Friday, June 26, 2009

Tainted food, 1852 edition

Coffee, fragrant and refreshing, has almost become a myth...

...with foreign roguery and home roguery, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the sore temptations to cheat the customs, the chances are twenty to one against us, that the brown powder we are at so much pains with, once flourished at the end of a blue flower, on a long stalk under our own hedges, being known where it grew under the name of wild endive, christened in trade chicory, and being in reality a tall and aristocratic sort of dandelion, possessing too the medicinal properties of dandelion, and none whatever of the properties of coffee. But even if people be taken with a liking or this dandelion tea instead of coffee, they cannot even have it pure, the chicory itself is far too costly to content the avaricious roguery of a number of dealers, and so the chicory itself is adulterated with roasted corn, parsnips, manglewurzel, beans, Egyptian lupin seed, biscuit powder, burnt sugar, roasted carrots, oak bark, tan, acorns, mahogany sawdust, and no little sand, the result of the original dirt judiciously left as a make-weight upon the root of the chicory itself.

--From The Illustrated London Cookery Book--

Even the fake coffee wasn't real!

The author goes on to tell us that:

-Mustard was just flour and husks with turmeric.
-Milk might contain ground-up bits of plaster.
-Green tea was black tea coated with a poisonous dye to look green.
-Brown sugar contained dirt.

If someone said your cookies "taste like dirt," they might just be on to something. Of course if you were offended, you could always make them some green tea.


Jennifer said...

Some days it's truly a wonder we've made it as far as we have.

Meade said...

Wanna buy a toothbrush?

No thanks.

Oh, well, wanna free cookie?

(takes bite... chews... spits)

It IS dirt. Wanna buy a toothbrush?