Thursday, July 20, 2017

La Maison Rustique - The Potherbs - Cabbage (part 2)

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


The Potherbs

(Chapter 11)

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Cabbage (part 2)

All manner of cabbages can be planted in all seasons as long as it’s not too cold or too hot. When you plant them, cut them off of the root so it is not planted upside down, or put them back in the ground and pull them so the top doesn’t grow excessive.

Some water them with salt water to make them more tender, and others sow saltpeter over the surface of the earth or finely sifted ashes to fend off caterpillars and other vermin. Above all cabbage must not be planted near the vineyard, nor grape vines near the cabbage, for there is such great enmity between these plants that the two in the same soil, each taking some growth from the other, are not so fruitful. Whether it be true, if one mixes with in the pot used for  cabbage, the cabbage will not cook well afterwards, and it will corrupt its color In the same way, those who want to drink a great deal of wine without becoming drunk must beforehand eat raw cabbage, as is the custom of the Germans when they want to drink buckets full and be a part of those who drink best. Cabbage likewise should not be planted near oregano, rue, or sowbread [cyclamen], because when planted near these it does not profit at all and similarly transmits a part of its misfortune to its neighbor.

The careful gardener must never tolerate a rotten cabbage in his garden, nor water his herbs with water used to wash or boil cabbage, because both give a bad smell to other neighboring plants.

The good mistress will always have cabbages in her garden for the nourishment of her family, and which in time of necessity and disease she will use to help her people. For the first broth, chiefly of red cabbage with butter or oil and without salt, loosens the stomach, lessens the cough, and makes the voice better. If this broth is sprinkled with sugar it will be especially good for asthmatics and pulmonics, and even the juice of cabbage with sugar benefits these afflictions. Cabbage cooked with long pepper and eaten with its broth brings a lot of milk to nursing women. The juice or essence of good cabbage combats the poison from eating mushrooms. The mixture of cabbage cooked with almonds and mingled with clarified honey is singular for those who have shortness of breath to use in the form of a lozenge. In short, cabbage is useful to all things, such as which the Romans have done in the past, that after chasing the doctors out of Rome for a hundred and fifty years, they used no other medicine than cabbages for all diseases. Lye made with cabbage ashes is good for washing the head. The soaking of the breasts with a decoction of cabbage increases the milk of nursing women. Ashes of cabbage mixed with egg whites heals burns.

Also, a plaster made of cooked cabbage mixed with the lees of vinegar, two raw egg yolks, and a small amount of rose vinegar, all well beaten and incorporated together, is a sovereign remedy to instantly remove the pain of gout.

To thoroughly clean a pot that is all encrusted, such as one which is used for cooking flesh and boiling water, such as a cauldron, and iron pot, or tub and the like, which cannot always be sufficiently scoured, nothing is better than boiling cabbages.