In the span of the week I get a call from an acquaintance from long ago, and a call from my daughter. Their requests were similar. They wanted some recipes of different kinds, recipes that probably aren’t in print or on the internet now.
Sherry wants some old recipes that her grandmother had written down in a three-ring binder long ago. She plans to develop a family-style cookbook for my granddaughter who will soon be a newlywed.
This is an easy fun request because the recipes are written in real blue ink on ruled pages, many complete with cooking stains on them.
Some seemed pretty yucky (to use a kid’s term) when I was little, but when I finally learned how to cook I discovered they weren’t bad, and actually were easy to do, practical and tasty.
My friend’s request was for the treatment, recipe or whatever one might call it for the treatment of eczema that my doctor father used on his family members way back in 1959. I knew I had the answer to that one immediately.
Doc had a huge dark glass ointment jar in his Valmora pharmacy, and every time a drug salesman gave him a sample of a drug (an ointment) he’d just squirt it into that jar and stir it up.
Oh yes, it cured so many things, but I have no idea what it contained. I knew he couldn’t get away with that today, but I wish I had some kind of magic ointment when I get a rash or bug bite.
Doc also wrote all sorts of medical trivia in the front and back pages of all his favorite old medical books. I decided to open up one of these old books and see if I could learn anything about eczema. He made no notes about that dermatological condition, but he did write down his recipe for arthritis. He titled it the “Valmora Sanatorium Clinic RX #100” and it goes like this:
3 grapefruit , 3 oranges, 3 lemons. Grind up in a meat grinder, skin and all. 3 tablespoons of Epsom salt, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar. To this mixture add one quart of water that has been boiled and cooled. Put in refrigerator. Take one tablespoon before each meal.
“I have no idea whether it works, and I never heard Doc mention it, but the combination of citrus fruits, Epsom salt and cream of tartar probably made it sour enough that anybody wouldn’t want to take a swig of it at any time. I just wish Doc was here so I could ask him where he found or how he developed this ”cure.”
The farther I travel down this trail the more I learn that often what’s old is new again. And, I have just discovered a well-worn little notebook that Doc apparently kept in his lab coat pocket as he made his medical rounds at Valmora.
There is no mention of antibiotics in the bits and pieces I have read, so I know it is about my age, and that’s quite a few (actually many) moons back. Who knows what I will find next in this collection!
Editha Bartley lives in Gascon in Mora County. She may be reached at 454-0563.