Monday, April 19, 2010

"Boils All Over My Back!"

It's May 1930 in the New Yorker magazine, and the cult of yeast is going strong. Witness this testimony from a man who I think is supposed to be a jeweler:
"Boils all over my back! I was miserable!" writes CLIFTON PRINCE, Worcester, Mass. "Seeing a cake of yeast under a microscope convinced me. It was full of living yeast plants! I started to eat it and the result was miraculous. Since then, all my family have eaten it. A doctor advised it for my grandchild. My son eats it as a laxative and a tonic."
One can only wonder what Mr. Prince would have done had he seen a sample of Plasmodium falciparum under a microscope -- popped the whole wad in his mouth, no doubt -- but I suppose yeast wasn't BAD for you...I just think people took too much of it, and expected it to cure everything from constipation to withered fetlocks.

What's amusing about all these yeast advertisements is that they come with a doctor's endorsement...but the doctors are always either German or French. It's like the German doctors owned shares in Fleischmann's. This week's eminent physician is Dr. Friedrich Kraus of Berlin, under whom half the great doctors of Europe have studied ("it is said"). It should not surprise you that all these yeast-hawking German doctors have strange white beards and resemble Freud.

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