Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Almanac On My Mind.

I am pleased, proud, and a little scared to announce that I have a new book project. It is to be a Food History Almanac to be published by AltaMira Press - but not for a couple of years as it is a big, two-volume project.

I can only hope to provide as much fun as Morton's Sixpenny Almanack And Diary, With Diary and Compendium, published in London, in1876.  Today I give you some gleanings from this delightful book – the food-oriented ones, of course.

Firstly, I give you A String of Mottoes, and encourage you to add your own to the list:
A String of Mottoes.
For Publicans                         Love me, love my grog.
For Cooks                   Onion is strength.
For Bakers                  Early to bread, and early to rise.
For Cheesemongers    High and mighty.
For Fishmongers        Confession is good for the soul.
For Milkmen               Chalk it up.
For Pork Butchers      The whole hog or none.
For Woodcutters         Chops and Steaks.

Secondly, I give you a small selection of the riddles scattered through the text (focussing on those with a food reference of course):

-          Why is a publican's trade a profitable one to follow ?—Because, by conducting it with good spirit, he has more bar-gains than most others, and all the pull is on his side.

-          What animal has death no effect on?—A pig, because directly you have killed him you can cure him, and save his bacon.

Next, I give you some of the medical advice from the book (something that will NOT be included in my own Almanac, I promise)

Dr. Brown-Sequard's method of treating dyspepsia, which he has found successful in the majority of cases during ten years' practice, is on the principle of eating little but often. Take from one to four mouthfuls at once, but eat again in ten, twenty, or thirty minutes. Use nourishing food and drink, as roasted or boiled meats, and especially beef, mutton, eggs, well baked bread, and milk, with butter and cheese, and a very moderate quantity of vegetables and fruit. Beef tea or milk is recommended instead of water, and the quantity of solid food for one day should not exceed forty ounces. This plan need be pursued but two or three weeks, when return may be had to the ordinary rule of three meals a day. By this method the stomach is gently and steadily occupied but not over-loaded.

(P.S. We had a recipe for Dyspepsia Bread in a previous post.)

Advice to Consumptive People.
You want air, not physic. You want nutrition, Each as plenty of meat and bread will give, and they alone. Physic has no nutriment; gaspings for air cannot cure you; monkey capers in a gymnasium cannot cure you, and stimulants cannot cure you. If you want to get well, go in for beef and out-door air, and do not be deluded into the grave by advertisements and unreliable certifiers. - Dr. Hall.

And, finally – what is an Almanac without recipes? I can certainly promise that some will be included in my own work. Here is the example that followed the above advice to consumptives:

Barley Water.
Wash two ounces and a half of pearl barley; boil for one minute in half a pint of water, which throw away; then pour on to the barley four pints of water; boil down to two pints, and strain. Flavour with sugar and lemon to taste. This is an excellent drink in cases of fever.

Quotation for the Day.

All hail! a cow, with coat of silk,
That yields the rich and poor the milk,
Supplying peasant and the peer
With yellow butter—giving cheer
To rustic's and to prince's board,
The creamy store she doth afford.

[From an un-credited poem in Morton’s Sixpenny Almanac.]


darius said...


Marcheline said...

Excellent! Looking forward to more announcements / excerpts!