GRANDMOTHER KNOWS BEST
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Reflections

Remedies, and tips for cooking and cleaning

[these remedies are harmless and can be helpful; but they do not cure major ills. If in doubt, consult a doctor]

Cures for hiccups

1. Tickle your nose with a feather to induce a sneeze.

2. Drink in one draught - a large glass of water in which there is an eggspoon. Drain the glass to the last drop.

3. Take a pinch of snuff to make you sneeze.

4. Swallow a small piece of ice. About half a cube.

5. Ask someone to give you a fright - e.g. a slap on the back.

6. Hold your breath while mentally counting up to 20 slowly.

7. Breathe in and out of a paper bag 20 times.

8. Drink a glass of water from the opposite side of the glass.

 

Relieving aches and pains

[Old French peasant remedy]

Marinade four heads of garlic in 4/5ths pint of brandy for 10 days. Take half a teaspoon in half a glass of water first thing every morning.

 

Better digestion

After a heavy meal, drink an infusion of sage - a few leaves in a cup of boiling water. Or try an infusion of a pinch of aniseed in a cup of bowling water.

An infusion of a pinch of aniseed and one of cumin in a cup of boiling water will relieve painful flatulence. So will stewed parsley or stewed mint. Eating charcoal - toast burnt black, for example - will also help.

 

Balm for a sore throat

Mix 1 oz of marsh mallow root and 1 oz of honey in 4/5ths pint of water. Gargle well with the liquid several times a day.

Alternatively, gargle with salt and water - half a teaspoon to a glass of water - or with the juice of a lemon in a glass of warm water.

 

To soothe chapped hands

Simmer a handful of marsh mallow leaves in 2 oz lard for half an hour. When it is quite cold, rub the cream into your hands, preferably at night before going to bed.

 

Relief for toothache

Put a pinch of alum or a small piece of clove on the offending tooth. Alternatively, use oil of cloves.

 

Cure for insomnia

Use a hop-filled pillow (available commercially).

 

Soothing minor burns

If there is no broken skin, rub the affected area with a slice of raw potato.

 

Dubious Recipes and Remedies:-

 

To make your hair grow faster

For thicker hair, have it cut only when the moon is waxing and D-shaped. To make your hair grow longer, choose the time when the moon is waning and C-shaped.

 

Keeping white hair at bay

Mix one sixth of an oz of iron sulphate with 9 oz of red wine. Every morning, dip your comb in the mixture several times while combing your hair for 5 to 10 minutes.

 

To bring on sleep

To ensure maximum relaxation when tired, upset or tense in the evening, go to bed with a hot-water bottle placed near your kneecaps.

 

Removal of a wart

Rub the wart with radish juice or sloeberry juice twice a day until the wart disappears.

 

Cures for night-cramps

Grandmother's remedy for cramp that makes the sufferer leap out of bed was to have a piece of cork handy to put on the affected part. This was said to stop the cramp immediately.

Another remedy was to stretch out the heel of the affected leg as far as she could, while at the same time drawing in the toes as much as possible.

 

Soothing painful, unbroken chilblains

Make a concoction of celery stalks by boiling 9 oz of the stalks in one and three-quarter pints of water for 15 minutes. Allow it to cool and dip your hands or feet in it for 5 minutes. Or bathe your hands or feet in a concoction of walnut leaves.

 

Relief for asthma

Mix 2 oz of honey with 1 oz castor oil. Take a teaspoon of the mixture each night and morning.

Relieving bruises and strains

Dissolve a teaspoon of camphor (from chemist) in half a pint of olive oil to make a liniment. Rub this well into the affected parts twice a day.

 

Soothing nettle stings

Rub with mint, rosemary or dock leaves.

***

Cleaning Tips

Eliminating tobacco smoke

Mix a spoonful of salts of ammonia (from a chemist) and one spoonful of lavender essence or other perfume. Put the mixture in an open dish and leave it in the room.

Alternatively, burn some candles placed about 3 ft above the floor. Make sure that they are not near curtains or other inflammable furnishings.

 

Separating glasses

Glasses which are stacked together often stick. Run some hot water into the innermost glass and they will separate.

 

Caring for ivory

Regularly wipe your pieces of ivory and white piano keys with a soft cloth dipped in lemon juice. This will prevent them from turning yellow or getting marked.

