The Hygienic Cookbook (1864)

Sep 13, 2013 by

hygenicI just love the name of this old cookbook from 1864!

The hygienic cook-book; containing recipes for making bread, pies, puddings, mushes, and soups, with directions for cooking vegetables, canning fruit, etc. To which is added an appendix, containing valuable suggestions in regard to washing, bleaching, removing ink, fruit, and other stains from from garments, etc (1864)

And a few fascinating words from the introduction:

“The table! how vast an influence it exerts on human life and character ; how much, of the woe of humanity clusters around it ! In determining our physical, mental, and moral conditions, no other one thing in all the material universe has so vast a power as that which we take daily in the shape of food and drink.

Much, very much, of the sickness, suffering, and premature death in the world ; much of its vice, immorality, and crime, can, if traced to its starting-point, be found to originate here. Anxious days and sleepless nights are spent by parents, in their earnest endeavors to devise some means to subdue the peevishness, the fretfulness, the obstinacy or the immorality of their children, only to find alas! their admonitions unheeded, their exhortations thrown to the winds, their agonizing prayers of no avail; they little dreaming that the causes of this perverseness lie, in a great measure, within their own control ; that these unhappy mental and moral manifestations are caused by a disordered condition of the bodily functions, produced by the improper kinds and quantities of food which they have allowed them to eat.

That abnormal conditions of the body never exist without more or less influencing the mind, no arguments are needed to prove. Take for instance the drunkard while under the dominion of alcohol. Of what avail are his own resolutions, or the prayers, the tears, the earnest entreaties of friends, to stay the fierce, ungovernable passions which rage within him, or to rouse him from the dull, leaden stupor into which the demon of drink often plunges its victims ? What are moral influences then? So many “wisps of straw” to bind the Samson of evil. But, remove the cause, then your appeals to his better nature maybe of some avail ; while it remains, never.

It is but speaking the simple truth to say that fully one half the evil and misery which exists in the world, has its origin in improper dietetic habits. The starting-point of intemperance, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, is in the stimulating or gross food and drink received at a fond mother’s table in infancy and boyhood, producing in time a craving for stronger stimulus, found at last in the intoxicating cup. And to that table, too, may be traced the origin of a majority of the countless diseases which people our cemeteries, and make this bright world of ours really a “vale of tears.”


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