Firstly, what is a still room?
“During medieval times, the lady of the house was responsible for tending the sick and seeing that the kitchens were stocked sufficiently. Using the model of Roman and Greek times, special rooms were set aside in castles and manors to prepare medicines and distillations. The lady of the house oversaw the functions of the room, which grew to include brewing beer, alcohol and wine, creating cosmetics, preserving food, and mixing household cleaning agents. A still room might also serve as a pantry, larder, storeroom, or infirmary where the sick or injured could be treated.
It was the responsibility of mothers to teach their daughters practical household skills to prepare them to assume the responsibility of their own home. Over time, the still room became the responsibility of other relatives or household servants.” Source: http://ritabay.com/2011/05/20/abbeys-stillrooms/
Not everyone had huge estates or servants, but even humble homes had an area where these things were prepared. The still room book therefore, is where information like recipes, formulas, harvests and purchases were recorded. Also, major family or historical events may make it into a still room book.
As I already mentioned, last year I made my own book which I called “The Catesby Household Journal – 2011”. Catchy, right?
You can make books yourself which would make for a wonderful heirloom piece, but in my case I took advantage of a freebie deal on LuLu.com and had a hardcover book printed to my design instead.
I started off with the family crest of my husband’s family (so that one doesn’t get lost down the track), then I added a very small family tree of just this branch of the family, in Australia.
Then follows about 4 pages of ruled paper to add family births, deaths and marriages.
Since this is meant to be a practical book, but also a hand-me-down I wanted to make sure it had information that I needed to keep have on hand in the kitchen but also a bit of a time capsule that might be of interest to future generations. Which is why the next few pages had basic herb info, ancient measurements converted to modern measurements, pictures of old world kitchen gardens and still rooms that I like and …speaking of conversions, two pages of metric conversions of pretty much everything that’s convertible
After all that there are about 150 blank, ruled paper to record
· how they worked
· what needed changing
· how did it taste?
· Experiments with dosage
· treatment successes
· garden successes
· gardening flops
· craft ideas
Anything that takes place in your still room (kitchen) has a place in your still room book. My personal motivation was, what would I give to find a book like this, kept by my grandmother, or even her grandmother….wow. What would I find in there? Stains…..it would definitely have stains to show that it was actually used. And hand writing! Maybe even different hand writing from different generations, how cool would that be?
Now, I realize this isn’t the herbiest post I have ever written, but I think it is the perfect way to preserve your herbal ways.
Raised with herbal traditions passed down by her grandmother in her native country Germany, Anke Bialas has expanded her knowledge and application of herbs in unconventional ways, saying "Even a little bit of nature goes a long way."
With a firm believe that herbal health can fit into even the most conventional home, she makes all things herbal appeal to everyone.
Anke is known for her practical, everyday approach to herbal health which led to her writing the Herbology At Home series of guides. These guides provide a convenient reference for both the seasoned novice and those new to herbs and natural health.
Visit Anke Bialas at:
I want to thank Anke so very much for allowing me to be a part of her virtual book tour for her newest book in her Herbology at Home book series, Homemade Health. And also thank her so much for sharing her stillroom book with us! It looks fabulous Anke! What a family treasure this will be for future generations! And how handy to have all your lovely recipes and information in such a beautiful book for your own use:)
I would like to offer my readers a chance to win a signed copy of Anke’s new book, Homemade Health. All you have to do is comment on this post! The drawing will be open until June 27th. which is the last day of the virtual book tour:)
Herbal and Honey Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xx