Meringue was orignially conceived as a cheap alternative to plaster in Ancient Greece. The practice was widely used for several decades, until Athens was hit by a plague of wasps and an epidemic of bird flu in consecutive seasons. This almost completely wiped out sugar and egg stocks, forcing the price of meringue up until it, briefly, replaced gold as the economic standard. Once the sugar and egg stocks began to replenish themselves, there was a deep recession after the boom years of meringue trading, when thousands of merchants discovered that their hoards of meringue money had been rendered useless.
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