Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Puritan Recipe For Romance

I was amused by the juxtaposition of these two ads in a 1937 magazine so I scanned them together. There's an exciting occasion in here somewhere, bookended by Pilgrim Rum and some very salty toothpaste.

John Alden chats up Priscilla, sans cocktail
Pilgrim Rum will certainly make your Old Fashioned pop, because it is 90 proof and in a squat, no-nonsense bottle. Old Fashioneds date back to the 19th century; the term was first used in the 1880s and they mainly consist of whiskey - not rum - mixed with a little Angoustora bitters, a sugar cube, and a dash of water. You add a lemon twist, an orange slice and a cherry to make it look nice, too. According to Wikipedia, brandy is used instead of whiskey in Wisconsin (why Wisconsin? they don't say).

Perhaps in New England they substitute rum. Yes, just like the Pilgrim Fathers. I can just see John Alden and Priscilla Mullins chatting it up over a few Old Fashioneds, can't you? Their love story was probably a fiction made up by their descendant, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in "The Courtship of Miles Standish." You see, Miles sent John to tell Priscilla he, you know, liked her. And guess what happened? Priscilla said (in the poem, anyway), why don't you speak for yourself, John? The rest: made-up history! So if we want to imagine them all downing a few Old Fashioneds, I say, why not. Miles in particular could have used one, I believe.

After you've had that sugary Old Fashioned, you will no doubt be thinking: I certainly wish I had Brighter Teeth and Healthier Gums (yes, you will be thinking in capitalized words). And this is where Worcester Salt Toothpaste comes in. It contains "specially powdered pure salt, milk of magnesia and other beneficial ingredients." Well, salt was often used as a traditional teeth cleanser, but - oh dear - Milk of Magnesia? This is used for upset stomachs and - I hate to tell you this - as a laxative. So let's just ponder that for a moment.

Food Company Cookbooks
I hope that this is not what makes Worcester Salt "really sensible." Maybe it is sensible in that it will tell you to stop after one Old Fashioned. And since "you will like it more and more every day" (that's what they think!) soon you will be brushing your teeth with Worcester Salt Toothpaste instead of reaching for the Pilgrim Rum. Or maybe you'll want to combine the two experiences and try whisky toothpaste* instead. Which probably gave John Alden the dental Dutch courage (and alluring breath) he needed to woo Priscilla Mullins.

*This post was another double feature - whiskey toothpaste and a half-nightgown. Any John Alden/Priscilla Mullins/Pilgrim courtship jokes you can think of go right about here.

1 comment:

Kath Lockett said...

I think you're right - we *all* think in capitalised words when under the influence of Pilgrim rum, don't we? :)