Jun 042012
Still Life by Caravaggio

Food historian Heather Ruiter recently posted a draft copy of her forthcoming essay on prenatal food in Renaissance Italy. Basing her research on Michele Savonarola’s Ad mulieres ferrarienses, Ruiter examines the sixteenth century author’s recommendations for pregnant women, comparing them to what modern medical science recommends. Particularly interesting is a passage in which Savonarola recommends drinking quench water (i.e. the water in which smiths quenched hot metal). Ruiter hypothesizes that the water then had a higher iron content, a thesis that she promises to test in the future (a tantalizing question). A short but fascinating essay that has much good information on Galenic prescriptions.   ZN

The paper is downloadable here.

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