Salisbury but not the steak

You are probably wondering why I'm writing about Salisbury Steak. Actually I want to quote something from John of Salisbury (c. 1120 – 1180), English author, diplomat and bishop of Chartres, who was born at Salisbury and who had nothing whatsoever to do with Salisbury Steak.

Here is the quote, in 1159, John wrote in his Metalogicon:

"Bernard of Chartres used to say that we are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size."

I mention this because a reader left the following comment in reply to my article Israel Creates more in One Month than Islam in a Century:

I'm not putting my name on this because I'm sick and tired of the Israel-at-all-costs folks going around harassing anyone who disagrees with them. You might not bomb anyone but you're still annoying.

That said, there isn't anything about Israel inherently that makes you somehow superior to Muslims. Sorry. You get lots of help from other countries, financial and otherwise, and most of you are only second-generation Israeli at most. Those of you who weren't educated in Israeli universities were educated in Europe and America--and Israeli universities build on European and American work. Regardless of what KKK troglodytes might say, there were no Jewish universities before the British Mandate.

Given that you owe your intellectual growth to Europe and America, then, you also owe it to Islam. Why? Because if it weren't for Muslims, Western civilization would not be what it is today. It was Islam which saved classical knowledge from oblivion during the Dark Ages, and Islam which re-introduced that knowledge to Europe.

If I were Muslim, I'd say, "You're welcome." Is there a word for gratitude in Hebrew?

He's right of course, that scientific achievements do not happen in a vacuum, that Jews in Israel who are so creative stand on the shoulders of the giants who came before them. But this poor reader misunderstood the nature of the post. I was not saying that Jews, simply because they are Jews, are smarter than Muslims. Nor was I saying that Muslims, qua Muslims, are doomed to ignorance and backwardness. He missed the point completely. I merely pointed out that Jews have seen the giants and decided to climb upon those shoulders so that they could soar above everyone else. Muslims have seen the same giants and decided to cut the legs of the giants so no one else can climb upon them.


But allow me now to digress:

According to the Oxford English Dictionary (Second Edition), Salisbury steak was invented by an American physician, Dr. J. H. Salisbury (1823-1905). Some websites erroneously list him as a 19th century English physician.

Dr. James H. Salisbury, a Civil War physician who was on the faculty of Rush Medical College in Chicago in the 1890s, prescribed ground beef patty three times a day, taken with a generous glass of hot water for his patients to aid digestion and prevent disease. It became a fad in the decades before the turn of the century.

I have no doubt that "Salisbury steak" would probably have faded away a long time ago were it not for World War One. In the same way that there were calls to rename French Fries to Freedom Fries during a brief anti-French sentiment when they were cowards in regard to joining the war in Iraq, so too, during WWI there was a drive in Britain and America to rename all things German. Sauerkraut became "victory cabbage," hamburgers (named after Hamburg, Germany) became "liberty sandwiches," and the bun-less hamburger became "Salisbury steak" or "Liberty Steak".

Although "hamburger" and "sauerkraut" returned when the war ended, "Salisbury steak" stuck, in no small part to being a fancy name for restaurants to use instead of ground beef.

### End of my article ###

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