Friday, February 10, 2012

Everything old is new again...

My father-in-law recently gave me a treasure.  A book.  Not just any book, but an OLLLLLDDDDD book.

Digging around in one of his rent houses he found this little beauty:

"Home Remedies for Man and Beast"

The title page states it is "The Household Guide; or Practical Helps for Every Home"  (eighth edition, 1893)

Old books are a wealth of lost information.  In today's society, we think we have all the answers, but oftentimes, if we just look back in time a better solution can be found...specifically, ones that do not involve caustic and unnecessary chemicals or other "man-made" alternatives to simple versions.  
The topics in this little gem range from a medical dictionary, identifying animals in impure water, how to keep well, all sorts of treatments for diseases I have never heard of, beauty tips, homekeeping tips, caring for animals and so many others.  It is a bound version of the internet of that time.  Anything and everything you could ever want or need to know.  

Did you know:  if you suffer from a scrawny neck, one must take off your tight collar, feather boa or other such heating things.  

Here's a lost art:  How to write invitations.  The sampled penmanship is a lost art form, especially in light of today's  educational decisions to no longer instruct our children in cursive.  Not only will today's children have difficulty with the actual act of writing, but the art of phrasing is lost.

But the recipes...I could read these for hours.  It amazes me how we feel that details have to be spelled out precisely, when in days gone by it seems that cooks truly relied upon their instincts when cooking.  It was not possible for them to heat up the fireplace oven to exactly 350 degrees or such...instead instructions were given to "bake in a slow oven" or "watch carefully as they burn very easily" and ingredient quantities were listed as "flour enough to mould rather soft".  I daresay Food Networkians would be challenged!

The condition of this little pearl is quite fragile.  It goes without saying that it will be well taken care of and nuggets of knowledge will gleaned and preserved by use.  I wonder what future generations will make of my collection of recipes?



  1. Glad to find you through

    L.o.v.e old books :)

  2. What a wonderful book. I have some old ones of my grandfathers. Mine are sort of in delicate shape too. I love your header. Good for you doing that on your own.

  3. That book is truly a treasure because it represents the parts of the past that are rarely taught in school history classes. Everyday life. Those old home remedies are so interesting to read about. I still have some older patients of mine asking wether I have heard about such and such remedy that their mothers or grandmothers used. It is funny how some of these are making a comeback, such as arnica gel for muscle aches. I totally agree with you on penmanship as a lost art form, too.



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