7 weird old tips from diet and cookery books

Food trends are nothing new, as these snippets from old books will demonstrate. All of these are from books on Project Gutenberg. Weight-loss diets are a relatively recent phenomenon, so there weren’t many to be found. There were some surprisingly sensible suggestions, while others were odd, but I suppose the authors were making use of the best knowledge they had at the time. Check these out… would you try them?

Childlike sketch of a very round boy.

Talking = weight loss?: “Don’t talk so much [if you want to gain weight]. See if you can’t leave out two-thirds of the totally unimportant, uninteresting details. A tremendous amount of energy is used in talking. This habit I would not say was confined to you, by any means; it is another one of those pretty nearly universal errors.” – Diet and Health; With Key to the Calories by Lulu Hunt Peters (1918) (image above taken from this book)

Packing for a picnic: “Things not to be forgotten at a Picnic. A stick of horseradish, a bottle of mint-sauce well corked, a bottle of salad dressing, a bottle of vinegar, made mustard, pepper, salt, good oil, and pounded sugar. If it can be managed, take a little ice.” – Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1861)

Bake, not boil: “Never eat boiled vegetables. No one ever hears of a flesh-eater boiling his staple article of diet and throwing away the liquor.” – The Healthy Life Cook Book by Florence Daniel (1915)

An apple tart a day: “Tak gode Applys and gode Spycis and Figys and reysons and Perys and wan they are wel ybrayed colourd wyth Safroun wel and do yt in a cofyn and do yt forth to bake wel.” – The Forme of Cury: A Roll of Ancient English Cookery compiled by Samuel Pegge (1390)

Time for a cuppa?: “In general, however, none but persons possessing great mobility of the nervous system, or enfeebled or effeminate constitutions, are injuriously affected by the moderate use of tea and coffee in connection with food.” – The White House Cook Book by F L Gillette and Hugo Ziemann (1887)

A back-friendly breakfast: “An excellent Restorative for a weak back. Take clary, dates, the pith of an oxe, and chop them together, put some cream to them, eggs, grated bread, and a little white saunders, temper them all well together fry them, and eat it in the morning fasting.” – The Accomplisht Cook by Robert May (1685)

Mmm, toast water: “Put the bread into a mug, and just cover it with boiling water; let it stand till cold, then fill it up with cold spring-water, and pour it through a fine sieve. The above is a pleasant and excellent beverage, grateful to the stomach, and deserves a constant place by the bed-side.” – The Cook’s Oracle; and Housekeeper’s Manual by William Kitchiner (1830)

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