Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How to Throw a Party (Single Ladies' Edition), 1896

Manners and Customs of Polite Society (1896)
"The bachelor women in their cosy little city apartments, or even their one apartment, refuse to be debarred from the pleasure and privilege of giving the little entertainments so dear to the heart feminine. They not only give the most charming little "teas" and "coffees," but they are past masters in the use of the chafing dish... A sandwich spread is another entertainment easily given by a "bachelor maid." This is a meal at which everything, barring the tea and coffee, is served in the form of a sandwich. Not until one has tried does one realize to what excellence and variety this form of viand lends itself. Deviled ham sandwiches, egg sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, lettuce sandwiches, potted ham, potted fish, potted cheese sandwiches, pineapple sandwiches, peanut sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, tomato sandwiches, walnut sandwiches, oyster sandwiches and so on indefinitely."  
Maud C. Cooke, Manners and Customs of Polite Society
You won't be single for long once the guests taste your walnut sandwiches.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How to Grow Eggplants, 1616

Ulisse Aldrovandi, Il teatro della natura
(vol. 1-1, p. 53, University of Bologna)
"Manie men being verie desirous to adorne and set forth their Garden with all sorts of Plants, doe amongst the rest provide to furnish it with Apples of Love (which the Latines call Mala insana) by reason of the beautie of their fruit, which is as thick as a Cucumber drawing towards a red colour. They must be sowne in the Spring, in a fat and well battild soyle, and where the Sun hath great power, because they cannot abide any cold: they crave the like ordering and husbandrie that the Cucumber doth. Many licorish mouthes... cut them in slices, boyle them in water, and after frie them in the flower of meale and butter or oyle, and then cast upon them pepper and salt: this kind of meat is good for such men as are inclined to dallie with common dames, and short-heeld huswives, because it is windie, and withall ingendreth cholericke humors, infinite obstructions and head-ach, sadnesse, melancholicke dreames, and in the end long continuing agues: and therefore it were better to forbeare them." 
Charles Estienne, Maison Rustique, or, The Countrey Farme 
Do you like common dames, intestinal gas, and sadness? Try fried eggplant.

Friday, July 17, 2015

How to Choose a Sports Drink, 1899

Charles Terront (Le Petit Journal, Sept. 26, 1891)
"The cause of thirst, what best quenches it, what one should not drink, the opinion of the medical profession in regard to the fancy drinks, etc., are all questions which profoundly interest the bicyclist... Of the different fancy drinks, iron tonics, blood purifiers, magic strength-impacters, etc., it is necessary to say very little. Leave them alone, one and all, from A to Z. They are apt to do you more harm than good. It is true the effects of Kola and its class are increased strength, endurance, wind and general well-being, as long as you continue to take them in ever-increasing doses, but when you stop – what then? Collapse... If you require a drink that shall be strengthening as well as refreshing, you can take nothing better than a glass of cool water with a teaspoonful of Wyeth's Beef Juice in it. The nourishment in that will be equal in amount to what is contained in a half-pound of steak."  
Victor Neesen, Dr. Neesen's Book on Wheeling
Looking for a performance-enhancing drink that won't get you in trouble for doping? Try beef juice: so much more convenient than sucking on a steak during the race.

Monday, July 13, 2015

How to Deodorize, 1605

Antonio Salamanca, The History of Psyche (16th c., Wellcome Library)
"We will here discouer and discourse of the lothsome stench of the armepits... and how nearer that the stench is to the nose, so much the lothsomer is it. This stench is augmented through great labour at hot times, through want of shifting and alteration of clothes, through great incontinencie, and through some corrupted humors of the body. Then for to remedie this stench, it is needful (according to the quality of the person) that all such are to be purged and let bloud, and that they afterwards do bath in these odoriferous herbes, as Mints, Melilot, Lauander, Ireos, and such like... Marmalade with spices doth also expel all stench."  
Christoph Wirsung, The General Practise of Physicke
If changing clothes and bloodletting don't do the trick, there's always preserved fruit.

Monday, July 6, 2015

How to Run, 1657

Crispijn van de Passe, Atalanta and Hippomenes, 1602-7
(Rijksmuseum)
Swift motion, renders the body thin and compacted. Slow motion, rarifies and encreases the Flesh… Running, if it be Vehement, is good for Fat and moist bodies, but it is bad for such as are troubled with any kind of Head-ach. If Running be moderate, it excellently warms the Body, excites appetite… Backward, if it be gentle, it is good for the Head, Eyes, stomach, Loins. A Circular motion distends the flesh and belly, and very much offends the Head, uphil, tis bad for the Breast and thighs. Downhil it very much affects the head, it shakes the bowels, troubles weake hips… The body being covered, by moving sweat, it moystens and heats the flesh, but it makes the bodys il colored, because the pure air does not come at them, to clense the same. The body being naked, it draws out great plenty of sweat…”  
Joannes Johnstonus, The Idea of Practical Physick in Twelve Books
Finally, the perfect running program for everyone. Want a sweaty workout that's good for your head? Time for a naked backward jog!

Monday, June 29, 2015

How to Stop Bleeding, 1596

One of those days.
(Wound Man, Wellcome Library, London)
"A very good Medicine to staunch bloud... Take a peece of Salt Biefe, (the leane onely) as much as will lye in the Wound, and lay the biefe in the Embres of the fire, and let it be thorough hote, and when it is hote, thrust it into the Wounde, and binde it fast, and it will foorthwith staunch the blood, & let it lye for a good space after in the Wounde, for the stopping of the bloud." 
A Rich Store-House or Treasury for the Diseased
Too manly for Band-Aids? Try barbecue.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How to Improve Your Brain, 1596

Andreas Vesalius, De humani corporis fabrica, 1555
Wellcome Library, London
A Rule to knowe what thinges are good and holosome for the Braine.
To eate Sage, but not overmuch,
To drinke Wine measurablie,
To keepe the Head warme,
To washe your Hands often,
To heare litle noise of Musicke or Singers,
To eate Mustarde & Pepper,
To smell the sauour of Red-roses,
& to washe the Temples of your Heade often with Rose-Water. 
These Thinges are ill for the Braine.
All manner of Braines,
Drunkennes,
To stand much bare-headed,
Overmuch Watching,
Overmuch Bathing,
Cheese,
Garlicke,
Overmuch Knocking or Noise,
& to smell a white Rose.
A Rich Store-House or Treasury for the Diseased 
 A bouquet of white roses: the floral equivalent of a concussion.