I’ve had a cold for the past week and today I still have a cough. I’m also visiting my parents and didn’t want to travel with too many ingredients. I thought it would be fun to make this Cough Cure from the 1906 Berlin Cook Book since it has very few ingredients and I hope it might even help my cough. It doesn’t indicate the contributor but I wonder if these medicinal recipes are taken from other books or if perhaps Georgie DeBus (the future nurse) gathered these together.
I wanted to make this recipe several times but was always stumped by the measurement 5 cents worth and especially how to obtain linseed. Then someone I’d worked with at Joseph Schneider Haus reminded me that linseed is flax seed! Now it was easy as flax seed has become quite common again. It is fed to chickens and put in bread and all kinds of other things as it is a supposed to be a good source of Omega 3. I bought some flax seed and was ready to make this recipe once I arrived in my hometown.
I put two cups of water in a small saucepan and added the tablespoon of flax seed. I wondered about crushing it but the recipe doesn’t mention it. I kept the seed intact. The water and flax seed boiled together for 10 minutes. It became a bit thicker and a sort of scum appeared so I turned the heat down a little. The end result was not as gelatinous as I feared but the flax seed all stuck together when I drained it — almost in strands like mucus. I discarded the boiled seeds and added creamed honey bit by bit to the hot liquid. I’m sure liquid honey would work too. I added about a teaspoon of honey. Next I squeezed in the lemon juice stirred and was ready to taste.
This Cough Cure tasted even better than I expected. I thought the texture would be strange but it was very nice. My mother also tasted it. She had expected something nasty tasting or harsh feeling but it is actually quite soothing. Trying it warm reminded me a bit of those hot lemon medicines. As a child I was sometimes given honey in hot water to sooth a sore or ticklish throat. This is even better as the flax seed creates a smoother coating than just the honey. As homemade medicines go this appears to be safer than some and with the flax nutrients, the benefits of honey and the vitamins of lemon it might even help. I’ve had two “treatments” so far and it seems to be helping a bit. My next taste will be cold. Tasting it cold is a slightly different experience. It is now thicker but still effective.
1 pint cold water, 1 tablespoon linseed, 5 cents worth of rock candy (or honey), juice of 1 large lemon. Boil the linseed in the water for 10 minutes. Strain, add the lemon juice and rock candy or honey. Take a tablespoonful every 15 minutes.