Sometimes when I’m researching Caddo and her families I like to look at the “big picture” and get a glimpse of the news and events and accepted social practices of an era. I read the state and world news, sports reports, history books, novels, magazines, and even cookbooks! In honor of the cold and flu season soon to descend upon us, I turned to my 1890 Welcome Baking Powder cookbook to see what our ancestors might have done to maintain or restore their health. On page 239 there is a section titled “Invalid Cookery”. As you will see from the sample recipes, I think people just stayed healthy so they could avoid these “treatments”! And it’s odd that none have a recommended dosage. Perhaps that is something your grandmother taught you, or the doctor told you- “Give him two slices of jellied chicken and call me in the morning!” LOL Don’t try these at home!
Port Wine Jelly
Melt in a little warm water an ounce of isinglass; stir it into a pint of port wine, adding two ounces of sugar candy, an ounce of gum-arabic, and half a nutmeg, grated. Mix all well and boil it ten minutes; or till everything is thoroughly dissolved. Then strain it through muslin and set it away to get cold.
Wash the tapioca carefully in two or three waters, then soak it for five or six hours, simmer it then in a stewpan until it becomes quite clear, add a little of the juice of a lemon, wine if desired.
Arrowroot Wine Jelly
One cup boilng water, two heaping teaspoons arrowroot, two heaping teaspoons white sugar, one tablespoonful brandy or three tablespoonfuls of wine. An excellent corrective to weak bowels.
Cook six chickens in a small quantity of water, until the meat will part from the bone easily; season to taste with salt and pepper; just as soon as cold enough to handle, remove bones and skin; place meat in a deep pan or mold, just as it comes from the bone, using gizzard, liver, and heart, until the mold is nearly full. To the water left in the kettle, add three-fourths of a box of Cox’s gelatin (some add juice of lemon), dissolved in a little warm water, and boil until it is reduced to a little less than a quart, pour over the chicken in the mold, leave to cool, cut with a very sharp knife and serve. The slices will not easily break up if directions are followed.
One tablespoonful of Robinson’s patent groats, two tablespoonfuls of cold water, one pint of boiling water. Mix the prepared groats smoothly with the cold water in a basin; pour over them the boiling water, stirring it all the time. Put it into a very clean saucepan; boil the gruel for ten minutes, keeping it well stirred; sweeten to taste, and serve. It may be flavored with a small piece of lemon-peel, by boiling it in the gruel or a little grated nutmeg may be put in; but in these matters the taste of the patient should be consulted. Pour the gruel in a tumbler and serve. When wine is allowed to the invalid, two tablespoonfuls of sherry or prod make this preparation very nice. In cases of colds, the same quantity of spirits is sometimes added instead of wine.
Flax Seed Lemonade
Four tablespoons flax seed (whole), one quart boiling water poured on the flax seed, juice of two lemons, leaving out the peel. Sweeten to taste; stew three hours in a covered pitcher. If too thick, put in cold water with the lemon-juice and sugar. Ice for drinking. It is splendid for colds.
One pound of lean beef, cut into small pieces. Put into a jar without a drop of water; cover tightly, and set in a pot of cold water. Heat gradually to a boil, and continue this steadily for three or hour hours, until the meat is like white rags, and the juice all drawn out. Season with salt to taste and when cold, skim.
Slices of toast, nicely browned, without a symptom of burning. Enough boiling water to cover them. Cover closely and let them steep until cold. Strain the water, sweeten to taste, and put a piece of ice in each glassful.
Is excellent for cold. Slice down a few onions and boil them in a pint of new milk, stir in a sprinkle of oatmeal and a very little salt, boil till the onions are quit tender, then sup rapidly and go to bed.