Poll Results: Cucumber Complexion Cream, 16th Century


Last week I couldn’t decide which recipe to share.  I have been working on three recently and they all seem equally interesting to me.  My solution to this dilemma was to create a poll and ask you what you would like me to share.  The choices were a perfume to scent clothing from the 16th century, a soap from the Viking age made with conkers (horse chestnuts), or a cucumber complexion treatment from the 16th century.  In the end the 16th century recipes tied with 43% of the votes each.  That means that you get two recipes this week, the first of which I will share right now.

#185  A more simple cucumber pomatum can be made by simmering together hog”s lard and pared cucumbers cut into thin slices.  With respect to the rest of the process, follow the method laid down for preparing lip-salve; and keep this pomatum in the same manner as the former.–The Toilet of Flora, London, late 16th century

The fancier recipe adds a slice of melon and ground cloves and mace to the mixture, but otherwise the process is the same.  I ended up mashing my cucumbers in the blender to improve the texture.  The result is pictured at the beginning of the entry.  I went to the grocery store and picked up two fresh cucumbers and lard (found in the Hispanic food section).  This batch is roughly equal parts of lard and puree cucumber, 1/2 cup of each.  First i melted the lard in a small saucepan over low heat.  Next I added the puree and stirred slowly until combined.  I poured the mixture into a bowl and let it cool.  You could do this same process with the fancier version, just make sure you only use the inside flesh of the melon.  After the pomatum cooled, I got to test it.  I put it on like a facial moisturizer (which is one meaning of the word pomatum) on one half of my face and went about the rest of my day.  Before bedtime, i compared the two halves.  The untreated side of my face felt much rougher and unrefined.  I also liked what it did to my hands after I rubbed a bit on them after doing the dishes.  I liked the smell too, which I wasn’t too sure of when I read the recipe initially.  I think that this might be a good recipe to keep in mind as the weather gets colder, particularly if you live in a windy climate.  Since i have oily skin, I was concerned about using lard on my face, but found the pomatum to be lightweight and comfortable.  As a final note, you might want to store your pomatum in a cool place to prolong its shelf life.

Later this week I will share the other winning recipe for scenting clothes.  I have also made arrangements with another historic herbcrafter from the SCA Kingdom of Trimaris (Florida) to share a wonderful recipe for Early Egyptian Temple incense with us.  His recipe should appear here beginning October 27th.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Doccia Vacha MKA Amy Nantel
    Oct 22, 2014 @ 17:13:09

    Pared cucumber – so just the white flesh, with the skin and seeds removed?


  2. Fleur-de-Gigi
    Oct 22, 2014 @ 21:11:20

    What would I have to offer to woo you to come to Gulf Wars and teach a track of classes? 🙂


    • ladyheodez
      Oct 23, 2014 @ 02:41:27

      Actually, the autocrat asked me to come down at Pennsic. I have been mulling the idea over for a few months and think I might like to come down. With planning I can get my business covered up here and lots of folks in my local group go so I have a car pool. What sort of classes did you have in mind?


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