L’Eau de la Vie Recipe 1837

L’Eau de la Vie Recipe Poem.

If you start at the top of the page, you’ll see the actual recipe for L’Eau de la Vie – French for ‘Water of Life’. Moving down the page, you see that the author includes a poem from one of the cookbook contributors that embeds the recipe within. Very clever.

Grown old and grown stupid you just think me fit
To transcribe for my grandmother’s book a a receipt;
And comfort it is for a wight in distress
To be still of some use: – he could scarce be of less.
Were greater his talents, fair Anne might command
His head – if more worth than his heart or his hand.
Your mandates obeying, he sends with much glee
The genuine receipt to make l’Eau de la Vie: –
Take seven large lemons and pare them as thin
As a wafer, or, what is much thinner, your skin:
Six ounces of sugar next take, and bear mind,
That the sugar be of the best double-refined.
Clear the sugar in near half a pint of spring-water,
In the neat silver sauce-pan you bought for your daughter.
Then a fourth of a pint you must fully allow
Of new milk, made as warm as it comes from a cow.
Put the rinds of the lemons, the milk, and the syrup,
In a jar, with the rum, and give them a stir up –
A full quart of old rum (French brandy is better,
But we ne’er in receipts should stick close to the letter)
And then, to your taste, you made add some perfume,
Goa-stone, or whatever you like in its room.
Let it stand thus ten days, but remember to shake it;
And the closer you stop it, the richer you make it.
Then filter through paper, ’twill sparkle and rise,
Be as soft as your lips, and as bright as your eyes
Last, bottle it up, and, believe me, the Vicar
Of E____ himself never drank better liquor.
In a word, it excels, by a million of odds,
The nectar your sister presents to the gods!

Source: The cook and housewife’s manual : a practical system of modern domestic cookery and family management 1837

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