Monday, July 28, 2008

Zam-Buk the Magnificent

They still make this stuff that sounds like a 1950s gladiator movie, look! And it even has its own website. It hasn't got a lot of content on there but then it is only a jar of ointment. I don't suppose that its miraculous attributes include writing blog posts, really.

I kind of wish it did, because then it could come sit on my desk here and whisper helpful ideas. It is Monday morning - ah, but you knew that already! - and I'm thinking about where to take Kitchen Retro in the coming months - things to write about, mixing things up a bit. I have some really good ads I'm saving up though - I can't wait to post them. And there are some strange recipes lurking on the shelves. Also, I want to write more about retro stuff from the 1960s and 1970s that I remember and can't get out of my head.

But Zam-Buk calls! Zam-Buk awaits my post and will not be happy if it does not get written. Do not make Zam-Buk displeased. Zam-Buk has a mighty temper and will unleash a few thunderbolts from his mighty mountaintop. And give you an itchy skin rash too!

Anyway, Zam-Buk. It is made in the UK by the Rose Apothocary Co., here. It is made up of several herbal oils (eucalyptus and thyme especially) mixed with beeswax and a couple of other things (I know I am being lazy, but if you really, absolutely are desperate to know the couple of other things in Zam-Buk, the Rose people are very happy to tell you. Sorry, need more coffee over here!)

This site suggests that the name comes from a South African town called Zambuk. Why the Roman senator in the ad - and why the ad implies that this stuff was made in ancient Rome - I have no idea.

Zam-Buk ointment - oh sorry, embrocation! - was made starting about 1903 in Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. This ad is from a Canadian newspaper - the Toronto Telegram, in 1923. Big version is here.

An embrocation, by the way, is a fancy word for something medicinal that is rubbed into the skin. In other words, cream or ointment. I really like this word - it sounds like a cross between an altercation and a convocation. I guess if you had an altercation (say, with the valedictorian) this is just the sort of thing you would need.

No comments: