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Childbirth
August 16, 2012
4:32 pm
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Elliemarianna
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Boleyn said

I don’t think Jane had a ceaserion. I rather think it’s more likely she had an episotomy followed by a forceps delivery as Little Eddy was quite a large baby. The whole idea about Jane being delivered by a ceaserion probably got thrown in years later due to how the doctor’s notes were worded. They probably read something like “I had to cut into her Majesty to help deliver the child”
The fact that Jane lived for 11 days after Little Eddy’s birth throws the theory of a ceaserion out of the window to me at least.
I rather think Jane’s death was caused by a rupture in her uterus and was maybe caused by the use of the forceps. In short she bled to death and septesemia was the least of her worries.
I also wonder if the reason why Jane had such a prolonged labour was down to the fact that she may have had Placenta previa?. Normally as you know the placentia usually roots on either the side or the top of the womb, perhaps Jane’s rooted on the cervix with is why she had such difficulty in giving birth?. It would also explain the blood loss as in order to get at the child the doctor would have hack the Placenta to pieces.
Poor Jane she must have suffered terribly and she never got to see her child grow up…
Did she actually see her Son before her death?

They didn’t use forceps in England during Henry’s reign. They were invented by the Chamberlen family of surgeons, who were originally from France, but eventually came to work in England in 1569. The instrument was kept secret by them for 150 years, but there is evidence of their use as far back as 1634. They would only use the forceps for particularly bad labours, and everyone would have to leave the room, even the woman in labour was blindfolded, to protect their invention.

I was rushed to hospital 10 days after having my daughter with a uterine infection, my labour was uncomplicated but I got very poorly. I almost died because the visiting midwife failed to listen to me when I said I felt under the weather days before, simply because I had recovered quickly from labour. Sometimes an infection sets in without any real reason for it – I was very clean and took the recommended 2 baths per day.

I think Jane would have seen her son, she would of no doubt wanted to be seen with him to bask in her triumph.

"It is however but Justice, & my Duty to declre that this amiable Woman was entirely innocent of the Crimes with which she was accused, of which her Beauty, her Elegance, & her Sprightliness were sufficient proofs..." Jane Austen.

August 16, 2012
6:05 pm
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Sharon
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Jane must have seen Edward. She was with Henry at the celebration of Edward’s christening. The Christening took place three days after his birth. I think she started feeling ill after that day.

August 16, 2012
8:32 pm
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Boleyn
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Thank you Ellie however I am still inclined to think that the Doctor must have done something to her to help get Eddy out..
I know what you mean about midwives not listening to you, although I think my were also illiterate as well as deaf. I had a 4 day Labour with my eldest and the G.P and the consultant both agreed (for once) that it would be far safer for me to have a caeserion, due to the damage that I’d had of my Pelvis. I told the silly bloody woman about this and all they did was pat me on the head a treat me like an inbecile Grrrrrr.. It was only after my blood pressure had shot through the roof they sent for the consultant who took one look at my records, one look at me and with a big black thunder cloud above his head shouted at the nurses to get the operating room ready right now and why wasn’t he called sooner.. Thankfully Pia arrived safe and sound about 20 minutes later…

Sharon so it could be then that when Jane was moved and taken to Eddy’s christening something broke inside her and that caused her death, either way childbirth must have been an horrific experience for her. Poor Jane. I think if Jane had survived Eddy’s birth she would have been forever plagued with ill health and she simply couldn’t risk another pregnancy so Henry would have found a way of getting rid of her. A wild idea for you (then you are used to them by now) to ponder over.. If this had been the case and Henry had decided that he wanted more than one Son and Jane wasn’t up to it. I rather think he would have had her poisoned, in fact how do we know he didn’t have her poisoned anyway. Don’t clap me in Irons yet please.. It’s just an idea and I know that it isn’t possible but it’s a probable cause of Jane’s death.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

August 16, 2012
9:09 pm
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Sharon
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HA! You really don’t have much trust in Henry do you, Boleyn. Smile

August 16, 2012
9:27 pm
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Boleyn
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Sharon Nope Henry was a Greedy, fat, overbearing, dullard, wobble bottom, mad, ungrateful, deceiptful, stinky, jealous git. I wouldn’t put anything past him. If it suited his needs or he wanted something that somebody else had it was easier to hand it over than suffer for saying no to him having it.
Everything he saw he wanted and when he got it he didn’t want anymore. Seriously I would love to travel back in time and kick him as hard as I could with a steel capped boot right in the middle of the Gentleman’s department. He’d soon be singing soprano in the choir.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

August 17, 2012
4:14 am
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Anyanka
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Unless Jane was as worldly wise as Mistress Howard, then I’m sure she’d have been put back to stud as soon as possible and be pregnant, regardless of her personal views.

