Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Steven Blankaart's ‘De borgerlyke tafel, om lang gesond sonder ziekten te leven’


With the New Year come new resolutions. What more popular than the wish to eat healthier in the next year, or at least until we feel better about ourselves or swimwear worthy.

So how do you go about eating healthier? First of all you should know what to eat and what not of course. These days it is all about the super foods, raw food, no carbs, no fat (or is fat good now?) and so on. Every year seems to have a new trend in what is healthy and what not. 

Apparently hundreds of years ago people suffered from the same ideas as we do now. In fact it is the other way around: we still have this obsession with health trends, and have had this for a long time. In 1683 a book was published in Amsterdam called ‘De borgerlyke tafel, om lang gesond sonder ziekten te leven’ (The civil table, to live a long healthy life without illness). 

The title is so refreshing: it says exactly what the purpose of the book is! So this book is a kind of cookbook with the latest healthy food tips, just like there are so many today. Actually the title of the book is more elaborate, it goes on as follows: ‘Waar in van yder spijse in ‘t besonder gehandelt werd. Mitsgaders een beknopte manier van de spijsen voor te snijden, en een onderrechting der schikkelijke wijsen, die men aan de tafel moet houden.' (In which every ingredient is treated separately. Furthermore with a concise manual of the cutting of the dishes, and an education in table manners). So the author Steven Blankaart, a physician of profession, had huge goals in mind with this book. The frontispiece (engraved title print) shows that he had a very broad audience in mind as well. At the table young, adult and old all eat the healthy food that Blankaart prescribes in this book. 

[Reference Nr. B1467]

by Hugo Rijpma