Friday, June 04, 2010

Strictly for reactionaries

The following will be of little interest to any save those who share my general revulsion at the modern world and occasionally are forced to repress the urge to scream when confronted with various aspects of contemporary culture and society.

I have just stumbled upon an online version of Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management (1861) wherein the reader will find THE definitive guide on the correct order and management of a middle class household. It is absolutely packed with useful advice such as...
A good Wash for the Hair.

2252. INGREDIENTS - 1 pennyworth of borax, 1/2 pint of olive-oil, 1 pint of boiling water.

Mode.—Pour the boiling water over the borax and oil; let it cool; then put the mixture into a bottle. Shake it before using, and apply it with a flannel. Camphor and borax, dissolved in boiling water and left to cool, make a very good wash for the hair; as also does rosemary-water mixed with a little borax. After using any of these washes, when the hair becomes thoroughly dry, a little pomatum or oil should be rubbed in, to make it smooth and glossy.

To make Pomade for the Hair.

2253. INGREDIENTS - 1/4 lb. of lard, 2 pennyworth of castor-oil; scent.

Mode.—Let the lard be unsalted; beat it up well; then add the castor-oil, and mix thoroughly together with a knife, adding a few drops of any scent that may be preferred. Put the pomatum into pots, which keep well covered to prevent it turning rancid.
Or this on dinner parties...
1886. The gastronomist from whom we have already quoted, has some aphorisms and short directions in relation to dinner-parties, which are well deserving of notice:—“Let the number of your guests never exceed twelve, so that the conversation may be general.† Let the temperature of the dining-room be about 68. Let the dishes be few in number in the first course, but proportionally good. The order of food is from the most substantial to the lightest. The order of drinking wine is from the mildest to the most foamy and most perfumed. To invite a person to your house is to take charge of his happiness so long as he is beneath your roof. The mistress of the house should always be certain that the coffee be excellent; whilst the master should be answerable for the quality of his wines and liqueurs.”

† [Footnote: We have seen this varied by saying that the number should never exceed that of the Muses or fall below that of the Graces.]
Speaking of dining, there is a wealth of magnificent recipes such as...

194. INGREDIENTS - 3 lbs. of eels, 1 onion, 2 oz. of butter, 3 blades of mace, 1 bunch of sweet herbs, 1/4 oz. of peppercorns, salt to taste, 2 tablespoonfuls of flour, 1/4 pint of cream, 2 quarts of water.

Mode.—Wash the eels, cut them into thin slices, and put them in the stewpan with the butter; let them simmer for a few minutes, then pour the water to them, and add the onion, cut in thin slices, the herbs, mace, and seasoning. Simmer till the eels are tender, but do not break the fish. Take them out carefully, mix the flour smoothly to a batter with the cream, bring it to a boil, pour over the eels, and serve.

Time.—1 hour, or rather more. Average cost, 10d. per quart.

Seasonable from June to March.

Sufficient for 8 persons.

Note.—This soup may be flavoured differently by omitting the cream, and adding a little ketchup or Harvey’s sauce.
I think I may link this in the sidebar.


The Archer of the Forest said...

Oh, I love eel soup.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Indeed. A great delicacy. I also found the section on household medicine and fist aid useful. You never know when you might need to bleed someone. This weekend I think I will post something on the lost art of the social call.

Anonymous said...

Do eels have elvers on the Left Coast, or is it strictly an Atlantic thing? Bill, tGf

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Not sure. Another question is... are eels fast friendly?

Sophocles said...

I believe eels are fast friendly. Great post.