In those days, a woman’s value was as a wife and mother and if Jane died during a subequent pregnancy…then Henry would be in the position of finding a new brood mare for his line.

It's always bunnies.

August 17, 2012
9:21 am
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Boleyn
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Anyanka Yep, a woman’s roll and duty in life was to produce as many children as possible. Generally speaking it was aprrox 8 weeks between having the child to getting back into the swing of things and producing the next child. Small wonder woman died young back then they were completely worn out, with some many pregnancies.. Their poor bodies never had time to recover from being pregnant.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

August 18, 2012
9:32 am
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Tash Wakefield
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Does anyone know the birth stats of henrys maternal grandmother? didnt she have like ten kids in ten years with a high survival rate and mostly girls?? The one who was the mother of the princes in the tower….was it elizabeth woodville??

August 18, 2012
9:42 am
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Tash Wakefield
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Elliemarianna said

Boleyn said

I don’t think Jane had a ceaserion. I rather think it’s more likely she had an episotomy followed by a forceps delivery as Little Eddy was quite a large baby. The whole idea about Jane being delivered by a ceaserion probably got thrown in years later due to how the doctor’s notes were worded. They probably read something like “I had to cut into her Majesty to help deliver the child”
The fact that Jane lived for 11 days after Little Eddy’s birth throws the theory of a ceaserion out of the window to me at least.
I rather think Jane’s death was caused by a rupture in her uterus and was maybe caused by the use of the forceps. In short she bled to death and septesemia was the least of her worries.
I also wonder if the reason why Jane had such a prolonged labour was down to the fact that she may have had Placenta previa?. Normally as you know the placentia usually roots on either the side or the top of the womb, perhaps Jane’s rooted on the cervix with is why she had such difficulty in giving birth?. It would also explain the blood loss as in order to get at the child the doctor would have hack the Placenta to pieces.
Poor Jane she must have suffered terribly and she never got to see her child grow up…
Did she actually see her Son before her death?

They didn’t use forceps in England during Henry’s reign. They were invented by the Chamberlen family of surgeons, who were originally from France, but eventually came to work in England in 1569. The instrument was kept secret by them for 150 years, but there is evidence of their use as far back as 1634. They would only use the forceps for particularly bad labours, and everyone would have to leave the room, even the woman in labour was blindfolded, to protect their invention.

I was rushed to hospital 10 days after having my daughter with a uterine infection, my labour was uncomplicated but I got very poorly. I almost died because the visiting midwife failed to listen to me when I said I felt under the weather days before, simply because I had recovered quickly from labour. Sometimes an infection sets in without any real reason for it – I was very clean and took the recommended 2 baths per day.

I think Jane would have seen her son, she would of no doubt wanted to be seen with him to bask in her triumph.

I Also had a severe infection after my childs birth, but id had a c section. It wasnt an infection in the scar but in the womb, and i have had infections in my womb since I was in my early twenties with no apparent cause. I had an infection recently after a laparoscopy and currete. Im a very hygenic person also, but I was told and have been told many times that you DONT have a bath after birth and surgery but a shower, the warm bath water is like a breeding ground for germs apparently……the variations even between our two countries on what a woman should do after birth obviously has discrepincies. So one can imagine how easily women caught infections in a time where they had no idea about infection or bacteria. I cant imagine the fear women must have gone thru about childbirth, knowing that they had no control over any of it, and that they may not survive, their child probably wont survive and in wealthy womens cases, they wouldnt even be able to breastfeed them themselves and care for them, it breaks my heart Frown

August 18, 2012
2:32 pm
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Boleyn
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Elizabeth Woodville Had 10 Children with Edward 4th and 2 with John Grey her first Husband..
Yes she was the Mother of the Princes in the Tower.
Breastfeeding was a big no no for woman of the nobility, the reason being was if a woman was breastfeeding it prolonged the return of marital relations. Wet Nurses were chosen with care however and were given the best of care, and were given food and drink that would fortify their milk and therefore help to strengthen the child.
They were given a limited amount of wine or beer a day as it was believed too much alcohol would taint their milk and affect the child.
There could be an element of truth in it too, as James 6th was well known for his fondness for drink, something that may have effected him when he was being suckled as his wet nurse was known to be a very fond of wine and this is something that may have passed on to James via her milk.
Although woman today still have infections and such like after giving birth today at least Medical science is able to stamp on these problems fairly quickly, and deal with them with the use of antibiotics. In those days due to poor hygiene or should I say non existent Hygiene deaths of woman and children in childbirth was commonplace.
Although they did wash well sort of it was generally just hands, faces and necks. The nobility did on occations have a bath, the only one to really be clean was the master of the household as he would have his bath first, his wife would then jump into the water he had used followed by the kids. I would imagine the bath water after everyone had a turn would resemble a thick soup. Yuk.. Which the servents probably chucked in a few chopped up vegatables and boiled up for dinner LOL…
The smell of all those unwashed bodies in the Tudor court must have been horrendous perhaps almost as bad as the court itself. Given how Henry got in later life, a fat blimp with a smelly infected leg you must have smelt him coming long before he was in your face… I guess it gave people time to retch and throw up in some corner through so that when he did appear your stomach was empty and you wouldn’t embarrass yourself by throwing up all over him..

