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49988.  Thu Feb 09, 2006 11:46 am Reply with quote

In mediaeval times fresh, raw fruit - the basis of eternal life, according to modern fashions - was considered pretty-well poisonous. It was connected with “summer heat,” dysentery and ague (malaria). Proverbially, “Raw pears a poison, baked a medicine be.”

Source: ‘Cabbages & kings, the origins of fruit & vegetables,’ by Jonathan Roberts (HarperCollins, 2001).

50592.  Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:56 am Reply with quote

William the Conqueror became too fat to ride his horse (in 1087, the same year he died, according to some sources; 1067, others say). He undertook an emergency slimming diet: he took to his bed and consumed nothing but alcohol. It worked; he lost enough weight to be able to get back in the saddle.

Sources: Independent on Sunday, 22 May 2005;; lots of other googles available.

50593.  Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:57 am Reply with quote

“The first vegetarian restaurant in London opened in 1849. By the 1890s, Britain had fifty-two similar dining establishments.”

Source: ‘Inventing the Victorians’ by Matthew Sweet (Faber, 2001).

We’ve discussed the first Indian restaurant before, but did we know that it opened “over fifty years before the first fish and chip shop”?

Source: ‘Inventing the Victorians’ by Matthew Sweet (Faber, 2001).

54988.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 5:01 pm Reply with quote

This is a recipe for 'City of London Pie' from a cookbook called Archimagirus Anglo-Gallicus by Sir Theodore Turquet de Mayerne (physician to Kings Henri IV of France and James I, Charles I and Charles II of Britain):

Take eight marrow bones, eighteen sparrows, one pound of potatoes, a quarter of a pound of eringoes, two ounces of lettuce stalks, forty chestnuts, half a pound of dates, a peck of oysters, a quarter of a pound of preserved citron, three artichokes, twelve eggs, two sliced lemons, a handful of pickled barberries, a quarter of an ounce of whole pepper, half an ounce of sliced nutmeg, half an ounce of whole cinnamon, a quarter of an ounce of whole cloves, half an ounce of mace, and a quarter of a pound of currants. Liquor when it is baked with white wine, butter and sugar.

An eringo is the candied root of the sea holly, which was regarded as an aphrodisiac.

Imagine how frustrating it would be if you got all the ingredients together and then found you'd forgotten to get any lettuce stalks.

See also Mat's Denby Dale pie recipe at post 57851.

Last edited by Flash on Tue Mar 07, 2006 5:19 pm; edited 1 time in total

57765.  Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:31 am Reply with quote

Q: Who was 'the Great Masticator'?
post 57762 (link to/from Gladstone)

Last edited by Flash on Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:46 am; edited 1 time in total

57767.  Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:41 am Reply with quote

Horace Fletcher (1849-1919), nicknamed "The Great Masticator," was a well known and influential food and health faddist in early 20th century North America. As a man of virtually limitless energy, Fletcher became a world traveler, millionaire businessman, amateur painter, speaker, and author, and self-taught nutritionist who perfected and fanatically distributed his doctrine of "Fletcherism," for 24 years (from 1895 to 1919). This dogma taught that all food must be deliberately masticated and not swallowed until it turned to liquid. Fletcher believed that prolonged chewing precluded overeating, led to better systemic and dental health, helped to reduce food intake, and consequently, conserved money. People were cautioned not to eat except when they were "good and hungry," and to avoid dining when they were angry or worried. They were also told that they could eat any food that they wanted, as long as they chewed it until the "food swallowed itself."

Novelist Henry James became an enthusiast, and a Yale professor conducted tests and concluded that "Fletcherizing" provided subjects with 50 percent greater overall muscular endurance and cured them of the desire to abuse alcohol.

Horace Fletcher, a social reformer/first dietetic faddist in the early 20th century, promoted his dietetic system based on super mastication. His “chew-chew fad” was quite popular in America and Europe. Thomas Edison, Franz Kafka, and John D. Rockefeller were among the practitioners of Fletcherism. He sought for social reform by using the careful super mastication technique to solve urban social problems like poverty, sickness, and crime.

This device keeps count for you:

Picture researchers: I doubt we'll be able to clear this, but why not see what you can do?

57769.  Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:04 pm Reply with quote

One of the new fad diets which I expect will come across from the States this summer is the "bites diet" where one is allowed only 70 bites of food per day.

Here's the book:

But really, while the "bite" idea is the gimmick, it gives you a strict list of meals which you can and cannot have.

At first glance the eating plan appears simple: You can chow down on a variety of foods, spread out in three regular meals -- and one smaller meal -- a day, with no more than 18 bites per meal. And a bite, says Breibart is what fits comfortably on a normal-sized fork.

"You don't stuff your cheeks like a chip monk or use a serving fork as your eating utensil," she says.

But, if you're thinking 16 bites of Boston cream pie for lunch and 18 bites of lasagna for dinner, well think again. The diet requires that you eat very specific foods -- in very specific amounts -- every day. And oh yeah, not a pie, cake, or cookie in sight!

