Hints In Regard To Health (Part I)

September 1st, 2018

It is plainly seen by an inquiring mind that, aside from the selection and preparation of food, there are many little things constantly arising in the experience of everyday life which, in their combined effect, are powerful agents in the formation (or prevention) of perfect health. A careful observance of these little occurrences, an inquiry into the philosophy attending them, lies within the province, and indeed should be considered among the highest duties, of every housekeeper.

  • That one should be cautious about entering a sick room in a state of perspiration, as the moment you become cool your pores absorb. Do not approach contagious diseases with an empty stomach, nor sit between the sick and the fire, because the heat attracts the vapor.
  • That the flavor of cod-liver oil may be changed to the delightful one of fresh oyster, if the patient will drink a large glass of water poured from a vessel in which nails have been allowed to rust.
  • That a bag of hot sand relieves neuralgia.
  • That warm borax water will remove dandruff.
  • That salt should be eaten with nuts to aid digestion.
  • That it rests you, in sewing, to change your position frequently.
  • That a little soda water will relieve sick headache caused by indigestion.
  • That a cupful of strong coffee will remove the odor of onions from the breath.
  • That well-ventilated bedrooms will prevent morning headaches and lassitude.
  • A cupful of hot water drank before meals will relieve nausea and dyspepsia.
  • That a fever patient can be made cool and comfortable by frequent sponging off with soda water.
  • That consumptive night-sweats may be arrested by sponging the body nightly in salt water.
  • That one in a faint should be laid flat on his back, then loosen his clothes and let him alone.
  • The best time to bathe is just before going to bed, as any danger of taking cold is thus avoided; and the complexion is improved by keeping warm for several hours after leaving the bath.
  • To beat the whites of eggs quickly add a pinch of salt. Salt cools, and cold eggs froth rapidly.
  • Hot, dry flannels, applied as hot as possible, for neuralgia.

(Continued in this post.)

Source: The White House Cookbook, F.L. Gillette

If Hands Are Rough

February 19th, 2018

It is hard to embroider if hands are rough, as most women know. Let them try rubbing the hands with the finest sand paper, and they will find that the embroidery silks will not stick to the fingers.

Source: 1001 Household Hints, Ottilie V. Ames

Thieves’ Vinegar

July 22nd, 2017

Take a large handful of lavender blossoms, and the same quantity of sage, mint, rue, wormwood and rosemary. Chop and mix them well. Put them into a jar, with half an ounce of camphor that has been dissolved in a little alcohol, and pour in three quarts of strong clear vinegar. Keep the jar for two or three weeks in the hot sun, and at night plunge it into a box of heated sand. Afterwards strain and bottle the liquid, putting into each bottle a clove of garlic sliced. To have it very clear, after it has been bottled for a week, you should pour it off carefully from the sediment, and filter it through blotting paper. Then wash the bottles, and return the vinegar to them. It should be kept very tightly corked. It is used for sprinkling about in sick-rooms; and also in close damp oppressive weather. Inhaling the odour from a small bottle will frequently prevent faintness in a crowd.

It is best to make it in June.

This vinegar is so called from an old tradition, that during the prevalence of the plague in London the composition was invented by four thieves, who found it a preservative from contagion; and were by that means enabled to remain in the city and exercise their profession to great advantage, after most of the inhabitants had fled.

Source: Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches, Eliza Leslie

French Polish

June 6th, 2017

Take a quarter of an ounce of gum sandarac and a quarter of an ounce of gum mastic; pick the dirt and black lumps out very carefully, and pound them in a mortar quite fine; put them into a bottle, and add to them a quartern (old measure) of strong spirit of wine; cork it down and put it in a warm place; shake it frequently till the gum is entirely dissolved, which will be in about twenty-four hours.

Before using it, be careful to ascertain that no grease is on the furniture, as grease would prevent its receiving the polish. If the furniture has been previously cleaned with bees’-wax or oil, it must be got off by scraping, which is the best way, but difficult to those who do not perfectly understand it, because if you are not very careful, you may scratch the surface, and create more expense than a workman would charge to do it properly at first. Or it may be done by scouring well with sand and water, and afterward rubbed quite smooth with fine glass paper, being careful to do it with the grain of the wood. To apply the polish, you must have a piece of list or cloth twisted, and tied round quite tight, and left even at one end, which should be covered with a piece of fine linen cloth; then pour a little of the polish on the furniture, and rub it well all over till it is worked into the grain of the wood, and begins to look quite smooth; then take a soft fine cloth, or what is better, an old silk handkerchief, and keep rubbing lightly until the polish is complete, which will take two or three hours. It will greatly help the polish if it is done near a fire.

If it does not look so smooth and clear as it should, a little sweet oil rubbed lightly over, and cleaned off directly, will greatly heighten it. If any part of the furniture has carving about it, where it will be impossible to polish, it must be done with mastic varnish, and a camel’s hair brush, after the rest is finished.

When the polish begins to look dull, it may be recovered with a little spirit of wine.

Source: The Cook’s Oracle and Housekeeper’s Manual, W.M. Kitchener

Techniques: Digestion

January 1st, 2008

Digestion resembles maceration, except that the process is assisted by a gentle heat. The ingredients are placed in a flask, such as salad oil is sold in, which should be fitted with a plug of tow or wood, and have a piece of wire twisted round the neck. The flask is held by means of the wire over the flame of a spirit lamp, or else placed in some sand warmed in an old iron saucepan over the fire, care being taken not to place more of the flask below the sand than the portion occupied by the ingredients.

Source: Enquire Within Upon Everything.