Food for Thought

Here's a tidbit for any Wonders and Marvels readers out there who may be thinking about starting a family.

Until the late seventeenth century, Galenic notions of the body as a complex system of fluids (humors) dominated. In the sport of baby-making, the end goal was to mix male and female "seed" in just the right quantity and quality to make a boy. So this meant that the hotter the better.

Men were considered hot and dry in humoralist models. So, if the seed mix was hot, a boy would be born.

So, here are a few seventeenth-century tips for all of you out there. If you want a girl, stick with those cold foods like fruit and lettuce. If you want a boy, head straight for foods that early-modern physicians classified as hot: wine, meat, arugula.

I'm not so sure about the recipe for dried stag testicles, though. If it works for you, let us know. Early doctors recommend that you sprinkle them liberally onto your food.

Imagine this: "Excuse me, Sire. But could pass the salt and testicles?"

For more eclectic musings on embryology, childbirth, chastity belts, brothel madams, you name it...
take a peek here.

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  1. ha! I can't imagine. Poor Catherine de Medici had to endure applying a mixture of ground up stag antlers and dung.

    I have to tell you about this funny documentary I saw. I wish I could remember the name of it? Anyway, they took two male subjects and fed one junk food and the other really healthy food and then these smart scientists raced their sperm. Well, the healthy eater's sperm kicked the junk food eaters butt.

    Not that this one test proves much....but maybe that arugula will help make a baby. heehee

  2. "Excuse me, may I please have some salt and testicles?" That's hilarious. Interesting facts about procreation though. Thanks.

  3. it's amazing what some people would believe.

    we're currently expecting in July - and I'm hoping for a little patriarch. (we're not finding out the sex) - So maybe I'll have the misses eat some arugula since meat and alcohol are off the diet

  4. Isn't it funny, too, that contemporary texts worried that heat might alter one's sex even after birth and growth into adulthood? Conduct writers evinced concern that hot-tempered women or even physically active women might overheat and cause their internal penis to become external. Cautionary tales of this kind abound, and writers use them to urge women to stay indoors, still and quiet, to prevent such a shift.

    You might know (I'm not sure) -- some of the writers may have even used tribades as examples....


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