reported hard-hittingly in the past on the myth that the Scottish are cheap. News flash: everybody's cheap. But for some reason, you didn't see angry crowds of Scots flipping over police cars and going all Braveheart over the stereotype. Maybe because they had better things to do, like going all Braveheart over their age-old grudge against the English.
What's the deal with that? Well, apparently Pharmacist Charles Hires was the first to commercially market Root Beer in 1876. Before then, root beer was made and drunk at home, mostly in North America, where it was believed to be a cure-all. Then again, everything was believed to be a cure-all by the ignorant savages of 1876.
The key ingredient in root beer was an extract of the root or bark of the sassafras tree. This "original recipe" root beer was mildly alcoholic, but since Hires was a dry guy, his formula was just sodey-pop. Funny thing: it was also highly carcinogenic. Why was that? Sassafras oil was determined to be a carcinogen by the FDA in 1960, which is why all commercial root beer since then is artificially flavored. Don't go looking for "natural" root beer. Or, if you do, be glad you can't find any. Actual root-juice-type root beer is very decidedly non-good for you.
So now, the only reason root beer is bad for you is plain old sugar, which is slightly higher in root beer than in cola... or if you just get run over by the delivery truck. Know what? Back in 1876, they believed getting run over by a root beer delivery truck was a cure-all. If you think of it in a certain way, it kind of is.
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