Category Archives: From the Vault!

That white stuff: possible answer

You know in older TV shows and movies when someone is cleaning a window by polishing off some white stuff all over it? From Housekeeping Notes: How to Furnish and and Keep House in a Tenement Flat; a series of lessons prepared for use in the Association of practical housekeeping centers of New York (1911)

Dust the window, and apply a thick suds of Bon Ami. Let it dry, and rub off with a dry cloth.”

So there you go: possibly Bon Ami.

Another delightful time-travel excursion

Again from New York Daily Tribune, May 25, 1842

Baths.–Brooklyn Salt Water Warm Baths at Fulton Ferry, open for gentlement and ladies every day, from 5 A. M. until 10 P. M. Also, Cold, Warm and Tepid Salt Water Shower Baths. These Baths are pleasantly situated at Fulton Ferry, and equally convenient for New York and Brooklyn.

A fun family time-travel activity!

An ad from the New York Daily Tribune, April 22, 1842, p. 1:

Geological Excursions.–Arrangements are made by the Exchange Lyceum for Scientific Excursions to examine and collect minerals, plants, shells and other speciemens of nature, for FAMILY CABINETS, for the Depository of the Lyceum, and for exhanges with other Societies, and with individuals in different parts of the world. Those wishing to engage in them are invited to call the Exchange Lyceum, 343 Broadway.

Egg Cream: Both Egg and Cream, Discuss

So you know how New Yorkers are all like, try our egg creams! They don’t have egg or cream in them! So crazy! Perhaps even crazier, here’s a recipe (again from The Standard Formulary) for an egg cream with egg AND cream:

Syrup, Egg Cream.
Cream fl. oz. 16
Syrup fl. oz. 48
Extract of vanilla fl. dr. 4
Yolks of 16 eggs.

Rub cream with egg-yolk until perfectly smooth, then add the syrup and flavoring. This is to be served like any other soda syrup, but before handing over, sprinkle a little mixed spice on the foam.

So who wants to blow through a whole bunch of eggs with me?

Certain to do SOMETHING

I’m browsing through the 1897 Standard Formulary, a guide to how to mix up all of the odd drugs and remedies you could get at the well-stocked US drugstore at the time. Meaning there are plenty of recipes chock full of nux vomica, senna, and good old-fashioned morphine hydrochlorate. I was pleased to run across a recipe that is unlikely to kill you immediately and can be made from things you have around the house (if you’re living right):
Spirit of Horse-Radish, Compound. (p. 137)
Horseradish root, fresh, scraped av. oz. 2
Bitter orange peel, cut small and bruised av. oz. 2
Nutmeg, bruised gr. 22
Alcohol fl. oz. 8
Water fl. oz. 14
Mix and distill 16 fluidounces. -Brit. Pharm.

More Questionable Advice

Too much of the condiments, especially pepper, vinegar, and mustard, may have an unwholesome effect on the cells of the stomach and some of the other organs.

Tea, coffee, cocoa, chocolate, beef tea, and alcoholic drinks are called stimulants because sometimes they hasten the action of certain organs. They are all discussed later in this chapter with the exception of beef tea. This contains very little nourishment, but is of great value in setting the digestive glands to work, and thus preparing for the true food which should follow later. The use of much beef tea is harmful.

The Human Body and Health: A Text-Book of Essential Anatomy, Applied Physiology, and Practical Hygiene by Alvin Davison, M.S., A.M., Ph.D. American Book Company, 1908.

(assorted beef tea recipes, or buy some Bovril)

Citation Needed

Numerous experiments and observations made by business men and scientists prove that alcoholic drinks, such as beer, whiskey, and wine, form the greatest single factor in the making of criminals and paupers in this country.

The Human Body and Health: A Text-Book of Essential Anatomy, Applied Physiology, and Practical Hygiene by Alvin Davison, M.S., A.M., Ph.D. American Book Company, 1908.

Dainty Floral Sandwiches

From the book One Hundred and One Sandwiches come these delightful recipes, fit for little girls and delicate older ladies (and possibly some delicate gentlemen and/or elves would wish to join the tea party).

One dozen nasturtium blossoms, two tablespoonfuls of mayonnaise dressing. Spread white bread with the mayonnaise, and place each blossom overlapping the next half-way to give substance to the “filling.” Roll the sandwiches.

Two cups of fresh violets, one-quarter cup fresh butter without salt, fresh and cold. Put one cup of violets in bottom of jar, wrap the butter in waxed paper and lay on top, and cover with remainder of violets. Cover the jar tightly, and leave for several hours in a cold place. When ready, spread this butter on very thin slices of white bread which has been given a violet bath in the same way.

Oysters + Boxes

While perusing menus at NYPL, I often came across an item called box stew in the same category as oyster stews. I now happen to run across mention of a specially-made oyster stew box in the magazine Table Talk, a sort of 1800s combination of a fine living magazine and a home hints column:

Oyster-stew boxes are a china novelty. The decoration, shells, sea weeds, and little marine views. They have fitted covers like bouillon cups.

How delightful! I wonder what the less-fancy ones looked like!