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Historical Figure: Neri the brewmistress of Itrelir
Where she lived: The Northern village of Itrelir
When she lived: About 150 years ago.
Neri was well-known among the Northerners for her brewing and distilling. Growing up, she was very close to her father, and spent a great deal of time at his side. He was known for his skill at cooking and spent most of his time turning foodstuffs into meals for the people of Itrelir. Cooking was something that Neri also enjoyed, but from a very young age, she was also fascinated by the seemingly magical processes of fermentation and distillation. By the time she passed her adulthood trials, she had learned all that she could about how to mix the spirit formed by bread-making yeast with fermented snowy-milk to create jovorsh (from jovo (noisy) and ors (milk)), the traditional alcoholic beverage of northern choice.
As she grew older and became a primary cook in Itrelir, Neri also developed several processes for fermentation to streamline the production of both elements of the traditional drink; the fermented milk and the beer-like alcohol produced as a by-product of bread yeast. She was careful not to allow her experiments or new procedures to produce an excess of alcohol that would result in over-consumption in the village. Although she loved to enjoy alcohol, the Itrelir elders found it easy to instill in her a healthy respect for its potential ill effects on people, and she always served her drinks with cautionary warnings that they were best enjoyed in moderation. She wanted her drinkers to be able to discern nuances in taste, after all, as she experimented with flavors for the best possible drinking experience.
Neri was a naturally cheerful and jovial person, and as she became successful as a cook, she was also very successful in wooing lovers and in bedding men who gave her many children. Nine of Neri’s children survived into adulthood. Neri was always known as a cheerful mom who enjoyed spending time with her children as well as other people’s kids, particularly if those children were interested in learning the arts of cooking. She reserved lessons in brewing for those people who were able to show her that they were truly dedicated to the art.
As a result of her efforts, Itrelir is still known among the northern villages as the home of the best brewed and fermented drinks. Cooks and those who brew beverages in Itrelir and even in the other villages still proudly trace their teachers back to Neri’s direct protégés. A particular smooth and strong alcohol that she developed is called nerilsh. The word comes from her name (Neri) and ulsh (alcohol).
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