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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pass the Puff Paste, Please.

In looking for a 1898 murder case this afternoon, I was browsing the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, hoping that a Mississippi murder would’ve made the biggest regional paper. While I didn’t find what I was looking for, I did find a great section of the paper called “Women and. . .Society.” It’s no murder, but this section does feature the following:

• Beauty advice, including a long treatise on how lemons are the key to beauty. Did you know that a “dash of lemon juice in plain water is an excellent toothwash, removing not only tartar, but sweetening the breath, and a teaspoonful of the juice will drive off a bilious headache before the sufferer can say caterpillar”? (I’m sure the headache cure has nothing to do with the caffeine in the coffee and everything to do with the power of lemon juice.) I also learned that the juice of a lemon mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda after each meal will “pull the flesh right off the most persistently fat woman who ever worried over her weight.” I know it’s wrong, but I have been cackling over the phrase “persistently fat” for the last hour.

• Society notes, which are less society and more gossip:
--Mrs. Parsons is very much better.
--Miss Lizzie May Smith will go abroad this summer.
--The friends of Mrs. Julia Iverson Patton will regret to learn of her illness.
Sound familiar? This is the 1898 version of Facebook status updates! They are just as boring 111 years ago as they are today.

• The news that scandal rocked the Kentucky town of Jefferson when Miss Belle Berry decided to run for mayor. The story starts with this charming line: “No wonder the world asks what will women do next when The Louisville Courier-Journal publishes the following story as authoritative.” Please!

• And finally, I am gassing up my time machine so that I will not miss this cooking class menu: “Bouillon, puff paste, oyster patties, Richmond maids of honor, cheese sticks and cheese fingers.” And yes, of course I looked up what Richmond maids of honor were. Thank goodness they’re included: the menu is now saved! The rest of that stuff just sounded like torture. Nothing can precede “paste” or “patties” and be good in my book.

Women and. . .Society. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 9 Mar 1898. Page 9. Accessed via ProQuest Historical Newspapers, 27 May 2009.

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