Thursday, October 15, 2009

Prescription Sausages.

Yesterday’s source - Pharmaceutical Formulas - A Book of Useful Recipes for the Drug Trade, published in 1898 – provides much other food for thought. The ‘Drug Trade’ includes all manner of fascinating formulas for household use, including cleaning materials, writing materials, perfumes, preparations for the hair and teeth and so on, as well as those with medicinal applications.

Quite a number of the recipes in the chapter on Household and Domestic Requisites (in which we found yesterday’s sauces), are decidedly difficult to reconcile with the health implications implicit in a publication for pharmaceutical professionals, but neither do they seem to fall on the industrial chemical side of things. Yesterday I said ‘I live in hope of the day when the friendly neighbourhood pharmacist will provide recipes for the daily dinner’. Even if this were to happen in the amazingly mysterious future, I cannot image that the meal prescription will ever, ever, ever, include sausages (although it should, with reservations, of course). In our source manual for the day however, we find the following recipe (without comments as to meat quality or type, it must be said) ….

Pork Sausage Flavouring.
White Pepper 2 oz.
Jamaica Pepper 6 dr.
Black Pepper 3 dr.
Ginger 3 dr.
Capsicum 2 dr.
Mace 1 dr.
Cloves 10gr.
All in fine powder, mixed. A little nitre helps to keep the colour of the meat.
(an alternative recipe suggests “tinting the powder a dark salmon colour by means of finely powdered red sanderswood.)

The pharmaceutical focus is evident in the use of pharmaceutical units of measurement in this recipe. The abbreviations and conversions are:

gr = grain (not gram!); one gram is about 60 grains
dr = dram, or drachm; one dram is approximately 3.89 gm.

Here is another lovely idea from the book.

Lemon Pickle.
Slit unpeeled lemons, previously cured, into quarters, without separating the pieces, sprinkle with salt, and lay aside in dishes for a week. Then pack in jars with two or three cayenne pods to each lemon and a good sprinkling of turmeric, and cover with hot vinegar.
[the instruction “previously cured” is odd here. It presumably means salted, but then the recipe goes on to describe the salting process. Perhaps an example of the inexact art of recipe writing?]

Quotation for the Day.

We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons.
Alfred E. Newman


Karen said...

Reeling in shock at the idea of prescription sausages . . . !!!!

Peter Hertzmann said...

Except for the quantity of cloves in the sausage seasoning, it doesn't look too bad. I would add a fair amount of salt, as well.

champion tucker said...

It's a shame really. They prescribe anti-depressants with their concomitant problems of weight gain and organ fatigue. Sausages have a very similar effect. A course of three sausages a day would definitely keep the blues away.

(Amazing blog Mrs C. RSS-ed and listed on our page, a blog attempting to bring the finest of English food to the French. Only wish I'd found this earlier...)

Shannon McMaster said...

I thought it was 60 grains to the gram.

Peter Hertzmann said...

I just looked it up finally. One gram equals 15.432 grains so 10 grains would be about 650 milligrams of cloves. Would one even perceive that small amount? BTW, 1 dram is 1.77 grams.

Converted to grams, the recipe quantities would be:
White Pepper 56.7
Jamaica Pepper 10.6
Black Pepper 5.3
Ginger 5.3
Capsicum 3.5
Mace 1.8
Cloves 0.6

Of course the recipe,as displayed here, doesn't state how much meat this quantity of spice is intended for.

The Old Foodie said...

Thanks Peter - numbers are not my thing (as, I think is obvious from my original error!) Love this internet help!
It does seem a bit odd, giving precise amounts of seasoning for an undefined amount of meat, doesnt it?

Peter Hertzmann said...

It is also weird that there is no salt, a very important ingredient when making sausage.

~~louise~~ said...

Hi Janet,
Another interesting "prescription." I have a thought: Perhaps the amount of meat is not disclosed in order to protect the recipe. Sausage makers were always trying to "steal" one another's recipes.

P.S. If I find any pharmaceutical recipes in my books, I will let you know.