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

Posted by Barney on April 03, 2002

In Reply to: We say Potato Dan said Potatoe - the answer to the puzzle posted by Barney 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.

There was I, brought up on the story of James Lind's 1747 experiments with Lemon and lime juices which led to a cure for Scurvy; yet here in my old book, printed in 1734, on pages 240 and 241 I find described, two cures for the Scurvy based on Seville Orange Juice and an infusion of vegetables and herbs.

Those great minds of yesteryear certainly stood on the shoulders of others to build their reputations - some might even say the truth was often trampled underfoot in the rush to fame and fortune.