Monday, December 11, 2017

How to Prevent Drunkenness, 1612


"A Looking-Glass for Drunkards," 17th c.
"Shew me a way how a man may drinke much wine and yet not be drunke. To drinke great store of wine, and not to be drunke, you must eate of the rosted lungs of a Goat: or otherwise, eate sixe or seaven bitter Almonds fasting: or otherwise, eate raw Coleworts before you drinke, and you shall not become drunk.
How to make them which are drunk sober. You must make them eate Coleworts, and some manner of confections made of brine; or else drink great draughts of vinegar." 
William Vaughan, Approved Directions for Health
Office holiday party preparedness kit: cabbage, pickles, goat lung.

Friday, November 17, 2017

How to Prepare a Humble Feast, 1638


Mattia Giegher, Li tre trattati (1629)
“Now for a more humble feast, or an ordinary proportion which any good man may keepe in his family for the entertainment of his true and worthy friends... it is good then for him that intends to feast, to set downe the full number of his dishes... and of these sixtene is a good proportion for one course unto one messe, as thus for example: First, a shield of Brawne with mustard: Secondly, a boyl’d Capon: Thirdly, a boyl’d piece of Beefe: Fourthly, a chine of Beefe rosted: Fifthly, a Neats-tongue rosted: Sixthly, a Pig rosted: Seventhly, chewets bak’d: Eighthly, a Goose rosted: Ninthly, a Swan rosted: Tenthly, a Turkie rosted: the eleventh, a haunch of Venison rosted: The twelfth, a Pasty of Venison: The thirteenth, a Kid with a pudding in the belly: The fourteenth, an Olive Pie: The fifteenth, a couple of Capons: The sixteenth, a Custard or Dowsets. Now to these full dishes may be added in Sallets, Fricases, Quelquechoses, and devised paste, as many dishes more, which make the full service no lesse then two and thirty dishes, which is as much as can conveniently stand on one Table... and after this manner you may proportion both your second and third course...” 
Gervase Markham, A Way to Get Wealth 
Sometimes it's a long week and you're tired and you just need to get some food on the table. And you know what? That's fine! No one is expecting more than 32 dishes. Per course.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

How to Dress Warmly, 1315

Lyon, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 5128, f. 114v
“Dress well, wear good shoes, and when you go outside, wear overshoes so that your feet will be warm. And don’t make a 'sausage' hat for yourself as some people do, because they are not good. And when you see the other students wearing their caps, you should too, and a fur cap, if necessary. And at night when you study, you should wear a nightcap over the cap and around your cheeks. And when you go to sleep at night, you should wear a white nightcap on your head and covering your cheeks and another colored one on top, since the head should be kept warmer at night than during the day. And during the rainy season, it’s good to wear another cap or helmet over your cap so that your head doesn’t get wet. Actually, some people wear a helmet over the cap in nice weather, but especially when it’s cold, so that they can remove the helmet in the presence of important people without taking off the cap. And take care of your boots and make sure your feet aren’t filthy.” 
Letter from a physician in Valencia to his sons studying in Toulouse
Revealed: the Past is actually your grandmother. Now go put on your hat.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

How to Spend October, 1612

Tacuinum Sanitatis, Paris, BnF Lat. 9333, f. 96r
"In October... Arme your body soundly with pleasant wines or spiced drinks against the ensuing Winter. Arme your minde with study, for now this temperate time invites thee to read without impediments either of violent colde or violent heat." 
William Vaughan, Approved Directions for Health
Quick, arm yourself with the pleasant wines and long books because WINTER IS COMING

Thursday, September 7, 2017

How to Behave at School, 1479

Hortus sanitatis (1497), Darmstadt
"We order and decree that teachers and students who are wearers of indecent garments, brawlers, drunks, nighttime ramblers, pimps, thieves, frequenters of taverns and other filthy places, players of dice, scoffers or trespassers of the statutes and commands of the Rector and the University, arrogant abusers of privileges, and especially aggravators of the citizens and committers of other scandalous misdeeds, if they do not desist after fair warning... shall be entirely excluded from the community of the University.”  
Copenhagen University Statutes, 1479
Fall: when teachers and students sharpen their pencils, crack open their books, and try to cut back on their filthy drunken brawling.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

How to Watch an Eclipse Safely, 1579 and 1658

Eclipse of 1664 (British Library 1875.d.4)
"Whosoever desyres to see the Sun eclipsed without hurting their eyes: Let them beholde the shadow therof in a vessel, wherin oyle is put: Where, they may beholde and see it without daunger. For a fatty humor is not easely troubled. And what shapes or fourmes it doth receyve: It representeth the same truely." 
Thomas Lupton, One Thousand Notable Things (1579) 
"Now I have determined to shew how the Suns Eclipse may be seen. When the Sun is Eclipsed, shut your Chamber-windows, and put a paper before a hole, and you shall see the Sun: let it fall upon the paper opposite from a Concave-glass, and make a circle of the same magnitude: do so at the beginning, middle, and end of it. Thus may you without any hurt to your eyes, observe the points of the diameter of the Suns Eclipse." 
Giambattista della Porta, Natural Magick (1658)
Forgot to buy NASA-approved solar glasses? These methods are approved by the Past.

Monday, August 14, 2017

How to Beautify Your Face, 1660

The Gentlewomans Companion, 1682

"An Ointment that takes away all Bunchings and Speckles of the Face. Take of the roots of Ass-cowcumber, white Been, Bryony, Lupines, each half an ounce, Cerusse, Litharge, Tartar, each one dram; Cane-roots, Serapine, Pigeons dung, each two scruples, Oyl of Turky-millet three ounces, Oyl of Juniper, Oyl of Bread-corn, each two ounces and a half; Juice of Orenges four ounces, pouder what is to be pouder'd, and fine searse them, then boyl them all till the Juice is consumed, then take them from the fire, alwayes stirring them with a spattle till they are cold, then add the white of one new laid Egg beaten and streined; Camphure pouder'd one dram, always mixing them, then wash it in one pint of water, prest from yong Canes, washing it ten times in that water, and stirring it with a spattle, and it is excellent." 
Johann Jacob Wecker, Cosmeticks
Look, beauty has a price, and sometimes that price is collecting pigeon droppings and digging the roots of the ass-cowcumber.