Sunday, May 02, 2010

Let's Step Back in Time:


Of the many (and I mean MANY) vintage books I have collected or received over the years, one of my true favorites is my 1913 edition of The White House Cookbook. Established for "filling the requirements of households of all classes," this tome gives the reader an extraordinary and comprehensive view of a entirely other world. I may quote often from this book, it so amuses me. In all fairness, it also reminds me not only of how far (and how richly) we have come but also of how some basic truths remain.

For this particular post, I give you an except labeled "HINTS IN REGARD TO HEALTH"

"It is plainly seen by an inquiring mind that, aside from the selection and preparation of food, there are many little things constantly arising in the experience of everyday life which, in their combined effect, are powerful agents in the formation (or prevention) of perfect health. A careful observance of these little occurences (sic), an inquiry into the philosophy attending them, lies within the province, and indeed should be considered among the highest duties, of every housekeeper.
That one should be cautious about entering a sick room in a state of perspiration, as the moment you become cool your pores absorb. Do not approach contagious diseases with an empty stomach, nor sit between the sick and the fire, because the heat attracts the vapor.
That the flavor of cod-liver oil may be changed to the delightful one of fresh oyster, if the patient will drink a large glass of water poured from a a vessel in which nails have been allowed to rust.
That a bag of hot sand relieves neuralgia.
That warm borax water will remove dandruff.
That salt should be eaten with nuts to aid digestion.
...That a cupful of strong coffee will remove the odor of onions from the breath.
That well-ventilated bedrooms will prevent morning headaches and lassitude.
A cupful of hot water drank before meals will relieve nausea and dyspepsia.
...Sprains and bruises call for an application of the tincture of arnica.
If an artery is severed, tie a small cord or handkerchief above it
For bilious colic, soda and ginger in hot water. It maybe taken freely.
...Pains in the side are most promptly relieved by the application of mustard.
For cold in the head nothing is better than powdered borax, sniffed up the nostrils.
...Hemorrhages of the lungs or stomach are promptly checked by small doses of salt. The patient should be kept as quiet as possible.
...Avoid purgatives or strong physics, as they not only do no good, but are positivley hurtful. PILLS MAY RELIEVE FOR A TIME, BUT THEY SELDOM CURE. (emphasis mine)"


...bet your wondering what I left out, huh?

And yet, I totally agree with the opening paragraph for this particular section. There is far more involved in our daily survival and of that of those in our care than just finding food and preparing it to eat. For those of us who are parents, the care of our children requires our constant absorption of knowledge in the areas of medicine, academics, philosophy and littlest pet shop animals (caught you). We are semi-professional everything's because that is what is demanded of us by those who cannot care for themselves and need our protection. And our love for them should allow for nothing less.

I am soap-boxing a bit, but this is my blog and I'm allowed. I hope, however, that you've enjoyed this little view into time past. I assure you more is to come...

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