January 05, 2006

"The White House Cookbook": Facts Worth Knowing, Part Three

part one, part deux

Take the jump for fun and interesting facts worth knowing like "how to keep out rats and mosquitoes" and helpful tips on how to prevent the creaking of bedsteads.

To Keep Out Mosquitoes and Rats:-If a bottle of the oil of pennyroyal is left uncorked in a room at night, not a mosquito, nor any other blood-sucker will be found there in the morning. Mix potash with powdered meal, and throw it into the rat-holes of a cellar, and the rats will depart. If a rat or mouse get into your pantry, stuff into its hole a rag saturated with a solution of cayenne pepper, and no rat or mouse will touch the rag for the purpose of opening communication with a depot of supplies.

Salt will Curdle New Milk; hence, in preparing porridge, gravies, etc. the salt should not be added until the milk is prepared.

To Prevent Ruse on Flat-Irons:-Beeswax and salt will make your rusty flat-irons as smooth and clean as glass. Tie a lump of wax in a rag and keep it for that purpose. When the irons are hot, rub them first with the wax rag, then scour with a paper or a cloth sprinkled with salt.

To Prevent Rust on Knives:-Steel knives which are not in general use may be kept from rusting if they are dipped in a strong solution of soda: one part water to four of soda; then wipe dry, roll in flannel and keep in a dry place.

{Ed. I, of course, thought they'd go for the kerosene to remove rust. What a relief that they didn't. Fewer people died because of it, I'm sure.}

Flowers May Be Kept Very Fresh over Night if they are excluded from the air. To do this, wet them thoroughly, put in a damp box and cover with wet raw cotton or wet newspaper, then place in a cool spot.

{Ed. The people who argue against the purchase of fresh flowers because "they'll just die so it's a waste of money" will just LOVE this tip, don't you think?}

To Sweeten Milk:-Milk which is slightly turned or changed may be sweetened and rendered fit for use again by stirring in a little soda.

{Ed. Or, as mentioned earlier, you could just get a refridgerator. That'll do the trick.}

To Scour Knives Easily:-Mix a small quantity of baking soda with your brick-dust and see if your knives do not polish better.

{Ed. I hear brick dust is good at keeping out things that mean to harm you as well. Reportedly you put it across a doorstep and no one who means to harm you can cross it. "It's how you tell who your enemies are." Really. Good to know you can scour shit with it, too.}

To Soften Boots and Shoes:-Kerosene will soften boots and shoes which have been hardened by water, and render them pliable as new. Kerosene will make tin kettles as bright as new. Saturate a woolen rag and rub with it. It will also remove stains from clean varnished furniture.

{Ed. The husband saw fit to tell me after yesterday's entry, wherein I bitched much about the kerosene, that on his grandparents' farm, Grandpa kept a fifty-five gallon drum of kerosene around. He also mentioned that he never remembered Grandpa using it for lanterss and the like, but rather that he was always cleaning stuff with it. In reply I asked him if any of Grandpa's kerosene made it into the house. He said no. QED}

Faded Goods:-Plush goods and all articles dyed with aniline colors, which have faded from exposure to light, will look right as new after sponging with chloroform.

{Ed. Either that or you'll have rendered your ottoman unconscious so that you can complete your kidnapping, have enough time to return to your hideout, where you can then call the owners and demand a large ransom for its return. }

Choking:-A piece of food lodged in the throat may sometimes be pushed down the with finger, or removed with a hair-pin quickly straightened and hooked at the end, or by two or three vigorous blows on the back between the shoulders.

{Ed. These people don't truck with Heimlich, do they?}

To Prevent Mold on the Top of Glasses of Jelly, lay a lump of parrafine over the top of the hot jelly, letting it melt and spread over it. No brandy paper and no other covering is necessary. If preferred the paraffine can be melted and poured over after the jelly is cold.

To Preserve Ribbons and Silks:-Ribbons and silks should be put away for preservation in brown paper; the chloride of lime in white paper discolors them. A white satin dress should be pinned up in blue paper with brown paper outside sewn together at the edges.

To Preserve Bouquets:-Put a little saltpeter in the water you use for your bouquets and the flowers will live for a fortnight.

To Destroy Cockroaches:-Hellebore sprinkled on the floor at night. They eat it and are poisoned.

To Remove Iron Rust:-Lemon juice and salt will remove ordinary iron rust. If the hands are stained there is nothing that will remove the stains as well as lemon. Cut a lemon in halves and apply the cut surface as if it were soap.

To Keep Bar Soap:-Cut it into pieces and put it into a dry place; it is more economical to use it after it has become hard, as it does not waste so readily.

To Brighten Carpets:-Carpets after the dust has been beaten out may be brightened by scattering upon them corn meal mixed with salt and then sweeping it off. Mix salt and meal in equal proportions. Carpets should be thoroughly beaten on the wrong side first and then on the right side, after which spots may be removed by the use of ox-gall or ammonia and water.

Silver Tea and Coffeepot:-When putting away those not in use every day lay a little stick across the top under the cover. This will allow fresh air to get in and prevent the mustiness of the contents familiar to hotel and boarding-house sufferers.

To Prevent Creaking of Bedsteads:-If a bedstead creaks at each movement of the sleeper, remove the slats, and wrap the ends of each in old newspapers.

To Clean Unvarnished Black Walnut:-Milk, sour or sweet, well rubbed in with an old flannel will make black walnut look like new.

{Ed. I guess there's a reason life might have been better before refridgeration and this is it.}

To Prevent Cracking of Bottles and Fruit Jars:-If a bottle or fruit jar that has been more than once used is placed on a towle thoroughly soaked in hot water, there is little danger of its being cracked by introduction of a hot liquid.

Posted by Kathy at January 5, 2006 01:22 AM | TrackBack

Okay, I found the brick dust, but for the life of me, I can't remember where I laid that saltpeter and ox-gall?

And the practice of chloroforming the faded fabric of ones sofa does explain those "fainting couches", now doesn't it?

Posted by: Bob at January 5, 2006 04:42 PM
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