I have a very old hand-written recipe book. Not your usual sort of collection of well-loved family puddings, cakes and stews. This book, handed down from the Yorkshire/Lancashire branch of the family contains not one edible item. Instead, it’s full of tips on how to clean brass, make ink, and cure cholera. It must be very old indeed. Often the letter s is expressed as an f. I think it must date from the days before census entries from the 19th century indicate that many of my family members were involved in trade, or in reasonably supervisory positions in the textile mills. They tended to live in respectable but simple terraces houses in the likes of Batley and Colne.
Oddly, the first few and the last few pages of my little book are blank, but here’s a list of the contents:
Crimson Colour for (?) Show Bottles
Cure for the Cholera
For Cleaning Brass and Copper Goods
Polishing Paiste (sic) for Brass, Tin, Copper and Plated Goods
For Etching on Glass etc. etc.
Superior Blacking for Boots and Shoes
Red Oils for Bruses (sic) Sprains etc.
Lyth Ung for Burns Scalds Inflammations
To remove Tarter (sic) from the Teeth
Witworth Red Bottle
An Efficacious Receipt for the Rheumatism
The Original Family Receipt for a good Stomach Pill
Recept (sic) for the Cholera
For the Dysentery
Liquor of Iron
Pills for the Tic Debereaux (sic)
Composition for Mounting Frames etc.
Cow Drink for Heifers
A comprehensive guide for the householder, I think you’ll agree? I’ll publish a few of the recipes over the next few weeks. Now, which ones do you need?
By the way, I took these photos rather quickly, with my phone. I’ll do them the honour of much better attempts for any further posts.