Sorry, this is not a way to warm up the weather. Instead it is supposed to help cure the cold virus that waylaid me yesterday. A recipe for Cure for a Cold was contributed by Mrs. Richard Jaffray for the 1898 New Galt Cook Book.
I weighed two ounces of flax seed and it equals 5 tablespoons. I put the seed in a pot with one quart (4 cups) of water and let it boil. Unfortunately I got sidetracked and let it boil for about 30 minutes and some boiled over. Although I lost a bit it was still fine. I strained this incredibly gelatinous mass to end up with a liquid that looked like clear mucus — at least to my congested view.
I put the liquid back in the pot and added 1/2 pint (1 cup) of honey. I didn’t have rock candy so I simply added two ounces (4 tablespoons) of white sugar. My sugar had clumped up so it seemed a bit like rock candy. Finally I squeezed the juice from three lemons. I try to have the lemons at room temperature and roll them a bit before I cut them and squeeze the juice.
I stirred the “mess” together and let it boil for about five minutes. The texture had changed completely. Instead of gloop plus honey with lemon juice floating on top no matter how much I stirred, the heat melted everything and it blended well. I strained it again and poured it into a bottle. I poured out half a cup while it was hot and drank it before my meal.
Mrs. Richard Jaffray would have been a familiar name in Galt in 1898. She started life as Mary Havill. Born in 1848 in Galt Ontario to English-born parents, she was the middle child and only girl. Mary had two older brothers and two younger brothers. She must have met and married Richard Jaffray sometime before 1870 when their first child was born. The woman who had four brothers ended up raising three daughters. Her husband was a printer and a public official. He took a turn as mayor of Galt and was a reeve for seven years. After his death in 1901, Mary and two of the girls continued to live in Galt. The 1921 census shows them living at 80 Blair Road and that is where Mary was living when she died the next year.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this “cold cure”. The Berlin Cook Book had a recipe for a cough cure that seemed to soothe my sore throat and that of others who tried it. Mrs. Jaffray’s recipe uses similar ingredients but requires the sufferer to drink a larger quantity and to ensure it is hot. My first sip was great and I was skeptical that it would do any good. I could taste the honey and the lemon but then it seemed to be both tart and sweet at the same time. Now it seemed like medicine. And yet soon my stuffy nose was less congested. I coughed a bit and my chest didn’t feel so congested. Maybe this stuff was working! I struggled to drink an entire 1/2 cup of the cold cure. It doesn’t taste terrible but it puckers the mouth. I can’t imagine I’ll be able to drink an entire cup of it before bed but I might just sip 1/2 cup. Last night I drank a commercial hot lemon cold remedy. Maybe I’ll try this one instead. I doubt it will “cure” my cold but it might make it more bearable. I’ll let you know.
CURE FOR A COLD
Mrs. Richard Jaffray
Boil two ounces flaxseed in one quart of water, strain and add two ounces of rock candy, one-half pint of honey, juice of three lemons; mix and let all boil well, let cool and bottle. Dose, one cupful on going to bed, one-half cupful before meals, the hotter you drink it the better.