Simpsons, safety, aquavit, Ben and barf

Television’s The Simpson’s on Sunday began with a nice riff about foodborne illness loosely based on the Peanut Corporation of America Salmonella-fest, then quickly moved on to immigration and shared cultural values.

There was lots of aquavit.

I was first exposed to aquavit as a 16-year-old when I spent my first of five summers as a carpenter’s helper for two Danish homebuilders in Brantford, Ontario. I learned how to hammer nails efficiently using my 20-ounce Estwing, and I learned the Danish custom of drinking Aalborg aquavit – Danish schnapps, 45 per cent alcohol, I prefer the dill, above, right, over the caraway flavor – while eating pickled herring, and liver pate and beet open-face sandwiches.

Homer says, Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Amy and I still indulge occasionally, especially during losing Kansas State football games.

Ben Chapman first started working in my lab in the summer of 2000. I didn’t know he existed until I invited him and the other lab-types over to the house in September. I brought out the Danish schnapps, and Chapman, eager to make an impression, decided to go drink-for-drink with me. About an hour later, he vomited in my ex’s rose bush.

But, no shame. Homer got hammered by the Norwegians and their aquavit (see the second video below, reminds me of Ben), my friend John Kierkegaard, one of the Danish builders, could drink me under the table.