Ivory dust jelly, really

Here’s a great post by Brenda Clough at Book View Cafe: Feeding your invalid in the 19th century.

Of course we already know about the treatments thought appropriate at the time, all those leeches and so on, but this? This is new to me:

1 lb. ivory dust (obtain it from any ivory turner, or a druggist)

5 pints cold water

½ teaspoon salt

Lemon juice or essence, to flavor

Put the dust in an earthen jar with the water and salt, and simmer for 12 hours. Take off all the liquid that is clear, and add flavoring. Another 4 pints of water may be added to the dust and simmered again. Add to other dishes as a strengthening ingredient.

I suppose it gels on its own, since gelatin does not appear to be required. 

Remarkable. Probably reasonably harmless, though, which makes it an improvement on many medical treatments of the time.

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2 thoughts on “Ivory dust jelly, really”

  1. It makes sense that it would gel on its own, right? Bones provide the gelling agent, and ivory is bone. In a way this sounds like a weird version of the wellness-trendy bone broth!

  2. Maureen, I sort of thought of that, although it’s hard for me to remember that ivory is bone, or includes bone, or is related to bone, or something. I must say, bone broth does not sound especially appealing either.

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