 

Keeping white marble white

Dampen 1 tablespoon of fine salt with 1 dessertspoon of lemon juice and rub this over the marble with a soft cloth. Rinse well with warm water and repeat the process about every three months to restore the marble's lustre and to prevent it from yellowing.

Alternatively, rub the marble with a rag dipped in warm soap suds and vinegar - about 1 dessertspoon of vinegar to 1 pint of suds. Rinse in cold water and dry with a soft cloth.

 

Leather-covered furniture

Central heating or too much sun rapidly dries out leather so that it cracks. Mix 2 parts of raw linseed oil with 1 part of wine vinegar and shake vigorously. Apply evenly to the leather with a soft cloth, and then polish with a silk rag.

 

Renovation of paintbrushes

If the bristles are hard after cleaning: soak the bristles for 24 hours in a mixture of turpentine and raw linseed oil in equal parts.Shake off as much of the mixture as possible and wash the brushes in warm soda water - 1 dessertspoon of washing soda to 4 pints of water. Hang the brushes up and when the bristles are quite dry, knead them gently.

 

Cleaning wallpaper

Cut the crusts off a 2-day-old white loaf. Then rub the wallpaper with the loaf gently, using downward strokes only. Start at the top and slice off pieces of bread as it gets dirty.

 

Non-stick door

To stop a door from sticking, rub some chalk on the outside edge of the door. Close the door and the chalk will mark the frame where the door sticks. Sandpaper or lightly plane the edge of the door opposite these marks.

 

Smooth-running drawers

Rub the top and bottom edge of the drawers with bees-wax, paraffin wax or a candle.

 

Cleaning playing cards

Your cards must be cleaned when they tend to stick and do not slide over each other easily. Rubbing with white breadcrumbs produces an excellent result, but it is time-consuming and takes a lot of patience.

A speedier method is to rub the cards very lightly with a soft rag dipped in mineral spirit (lighter fuel). Try it out first on the corner of a card to make sure that the colours do not run. Work well away from naked lights - and do not smoke. Sprinkle your cards with French chalk on both sides when they are clean.

 

More efficient washing-up

Hot water will cook eggs, cheese and breadcrumbs and make them difficult to remove. So rinse all cooking utensils, pots, pans, plates and cutlery that have been in contact with these foods in cold water before putting them into your washing up water. In the same way, salad bowls are more easily cleaned if they are rinsed in cold water before washing.

To remove burnt food from a casserole or pie dish, fill it with cold water with a few drops of Javelle water (household bleach) and leave overnight. Alternatively, fill the dish with cold tea and let it soak overnight.

 

Care of your frying pan

To remove stuck-on food from an iron or aluminium frying pan, throw a handful of salt - roughly ground salt for choice - into the pan and then gently warm it. Rub the pan round with newspaper or grease-proof paper and then with a pad soaked in cooking oil. Repeat this operation regularly - say once a week - and it will prevent food from sticking.

 

Oven cleaning

Dissolve 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda in 1 pint of boiling water, Allow it to cool and store in a screw-top jar or bottle. Each time you have used the oven, wipe the inside over with an old cloth wetted with the solution, while the oven is still warm. White marks will appear as the oven dries. Leave them and the next time you wipe the oven, the burnt-on grease will come off.

 

Prevention of fur in kettles

To help prevent a kettle from furring up, put a clean oyster shell in the kettle. This, rather than the surfaces of the kettle, will collect the chalky deposit.

 

Cooking Tips

Better Cakes

Mix 1 teaspoon of glycerine into the cake mixture last thing before putting it in the baking tin. This will make the cake keep longer.

Rub dried fruit, candied peel and glace cherries in flour before adding them to the cake mixture and this will help ensure that they are evenly distributed.

If your cake refuses to come out of the tin, cover the top with a clean tea towel folded in four and put the tin on a cold surface - the bottom of the sink, for instance. After a few minutes, the cake should leave the tin easily without breaking.

Add a pinch of yeast or a pinch of salt to the egg whites for lighter meringues.

 

Desserts

Add some coffee to the melted chocolate for a tastier chocolate mousse. Use 1 dessertspoon of strong coffee or 1 teaspoon of instant coffee to 8 oz chocolate.

Never remove the stalks from strawberries before washing them. The water will penetrate and make them mushy and less tasty. If they are not too dirty, shake them carefully in damp muslin, which will remove the earth or sand.

