Today I bought a book that is pretty interesting, and bizarre. I went to a little shop called Pam’s Honey Creek Candles and Trash to Treasures (www.honeycreekcandles.com). While browsing I saw a little paperback recipe book. I was pretty sure it was all biscuit recipes and I was wondering if there was a recipe for the beaten blistered biscuits my mom wants so bad.
REACH for the hot biscuits. They provide valuable carbohydrates that help build up strong energetic bodies. Eat TWO EXTRA biscuits at every meal and have lots of energy for school work and play.
SILVER FOX FLOUR
Always Runs Best
Monroe Milling Co., Waterloo, Illinois
I found that Monroe Milling Company was in operation at the grain elevator from 1924 until sometime after 1940 (information can be found here). I was unable to find anything on the actual Silver Fox Flour brand.
EVERY boy and girl loves the good things mother bakes with soft wheat flour – hot biscuits, hot rolls, home-made light bread, waffles, cookies, pies, cakes and doughnuts. Eat lots of these ENERGY FOODS. They are good for you.
The inside cover of this flour advertisement goes on with little pictures of children doing various things accompanied by:
Biscuits give you energy for that winning spurt of speed at the “finish.” (boy crossing a finish line)
Eat plenty of biscuits and jump “red-hot pepper.” (girl jump roping)
Hot biscuits with milk or syrup give you energy for doing good school work. (teen girl with diploma)
Touchdowns come easy with plenty of biscuits under your belt. (boys playing football)
Sounds like biscuit recipe book, right? Am I right?
I was wrong. I was flipping through it and realized that the “recipes” in the book were not biscuit recipes. In fact, they weren’t actual “recipes” at all. I discovered that the flour company cover was a ruse.
Being the Approved, Verified, Sympathetic and Natural
White and Black Art for
Man and Beast.
Forbidding Knowledge and Mysteries
of Ancient Philosophers.
BEING THE APPROVED, VERIFIED, SYMPATHETIC AND NATURAL
WHITE AND BLACK ART FOR MAN AND BEAST
THE BOOK OF NATURE AND THE HIDDEN SECRETS
AN MYSTERIES OF LIFE UNVEILED; BEING THE
Forbidden Knowledge of Ancient Philosophers
By that celebrated Student, Philosopher, Chemist, Naturalist, Psychomist, Astrologer, Alchemist, metallurgist, Sorcerer, Explanator of the Mysteries of Wizards and Witchcraft; together with recondite Views of numerous Arts and Sciences – Obscure, Plain, Practical, Etc., Etc.
TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN
It goes on to list the contents of Volume One, as there are three volumes in this paperback. Pam, the woman who sold it to me, was just as interested in how this came to be and researched the book a bit. She found a website that she printed out the information and stuck it in the book for whoever bought it. I found the same website, plus a little more. What is certain is that Albertus Magnus did not write this book.
Joseph H Peterson apparently released another edition of the book in 2006. According to his words on Esoteric Archives:
NOTE: the editor does not endorse or recommend any of the recipes found in this book. -JHP
This little Silesian spell-book seems to have first appeared "in Braband" with a second expanded edition printed in Cologne in 1725. [PEG, p. 41] It is clear from the contents that this collection has nothing to do with the great Dominican scholar Albertus Magnus (ca 1193-1280). Neither does it have anything to do with Egypt, but rather "Egyptian" is used to refer to Gypsies -- more properly the Roma -- based on the mistaken belief that this diverse ethnic group originated in Egypt. It's connection with actual lore of the Roma is also tenuous, and "Egyptian" is used more as a generic term for "magic". (In exactly the same way "Magic" originally meant "of the Magi" referred to the Median tribe and later the Zoroastrian priesthood, but was eventually used generically to refer to Eastern wise men or wizards.)
According to Will-Erich Peuckert, the language and use of idioms point to an origin in the Swabian-Alemannic region. (PEG, pp. 43-44.)
The German title reads Egyptische Geheimnisse für Menschen und Vieh. The edition I have used was printed in Allentown, 1869. The English edition has no date.
The original German edition contains 4 books. Each book is paginated separately, and has its own Title page, table of contents, and index, though all four books are bound together. For the first three books the recipes are not numbered, but the fourth book numbers them. The English translation stops at 3, and maintains a continuous page numbering.
I have silently corrected many typos in this text (or at least enough to identify plagiarists), but please let me know if you find additional errors. Thanks, –JHP
But really, all of this about the book itself is not what is interesting. What I find interesting is that someone back in the 1920s or 1930s, my guess being a housewife (perhaps), had this book and didn’t want anyone to know. So she wrapped a flour advertisement dust cover around it and probably kept it between her Betty Crocker and Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks…you know, somewhere her husband would never look. Littered throughout the “grimoire” are notes that all include the word “special”:
For the Fever – “special”
When you have Lost your Manhood – “man-special”
For the Palsy – “special here”
To make an Ointment for the Cure of the Itch – “a special”
To Vanquish a Man – “A real special”
That Nobody may hurt you and how to be Secured against all Assailants – “(Seay at all times) special special special here” (interestingly enough, this is not exactly what I would expect to find in a “spell book”. This one says:
Now I will walk over the threshold. I met three men, not yet very old. The first was God the Father, the other was God the Son; the third was God the Holy Spirit. They protect my body and soul, blood and flesh, that in no well I will fall, that water may not swell me at all, that a rabid dog may never bite me, that shot and stone may never smite me, that spear and knife may never cut me; that never a thief may steal the least from me. Then it shall become like our dear Saviour’s sweat. Whoever is stronger and mightier than these three men, he may come hither, assail me if he can, or forever keep his peace with me. † † †)
I am going to continue to research the book and cover. I find it interesting that someone really studied the book, but kept it well hidden, most likely in plain sight.