Although tremendous progress has been made in my home, I came home today to find one of my doors leaning up against the stove — the ancient stove I’ve been using since my normal ten-year old stove is still blocked off. I decided it was a sign to make another non cooking recipe. I selected a recipe submitted anonymously called For the Growing or Weak from the Invalid section of the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. Although I’m not growing in the sense meant by the recipe’s author I did feel weak when faced with moving the door. Also it mentions taking it before bed and I am headed to bed shortly after a very productive meeting. You can tell I’m desperate when I am willing to tackle a recipe containing eggs, especially raw eggs.
I cracked a medium egg into a bowl and beat it with a fork. I tried to beat it well since I knew my ability to tolerate this drink would depend on the texture of the egg. I poured it into a tumbler and added a wine glass (4 tablespoons) of brandy since it was handy in the pantry. I keep it around for this cook book and other historic recipes as it is often used to soak dried fruit when making cakes. You might be disappointed to see that “a wine glass” when used as a form of measurement is just 4 tablespoons. I was certainly disappointed at the look of what I was about to drink. The egg appeared curdled and brownish from the brandy. I stirred for a bit until it blended and started to look a bit like some of those cream liquors. I tried to pretend that was what I was drinking as I took my first sip.
Two sips were all I could manage. I had to dispose of the rest. Although the flavour was similar to those cream liquors the slimy ropy texture of the egg could not be disguised. My brother was a thin teen and for a while drank a raw egg a day like the movie Rocky. I couldn’t watch him do it thirty years ago and I even with alcohol I couldn’t do it myself tonight.
I’m sure this was nourishing for someone recovering from an illness and the alcohol would perk up an appetite. Today we are extremely careful about consuming raw eggs due to salmonella. In fact, we are cautious about the use of alcohol as a medicine. At one time many prescribed and over the counter medicines contained alcohol. Patent medicines were notorious for using addictive substances. Medicine and health care were rapidly changing during the early twentieth century but a recipe like this one shows that home care was still an important part of a patient’s recovery.
FOR THE GROWING OR WEAK
A well beaten raw egg turned into a tumbler and 1 wine glass of sherry or any other good wine added, this taken twice a day about 10 in the morning or just before retiring, will be beneficial.