Oct 03


Pumpkin Publog13 comments • 1,852 views

INVALID FOOD: looking for classic vegetarian recipes for the poorly, after my kneejerk suggestion of Chicken Broth had been spurned, I reached for my trusty Mrs Beeton, who is always sensible on such matters. Three quarters of her standbys are also meat-based broths, of course, but I’ll skip these for now. The section starts arcanely: To Make Arrowroot – as it’s “flavourless and insipid”, Mrs B advises you add sugar and sherry. Barley Gruel seemed too spartan even to countenance (despite the suggestion that you add port wine and sugar). What about Nutritious Coffee? This is really just coffee with milk, but “may be made still more nutrious by the addition of an egg well beaten, and put into the coffee cup”. Er, OK. Egg wine: ingredients, 1 egg, 1 tablespoonful and half glass of cold water, 1 glass of sherry, sugar and grated nutmeg to taste,” bearing in mind that “when the egg is not warmed, the mixture will be found easier of digestion , but it is not so pleasant a drink.” Urgently on, casting only a swift glance at Invalid’s Jelly, which requires “12 shanks of mutton”, to Nourishing Lemonade: boiling water, four lemons plus rinds, loaf of sugar, half a pint of sherry, FOUR EGGS!!

I began to wonder if the great housemaker’s technique with the under-the-weather was to threaten them with food so scary that they began say (in tiny frail voices) “You know what, Isabella my dear, I think I’m feeling a little better!” Two recipes remain: Toast-and-Water (ingredients – a slice of bread, one quart of boiling water) and (and here you grasp why Britain once commanded three-quarters of the globe’s land surface) Toast Sandwiches: “put a very thin piece of cold toast between two slices of thin bread-and-butter… ”


  1. 1
    farflung sukrat of very metal shr3wsbury on 21 Nov 2010 #

    Looking for invalid food recipes for Martin (after 3.5 days without eating anything) and this page came up 8th in the google listing. Invalid, each and every one of them!

    Until they invent chicken broth flavour Pringles I think he’s out of luck.


  2. 2

    Yikes!! Hugs and best wishes to Martin!


  3. 3
    Pam McCulloch on 21 Mar 2013 #

    very difficult diets for people who are gluten free though

  4. 4
    Pam McCulloch on 21 Mar 2013 #

    very difficult choices for invalids who have to follow gluten free diets

  5. 5
    sükråt tanned rested unlogged and awesome on 21 Mar 2013 #

    It wasn’t on Mrs Beeton’s radar, true — but apart from the toast options, none of the above contains gluten.

  6. 6
    koganbot on 22 Mar 2013 #

    I am here to report that it took me till age 59 to notice that invalid (“being without foundation or force in fact, truth, or law; logically inconsequent”) and invalid (“suffering from disease or disability; sickly; of, relating to, or suited to one that is sick”) are both spelled the same.

    The only rhyming word that Merriam Webster could unearth is “corn salad.”

    Do the British say “corn” or “maize”?

    British recipes maize = About 20,300,000 results (0.39 seconds); British recipes corn = About 1,560,000 results (0.32 seconds). But the first hit on each is Cooks.com English Pea Corn Salad, whose first link is Shoe Peg Corn Salad. First hit when I Google boot heel corn salad is “Missouri’s Bootheel Region is Fertile Ground.” First hit when I Google yummy shoe tree dessert is “Vidal, California: Shoe Tree – Gone,” but I believe that Google believed that I actually meant “desert.” Here are photos. Hot boot polish sundae gets us arts and crafts projects where sundae and shoe polish are different items, the former only linked. No boot mentioned, so Google lied.

  7. 7
    koganbot on 22 Mar 2013 #

    Both invalids have the same derivation, “validus” being Latin for “strong, effective.” But, at least in USA, the pronunciations are different, the logically inconsequent invalid pronounced “in-VAL-id” (“val” rhymes with “pal,” not “pall”) and the sickly invalid pronounced “IN-vuh-lid.”

  8. 8
    Mark M on 22 Mar 2013 #

    For everyday purposes, such as recipes, we use ‘corn’. And follow the same stress rules for the two invalids. Transatlantic consensus!

  9. 9
    old man sukrat on 22 Mar 2013 #

    Toast and water consensus

  10. 10
    koganbot on 23 Mar 2013 #

    In the U.S. (and probably the English-speaking parts of Canada) the word “corn” has simply supplanted “maize” but has no broader use; whereas, according to boyofbadgers, in Britain when the discussion revolves around what you grow in a field, “corn” has a broad generic usage encompassing more than one of the old-time cereal grains, e.g. wheat, barley, etc., and “maize” remains the word for the plant that produces yellow ears.

  11. 11

    Mrs Beeton doesn’t have an index entry for corn — it goes copper; coriander plant, the; corks, with wooden tops; corrosive sublimate; cow, cheese — but she does have two for maize: Cobbett, a cultivator of; Indian wheat, boiled.

  12. 12
    Mark M on 24 Mar 2013 #

    Re 10: That’s why I said ‘for everyday purposes’. Which, of course, reveals my outrageous urban bias. The climate here is wrong to grow maize for human consumption – lack of sun (no surprise there), but you can feed it to animals, apparently.

  13. 13
    koganbot on 24 Mar 2013 #

    Grass-fed versus grain-fed beef

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