My husband hated the polenta, because of a bad childhood memory. Me, I have never eaten it before but I could live without it. Then we were in France (in 2014) at the Cote D’Azur and we went to Camargue and I ordered it in a small, cosy restaurant. I liked it so much I even asked the waitress for some more information about the way it was prepared! Then returning home I interviewed my Italian friend who praised this dish. He couldn’t stop talking about it! He told me that in the past it was the staple food of the poor people in Italy. So I gave a try and prepared a polenta dish and my husband loved it! He found it so delicious he even wanted to be sure it’s really “the polenta” what he disliked so much in the past?
Ingredients: 3 cups milk or water, 1 cup polenta, 2 eggs, butter, oil for frying
Methods: Bring water or milk to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Pour in polenta steadily, stirring constantly. Continue to stir until polenta is thickened. It should come away from sides of the pan, and be able to support a spoon. This can take anywhere from 20 to 50 minutes (not true for me it took 15 minutes non-stop stirring) Pour polenta onto a wooden cutting board, let stand for a few minutes. Then add two eggs, salt and pepper to taste. Make balls or cut out from the dough nice baking forms. Put into oven and bake or fry them in oil.
Polenta is a dish of boiled cornmeal that was historically made from other grains. It may be served as a hot porridge, or it may be allowed to cool and solidify into a loaf that can be baked, fried, or grilled. The dish is associated with Northern and Central Italy. The only problem with the polenta that it takes a long time to cook, simmering in four to five times its volume of watery liquid for about 45 minutes with near-constant stirring; this is necessary for even gelatinization of the starch. Some alternative cooking techniques have been invented to speed up the process, or to not require constant supervision. Quick-cooking (pre-cooked, instant) polenta is widely used and is prepared in just a few minutes; it is considered inferior to polenta made from unprocessed cornmeal and is best eaten after being baked or fried. That was the way I have done! Polenta can also be prepared with porcini mushrooms, rapini or other vegetables or meats, such as small songbirds (in the case of the Venetian and Lombard dish polenta e osei).
Some Lombard polenta dishes are polenta taragna (which includes buckwheat flour), polenta uncia, polenta concia, polenta e gorgonzola and missultin e polenta—all are cooked with various cheeses and butter, except missultin e polenta, which is cooked with fish from Lake Como where George Clooney lives. In some areas of the Veneto region, it can also be made from white cornmeal (mais biancoperla, once called polenta bianca). In some areas of Piedmont in the northwest, it can also be made from potatoes instead of cornmeal. In the westernmost alpine region, the maize is sometimes combined with local grains like barley and rye (polente bâtarde or polente barbare), and often frichâ and toasted on a loza (thin refractory stone)
I met the handsome, British actor, Clive Standen in Belgium in the Trolls & Legends festival! He is best known for his roles on Starz’s Camelot and the BBC’s Robin Hood and Doctor Who, now Taken. But he’s still breaking out into leading-man territory and causing blood pressures to rise as the fearsome, seafaring Norse warrior Rollo on History’s hit series Vikings. I talked to him in the VIP room in April (2017) and when he put his eyes on me, he stood up immediately and started to sing the “Young girl, get out of my mind”..by Gerry and the Puckets (now I know who was this singer) then he hugged me! It was a greeting of a Viking’s way-he told my with a big smile on his face! Then I revealed him that according to my DNS I’m a viking, belong to the tribe of Sigurd! He was totally impressed by hearing that and dedicated my book: The Many Witches Auberge.
Clive Standen, (35), may play a brooding sexy man on the TV, but he recently opened up to PEOPLE and revealed his softer side. Here are five things to know about the charismatic actor:
1. He appreciates women more than ever, now that he’s had long hair.
For Vikings, Standen had to grow a bushy beard, sport tattoos and scars and don long tresses that extended past his shoulders.
“I wore hair extensions for six months. I have a newfound respect for women,” says Standen. “I’d wake up with all the hair stuck to my face and spend the next 20 minutes trying to take out all the tangles. I don’t shout at my wife when she’s taking forever to get ready anymore.”
2. He’s a romantic and a pro with sweet gestures.
He and his wife, Francesca, 45, who works in the music industry, have been together for years and married for the last five. “I was very lucky to find the woman of my dreams at an early age, and I haven’t looked back,” he says.
He popped the question with an all-day proposal that included spray-painting “I love you, Francesca” down her street, writing love notes on big placards, dressing up as her favorite celeb, Elvis Presley, and singing “Fools Rush In” as he got down on bended knee. “I couldn’t afford the big expensive engagement ring, so I had to do something big,” he explains.
The actor still keeps the romance alive today by cooking meals that he serves in the garden by candlelight after the kids are asleep.
3. He’s a doting dad.
Raising the couple’s three children – Hayden, 14, Edi, 10, and Rafferty, 6, whom he calls “the loves of my life” – is the time Standen cherishes most.
“I really love being a house dad. To pick up the pieces and do everything that is needed for them is a great pleasure,” he says. “It’s important to have one-on-one time. It’s great to get down on the carpet and play cars with them or give the kids a bath and play spaceship.”
4. He’s a thrill-seeking adventure type.
When he’s not filming in Ireland or home in London with the kids, Standen enjoys deep-sea swimming.
“The scuba-diving thing came from my wife and I trying to find a hobby,” he says. “My wife is an amazing swimmer, and I love marine life. I’ve swum with sharks before. I’m trying to get to good enough to go diving in the Arctic Circle. I want to go into the extreme and go under the ice.”
