The medical symbol ℞ (sometimes written Rx) which indicates a prescription is an abbreviation of the Latin recipere, which is an instruction to ‘take the following’. Clearly the word also gave rise to our word recipe. That food and medicine are closely related, and may indeed often be the same thing, has been well accepted for millennia, and I am particularly fond of this little word reminder.
I am also fond of finding recipes in unusual sources. The first edition of the great Encyclopaedia Britannica in 1768 provided the bread recipe for a previous blog post, and we have had some good recipes from agricultural journals, farmers magazines, and popular science magazines in the past. We have also had recipes from pharmaceutical sources on a number of occasions, and I want to revisit that idea again today. Admittedly, many ‘recipes’ in dispensatories and pharmacopoeia are excruciatingly medicinal, and far too clearly on the ‘remedy’ end of the prescription spectrum. Some, however, can be seen as culinary recipes in their own right, and of these I am particularly, inordinately fond.
I give you a selection of remedies/recipes from A new supplement to the latest pharmacopoeias of London, Edinburgh, Dublin ... by James Rennie (1833), in case you should feel poorly sometime soon.
Put a glass of white wine or half a glass of rum into two to four glasses of water, with a little sugar and lemon-peel, or nutmeg; bring to the boil, and then put in some grated bread till is of a proper thickness.
Peel and chop 2 ounces of garlic, pour on this a quart of good white wine vinegar, digest in a close vessel for seven days, shaking it every day; decant off and bottle up. A very few drops to flavour soup, to make mustard, &c.
Celery (Essence of) is prepared by steeping half an ounce of the bruised seeds in a quarter of a pint of brandy, or other spirit, for a fortnight. A few drops will flavour a pint of soup, or broth.
Ginger Beer is prepared by adding to a gallon of soft water 2lb of refined lump sugar, two lemons sliced, 2 ounces of powdered ginger, and a dessert spoonful of bitartrate of potass; simmer over a slow fire for half an hour, but do not let it boil; add a tablespoonful of yeast, ferment in the usual way, and bottle.
Grate 1 lb of fresh pine-apple; add half a pint of syrup, a pint and a half of cream, and the juice of two lemons; rub through a sieve, cut two slices of pine in small dice, and freeze.
[the book also had recipes for pineapple compote, jam, water ice, and preserved slices.]
Quotation for the Day.
Eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.