Sunday, April 12, 2015

Subtleties&Stuffe Guybert Part I

Guybert on Sugar and Sweets

Philbert Guybert was the author of a number of popular books on seventeenth century medical and apothecary practices. These self help manuals were directed to a popular audience and include the 1623 Le Médecin charitable, the 1625 Le Prix et valeur des medicaments, and the 1625  l'Apothicaire charitable. There was even a work on embalming titled la Manière d'embaumer les corps morts in 1627. Guybert is mentioned often in the histories of medicine because his works appeared at a time when the doctors of medicine were actively feuding with the apothecaries over who controlled the practice of medicine. Guybert's works were seen as an attempt to put information into the hand of the people who could ill afford doctors and who were ill-served by the apothecary trade. His various books were very popular and were reprinted at least sixty times. An English translation titled The Charitable Physitian with the Charitable Apothecary. [Written in French by Philbert Guibert Esquire, and physitian regent in Paris] appeared in England in 1639.

Besides the various cures and remedies, the French originals included recipes for drinks, jellies, and confitures.  The English edition includes some interesting passages on sugar and sugary things, including syrups and conserves. Here is one example which talks about sugar threads in the making of lozenges.

To make Tablets or Lozinges of Sugar of Roses.

TAke halfe a pound of fine white Sugar, and foure ounces of good Damask Rose water, put them together into a skillet and boyle it very well upon a soft cleare fire, untill it come to the consistance; which you shall know by taking a little upon the end of the Spatule, and let it fall downe into the skillet againe, and there will be a long thred; or put a little upon the handle of the skillet and it will grow hard: Secondly, take a trencher and put a little upon it, and when it is cold, if it bee hard it is enough: Thirdly, drop three or foure drops upon the ground, and if you can take it up that it stick not to the ground it is enough, then poure it all upon a Marble stone or upon a table well rubd, strowing upon the table or stone a little starch in powder through a bolter or linnen cloath, and so forme your Lozinges to make them red, you may stirre very well in it two drammes of red Rose leaves in powder. [p 28-29]
We'll continue with Guybert in our next two posts.

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