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

August 18, 2012
2:33 pm
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Boleyn
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Elizabeth 1st alledgely had 4 baths a year whether she needed them or not…

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

August 18, 2012
4:03 pm
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Gill
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Boleyn said

Elizabeth 1st alledgely had 4 baths a year whether she needed them or not…

I always knew she was a shameless hussy!

August 18, 2012
7:45 pm
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Elliemarianna
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Boleyn said

Elizabeth Woodville Had 10 Children with Edward 4th and 2 with John Grey her first Husband..
Yes she was the Mother of the Princes in the Tower.
Breastfeeding was a big no no for woman of the nobility, the reason being was if a woman was breastfeeding it prolonged the return of marital relations. Wet Nurses were chosen with care however and were given the best of care, and were given food and drink that would fortify their milk and therefore help to strengthen the child.
They were given a limited amount of wine or beer a day as it was believed too much alcohol would taint their milk and affect the child.
There could be an element of truth in it too, as James 6th was well known for his fondness for drink, something that may have effected him when he was being suckled as his wet nurse was known to be a very fond of wine and this is something that may have passed on to James via her milk.
Although woman today still have infections and such like after giving birth today at least Medical science is able to stamp on these problems fairly quickly, and deal with them with the use of antibiotics. In those days due to poor hygiene or should I say non existent Hygiene deaths of woman and children in childbirth was commonplace.
Although they did wash well sort of it was generally just hands, faces and necks. The nobility did on occations have a bath, the only one to really be clean was the master of the household as he would have his bath first, his wife would then jump into the water he had used followed by the kids. I would imagine the bath water after everyone had a turn would resemble a thick soup. Yuk.. Which the servents probably chucked in a few chopped up vegatables and boiled up for dinner LOL…
The smell of all those unwashed bodies in the Tudor court must have been horrendous perhaps almost as bad as the court itself. Given how Henry got in later life, a fat blimp with a smelly infected leg you must have smelt him coming long before he was in your face… I guess it gave people time to retch and throw up in some corner through so that when he did appear your stomach was empty and you wouldn’t embarrass yourself by throwing up all over him..

Water was too polluted for wet nurses to drink, in fact no one drank it if they could help it. Milk was the only other option but since it could not be pasteurised or refrigerated it didn’t keep fresh for long. Common drinks were wine, ale, cider, perry, mead and hypocras. I don’t think wet nurses would have had much of an option to drink anything but alcohol.
The Tudors were a lot cleaner than we imagine.
Wealthy ladies had access to soap, made from olive oil. They would use this daily. Poorer women had soap made from animal fat. These soaps would be scented with various herbs and flowers. In Hugh Plat’s Delightes for Ladies, a 14th century household manual, he gives directions for preparing washing water suggesting the use of ‘sage, marjoram, camomile, rosemary and orange peel as possible ingredients.’ The hassle required to fill a bath was what probably put people off having them, but there is no evidence to suggest that they didn’t have a daily ‘sponge bath’.
Henry VIII did a massive overhaul on the bathrooms at the main palaces, they had running water (hot and cold) and he himself had luxurious bathrooms with taps. One of his bathrooms was described as follows – “The Bathroom had deep window-seats with cupboards beneath and a ceiling decorated with gold battens on a white background. The baths were made by a cooper and were attached to the wall; they were supplied by two taps, one for cold water and one for hot. Directly behind the bathroom, in another small room, was a charcoal- fired stove, or boiler, fed from a cistern on the second floor which was filled by the Coombe conduit.” (Thurley)
The richer Tudor people could also afford perfumes, which no doubt masked their ‘scent’ somewhat. We must also remember that most body odour comes from the armpits, where the smell is actually caused by accumulated toxins in the body and bacteria feeding off the sweat on the skin. Their diets probably protected them from smelling too badly, as there was no junk food.

