The Gilded Troches

None of the intrepid men and women who originally settled Hampton were born in America, so to get here, at one time or another they had to cross the Atlantic in a small, leaky, rat-infested wooden ship. If they were anything like modern humans, they would have seriously demanded their money back, and nearly all of them would have suffered from bouts of seasickness during their three-month voyage from England.

In July 1638, the English writer John Josselyn arrived in Boston aboard the New Supply, alias the Nicholas of London, a 300-ton ship carrying its Master, Robert Taylor, 48 sailors, and an original contingent of 164 passengers (some died at sea from smallpox and consumption). As writers will do, Josselyn kept a diary of the voyage. He later chronicled a second voyage, and in 1674 published both in a work titled An Account of Two Voyages to New England.

Josselyn was no doubt well-acquainted with seasickness, as it occurred both in himself and in his fellow passengers. In An Account, he offered a remedy for the dreaded affliction, which emigrants were to prepare before setting out on their journey to the New World.

While he agreed that “Conserve of Wormwood is very proper to prevent or take away Sea sickness,” he preferred Troches (lozenges) made by using a recipe that included gilding the finished lozenge with edible gold. Almost four hundred years later, the main ingredients of the cure, cinnamon and ginger, are still widely used for stomach upset associated with motion sickness.

First make paste of Sugar and Gum-Dragagant [tracacanth] mixed together, then mix therewith a reasonable quantitie of the powder of Cinnamon and Ginger, and if you please a little Musk also, and make it up into Roules of several fashions, which you may gild, of this when you are troubled in your Stomach, take and eat a quantity according to discretion.

(Gilded Troches, never leave England for America without them!)

3 thoughts on “The Gilded Troches

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  1. Hi Cheryl!

    How interesting!

    I have to say, that when I read the title, I took a pause. My David takes “troches” when he develops thrush after taking an antibiotic! Yep! His are not “gilded” though…haha

    Great post! xo

  2. Cheryl
    How very interesting. Seems this use of gold has for years been part of the culinary and medicinal cupboards of our forefathers. J.A. Lane in Hampton sold gold in his store in the late 1800’s that Mrs. Shaw used to guild the butter she churned and sold. I would love to make some of those Gilded Torches.In fact in my culinary kit I just happen to have some of the gold powder that I have used to gild cookies, that were worth their weight in gold and tasty too. Karen

  3. I take “trochees” too, which is why the recipe caught my eye…and also that Karen discovered the woman in Hampton who sold gilded butter to the fancy summer people!

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