As you can well imagine, Christmas traditions are very important at the Kassel homestead. As such, all the bad little Kasselites found fossilized carbon in their stockings this year and the bad little wine patriarch—moi—ended up with vinegar.
But not just any vinegar mind you: Four Thieves vinegar. This concoction, prepared by my daughter Erica—who is an anthropologist and does all sorts of research into particularly macabre periods of human history—had significant import during the 14th century.
There are as many recipes for Four Thieves vinegar as there are Black Death victims too stubborn to trust this magical elixir, but it a fair statement that every single one of us alive today owes our very existence to distant relatives who either filled their nose cones with the pungent fluid, drank it in shot glasses, rubbed it behind their ears like Chanel No. 5 or never came in contact with the plague to begin with.
Take three pints of strong white wine vinegar, add a handful of each of wormwood, meadowsweet, wild marjoram and sage, fifty cloves, two ounces of campanula roots, two ounces of angelic, rosemary and horehound and three large measures of champhor. Place the mixture in a container for fifteen days, strain and express then bottle. Use by rubbing it on the hands, ears and temples from time to time when approaching a plague victim.
Normally, such a life-sustaining gift from an offspring would rank somewhere between a kidney donation and a personal Papal blessing from the Elemosineria Apostolica, but as we all know, Bubonic plague today can be cured with antibiotics. Thus, contracting it—then promptly being cured of it—is high on my bucket list of accomplishments I have planned for the upcoming calendar year.
But, I have now made a solemn vow to my daughter that in between intentionally infecting myself with Yersinia pestis coccobacillum and rushing myself to the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital, I will first try her touching, heart-felt, lovingly-given home remedy. As a family, we Kassels are big into the Cure Local movement, and are—to a felon—do-it-yourself types.
I have agreed to wait until the first blackish tumor appears in my groin and I begin vomiting blood before tossing in the pus-drenched towel and dialing 911.
Of course, I have little doubt that this will be necessary. They couldn’t hang it in the Museum of Paris if it wasn’t true, could they?
Keeping the ‘E’ in ‘ChipotlE’
And by coincidence, I have just discovered a recipe for ‘Chipotle’s Ranch Salad with Handmade Guacamole and Tortilla Strips’ hanging on the wall of the Museum of Food Poisoning, so by sheer topical coincidence, we shall also discover if Four Thieves vinegar is likewise a remedy for the dreaded E. Coli Plague of 2015.
Onward and upward, droogies and Kasselinis.