"This is a completely balanced diet, maybe not at every meal but within any given day -- and we believe that this balance is intrinsic to weight loss," says Breibart.

57771.  Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:09 pm Reply with quote

1903 is supposed to be year zero for dieting faddists; in that year The Fat Man's Club of Connecticut closed down and US President William Howard Taft went on a diet after getting stuck in the White House bathtub.

Other great pre-war dietary fads include the Inuit Meat-and-Fat Diet (1928) and the Hay Diet (1930s):

The dietary preaching of arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson — author of such books as "The Fat of the Land" — could make the most ardent Atkins follower look like a vegetarian.

After living among the Inuit in the frozen tundra of the north, Stefansson raved about the salubrious effects of an all meat-and-fat diet. The Inuit still amaze anthropologists by their ability to live on a diet consisting of caribou, raw fish and whale blubber, with less than 2 percent of their diet coming from fruit, vegetables and other carbs.

Dr. William Hay... was the first to promote the virtues of separating your food, arguing that the human body couldn't adequately cope with combinations of proteins and starches at the same time, and warned of "digestive explosion." ... Hay advised patients to consume fruit, meat and dairy at separate meals, separate from bread and potatoes, and also recommended enemas several times a week, if not daily.

slimming soaps were the rage in the 1930s, with products like "Fatoff" and "La Mar Reducing Soap" that were nothing more than hand soap laden with potassium chloride and other impurities

1954: The Tapeworm Diet ... Supposedly, a pill existed that allowed a very rich person to ingest the same sort of parasite that a very poor person would suffer from by eating uncooked meat. As the tapeworm fed off your innards, you'd lose weight, and you could apparently take another pill to keep you from dieting your way into an early grave. According to urban legend, obese opera star Maria Callas lost 65 pounds with the help of the tapeworm diet. But historians say the stout soprano's fondness for raw steak and raw liver may have accounted for an unwelcome guest residing in her intestines.

57811.  Tue Mar 07, 2006 3:46 pm Reply with quote

Hasn't the Hay Diet also been popular in recent years?

57826.  Tue Mar 07, 2006 4:34 pm Reply with quote

Yes, I think so. So maybe it's time for me to revive Fletcherism as well.

57871.  Tue Mar 07, 2006 5:30 pm Reply with quote

Maybe a better question is:

What became of the Great Masticator?

with a forfeit for 'He went blind'.

60308.  Thu Mar 16, 2006 3:59 pm Reply with quote

Apparently, there was a time when the mafia hit upon the evil plan of forcing people to eat parsley.

(The details of all this are very sketchy; does anyone have a decent book about the Gambino family which might flesh it out?)

The Gambino family of New York had bought up a near-monopoly of the Californian parsley industry, and was demanding that every eatery in Manhattan served “meals that were growing lawns.” Restaurants which refused were bombed. Consequently, the price of the former garnish went from 5 to 40 cents a bunch, and became a more lucrative product for the mafia than cocaine.

‘The Compendium of Nosh’ by Jack McLean (John Murray 2006)

Molly Cule
61601.  Thu Mar 23, 2006 9:27 am Reply with quote

All student barristers have to join one of the four inns at Gray's Inn to qualify as a barrister. As well as taking exams at Bar School they have to eat at dining sessions (about 12 in a year) in order to qualify. In pre-war times a student barrister could qualify solely by eating dinners.

The dinners are eaten in the hammer-beam main hall of Gray's Inn (rebuilt after the original was lost in the Blitz) and there is a still-observed tradition that from sitting down till the coffee course nobody may leave the hall — however much they have drunk and may need to empty their bladders. The theory is that it will prepare the student barristers for the long court sessions they will face, when taking a pee break would be unthinkable.

61608.  Thu Mar 23, 2006 9:58 am Reply with quote

The same etiquette exists in army officers' messes on formal 'mess nights' (or did in my day) but they don't bother with any rationale.

62474.  Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:23 am Reply with quote

Helen has been in touch with the guy who built the masticator device depicted above, and he's tickled pink at the idea of our using it:

Dear Ms. Younger

That's great, I thought that they are going to discuss about Fletcherism. I came across Horace Fletcher during the research for the Masticator project. I especially find it's amusing that Frantz Kafka was such a steadfast adherer of the Fletcherism even after the fad had pretty much died down and his father was horrified by the site of his son Fletchrising at every meal at the table and avoided to see his son hiding behind newspapers.

Masticator was inspired by my grand father in Japan now close to 100 years old. I asked him the secret of his long life and he mentioned that he chewed 100 times. He probably does not know Fletcher but I believe his childhood education on slow mastication was influenced by Fletcherism.

Masticator is not so much as a machine that regulates how many times one chews but more as an aid ( or a mockery) to pay more attention and be more mindful on the act of eating, sort of like an eating meditation, that's why the number on the counter loops between 0 to 9.


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