Old #Dictionary Word of the Day: Lip Salve

fish-banner Adriaen Coenen

Image from Adriaen Coenen’s Fish Book (1577), Public Domain Review.

Mrs. Eaton’s “Universal Dictionary” provides the reader with recipes, rather than definitions. However, I think the meaning will come clear once you eat or use the product of the recipe. What does “lip salve” have to do with whales (pictured above)? Read on . . .

LIP SALVE. “Put into a small jar two ounces of white wax, half an ounce of spermaceti, and a quarter of a pint of oil of sweet almonds. Tie it down close, and put the jar into a small saucepan, with as much water as will nearly reach the top of the jar, but not so as to boil over it, and let it simmer till the wax is melted. Then put in a pennyworth of alkanet root tied up in a rag, with the jar closed, and boil it till it becomes red. Take out the alkanet root, and put in two pennyworth of essence of lemon, and a few drops of bergamot. Pour some into small boxes for present use, and the remainder into a gallipot tied down with a bladder.—Another. An ounce of white wax and ox marrow, with three ounces of white pomatum, melted together over a slow fire, will make an agreeable lip salve, which may be coloured with a dram of alkanet, and stirred till it becomes a fine red.” From The Cook and Housekeeper’s Complete and Universal Dictionary; including a System of Modern Cookery, in All Its Various Branches (1823). Author: Mary Eaton



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