Flower power: Cato’s medicinal recipes

By Jane Draycott Marcus Porcius Cato (234-149 BCE) is often presented as the archetypal example of the ancient Roman head of the household taking charge of his family members’ health, the result of claims made by Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE) in his encyclopaedia Natural History: For [Cato] adds the medical treatment by which he … Continue reading Flower power: Cato’s medicinal recipes

Something old – something new: Greek and Roman recipes in focus

By Laurence Totelin The double-faced Roman god Janus presided over transitions: transitions from war to peace, from month to month, and from year to year. The Romans celebrated him on the Kalends of January, the first day of the year. The festivities are described most fully by the poet Ovid (first century CE) in his … Continue reading Something old – something new: Greek and Roman recipes in focus

First Monday Library Chat: Chemical Heritage Foundation

Welcome back to the First Monday Library Chat! In September, I moved across Philadelphia to join the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) as their first Curator of Digital Collections. CHF is a Library, Museum, and Center for Scholars that uses the history of science and technology to understand the present and inform the future. Today I’m chatting … Continue reading First Monday Library Chat: Chemical Heritage Foundation

Proprietary Panaceas and Not-So-Secret Recipes

By Alisha Rankin How did peddlers of proprietary medicines negotiate the craze for recipes in early modern Europe? They offered recipes using their medicines, of course! There are many examples of recipe books containing remedies for which the main ingredient is a secret cure attached to only one person. The reader would then have to … Continue reading Proprietary Panaceas and Not-So-Secret Recipes