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      英語世界
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      Six Precious Substances Worth More Than Their Weight in Gold
      發布時間:2018年11月01日     李小雪 譯  
      來源: 英語世界
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      Six Precious Substances Worth More Than Their Weight in Gold

      六種比等重黃金還貴的東西


      And how their value changed over time.

      它們的價值如何變遷。


      By Ellen Airhart

      文/艾倫·埃爾哈特


      The saffron[1] war of 1374 lasted 14 weeks driven by a notion that the spice could cure plague. It can’t. But people lost their heads over it. It’s not just gold, diamonds, and oil we cherish and plunder. Seemingly benign[2] commodities – whether it’s medicinal tea or stinky fungus[3] – have exerted power over us for centuries. Here’s just a taste of their recent history.


      1374年的藏紅花戰爭持續了14周之久,起因是當時人們認為這種香料可以治愈疫病。其實藏紅花并無此療效,但是人們被沖昏了頭腦。我們所鐘愛并掠奪的不只是黃金、鉆石和石油??此朴谌擞幸娴纳唐?,不論是具有藥效的茶葉還是散發臭味的真菌,幾世紀以來都對我們發揮了影響力。本文僅舉近世之例,以饗讀者。


      [1] saffron 藏花;番紅花。


      [2] benign 有利的。


      [3] fungus 真菌(如蘑菇和霉)。


      White truffle

      白松露


      Italy’s Tanaro river basin produces prized white truffles. In 2016, excess rains yielded bumper[4] crops and sank wholesale prices 30 percent. New cultivation tactics involving careful irrigation[5] and seed selection from known truffle-producing trees could further devalue the fungus. That is, if they can survive blight[6].


      意大利的塔納羅河盆地出產名貴的白松露。2016年,該地區雨量豐沛,白松露大獲豐收,將其批發價格壓低了30%。新的培育技術包括精細灌溉、從已經產出過松露的樹木上選種,可能使其進一步貶值。當然,前提是這些人工培育的松露能夠挺過疫病。


      [4] bumper 異常大的;豐盛的。


      [5] irrigation 灌溉。


      [6] blight (農作物等的)疫病。


      Saffron

      藏紅花


      The choice between Spanish and Iranian saffron is a matter of opinion. The complexly flavored pistils[7] both come from the laborious harvest of the same tiny purple flowers. Some chefs prefer the Persian variety, but since the La Mancha spice can fetch twice the price, merchants relabel it, which forced the EU to crack down in 2014.


      西班牙藏紅花與伊朗藏紅花,選哪一種?這是一個見仁見智的問題。這兩種氣味復雜的雌蕊都是從同一種紫色小花上費力采摘下來的。有些廚師偏愛伊朗品種,但是由于拉曼恰品種可賣出兩倍的價錢,商人們便將前者改頭換面。歐盟不得不在2014年加以整治。


      [7] pistil 〈植〉雌蕊。


      Beluga caviar

      白鱘魚子醬


      The more we clamor for wild beluga caviar from the Caspian Sea, the more local fishermen will kill sturgeon[8] for their eggs, and the scarcer the fish become – driving up prices. In 1998, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species tried to halt this cycle by limiting kill quotas, to fairly limited success.


      我們越是垂涎里海產的野生白鱘魚子醬,當地漁民就越是大肆殺鱘取卵,白鱘就變得更加稀少,魚子醬的價格也一路上漲。1998年,《瀕危野生動植物種國際貿易公約》試圖通過限制捕殺配額來遏制這種惡性循環,但是收效甚微。


      [8] sturgeon 鱘。


      Rhino horn

      犀牛角


      The market for rhino horn, prized in Asia for its mythical medicinal value, peaked around 2012. But widespread education about rhino horn’s actual lack of medicinal value seems to be lowering prices. PSAs[9] showing celebs like Richard Branson biting their finger-nails – made of keratin[10], like horns – probably helped.


      在亞洲,犀牛角因其神秘的藥用價值而備受青睞。2012年,犀牛角的市場需求達到了頂峰。但是犀牛角實際并無藥用價值,這一點已經通過教育普及大眾,似乎也正拉低其價格。理查德·布蘭森等諸多名人所拍攝的以“啃指甲救犀?!睘橹黝}的公益廣告可能發揮了作用。指甲與犀牛角成分相同,都是角蛋白。


      [9] PSAs = Public Service Announcements 公益廣告。


      [10] keratin (發、羽、角、蹄等的)角蛋白。

       

      Crème de la Mer

      海藍之謎面霜


      Astrophysicist Max Huber created the Crème in the ’60s to heal his rocket burns. Its luxury status intensified in 2005, when Estée Lauder launched a limited-edition version at invitation-only soirées. Champagne and fresh berries, plus the exclusivity, convinced socialites to pay $2,100 for a three-week supply.


      天體物理學家麥克斯·賀伯在上世紀60年代研發了這款面霜,以治愈他因火箭燃料爆炸而灼傷的皮膚。2005年,它的奢侈品地位得到鞏固。那一年,雅詩蘭黛集團在一場只有憑請柬才能入場的晚會上發布了一款限量版的海藍之謎面霜。香檳鮮莓,精選特供,引得社會名流紛紛掏2100美元買這款只有3周用量的面霜。


      Da Hong Pao Tea

      大紅袍茶


      This tea is said to have healed a 14th-century Ming emperor’s ailing mother. In gratitude, he placed a red robe around the trees, inspiring both the tea’s name (“big red robe”) and its cult status. The still-high price dropped in the 1980s after cultivators found a way to grow new trees from the Wuyi Mountain originals.


      據說在14世紀,這種茶曾經治愈了一位明朝皇太后的疾病?;实蹖⒁患蠹t袍披到了茶樹上,以示感謝。此舉讓這種茶有了“大紅袍”的名字及令人膜拜的地位。20世紀80年代,種茶人找到了從武夷山的原株茶樹培育出新茶樹的辦法,之后大紅袍茶的價格下跌。但即便如此,大紅袍茶依然價格不菲。


      (譯者曾獲第三屆“《英語世界》杯”翻譯大賽優秀獎)

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