Vintage cookbooks dispensed medical advice

 vintage cookbooks

In modern times, if you are sick you generally head to the doctor. But in the 1800s, doctors weren't always available, so people had to rely on other sources for their medical advice. As it happens, they often turned to cookbooks, according to Atlas Obscura

As you might expect, some of the remedies are dubious at best. The Prudent Housewife, published in the early 1800s by Lydia Fisher, "advises a soak in warm vinegar, and then applying a paste of stale beer grounds, oatmeal, and hog's lard every day" to treat a sprain. To cure an earache, the book recommends blowing tobacco smoke into the ear - a remedy that sounds particularly unwise. 

These vintage books were more than just cookbooks or even medical tomes. They also provided instructions on how to brew beer, how to preserve foods by pickling, and how to manage bees, making them all-in-one home instruction manuals, While they make for fascinating reading today, they are less useful for advice on how to treat ailments. I will skip the leeches recommended to cure a headache - thank goodness for aspirin and ibuprofen! 

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