I have started reading Ken Albala and Rosanna Nafzinger Henderson’s The Lost Arts of Hearth and Home: The Happy Luddite’s Guide to Domestic Self-Sufficiency, and thus far, I love it. As the subtitle suggests, this second volume from these authors is more than a cookbook. In addition to cookery of an especially old fashioned, handmade, and adventurous type, the book also includes inspiration for distilling, household stuff, sewing, quilting, and rug braiding among other things. The directions are fun to read and not overly detailed as are so many books about, for example, baking. There are so many bread recipes I haven’t even tried because they are so precise that I feel like I am sure to fail unless I hover over the dough with a thermometer and scale at the ready.
In the spirit of the book, I offer you another recipe from the ladies of the DAR in Martha Washington’s Rules for Cookery. This one is for a lip balm that looks to me like a cross between modern earthy lip balms and lipstick.
To Make Lip Salve
Take a half pound of hog’s lard, put it into a pan, with one ounce and a half of virgin wax; let it stand on a slow fire till it is melted; then take a small tin pot and fill it with water and put therein some alkanet root; let it boil till it is of a fine red colour, then strain some of it, and mix it with the ingredients according to fancy, scent it with the essence of lemon, pour it into small boxes and smooth the top with your finger. Apply to lips. (108)
The recipe is ascribed to Dolly Madison.
The alkanet root makes a red dye that was used in early cosmetics in Europe. I imagine that the hog’s lard should be fresh, I am not sure how our modern grocery store lard would fare in this recipe. When I make the experiment I will let you know.