Today you don’t have to look far and wide to get beauty and health tips. Open an app on your phone or skim through a magazine, and you’re bound to find solutions for facial or bodily woes. You may find this advice daunting and new-fangled, but this sort of literature has been around for a long time. While not everything written holds up to today’s standards, one has to wonder — just what sort of health and beauty advice was given long ago? You maybe be surprised to find all sorts of insights in this old cookbook.
From a cookbook? Who wants advice on your life from a cookbook? Well this 1899 edition of the Everyday Cookbook had a bit of everything. It told you how to repel mosquitoes (with a kerosene body rub) and how to preserve a variety of foods (jellied chicken anyone?).
But it’s their advice on the body that seems to still be in vogue. Washing your face both morning and evening is a must to remove freckles and flesh worms. Flesh worms seem to refer to blackheads or grease trapped in the pores of the skin (yes gross, but it’s an accurate description of what that grease looks like).
The book states using powders and rouge eventually destroys the complexion of the skin. Very few do the art of makeup well, and the risk of excessive use ages the skin and should be used on a minimal basis. Sounds like the advice would carry into the 21st century. The fundamentals of a good complexion are simply good rest, cold water, frequent exercise, and fresh air.
Frequent eating coupled with a sedentary life worsens headaches, fatigue, and illness — which seems to be the advice that people mention even today on social media and in the news. “Let women of all social grades remember that the human machine must have reasonable treatment,” (308), which is universally sound advice for all.
Later in the cookbook, the author further condones the use of high-heeled shoes and poor posture. Bending over and stooping ages the body and mind so it needs to be cured by holding your chin up and constant awareness of the body which — when you think of how we overuse our phones — doesn’t seem like outdated advice.
It’s interesting to see that we haven’t changed from our predecessors. We still have the same worries and woes and the need to cure the same ailments. While there may be futuristic solutions, sometimes the best resolutions come from motivation and drive from within.SKM: below-content placeholder