One hundred and eighty-four years after its original publication,

Mackenzie’s Five Thousand Receipts in All the Useful and Domestic Arts

is making its Kindle debut.


My, how times have changed …

Or have they?

Complied by an anonymous source known only as “An American Physician,” this book is a mighty mish-mash of intriguing—and remarkably useful—miscellany.

In the course of 460 pages of small print and black-and-white diagrams, Mackenzie’s covers everything,

and I mean everything,

from beekeeping, gardening, metallurgy, pickling, and preserving

to watercolor paints, medical cures, chimney cleaning, brewing, cooking,

and about a bazillion other timeless topics.

Okay, so the application of leeches may not be relevant to most readers, but there is enough trivia in this tome to keep you entertained, and maybe even enlightened, for hours on end.

Who knew you could make acorn coffee?

And wouldn’t you love to try the “Cream of Roses” facial recipe?

Fortunately, farmgirls, the book has a “most copious index” (the physician’s own words).

I’ve been having fun just thinking up a topic and seeing if it’s listed.

Drying flowers?


Manure application?


Waterproofing shoes?


The Kindle release is slated for July 16, 2013, but you can also pick up a paperback reproduction of the original or even reference it free online.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I love these kinds of books. There are some amazing old ways of doing things and I find them very fun to learn about. Acorn coffee? Aren’t acorns supposed to be very bitter? I cannot imagine!

    On a different note, Mary Jane, I am enjoying the old book In the Green Valley very much. Set in the Welsh mining area of England, it tells the story of the hard lives of the coal mine workers and the huge rife between the younger men and the older men over supporting labor unions. One wonders why supporting better working conditions were not universally embraced by all ages. But fear of job loss kept people willing to keep the status quo, no matter what. I am about half way through but it is a great piece of history and so pertinent to today’s workers who keep pushing for better and safer working conditions. The struggle continues!

  2. Terry Steinmetz says:

    I just went to see the book & the archives is on a scheduled maintenance. So disappointed. Will have to try later!

  3. Laurel Bake says:

    Just in case, if anyone wants to experiment with applying leeches, they are more. than. welcome. to come remove as many as they would like from my pond. Ewwwww…

    • MaryJane says:

      Hi Laurel!

      • Laurel Bake says:

        And a belated hello to you, MaryJane! I neglected to follow comments on this post and just now saw your reply. 🙂 Hope all is well!

        Side note: If you get the email I sent about a baler, disregard! We thankfully found a new (well, new-to-us), reasonably-priced baler just south of CDA… and a-haying we will continue to go!

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