unseemly diseases! Especially since a lot of the water was contaminated with sewage from both humans and animals due to lack of plumbing…

So, I guess I’m saying I think they chose it for hydration / potable water first… and the fact that it was relaxing and enjoyable (due to alcohol) was an added benefit!


55 Balanced Healthy Life January 19, 2011 at 10:06 am

Huckleberry dressing is my absolute fav! I bought a bottle the last time I was in Montana and forgot it was in my purse when the airport security took it away. It was a total bummer and i can’t wait to go back to Montana buy some more and make sure I pack it in my suitcase!


56 Jess (Sweet Potato) January 19, 2011 at 10:26 am

I think any excuse to drink beer is a good one :)


57 Alaina January 19, 2011 at 10:53 am

Beer is definitely good for relaxing for me! :-)


58 Hope January 19, 2011 at 11:17 am

That cornbread looks so good! I love that you had it for dessert!


59 Amber K January 19, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I can’t stand beer, so I’m not sure!


60 J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) January 19, 2011 at 3:00 pm

That salmon looks delish!

Beer was widely drunk by people out of necessity years ago; lack of clean water. Of course, the beer they used to drink used to have very little alcohol in it. I think it evolved to be a mutually serving beverage: pleasure and survival. Win, win!


61 Newman January 19, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Interesting that you mention drinking beer to make water potable. We as humans actually had to evolve the ability to ingest ethyl alcohol (it is a poison). As brewing was the preferred way of “treating” water in much of Europe for a couple millenia, peoples descended from European backgrounds are usually able to tolerate the effects of alcohol. Other cultures that used different methods never developed this ability thorugh natural selection. Evidence: aldehyde dehydrogenase. Aldehyde dehydrogenase is what allows humans to get rid of some of the toxic metabolites of ethyl alcohol. People that lack aldehyde dehydrogenase get a build up of those toxic metabolites, resulting in flushing and red face. Besides Matt, this is most often found in people of Asiatic descent (thus the term “asian flush”). How does this relate to potable water? Because asian cultures developed a different method for making potable water: boilng it to make tea. They had no evolutionary push to be able to tolerate alcohol. No idea why Kanz gets the flush though. (Big Hat tip to the book “Survival of the Sickest”)


62 Kath January 19, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Makes total sense!! It does seem odd that we can digest a toxin so :)


63 Gillian G. January 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm

I know that in Victorian England, the lower working classes drank beer because they considered it to be basically liquid bread – quite a lovely concept, I think!

I don’t think I’ve ever commented before, which is silly, because I’ve been reading your blog for about 3 years now! Yours was the first food blog I ever read and it means a lot – food has become so wonderful and fascinating and important to me that I am going to culinary school for a degree in baking & pastry after I graduate college this May (because I, too, am in love with bread!). Actually, I go to Converse College in Spartanburg, and I’m always tickled when you mention good ol’ Sparkle City here!

Your blog is such inspiration for me (I hope to be a food writer, ultimately) and is always so fun to read. Actually, when I started reading I loved it so much I went back and read every single entry to the beginning! I should have commented earlier, but I just think you are awesome. I’m uber jealous that you live in Charlottesville and are opening a bakery there – 2 of my favorite places :)


64 KathEats January 25, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Thanks for reading Gillian!!


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