"It is however but Justice, & my Duty to declre that this amiable Woman was entirely innocent of the Crimes with which she was accused, of which her Beauty, her Elegance, & her Sprightliness were sufficient proofs..." Jane Austen.

August 18, 2012
9:59 pm
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Boleyn
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Ellie Did they have grease the sides of the bath to get Henry’s fat bum in and out of the bath? LOL
I believe Elizabeth had a rudimentry form of a flush toilet too.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

August 21, 2012
12:05 am
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Tash Wakefield
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I think i have seen pictures of the so called toilet, wasnt Henry some sort of inventor of such things? I seem to remember seeing a chair that doubled as a potty? it reminds me of the simpsons where homer invents an easy chair that he could go to the toilet in whilst watching telly. I think henry and homer have quite a bit in common, except homer would go to jail if he beheaded marge. but what a waste of great blue hair that would be!
It is really sad to admit, but the year before my husband died, he only had 6 showers the whole year! The thing was, eventhough he was more than a little fond of the drink, he didnt smell badly at all. He did sweat alot at night, but he never had bad body odour.
I also think the Tudor diet wasnt that great. Their ideas of non existent hygiene (amongst the ‘slaves’ anyway) would have meant their food would have been filled with bacteria and such, the people who worked in the kitchens were filthy and half the time didnt wear clothes. Also the amount of meat they ate would have made them stink, their poo would have stunk to high heaven! I know they did eat various other foods, but meat was the prime thing, henry had all the animals of the ark on his table! The fruit and veg would have had little shelf life, no fridges, and all those displays and centrepeices they made would have taken ages to make so maybe would have smelled a bit rancid after a while on a hot summer day.
Henry must have smellt terrible, he was a complete glutton, and probably didnt fit in that fancy bath by the second half of his life, im pretty sure he would have been making his own grease by that stage! I think he made complaints about anne of cleves being a stinker, kinda seems like the pot calling the kettle black! But that was henry….what a struggle it would have been to be in his presence, holding back puke, telling him he was right, agreeing with his ridiculous notions and voilent ridiculous temper, and instead of the people who were favourites in his presence, and put up with his bs, they may have got titles, but the titles were pretty useless to them after he cut off their heads!
I often fantasise about hanging around henrys court as a fly on the wall, but now i come to think of it, it might be awful, and their would be big competition between me and the other flies!

August 21, 2012
12:47 pm
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Boleyn
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Tash. The peasentry actually washed more than the Nobels if you think about it, the washer woman always had there hands in water, and if a farmer got mucky he would perhaps jump into a stream and clean off. Then of course if woman wanted something large washed like sheets or something they would be bashing them on rocks by a stream in turn they themselves would get wet so in a way they were perhaps a lot cleaner then you think.
Cooking did remove a lot of bacteria. It wasn’t so much the food that caused their problems as such but if they hadn’t washed their hands before ripping sides of beef and chickens apart that where a lot of their cross contamination came from. If someone had just been scratching their backside and then pulled a chicken apart got what they wanted and passed it on down the table and it carried on like that, the chances are that someone would end up ill. As for food their diets mostly consisted of meat and fish although there were vegatables thrown in usually in a form of a pottage, and they did of course like sweet things too.
Sugar was in loaf form, hence the term sugar loaf. and I believe Henry was fond of something called Marchpane. I believe it is a form of Marzipan which the Chefs (and there were many) used to compete with each other to make more and more elaberant scultures. I believe Henry comissioned one chef to build a fairytale castle entirely out of Marchpane for Mary for one of her birthdays, and Elizabeth had a very sweet tooth probably explains why she had black and rotten teeth.
I don’t know about being a fly on the wall Tash, Henry could squash you if he had a hissy fit. Mind you you would certainly have plenty of food as given the amount of Muck there was lurking in the corners food would be abundant. it was probably the flies eating the rubbish and then biting you which was where the main problems with health came rather than being unwashed or the food.

