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A Cordiall Water: A Garland of Odd and Old…

A Cordiall Water: A Garland of Odd and Old Receipts to Assuage the Ills of… (1961)

by M.F.K. Fisher

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A little gem of folk medicine lore by one of my favorite authors, who considered this one of her best books. As she says, "much of what we know of medicine comes from very ancient times, and from the birds and animals that we have watched." It's fascinating to read about the origins of some of the "receipts" for tonics and palliatives. Honey, herbs, vinegar, whisky or brandy, and faith in their properties, have eased a lot of complaints over time. Fisher observes that the simple act of swallowing something deliberately and on a schedule may have a calming effect that soothes the misery while time brings on the cure that was coming anyway. ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Aug 27, 2012 |
This is kind of a funny book. Fisher muses about various folk remedies, some that sound useful (and that remain in use today) and some that sound truly horrible and disgusting. It's not a scientific study, but just the author's collection of anecdotes and thoughts about the remedies. ( )
  carlym | Sep 5, 2011 |
75. 1st British ed. ( )
  kitchengardenbooks | Aug 22, 2010 |
A wonderful little book! A delight to read. MFK Fisher admits she does not vouch for the results of using these "receipts " but charms readers with her comments on them. ( )
  Esta1923 | Sep 21, 2008 |
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We have medicines to make women speak; we have none to make them keep silence. --Anatole France
Be favorable to bold beginnings.---Virgil
I had most need of blessing, and "Amen" stuck in my throat.--Shakespeare
For Eleanor Kask Friede
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This book is a collection of odd and old receipts to cure the ills of people and animals, mostly told to me by the believers.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0865470367, Paperback)

Mrs. Fisher has collected a charming mixed bag of ageless nostrums, "a perfect combination of superstition, instinct and primitive knowledge," dealing with such commonplace ailments as warts, nosebleeds, menstrual cramps, sore throats, hangovers, head colds, and obesity. Ingredients of these recipes include onions, honey, spittle and cobwebs, mud, toads and frogs, enemas, apple cider vinegar, bacon grease, cat skins, and powdered deer antlers.

M.F.K. Fisher, one of America's most distinguished stylists, finds that these ingredients are transformed by the addition of "incantations and mystery, and ageless faith: the essentials of healing."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:20 -0400)

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