Here’s a few interesting things from The New Family Receipt Book

393. To prevent excessive Thirst in Case of Emergency at Sea, in the Summer Time

When thirst is excessive, as is often the case in summer time during long voyages, avoid if possible, even in times of the greatest necessity, the drinking of salt water to ally the thirst, but rather keep thinly clad, and frequently dip in the sea, which will appease both hunger and thirst for a long time, and prevent the disagreeable sensation of swallowing salt water.

So my reaction to this was, WTF? Don’t drink salt water? Doh! But there’s some scary stuff here, such as “. . . as is often the case. . .” What? I thought the mini package of pretzels on the plane was a cruel travel hardship. But is it really the case that ship passengers might routinely become so thirsty during summer voyages that they would drink salt water, which, you must admit, is implied as something commonly occurring. And then there’s the part about frequently dipping in the sea. How, if you’re on a ship?

Captain: (Signals to bosun to blow whistle)

Bosun: Ahhhh-weeee-ahh

First Mate: Good morning, passengers. (Consults watch) The exits are located here and here (pointing with both arms). The Marines, whom you will recognize by their red coats, have thrown ropes over the side at the locations denoted by the yellow signal flags. At the next whistle, jump overboard using the feet first position.

(A sailor demonstrates. Distant splash heard.)

When in the water, immediately locate the nearest rope and hold on tightly. (Demonstrating with a short length of knotted rope) Once you hear the whistle blow again, hold onto the rope and climb back aboard so that the next group of passengers may have their refreshing, complimentary dip in the sea. Do please avoid swallowing any sea water. Thank you for sailing HMS Bounteous.


First Mate: All female passengers should please line up at the starboard side by the Captain’s quarters. We on the HMS Bounteous care about your privacy.

Bosun: Ahhhh-weeee-ahh

656. To make Lip Salve
Take an ounce of white wax and ox marrow, three ounces of white pomatum, and melt all in a bath heat; add a drachm of alkanet, and stir it in till it acquire a reddish color.

Don’t know how to make pomatum? Recipes for pomatum. A drachm is one eighth of a fluid ounce. Alkanet is a plant that, among other things, produces a red dye.

I’m not clear on why this recipe calls for white wax and ox marrow when the white pomatum already contains these items. I would be tempted to use 4 ounces of white pomatum and add the alkanet.

However, I have been known to crash and burn in the kitchen for just such substitutions, so follow this advice at your own risk.

Now, the really interesting thing about this is the commonly held belief among a certain set that the use of agents to color one’s lips made a woman, not to put to fine a point on it, very fast indeed.

Father: You march right upstairs young lady and wipe that odious concoction off your lips.

Young Lady: But, Dad! I have chapped lips. (Eyes going wide and filling with tears) I can’t go to the ball with chapped lips. (tears threatening) Everyone will laugh at me and Lord Bigdeal will take one look at me and decide he likes Miss Carstairs better than me because her mother lets her use salve.

Father: (Points upstairs)

Mother: Harold, dear. Really. Do you want to spend next season in London, too?

461. The Phosphoric Pencil
Is a small bit of phosphorus, put into a quill, and kept in a phial, in water; when you write, dip your pencil often in the water, to prevent its taking fire.

Is it me or does this sound dangerous?

Kid 1: Now write Mr. Longboats eats cow patties (giggling)

Kid 2: (writes)

Kid 2: Add Billy loves Molly

Billy: Do not!

Kid 2: (writes but there is a struggle for control of the pencil…)


(Pandemonium until Kid 2 throws the paper and pencil into a nearby urn. Another rearranges the ledger books over the burn mark on the desk.)

Right, like you never accidentally set your paper on fire when you were trying to make the lemon juice turn the writing yellow.