I wonder if Henry and his crew had Lice? James 6th did he was riddled with them appartently.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

August 22, 2012
9:13 am
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Olga
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Actually looking at it in modern terms, and having been a cook for fifteen years, I suspect if anyone got ill from food it’s because of the temperature they ate it at. Though there are some pesky bacteria that can survive either freezing or boiling and are odourless (yes, fun things to terrify chefs with) generally it will breed at a lower temperature. Seeing as food had to travel such a distance from the kitchens and was usually lukewarm to cold by the time the upper tables had finished with it, if the day was hot there would have been enough time for bacteria to start breeding in it. Just a thought. I don’t know how high food poisoning rates were back then but I would think as most of the meat was fresh it wouldn’t have been a massive problem.
That brings to mind Guilford Dudley getting sick from his cooked salad greens, I wonder if the cook accidentally cooked him a poisonous weed. Poor sod Laugh

I’m sure they had as many lice back in Henry’s days, although Henry was pretty clean from what I have read. I can’t imagine him putting up with lice for too long

August 22, 2012
1:26 pm
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Tash Wakefield
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I was under the impression that the cooks and slaves (and i reckon that’s what they were, even if they were proud to work in henrys court) slept in the ashes of the fireplaces and that the cooks as well as others were not able to wash as the nobility did. They would have got to eat their pick of the food, there was so much left over they were selling it off out the back of barrows, But aside from that theyd be worked to the bone. Henry liked to have a massive spread. I have seen old prints of the kitchens and there were as many as 1500 of them in the kitchens when there were many guests. Cross contamination as well as not cooking foods hot enough and properly through, and the lack of refridgeration. Ive heard it was very hot and sweaty in the kitchens, so one can imagine a chicken sitting on a dirty bench thats already had something manky on it and then them cooking it and putting it back where it was then serving it, there would be alot of food poisoning, even if it wasnt recognised as such. I think princess Mary was often taken ill with vomiting and such symptoms, some of it may have been poisoning i guess, lots of people didnt like her! The people she named heretics probably got cooked better than the food did. They called her “Bloody” Mary but i think they should have called her “Well Done” Mary! Or perhaps “Medium Rare” Mary….
The fact that they didnt drink water would have just made it worse, they would get dehydrated and then the ‘doctors’ would bleed them. God it all sounds herendous! Perhaps my fantasies are a little clouded to the details lol maybe id be better off as a fly than as a woman in Henrys court!
Although, i do really love marzipan……
and im pretty sure everybody had lice, lice combs were standard issue amongst gentry. and they probably had them downstairs too, along with the clap lol all sounds lovely doesnt it!

August 22, 2012
2:00 pm
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Boleyn
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Tash they probably would have had Herpes as well, makes you shudder just thinking about it doesn’t it?
I often wonder did woman have any form of sanitary towels during their periods or after giving birth? I’ve heard that some whores packed their vagina’s with wadding of a sort so that they could continue their trade during their menstrual cycle? That must have been very dangerous as they couls possible end up suffered from TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) which probably helped to kill a few of them if the wadding hadn’t been fully removed. Again could this syndrome possible been the cause of some deaths after childbirth, the reason being that part of the placenta hadn’t come away fully.
These days of course given medical science a Doctor would spot that something wasn’t right and order a scan and take the appropiate action if neccessary. Back then woman’s medicine was a virtual unknown and you either lived or died…
To give some credit the herbal medicines they used may have been of benefit to a paitent, but even so mistakes were made and people did die as a result of it.. Although Mercury was known to been widely used to help pain I believe there is no evidence to suggest that Henry actually used it to help reduce the pain in his infected leg and again I believe Opium was availiable. Did Henry use Opium? or Laudeum? to help with the pain in his leg.. To give the fat git some credit (unrelucantly I hasten to add) I can sort of understand why he had such a short fuse he must have been in horrendous pain with his leg, and so you really can’t blame him for his temper tantrums on that score…Maybe K.P religious arguements did help take his mind off the pain for a while as it stopped him from thinking about the pain he must have been in.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

August 22, 2012
3:20 pm
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Olga
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Cross-contamination occurs when raw food is mixed with cooked food, namely meat. It doesn’t actually happen as often as the health inspectors would have you believe either. Most raw food spoils because of poor refrigeration, cooked food because of cooking to cooling time. I’ve seen stuff spoil overnight for no apparent reason, most likely some random bacteria bred while it was cooling down.
No matter what the hygiene standards were of the day I doubt any proud cook would be preparing Henry’s food on a filthy bench. Of course I’m completely biased, but hand-washing is required often, and not just for hygiene purposes. You can’t start carving up a joint when you’ve got your hand covered in sticky flour, you’ll spoil the dish. Like you can’t start handling pastries covered in blood. You’d have to have separate cooks in their respective areas, you can’t handle some foods in hot areas, like pastry. Wooden benches would most likely have spread bacteria, dirty floor, definitely, rushes. But I imagine kitchens would have to function back then as they do today in regards to prep areas, or it would be chaos.
Still, our systems evolve, I reckon if they tried a blue steak, or beef raw, or fish raw, all of which I enjoy, it would have killed them.

Bo I thought they just used rags for their periods. I can’t imagine what else they would have access to. PG mentioned the wadding in TOBG, I remember that.

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