[Sca-cooks] Drummond on Butter

Johnna Holloway johnnae at mac.com
Wed Jun 25 10:15:04 PDT 2008

Butter tends to be a product that was made and consumed locally, so
one might in fact encounter excess rancid butter being sold for cash in 
urban markets.

We might look for legislation regarding the sale of "off" butter just as
we can already find regulations regarding fish and meats. I don't have time
today to prowl through sources and look.

12-14 days in sunlight -- so what the temperature during those of days
of May during the medieval period? You may be talking temps in the 40's.

I came across mention yesterday that butter was given for gout. Arthritis
is probably mentioned in the long lists of uses that I didn't copy over.

There's a paper in Woolgar's Food in Medieval England: Diet and 
Nutrition (Medieval History and Archaeology)
that discusses rickets in the middle ages. Rickets does turn up in the 
of children who died in the period.

The details about Vitamin A make sense as of course that was Drummond's 
great discovery.


Doc wrote:
> So I finally get home and open the copy of Drummond, and here's what  
> he has to say on the topic (presented in its entirety):snipped
> As with a lot of "The Englishman and His Food", Drummond here has  
> mixed some useful information with conjecture and unsubstantiated  
> claims.
> Assertions made without substantiation:
> 1.  Butter was used medicinally for growing pains
> 2.  Most butter sold was rancid
> 3.  Butter left out for 12-14 days would have "a good deal of rancidity"
>     (I don't say this isn't true, but I intend to find out)
> 4.  Rancid butter has a laxative effect
>     (I don't say this isn't true, and I'm not sure I want to find out)
> 5.  "May Butter" was used in the spring to relieve pain in the joints
> 6.  Rickets was a problem in the middle ages
> 7.  "May Butter" was used in the middle ages for its antirachitic  
> properties
> 8.  "May Butter" has antirachitic properties
> I think the assertion that bothers me the most is #2, since it is so  
> reminiscent of the Moldy-Meat-Myth.  They've got butter being sold,  
> but they hold onto it until it's rancid before selling it?  The  
> butter's rancid, but nevertheless they use a lot of it?  Feh!
> - Doc
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