The taste of strawberries will be improved if, 15 minutes before serving them, you sprinkle them with lemon juice.

Lemon juice added to the water in which apples are stewed will stop them from going brown. Drop the slices into the water as you make them. When preparing apples for pies and other dishes, sprinkle the slices with lemon juice as you do them. They will keep their colour and the flavour will be improved.

For tastier cooked mushrooms - in an omelette or pizza, for instance, or just fried - sprinkle them with lemon juice and salt and let them stand for about 15 minutes before using them.

 

Non-stick pasta

To prevent pasta from sticking, add a teaspoon of cooking oil to the boiling water before dropping in the pasta.

 

Tips for heating milk

Put an inverted saucer in the bottom of your saucepan and it will prevent the milk from sticking.

When you boil milk, rinse out the saucepan with cold water before pouring in the milk (Do not dry the pan). This will prevent the milk from burning.

 

Tips for oversalted dishes

To rescue oversalted dishes, add a few spoons of milk, or put some rounds of raw potato in the middle of the dish. Alternatively, put a lump of sugar in a tablespoon and leave it in the dish for a few seconds.

 

Tender Meat

Too fresh meat - bright red in colour - is often tough. So, to tenderise it, give it a beating with your rolling pin to break up the fibres.

 

Hints for eggs

Passing the yolk from one half of the broken shell to the other is not a very satisfactory method of separating eggs, as it is all too easy to break the yolk against the shell edges. A better method is to break the egg into a small funnel. If the egg is fresh, the white will pass through the funnel, leaving the yolk behind.

If you need the white of the egg but want to keep the yolk for later use, proceed as follows: Pierce a hole in both ends of the shell with a fine knitting needle or sharp, pointed knife. Gently shake out the white. Then wrap the egg in greaseproof and store it in a cool place.

Your beaten egg whites will remain firm much longer if, before you start beating, you add a pinch of salt and about half a dozen drops of lemon juice for each white.

 

Cooking with garlic

This will be more digestible if you discard the green 'seed' from the middle of the clove. Chew a sprig of parsley after eating garlic-flavoured dishes to neutralise its lingering taste and freshen your mouth.

 

Fresher croissants and bread

Day-old croissants, rolls and brioches can be served as though they have just been baked. Wrap each in damp tissue paper and put them in a warm oven for a few minutes. Place them on the oven shelves and not on a baking tray. Alternatively, quickly dunk the loaf in cold water before putting it in the oven.

Keep a small dish - for instance, an old salt cellar - half filled with salt in your bread bin to help keep the loaves crisp. Change the salt when it becomes wet.

 

Reviving cheese and ham

Cheese that has gone hard as wood can be freshened as follows: Steep a rag in white wine and ring it out well. Wrap it around the cheese and leave it for several hours until the cheese has softened. Dried out sliced ham will regain its suppleness and flavour if you leave it to soak in a little milk for 10 minutes.

 

Tips for sauces

To make an extra light Bechamel sauce, add the white of an egg beaten to a froth into the cream before adding the cream to the mixture. White sauce will be smoother and less likely to go lumpy if, before you add the milk to the mixed flour and melted butter, you stir in enough water, a little at a time, to make a stiff cream. To re-heat white sauce successfully, use a double saucepan and whip the sauce by hand (or with an electric beater) all the time it is heating.

 

 

More Cleaning Tips

Removing stains

Rub coffee stains with pure glycerine and then rinse in tepid water.

Put a little sal-ammoniac (from chemist) on grass stains and then rinse at once with cold water.

If you spill red wine on your clothes, immediately pour on some white wine. Leave for about a minute, then rinse in cold water. If the stain has dried, and if the fabric will stand it, dip the spotted material in boiling milk. Rinse well with cold water.

 

Counteracting smelly paint

If the newly painted room has an open fire, throw some juniper berries on to the fire. Keep the windows and doors shut and fan the fire by waving a newspaper in front of it so that the juniper smoke pervades the room.

 

To get rid of cockroaches

This pest thrives in warm, dark corners, especially in chinks in the woodwork and plaster. One remedy is to scatter pinches of washing soda in these places.

Alternatively, mix 1 cup of well-pounded plaster of Paris with 2 cups of oatmeal and about a quarter cup of sugar. Strew the mixture about the floor, especially in dark corners and chinks.

 

To keep flies away

Hang bunches of dried lavender about the rooms, or use the lavender in flower arrangements.

