Cooking Books -> Stews
A Soothing Broth: Tonics, Custards, Soups, and Other Cure-Alls for Colds, Coughs, Upset Tummies, and Out-Of-Sorts-Days
Published: December 29, 1998
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Good things do indeed come in small packages. Pat Willard's A Soothing Broth is a book barely bigger than a saucer, but it overflows with recipes, personal stories, and a fascinating look at what used to be called "invalid cooking." Willard
became intrigued with healing foods while nursing her critically ill husband. Searching for something more fulfilling than canned soup and saltine crackers, she looked to the works of Florence Nightingale, medical doctors, and housewives of the 19th
century. Here she found recipes both quaint and useful, plus helpful advice on caring for the ill. Willard balances an appreciation for the virtues of forgotten standbys like nutritious Oyster Broth and gentle Curds and Whey while adding 20th-century
common sense to the mix--for example, by cooking eggs to 160 degrees F. Some recipes are included for "historical relevance only": Willard reminds us that cocaine was once commonly used for treating nymphomania and other "female complaints."
might serve an invalid on the mend Queen Victoria's Favorite Soup, a restorative blend of broth, chicken breast, cream, hard-cooked egg yolks, and cracker crumbs. Then, soothe yourself with tea made of rosebuds, wine vinegar, and sugar, which was
recommended in 1819 for comforting a headache. Although today it is often hard to find time to make these dainties and delicate dishes, Willard still enchants with her collection of jellies, broths, gruels, and tonics.
Through touching personal
stories, Willard also offers support for stressed caregivers. These passages, and her healing discoveries, are presented in an earthy, modest, graceful prose that makes A Soothing Broth a petite treasure. --Dana Jacobi
The author of
"Pie Every Day" brings back the lost art of caring for under-the-weather loved ones through invalid cooking, with a friendly, indispensable collection of 125 remedies for broths, tonics, juices, puddings, and teas.
Most of us
rely on a maze of HMO referrals and over-the-counter products for healing. But not too long ago, the usual treatment was a combination of bed rest and specific foods prepared with affection. Poring over weathered, vintage cookbooks, which included
special sections on the culinary branch known as "invalid cooking," food writer Pat Willard has rescued this lost art.
With a style reminiscent of M.F.K. Fisher and Laurie Colwin, and a tone as soothing as her treatments, Willard describes how to
prepare 125 broths, tonics, juices, puddings, and teas. Her prescriptions include Blackcurrant Jam Tea or Vinegar Drink for colds; Oatmeal Gruel for nursing mothers; A Poultice for Joint Pain; Gelatin Drink for queasy stomachs; and Hasty Pudding to ease
upset tummies "caused by the blues or a hostile world."
A staple sourcebook for every home, this helpful treasury also makes a uniquely caring gift, as comforting as a house call from your grandmother.
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