Potato’s, Onions & Milk…..Oh My!

 **Potato’s or potatoes – I have spent an inordinate of time trying to determine what spelling I should be using and have now simply gone with my gut instinct…which could be wrong, but honestly who really cares***

No…..I am not sharing a recipe for potato soup.

Apparently potato’s can cure hemorrhoids.

Onions can cure the flu.


Milk and bread can create a poultice to draw out the poison of a boil.


What I said.

Apparently modern medicine has nothing on the treatments dreamed up by our parents.

I grew up with a Dad full of……well *cough*  he was, and continues to be, full of many things (nice things of course). He had personal knowledge/experience of many, many  “home cures” to experiment with at the drop of a cowboy hat. The second youngest in a family of 10 children, he had probably seen his fair share of doctorin’ over his lifetime. Mom was a city girl and Dad was a farm boy and with that distinction came a different mindset borne of necessity. Mom would have gone to a doctor, whereas Dad would have tried a more “local” cure first! My mom, daughter of a school teacher and herself a school teacher (indication of attendance of higher learning), might have been skeptical of these homespun medical miracles, but if she did….she never let on.

Some of them were absolutely bizarre, “Keep that piece of potato away from me!”

Some of them actually worked……

When I was a little girl I had a boil on my elbow that was an angry red and swollen up to the point where I had a “teet-like” appendage coming off my arm (“teet” is farm speak for boob).

Honestly…..it looked like an elbow nipple.

Family discussion ensued.

Go to the community nurse?


Go the doctor?

Gah? That is 60 miles away! No way!

Lance it?

Nope…..as attractive as that sounded, the boil wasn’t quite ready for a lancin’

Sweet heavens to Betsy…nothing got my family more excited than an opportunity to lance or pop something. This fascination has continued…..

Make a milk and bread poultice?

Sure……let’s give it a shot.

My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I believe that warm milk and bread were mixed together to form a paste.

The paste was now used to slowly build up a “cast” layer upon layer over the affected area.

When complete, the mixture hardened and voila! I had a cast!

How very, very MacGyver of them!

Side note: Deep down I was thrilled! I had always wanted a cast….but in those days I had cat like reflexes and freakishly efficient motor skills and always seemed to land right side up. No broken bones for this gal.

I loved the cast.

I forgot about my boil.

I even put my arm in a sling.

Days passed…….

The comforting scent of white bread and milk was now souring.

I began to smell.

Correction….my ARM began to smell.

A family meeting was quickly convened.

The cast needed to go and hopefully the boil (that everyone had forgotten about) should be gone.

Dad got out his jackknife.

Question for later: Why do they call it a “Jack” knife?

Dad got out his knife and proceeded to cut my hard, yellow, smelly, “cast” off.

It came off in one piece.

The smell was horrific!

My elbow was all shrivelled and stinky.

The elbow “teet” was gone! The boil was gone!

It worked!!!!

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