We say Potato Dan said Potatoe - the answer to the puzzle

Posted by Barney on April 03, 2002

In Reply to: Timing posted by R. Berg on April 03, 2002

: : : : : : While trawling through my attic over the Easter Weekend I came across an old book - leather bound in poor condition and dated 1734 - entitled "A collection of over 300 Receipts in Cookery Physick and Surgery for the use of Good Wives, Tender Mothers and Careful Nurses' - 5th edition; so there must be loads of copies out there somewhere. It was printed in London for the Executrix of Mary Kettilby and sold/fold (the printed 'f' and 's' in this edition are identical letters) by W Parker at the King's Head in St. Paul's Churchyard.

: : : : : : It's full of blood curdling potions for diseases I can only guess at and recipes for dishes such a Cheese Curd Pudding, The London-Wigs, A Westphalia-Ham Pie and even a cure for sore nipples which includes ingredients such as Salad oil, Red Lead, Red Sealing Wax and Bees Wax - the cures sound worse that the diseases.

: : : : : : Just thought it might interest you literary types and perhaps someone might even recognise this obviously popular early 18th century book.

: : : : : What a great find. Maybe you could do a search on alibris.com or one of the other used book sites and see if there are other copies.

: : : : A fine suggestion, alibris.com have a copy - 4th edition of 1728 that is obviously in fairly good condition. Perhaps I'll scan my copy and reproduce some of the more eccentric and unusual content: it can't be in copyright after this period of time.

: : : : Must prowl around that attic again soon; there certainly are some old things up there. I found a medical teaching skeleton (real bones) from the mid 1900s in a biggish mahogany box together with a pile of personal letters with Victorian stamps on the envelopes. It's amazing what people abandon in their attics.

: : : If I had that book, I'd be mining it for quotations to send to the OED. It isn't in their list of works used in the First Edition.

: : The following remedy is taken from page 151 of the old book - I do NOT recommend anyone use it. I have followed the original capitalization, spelling and punctuation but I have changed the 'f' letter to an 's' where this is obviously appropriate.

: : "To clean very foul Spotted Teeth

: : Make a skewer very Sharp at one End, over which wind a Bit of fine Rag, tie it on very hard, and cut it very sharp, that it may be like a fine Pencil for Painting; dip this in Spirit of Salt take it out immediately, dip it then into a Cup of fair Water, in which hold it for a Moment; with this Rag, so carefully wet, rub your Teeth, and take care you do not touch your Lips or Gums; have a Cup of cold Water ready to wash your Mouth, that the Raq has not been dipp'd in: With this you may make any furr'd Teeth as white as Snow; but you must not use it often or carelessly. When they are once thus clean Claret-wash will preserve them so."

: : By the way Spirit of Salt referred to above is the old name for Hydrochloric Acid

: : Have no fear, it is not my intention to litter this forum with similar quotations but I though on this one occasion you might be amused by dental health remedies from the 'good old days' and then give thanks they are long behind us.

: "Amused" isn't exactly the word: I happen to be recovering from periodontal treatment received yesterday. Thanks for the thought, though.

I have found a clue in this old book that goes to the very core of American politics of the late 80s/early 90s - why ever did Dan Quayle so publicly spell potato with that extra 'e'. The answer is to be found on page 30, where instructions are given on how "To make a Potatoe-Pye - poor Dan was just 250 years behind the times and there's your proof.

As yet I have seen no mention of the "Whole Nine Yards", but the search continues.