Author: Alisha Rankin

Anecdotes and Antidotes

By Alisha Rankin How did early modern individuals test and try their recipes and cures? This question is at the heart of the special issue of the Bulletin of the History of Medicine, “Testing Drugs and Trying Cures in Medieval and Early Modern Europe,” in which I participated as both…

Writing Early Modern Medicine for Medical Readers

By Alisha Rankin Years ago, in a recipe collection belonging to Countess Elisabeth of the Palatinate (1552-90), I found a fascinating entry: a copy of an official document that described trials of a poison antidote on dogs, which I described in a post on this blog. My interest in that…

Recipes and Experiment: A Poison Trial on Dogs

By Alisha Rankin To what extent did early modern individuals experiment with their recipes and cures? I puzzle over this question quite a bit in my research, as I see fleeting evidence of experimentation in letters and other documents, but … Continue reading →

Proprietary Panaceas and Not-So-Secret Recipes

By Alisha Rankin How did peddlers of proprietary medicines negotiate the craze for recipes in early modern Europe? They offered recipes using their medicines, of course! There are many examples of recipe books containing remedies for which the main ingredient … Continue reading →

Writing Recipes Down: Part I

Alisha Rankin, Tufts University Every time I give an in-class exam, as I did this week, my students complain bitterly about how much their hands ache from all of the writing. In this digital age, they tell me, writing simply is not something they do very often. They’re out of…