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Interesting prescriptions from old cookbooks\magazines

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I've been looking through a lot of old cookbooks and culinary magazines on Google books and noticed this. Apparently, if you want to avoid getting sick in the winter, you should eat lots of fat.

I guess it was most shocking to me because in todays overly cautious world, virtually nobody would suggest to increase you fat intake for nearly any reason.


Has anybody else noticed similar items in their old books?

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I have several very old cookbooks with some really odd receipts for remedies for a long list of ailments.

Some are weird, some could be very dangerous but most are fairly innocuous.

A few make some sense.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett


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Remember the time and conditions under which this advice was given. If it was a 100 years ago or so, people had a very different lifestyle.

- No modern heating, so people had to rely on their bodies and clothes to stay warm.

- Most people did physical labor for a living. Housework required physical labor too.

- Most people walked or rode bikes. They didn't have cars.

Fat is like concentrated, high-octane fuel that can keep you going and keep you warm. When I go backpacking in the Sierra, I bring cheese and salami to eat. The fat keeps me warm at the higher elevations, especially on chilly nights. The salt is important to replace the salt I lose from sweating.

I once read a study of people who live in the Alps. They eat one of the highest fat diets in the world, yet they have low rates of heart disease. Why? They walk up and down mountains, that's why. They burn it up, and their bodies need that concentrated fuel. Fat, salt, and sugar are not intrinsically bad, IMO. But in today's modern lifestyle, which is physically inactive compared to our ancestors, those foods can be inappropriate, especially in large quantities.

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I have a lot of old New England cookbooks; several have a section or chapter at the end with household and medicinal "rules." Here is a favorite, from A Rhode Island Rule book, 1939:"For sick cats: 1/2 teaspoon of whiskey forced down its throat will kill or cure a cat having convulsions. Probably cure. Whatever the result, there is much satisfaction."

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