Did you know wine is a solvent for pasty accumulations that are prone to clog the intestines and retard elimination? This interesting tidbit was published in a book titled Burke’s Complete Cocktail and Drinking Recipes, printed in 1944. And it was a gift from my sweet friend Jean Nexsen.

Jean was going through some boxes and found it. She immediately thought of me. That’s so funny. She thought of me when she found a book about alcohol. Seriously, I know why she gave it to me. You see, I once wrote a book. Well, sort of. I published a collection drinks that I throw together on occasion. The pages were also thrown together. Most people that bought it will probably remember that more than the cocktails.

There’s a lot involved in putting together a book. I know several people who have written great books; Bobby Jonte for one. He recently finished his seventh book. That’s astounding! Our local pilot/banker is the author of over half a dozen publications. 

Getting back to the 1944 cocktail book. The author discusses in length wine and health and that’s where I read about the digestive qualities of the fermented grape. The author predicts that Americans will eventually become connoisseurs of wines and that American wines will one day be known as the best in the world. He should be proud that his prediction has come true. 

The cocktails presented in the book are rather interesting. Some are tried and true while others are curious to say the least. I’ve been to a few fancy restaurants that serve wines and other drinks with each course but I’ve never been embarked on the spirited journey as written about on page 33. The “wine-course dinner” serves up eight separate libations beginning with sherry to accompany the hors d’oeurves, Champagne for dessert and ending with brandy with coffee. Forget dinner, lets party!

One of my favorite cookbooks is my mother’s New American Cook Book. Though it was published in 1941, it was way ahead of its time.  For instance, just recently flaxseed has made its way to the top of the plant powerhouse. But way before we extolled the superseed’s healthy virtues, mom’s cook book included it as a tea drink. I am certain the authors had no idea that flaxseed contains a plant-based type of omega-3 fatty acid which has been tied to improved circulation and anti-inflammatory effects.

On the other end of the gastronomical spectrum, there are ingredients that most of us (but not all) would run from. One recipe calls for ½ cup lard. I remember my second mother-in-law made homemade bread with rendered pork fat. It was the best bread I’ve ever had so I’m not knocking that super saturated fat. Goodness gracious don’t try to serve your health-conscious friends gluten bread today but there’s a recipe for that. 

Gluten has been turned into a bad guy but there is little research that proves it’s bad for us. In fact, according to Harvard University, a 2017 study of over 100,000 participants without celiac disease, researchers found no association between long-term dietary gluten consumption and heart disease risk. The findings also suggested that non-celiac individuals who avoid gluten may increase their risk of heart disease, due to the potential for reduced consumption of whole grains.

And finally, at the end, mom’s recipe book includes a plan for a moderate-cost adequate diet. The annual income cited is $2,000 to $3,000. Now there’s something we can’t relate to!

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