Cosmetics and skin creams are nothing new, even Cleopatra had her collection of jars and bottles designed to hold back the years and make her as attractive as possible. I have to confess that I’ve always been fascinated by cosmetics and skin creams. Maybe it’s that hope that finding just the right cream will make you so beautiful that The One will be unable to resist.
So I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to share recipes that our Regency heroines might have whipped up? And because I’m every bit as fanatic a rose grower as Margaret in Smuggled Rose, I hope to include in future blogs a few potions and concoctions for those who love gardening and natural, organic products. With luck, others might find this as fascinating as I do.
However, I warn you from the start that I may include recipes that catch my fancy simply because they are so…bizarre. If history has shown us anything, it’s that there is no end to the creativity of human beings. And sometimes, that creativity leads us down very peculiar paths.
So, to start, here are two recipes from the Regency period. The first is a simple recipe for Lavender Water that even ladies today might find useful, albeit in smaller quantities. The second is an interesting recipe for perfume, Eau d’Ange, that I’ve seen referenced in several Regencies. Finding this recipe filled me with glee and made me feel much closer to the ladies of the past.
Take four handfuls of dried lavender flowers and sprinkle them with 1 quart of brandy, 1 quart of white wine, and rose water. Leave the mixture 6 days in a large bottle, well-corked. Let the liquor be distilled and poured off.
In a mortar, pound fifteen cloves and one pound of cinnamon. Put the whole into a quart of water with four grains of aniseed. Let it stand over a charcoal fire 24 hours, then strain off the liquor and put it up for use.
This perfume is most excellent and will do well for the hands, face and hair, to which it communicates a very agreeable scent.
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I’m tempted to try these, albeit in slightly smaller quantities. Eau d’Ange, in particular, appeals to me as I’ve always been fond of “spicy” scents. I inherited my grandmother’s spice cabinet—literally a small, six-drawer cabinet made out of maple. For years, when you pulled out a drawer, you could still smell the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves she stored in the small compartments. I’ve even sprinkled a few of those spices in the drawers in hopes of reawakening the delicious fragrances I remember.
Maybe that’s why I still love those spicy scents and that Eau d’Ange caught my fancy immediately.
Hope you found these interesting and will look forward to more “Regency Receipts”. Perhaps even a few natural cosmetics, tonics and remedies. You never know where my research and fancy will take me.
Leave me a note and let me know your thoughts!