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.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Expensive Lavender Water and a Spot Healing Cream

One could cost you a fortune, the other could cost you your life.

The first recipe has a note that it would have cost £2 6s 6d to make a gallon - Lavender Water, that is.

Well that sounds pretty cheap until you take a look at the date the book was published then work out the equivalent cost today as being around £230!    A huge amount of money for eight pints of lavender water.

Just on the off-chance that you may like to try this at home:

Lavender Water

Oil of Mitcham Lavender - 4 fluid oz or 8 tablespoonsful.
Musk, 20 grains
Triple rose water, 8 fluid oz
Rectified spirits of wine, 1 gallon.

Keep the bottle well corked and sealed for at least 3 months, the longer the better; shake frequently.   If necessary it can be filtered through white paper, which has been previously warmed in the oven.

A well tested recipe.

I haven't done the costings for actually purchasing all the ingredients today but I guess it could well exceed the £230 equivalent cost from 1905.

The second one I'm offering up today is a recipe for

Healing Spots on the Face

Take of oxide of zinc, 2 drams
Calamine powder, 2 drams
Glycerine, 2 drams
Bisulphide of mercury, 2 grains
Rose water, 2 oz

Paint on with a camelhair brush at night.

Please do not try this recipe at home, mercury is dangerous.

Just as a side note:  My brother and I were given blobs of silver mercury to play with - by our older brother.    We knew nothing of the potentially harmful effects, we just found it fascinating as we chased those quivering silver blobs around on our hands.

 Even 55 years on, the jury is still out over whether he knew what he was doing!

Obviously, we survived to tell the tale, so we were lucky.

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