Eighteenth-Century Antacids

If you're reading this on Thanksgiving Day, my guess is you've already eaten your dishes of choice and have a fridge stuffed full of leftovers, so I won't give you recipes for any more heartburn-inducing dishes. Instead, I thought I'd share a recipe from one of my favorite writing reference works. I write historicals set in the eighteenth century, and I always enjoy spending time with Hannah Glasse, author of The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. First published in 1747, it was a bestseller for more than a century. Take that, Food Network. Thanksgiving didn't become an official American holiday until 1863, but our colonial ancestors—at least those who could afford it—were no strangers to excessive feasting. If you'd lived in the eighteenth century, you might have needed this.

Lozenges for the Heart-burn
Take one pound of chalk, beat it to a powder in a mortar, with one pound and a half of white loaf-sugar, and one ounce of bole-ammoniac; mix them well together, and put in something to moisten them, to make of it a proper consistency or paste; make them into small lozenges, and let them lie in a band-box on the top of an oven a week or more to dry, shaking the box sometimes.

NB: If you plan on making any historical recipes, always check to make sure none of the ingredients are poisonous. These are the same people who often thought a dose of mercury was good for what ails ya. Especially if what ails ya is syphilis.

Hannah herself.

On that note, I wish you all a happy holiday season. And if, as I do, you grow weary of the annual bickering about why and how and when and what we celebrate this time of year, just remember that bickering about how to properly observe this festive (unless you're a Puritan) season of the year is a proud American tradition. Celebration of the holidays in Colonial America varied from colony to colony, from town to town, and even from household to household, depending on the traditions, beliefs, and culture of the people residing there. Much as it does today. People even wrote hilarious (to everyone else) letters explaining why their way was the only right one and posted or read them aloud in public. Some things never change.

Frontispiece for the 1747 edition. Note that the subtitle is "Which far exceeds any Thing of the Kind ever yet Published." Eighteenth-century people are awesome. I'm going to insist that this be the subtitle of all my future books.


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