Thursday, February 8, 2018

How to Survive Cold Season, 1761

Giovanni Battista Ferrari, Hesperides (1646)
Fever: To prevent catching any infectious fever, do not breathe near the face of the sick person, neither swallow your spittle while in the room. 
Cold in the Head: Pare very thin the yellow rind of an orange. Roll it up inside out and thrust a roll up each nostril.  
Cough: Drink a pint and a half of cold water lying down in bed... Or, make a hole thro' a lemon, and fill it with honey. Roast it, and catch the juice. Take a tea-spoonful of this frequently.  
The Country Gentleman, Farmer, and Housewife's Compendious Instructor 
What, you don't want to spend the winter with a cocktail garnish up your nose? Maybe you shouldn't have swallowed your spittle, my friend.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

How to Make Snowballs for Dessert, 1798

Isaac Cruikshank, "Snow Balls" (1794), LWL

"Snow Balls. Pare and take out the cores of five large baking apples, and fill the holes with orange or quince marmalade. Then make some good hot paste, roll your apples in it, and make your crust of an equal thickness. Put them in a tin dripping-pan, bake them in a moderate oven, and when you take them out, make icing for them... let your icing be about a quarter of an inch thick, and set them at a good distance from the fire till they are hardened; but take care you do not let them brown. Put one in the middle of a dish, and the others round it. 
[Icing:] Take a pound of double-refined sugar pounded and sifted fine, and mix it with the whites of twenty-four eggs, in an earthen pan. Whisk them well for two or three hours till it looks white and thick." 
William Augustus Henderson, The Housekeeper's Instructor

Ring in the New Year with this festive dessert! Bonus: if you start whisking the icing at exactly 9 PM, you'll die of exhaustion before 2018.

Monday, December 11, 2017

How to Prevent Drunkenness, 1612

"A Looking-Glass for Drunkards," 17th c.
"Shew me a way how a man may drinke much wine and yet not be drunke. To drinke great store of wine, and not to be drunke, you must eate of the rosted lungs of a Goat: or otherwise, eate sixe or seaven bitter Almonds fasting: or otherwise, eate raw Coleworts before you drinke, and you shall not become drunk.
How to make them which are drunk sober. You must make them eate Coleworts, and some manner of confections made of brine; or else drink great draughts of vinegar." 
William Vaughan, Approved Directions for Health
Office holiday party preparedness kit: cabbage, pickles, goat lung.

Friday, November 17, 2017

How to Prepare a Humble Feast, 1638

Mattia Giegher, Li tre trattati (1629)
“Now for a more humble feast, or an ordinary proportion which any good man may keepe in his family for the entertainment of his true and worthy friends... it is good then for him that intends to feast, to set downe the full number of his dishes... and of these sixtene is a good proportion for one course unto one messe, as thus for example: First, a shield of Brawne with mustard: Secondly, a boyl’d Capon: Thirdly, a boyl’d piece of Beefe: Fourthly, a chine of Beefe rosted: Fifthly, a Neats-tongue rosted: Sixthly, a Pig rosted: Seventhly, chewets bak’d: Eighthly, a Goose rosted: Ninthly, a Swan rosted: Tenthly, a Turkie rosted: the eleventh, a haunch of Venison rosted: The twelfth, a Pasty of Venison: The thirteenth, a Kid with a pudding in the belly: The fourteenth, an Olive Pie: The fifteenth, a couple of Capons: The sixteenth, a Custard or Dowsets. Now to these full dishes may be added in Sallets, Fricases, Quelquechoses, and devised paste, as many dishes more, which make the full service no lesse then two and thirty dishes, which is as much as can conveniently stand on one Table... and after this manner you may proportion both your second and third course...” 
Gervase Markham, A Way to Get Wealth 
Sometimes it's a long week and you're tired and you just need to get some food on the table. And you know what? That's fine! No one is expecting more than 32 dishes. Per course.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

How to Dress Warmly, 1315

Lyon, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 5128, f. 114v
“Dress well, wear good shoes, and when you go outside, wear overshoes so that your feet will be warm. And don’t make a 'sausage' hat for yourself as some people do, because they are not good. And when you see the other students wearing their caps, you should too, and a fur cap, if necessary. And at night when you study, you should wear a nightcap over the cap and around your cheeks. And when you go to sleep at night, you should wear a white nightcap on your head and covering your cheeks and another colored one on top, since the head should be kept warmer at night than during the day. And during the rainy season, it’s good to wear another cap or helmet over your cap so that your head doesn’t get wet. Actually, some people wear a helmet over the cap in nice weather, but especially when it’s cold, so that they can remove the helmet in the presence of important people without taking off the cap. And take care of your boots and make sure your feet aren’t filthy.” 
Letter from a physician in Valencia to his sons studying in Toulouse
Revealed: the Past is actually your grandmother. Now go put on your hat.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

How to Spend October, 1612

Tacuinum Sanitatis, Paris, BnF Lat. 9333, f. 96r
"In October... Arme your body soundly with pleasant wines or spiced drinks against the ensuing Winter. Arme your minde with study, for now this temperate time invites thee to read without impediments either of violent colde or violent heat." 
William Vaughan, Approved Directions for Health
Quick, arm yourself with the pleasant wines and long books because WINTER IS COMING

Thursday, September 7, 2017

How to Behave at School, 1479

Hortus sanitatis (1497), Darmstadt
"We order and decree that teachers and students who are wearers of indecent garments, brawlers, drunks, nighttime ramblers, pimps, thieves, frequenters of taverns and other filthy places, players of dice, scoffers or trespassers of the statutes and commands of the Rector and the University, arrogant abusers of privileges, and especially aggravators of the citizens and committers of other scandalous misdeeds, if they do not desist after fair warning... shall be entirely excluded from the community of the University.”  
Copenhagen University Statutes, 1479
Fall: when teachers and students sharpen their pencils, crack open their books, and try to cut back on their filthy drunken brawling.