20 September 2009

Cookery For Invalids


The late 1800’s and early 1900’s often produced cookery books for invalids. Invalids were those individuals who received medical attention and then were sent home to recover or those who were terminally sickly and probably, for many young women, those who were anorexic.

Not only were there invalid cookbooks but there was also a burgeoning business in invalid feeders. Frankly, no one has the time to spoon feed your invalid with that yummy toast water. Invalid feeders bear a striking resemblance to small pitchers or oblong tea pots. This is a popular design. Notice the the flat rim on the the end of the spout. This allows you to place a nipple on the end if your sickly one is a child. If your invalid is a grown up, just pour the nutrition right down their throat.


Cookery For Invalids by Mary Hooper is one of those books. Just reading the names of the food that the book suggests you serve to your invalids is enough to make you an invalid. There are several gruels including an onion gruel that is cooked for five hours. Then there is beef tea, a beef broth to aid strength. Out of the beef tea you can make meat lozenges, in case you are traveling with your invalid and it is not conducive to make beef tea, you can just slip a meat lozenge for train travel.

Then there is toast water, which is exactly what it sounds like. Hooper says:

“ This useful beverage, like many other simple things, is too frequently very badly made, and has acquired an evil reputation from the crumbs of charcoal-like character, or little sodden morsels of bread, which too often are found floating on the surface.”


Whatever you do, STRAIN your toast water, as the sick amoung us do not want to drink toast water with debris floating in it.

Once you have arrived at you destination, fortified with gruel and toast water you need a really great entrée. This will have you up and about in no time.

Brain Cakes

Boil the brains as directed above [Having carefully washed the brains, boil them very fast for ten minutes, in order to harden them] ; mince then, and to each tablespoon of the mince add a teaspoonful of bread crumbs, enough egg to bind them, pepper and salt to taste, and a pinch of chopped parsley. Take a small lump of the mince, flour your hands, roll it into a ball, and then flatten into a cake: dip in egg and seasoned bread crumbs, fry in a little butter, first on one side then on the other, until a nice brown.

If this post has peaked your interest in invalidism (you know it has!) there are two good books to further your study.














Invalidism and Identity in Nineteenth-Century Britain by Maria H. Frawley

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