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The Mahdah Menus: A Primal Blast from the Past

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  • The Mahdah Menus: A Primal Blast from the Past

    I'm a big fan of Google books and a bit of a culinary historian. The other day I can across a book entitled _Eat and Grow Thin: The Mahdah Menus_ by Vance Thompson. It's a funny little book on dieting from 1914, but it seems to follow the primal blueprint exactly, save for suggesting that the dieter shun pork and excessive fat. Other than that, it's purely primal. Here a list of the diet's major tenets and forbidden foods:


    1st: Pork, ham, bacon and the fat of any meat.

    2nd: Bread, biscuits, crackers, anything made of the flour of wheat, corn, rye, barley, oats, etc. Cereals and "breakfast foods" must never be eaten.

    3rd: Rice, macaroni, potatoes, corn, dried beans, lentils.

    4th: Milk, cream, cheese, butter.

    5th: Olive oils, or grease of any kind.

    6th: Pies, cakes, puddings, pastries, custards.

    yth: Iced creams, sirup-sweetened soda-water, etc.

    8th: Candies, bonbons, sweets.

    9th: Wines, beers, ales, spirits.


    Don't sleep too much.
    Don't take naps.

    Don't overeat, even of lean dishes.
    Don't eat unless you are hungry.
    Don't drink with your meals.
    Don't drink alcoholic beverages.
    Don't eat bread—except gluten
    bread toasted, and this in moderation.
    Don't take a cab—WALK.


    YES, the list of things one must not eat may seem rather appalling when one looks at it for the first time. Soup and bread and potatoes and bacon and sweets and one's wine or beer seem almost a necessary part of the daily meals to one who has never done without them. Bread perhaps is the hardest thing to do without, but after a while the stomach ceases to demand it and one does not miss it from the daily diet, when gluten bread is used as a substitute.

    When one is in the habit of drinking with one's meals it is at first difficult to

    do without every kind of drink—even water—but after a few days "dry eating" becomes a matter of course; and it will be found that a much smaller quantity of food satisfies the appetite.

    The list of things one may eat is far longer than the list of forbidden things. For breakfast there is fruit, fresh or stewed, and twice a week boiled or poached eggs may be served; coffee or tea—without cream or milk, of course, but sweetened, if desired, by crystallose or saccharine. Then in the menus given for luncheons and dinners there will be found:

    All kinds of meat (except pig in any form).

    All kinds of game.

    All kinds of sea-food—fish, lobsters, oysters, etc.

    All kinds of fruit (except the banana and grape).

    All kinds of salad—except those made of forbidden vegetables.

    All kinds of meat jellies.

    Mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, olives, celery, pickles, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce.

    All green vegetables, such as: string beans, spinach, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, beets, beet-tops (cooked like spinach), turnips, carrots, squash, celery root, salsify, cabbage, endives, artichokes, radishes, lettuce (which may likewise be cooked like spinach), parsnips, egg-plant, tomatoes, onions, asparagus, escarole (also cooked as spinach or eaten as a salad) —and any others mentioned in the list of menus.


    I only mention this book because it is also filled with wonderful, primal-friendly recipes. It also, as the title indicates, includes primal-friendly menus for every day of the year. So if you've run out of ideas as to what to make for dinner, check out this tome. It's nice to see how sensible people were before the corn/wheat/etc. lobbies started to dictate CW.

  • #2
    I can't help but notice that it discourages lots of sleep and naps, too. I cannot condone this.
    Give me liberty. Exploration of other options will be vigorously discouraged.

    Wondering something sciencey? Ask me in my Ask a Biochemist Thread


    • #3
      NO BACON?! *faints*
      Life on Earth may be punishing, but it includes an annual free trip around the sun!