This is where I note my efforts as I try to recreate some old recipes. Most are taken from my small collection of handwritten recipe books which date from the late 1700's to around 1922. I also have a collection of old tatty old recipe books, well thumbed and heavily splashed from years of use. I love them all!

The old-fashioned very stylised handwriting writing is sometimes difficult to decipher, measurements and cooking instructions are minimal, no tin sizes given. Luckily I enjoy a challenge. Just to complicate things I cook and bake on my wood-fired Rayburn, which can be... unpredictable.

I suspect this blog is less about the food and more about my passion for these lovely old books and the wonderful women who wrote them.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Miscellaneous Receipts from the Home Pharmacy

Pomade Divine

2 oz white wax
1/2 oz spermaceti
2 oz sweet oil
80 drops Laudanum
80 drops Friars Balsam
80 drops of lead water

Even supposing you could get all the ingredients together, I don't think I'd want this put on my hair.

Spermaceti is a waxy substance found in the head cavity of the sperm whale, laudanum an opiate-based drug which was widely used  (30 drops was the equivalent of 1 grain of opium) and goodness knows why lead water was used.  

I won't be trying this one at home - and I don't recommend that you do, either.

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To Make Gargle

Take some green sage, a little vinegar and port wine, brown sugar, a little cayenne pepper and let it stand by the fire for some time.

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This next one could be useful during winter.

For Chilblains     by     Sir A Cooper

1 oz olive oil
1/2 oz Spirits of Hartshorn*
1/4 oz Oil of Turpentine

*Hartshorn was a source of ammonia used as a leavening agent, the salts were used as smelling salts.  Originally it was sourced from deer antlers.

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Perhaps this 'Spring Medicine' devised by E Knaggs will be the most helpful one I can leave you with.

Spring Medicine

2 oz Epsom Salts
1 oz Cream of Tartar
1 oz Milk of Sulphur
1 lemon, sliced
1/2 lb sugar
2 qts Boiling Water

1/2 a tumbler, 3 times a week.    

Many of my old books have special recipes for the sick room, lots of remedies for coughs, headaches, smallpox, typhoid, and many other ailments as well as home cleaning products, countless baking and cooking recipes.    One book has numerous recipes for water ice and ice-creams in a mind-boggling array of flavours.   Fun for future experiments.

This last weekend we had the pleasure of having my older son and his family to stay with us for a few days.   Enjoying their company and feeding the clan became more important than experimental cooking.

Now that things are returning to normal, I have plans to try out another old recipe or two, in between every day life and painting the interior of Cowslip Cottage, ready for the return of my younger son and his wife.

Retirement is definitely not dull.

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