 

Loosening a glass stopper

Put a few drops of olive oil around the stopper, between it and the mouth of the decanter or bottle. Place the receptacle near a radiator or about 18 inches from a fire to warm through slowly. Gently tap the stopper with a wooden utensil - a wooden spoon or spatula - and try to remove the stopper. Repeat the process until the stopper comes out.

 

Polishing silver

Rub your silver pieces with a soft woollen cloth dipped in methylated spirit. You can remove blackened egg stains by plunging the objects into water in which potatoes have been boiled. In both cases, dry carefully afterwards with a soft cloth.

 

Removal of linen stains

For mildew marks, mix 1 teaspoon of starch with 2 teaspoons of table salt and a few drops of lemon juice. Rub the mixture into the stain, leave in the open air for at least 3 hours and then wash the linen in the usual way. Alternatively, wet a bar of household soap and rub it on the stain. Then rub in some white chalk - for instance, tailors' chalk used in dressmaking. Leave the linen in the open air to dry. Then moisten the stain and repeat the process. Wash the linen in the normal way.

Linen which has carelessly been put away damp may develop stains. To remove these, mix equal quantities of talcum powder and lemon juice to make a paste. Wet the stains with hot water, rub in the paste and then rinse with cold water.

Treat iron burn marks as follows: mix 2 oz of white wine vinegar with a quarter ounce of table salt and a third of an ounce of grated household soap. Rub the mixture into the marks well and then rinse in tepid water.

 

Care of woollens

A woollen garment will remain soft when you hand-wash it if you add 1 teaspoon of vinegar to the penultimate rinse and half a teaspoon of glycerine to the last rinse.

 

Care of your shoes

Rub patent leather shoes with a soft rag dipped in olive oil - after you have removed any dust and mud with a soft brush. Leave for about half an hour, then polish with a clean, soft cloth. This treatment will prevent the patent from cracking and is also good for patent leather handbags.

When cleaning leather shoes, brush well to remove mud and dust. Then pass a damp cloth over the leather and apply polish immediately. Brush the shoes and finish off with a soft cloth.

 

Window cleaning

Wipe windows regularly twice a week [!] with a rough clean cloth. When possible, also wipe them after rain while they are still wet and the raindrops evenly scattered.

To prevent windows from frosting, dissolve 5 dessertspoons of salt in 2 pints of hot water and then add 1 dessertspoon of alum. Wash the windows with the warm solution and allow them to dry.

 

Cleaning mirrors

Wash the glass with a sponge dipped in warm soap suds. When dry, polish with a chamois leather dipped in French chalk.

Protection for mirrors

Steam is particularly injurious to silvered mirrors, so coat the back of a bathroom mirror with copal varnish (or DIY shop equivalent). It helps to have air circulating behind the mirror. Ensure this by putting washers on the fixing screws between the mirror and the wall.

*****

Alternative

Helpful Housekeeping Tips

~ Vacuuming too often weakens the carpet fibers.                   
~ Dust bunnies can evolve into dust rhinos when disturbed.      
~ Layers of dirty film on windows and screens provide a helpful filter against harmful and aging rays from the sun.
~ Cobwebs artfully draped over lampshades reduces the glare from the bulb, thereby creating a romantic atmosphere.    
~ The haphazard tower of unread magazines and newspapers next to your chair provides the valuable Feng Shui aspect of a tiger, thereby reducing your vulnerability.                 
~ The mound of pet hair brushed up against the doorways is being saved to stuff handsewn play animals for underprivileged children.
~ If company is coming, pile everything unsightly into one room and close the door.  As you show your guests through your tidy home, rattle the door knob vigorously, fake a growl and say, "I'd love you to see our Den, but Fluffy hates to be disturbed and the shots are so expensive."                      

 ~ If dusting is really out of control, simply place a showy urn on the coffee table and explain, "This is where Grandma wanted us to scatter her ashes..."    
~ Rather than repainting, scribble lightly over a dirty wall with an assortment of crayons, and muster a glint of tears as you say, "Junior did this the week before that unspeakable accident.  I haven't had the heart to clean it..."
~ Mix one-quarter cup pine-scented household cleaner with four cups of water in a spray bottle. Mist the air lightly.  Leave dampened rags in conspicuous locations.  Develop an exhausted look, throw yourself onto the couch, and sigh, "I clean and I clean and I still don't get anywhere..."

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