Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Medicinal Milk Diet in 1737.

Yesterday we looked at a recommended bill of fare for the month of November, from The complete family-piece: and, country gentleman, and farmer's best guide, published in London in 1737.

This book, in common with most household manuals and cookery books since medieval times, contained remedies for many medical problems. It was the responsibility of the mistress of the household over these centuries to know how to prepare medicines for common conditions. A physician, assuming that his services could be afforded, would only be called in for the most serious problems. It was perfectly logical for the ‘remedy’ to be a ‘recipe,’ as food and medicine were inextricably intertwined from ancient times,  and in fact, the symbol used on medical prescriptions is a medieval abbreviation for the Latin verb recipere, meaning ‘take thus,’ and from which we also get the word ‘recipe.’
Our source for the day includes advice on dietary therapy for gout:-

Professors Boerhaave and Osterdyke’s Regimen prescribed for the Gout.
They are of Opinion that the Gout is not to be cured by any other. Means but by a Milk-Diet, which will in twelve Months time alter the whole Mass of Blood; and, in order thereto, the following Directions muft be strictly observ’d and follow’d.
I. You must not taste any Liquor, only a Mixture of one third Milk, and two thirds Water, your Milk as new as you can get it, and to drink it as often as you have Occasion, without adding any other to it. A little Tea and Coffee is likewise permitted, with Milk.
II. In the Morning as soon as awake, and the Stomach has made a Digestion, you must drink eight Ounces of Spring-water, and fast two Hours after; then eat Milk and Bread, Milk-Pottage, or Tea with Milk, with a little Bread and fresh Butter.
III. At Dinner you mull not eat any thing but what is made of Barley, Oats, Rice, or Millet Seed, Carrots, Potatoes, Turnips, Spinage, Beans, Pease &c.  You may likewise eat Fruit when full ripe, baked Pears or Apples, Apple-Dumplings; but above all, Milk and Bisket is very good; but nothing salt or sour, not even a Seville Orange.
IV. At Supper you mull eat nothing but Milk and Bread.
V. It is necessary to go to Bed betimes, even before Nine o’Clock, to accustom yourself to sleep much, and use yourself to it.
VI. Every Morning before you rise, to have your Feet, Legs, Arms and Hands, well rubb’d with Pieces of woollen Cloth for half an Hour, and the same going to Bed. This Article mull be strictly observed, for by this Means the Humours, Knobs and Bunches will be dissipated, and prevent their fixing in the Joints, by which they become useless.
VII. You mutt accustom youself to Exercise, as riding on Horse-back, which is best, or in a Coach, Chaise, &c. the more the better; but take care of the cold Weather, Winds, and Rain.
Lastly, In case a Fit of the Gout should return, and be violent, which they are of Opinion will not, then a little Dose of Opium or Laudanum may be taken to compose you ,— but no oftner than Necessity requires. They are of Opinion, that your Father or Mother having the Gout, is of no Consequence, if you will resolve to follow the foregoing Directions strictly.

I give you, as the recipe for the day, a lovely recipe for apple dumplings, which will be equally delicious whether or not you have gout.

Apple-Dumplings in an extraordinary way. From Mrs. Johnson.
Take Golden-Rennets ripe, pare them and take out their Cores; then cut the Apples into small pieces, and with a large Grater, grate in a Quince, when it has been pared and cored: for if you was to slice in a Quince, to your Apples, in large pieces, the Quince would not be boil'd equally with the Apples; for the Quince is of a tough Nature, and will not boil under twice the time that the Apples will: therefore to grate them, will be enough to give their flavour to the Apple, and make all enough at one time. Put what Sugar you think proper into each Dumpling, when you take it up, and the necessary quantity of Butter. It will then cat like a Marmalade of Quince.
Note, The Crust or Paste, for these Dumplings, must be of a Puff-Paste made with Butter, rubb'd into Flour, and for some Other Parts of the Butter, break them into the Paste, and roll them three times, and put in the Apples to the Crust, tying them into a Cloth well flour'd, and boiling them. It may be understood before, that when they are taken up hot, the Ceremony of sugaring and buttering is necessary.

The Country Housewife and Lady's Director, in the Management of a House, and the Delights and Profits of a Farm (1732) by Robert Bradley.

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