In the 1800s, Sick People Would Consult Cookbooks Before Doctors

Interesting read.

Reading through The Prudent Housewife, some medical treatments sound whimsical while others appear dangerous. For a sprain, The Prudent Housewife advises a soak in warm vinegar, and then applying a paste of stale beer grounds, oatmeal, and hog’s lard every day until the pain and swelling go away. Hiccups call for a tasty sounding syrup of liquid cinnamon on a lump of sugar, while heart burn requires a glass of water or chamomile tea with scraped chalk. To rid of giddiness, people would drink 20 drops of castor oil mixed in water, and “the smoke of tobacco blown into the ear is an excellent remedy” for an ear ache.

The century book and home physician, an illustrated cook book from 1897 that contains medical receipts.

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You are what you eat.

Don’t be fake, cheap, or fast.

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I do some antique finishing & restoring, mostly of industrial finishes. So - I make a lot of them myself. A couple years ago I bought a reprint of 'The Gilders, Painters & Finishers Handbook" originally printed in the 1870s or so. It’s basically a compilation of recipes for everything from gilding to paint to varnish to japanning. Except for the last chapter which is a list of home remedies for the illnesses one develops after using all the toxic chemicals in the recipes for the finishes in the previous chapters. SOme of the remedies sounded like they’d be more sure to kill you than the finishes.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold