I am not the first to try to compile an exhaustive collection of recipes, tricks and formulas for total self-sufficiency and knowledge — in fact these books were quite popular at the turn of the (previous) century, and as part of my research I discovered a very charming one, Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes and Processes, an 800+ page treasury of fascinating cultural and chemical tidbits published in 1914. The book contains recipes for mysterious concoctions (toilet milk?), and passing, matter of fact allusions to child labor. Then there are descriptions of formulas containing what we know now to be deadly poisons. Although we might chuckle and look down at the ignorance of the past, I find it, on the contrary, to be sobering. What chemicals now in use are hurting us? “New and improved” is advertised on products. “New and untested” would be more accurate. In 70 years our grandchildren will look back in disbelief: “I can’t believe they actually put 2 butoxyethanol in their cleaners!” they’ll shake their heads and cluck their tongues. That is, if they are born…. 2 butoxyethanol causes testicular atrophy… it’s a good thing for men they so rarely clean the toilet!
This is one reason I have become addicted to making everything myself, using only ingredients I trust, and why I’m writing this book. Now “Fantastic” gives me a headache. Even if it didn’t save me hundreds of dollars a year I would make my own products — I like my brain cells, and I want those grandchildren!