Two hundred years ago an enthousiast in the North of the Netherlands accumulated a large collection of recipes and home medicines. An amazing window into a long ago lifestyle. He offered it to a well-known publisher with these words :
After many years of collecting, I find myself in possession of a large number of inexpensive instructions and remedies, suitable for all kinds of circumstances and situations, which I have tested from time to time, and which have given me the pleasure at numerous occasions of furthering the benefits, profits and pleasures of my fellow-men.Although initially I did not have the slightest intention of making these instructions public, the realization of the scarcity, possibly of the absence of such worthwhile, and truly upon experience based observations, supported by the good results which I have noted several times, has finally made me decide to make this collection, such as it is, commonly available in print.I dare flatter myself that they, who follow the here presented instructions carefully, will benefit greatly, and therefore they, as they will not forget the collector out of pleasure with the good results, will bless me for the publication of these, apparently minor, yet indeed for those, who find what they are in need of, weighty details.
THE AUTHOR, GRONINGEN, NETHERLANDS, 1819 AD
FROM THE TRANSLATOR:
After all those years I now offer it to the modern readers.
Rather than translating this delightful little book into modern English, I have tried to retain the somewhat awkward and laboured style of the old Dutch original.This is an intriguing collection of over 100 recipes and remedies, painting a good picture of everyday life two centuries ago.The liqueurs and other drinks are worth trying. Others, like changing lead into mercury, clearly belong to the realm of alchemy.The powder Sympathy was considered to have near magical properties. It was used not only to heal wounds but also as an aid to ocean navigation!To quote:"It had to be prepared between the twenty second of July and the end of August, but would keep for a long time.To use: if somebody has a nosebleed, take a drop of that blood, shake a little of the powder on it, roll it together into a little ball, and put it in that person's pocket or other place where it will retain the natural human warmth: this will stop the bleeding. A new flesh wound is bandaged with a clean linen cloth. Save a little of the blood, and use as above. It is said that this powder, used in this manner, is good for old wounds too: at least to try it will not do any harm."Some of the recipes actually work well, like a good glue made of eel skins, as do the various wood stains. However, I strongly recommend not to try any of the medicines! Just read and marvel.
My grandfather gave me this booklet for my 13th birthday. How long he had had it before me, I do not know. "Always", he said.I hope it will give you as much pleasure as it has given me.
LEO CAPPÈL, WHANGAREI, NEW ZEALAND, 2015 AD