5. He’s a Muay Thai boxing champ.
To play Vikings, Standen and his cast mates had to look like skilled fighters. Luckily for the actor, he already had the experience and physical prowess to portray a warrior – growing up, he was a national Muay Thai boxing champion. He also grew up near Sherwood Forest and did jousting as part of a live-action guided tour.
“With this (The Vikings) role, I get to live out all my fantasies,” he says. “I’m sword fighting, I go horse riding and row long boats. It’s come full circle!”
Last week I found a weird herb in our local super market. On its label was written: portulak, in English purslane. When I asked the shopkeeper what a “heck” is it, she didn’t have the faintest idea about the herb. It must be a forgotten herb- she added shrugging her shoulders. -Okay, in spite of this I decided to buy it since I like to discover new stuffs.
Then at home I started to google about the purslane and I have found the next: Common purslane, also known as (verdolaga, portulak, pigweed, little hogweed, red root, pursley) is an annual succulent in the family Portulacea. It contains more omega-3 fatty acids in particular than any other leafy vegetable plant. What?-I exclaimed. I thought omega-3 fatty acids just exists in fish, but not!
Further more studies have found that purslane has 0.01 mg/g of eicosapentaenoic acid as well. It also contains vitamins (mainly vitamin A, C, B, E, carotenoids)-super!, and dietary minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron. Also present are two types of betalain alkaloid pigments, the reddish betacyanins (visible in the coloration of the stems) and the yellow betaxanthins (noticeable in the flowers and in the slight yellowish cast of the leaves).- I checked my pot plant and yes, the google was right about the colors! Both of these pigment types are potent antioxidants and have been found to have anti-mutagenic properties in laboratory studies. I will see after eating them!
In traditional Chinese medicine. Its leaves are used for insect or snake bites on the skin, boils, sores, pain from bee stings, bacillary dysentery, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, postpartum bleeding, and intestinal bleeding. Use is contraindicated during pregnancy and for those with cold and weak digestion. Purslane is a clinically effective treatment for oral lichen planus. (I don’t want to experience any above mentioned illness or pathological disorders, but in any case it’s good to know!)
Stop to blow its trumpet!- I thought after having learned all those facts about the purslane, I’m totally convinced to eat it.
It has an extensive distribution, assumed to be mostly anthropogenic, throughout the Old World extending from North Africa and Southern Europe through the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent to Australia. The species status in the New World is uncertain: in general, it is considered an exotic weed, however, there is evidence that the species was in Crawford lake deposits in 1350-1539, suggesting that it reached North America in the pre-Columbian era. –Come on it was a weed!!! Given to pigs!-
Scientists suggested that the plant was already eaten by native Americans, who spread its seeds. How it reached the New World is currently unknown. It is naturalized elsewhere, and in some regions is considered an introduced weed.-You see I ‘ve told you!
Purslane in the history and in the kitchen
Purslane is widely used in East Mediterranean countries, archaeobotanical finds are common at many prehistoric sites. In historic contexts, seeds have been retrieved from the Samian Heraion period dating back to the 7th century BC. In the 4th century BC, Theophrastus names purslane, andrákhne as one of the several summer pot herbs that must be sown in April. As Portulaca-portulak it figures in the long list of comestibles enjoyed by the Milanese given by Bonvesin de la Riva in his “Marvels of Milan” (in 1288). In antiquity, its healing properties were thought so reliable that Pliny the Elder, advised wearing the plant as an amulet to expel all evil. A common plant in parts of India, purslane is known as sanhti, punarva, paruppu keerai, “gangabayala kura”, or kulfa. (OMG I have eaten kulfa at my best friend’s house! It was divine, If I have thought…)
Although purslane is considered a weed in the United States, it may be eaten as a leaf vegetable. It has a slightly sour and salty taste and is eaten throughout much of Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Mexico. The stems, leaves and flower buds are all edible. Purslane may be used fresh as a salad, stir-fried, or cooked as spinach is, and because of its mucilaginous quality it also is suitable for soups and stews. The sour taste is due to oxalic and malic acid, the latter of which is produced through the pathway that is seen in many xerophytes (plants living in dry conditions), and is at its highest when the plant is harvested in the early morning.
Australian Aborigines use the seeds of purslane to make seedcakes.
Greeks, who call it andrakla or glystrida, use the leaves and the stems with feta cheese, tomato, onion, garlic, oregano, and olive oil. They add it in salads, boil it, or add it to casseroled chicken.
In Turkey, besides being used in salads and in baked pastries, it is cooked as a vegetable similar to spinach. Similarly, in Egypt, it is cooked as a vegetable stew. Called Bakleh in Syria and Lebanon, is eaten raw in a famous salad called fattoush, and cooked as a garniture in fatayeh (triangular salted pastries).
In Albania, known as burdullak, it also is used as a vegetable similar to spinach, mostly simmered and served in olive oil dressing, or mixed with other ingredients as a filling for dough layers of byrek.
In the south of Portugal, baldroegas are used as a soup ingredient. In Pakistan, it is known as qulfa and is cooked as in stews along with lentils, similarly to spinach, or in a mixed green stew.
Although often identified as a “weed”, purslane is a vegetable rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, a cultivar, sativa, is shown here being grown in a ceramic pot.
My purslane salad looked like this! And yesterday I also prepared an omlette with purslane, fried in butter!
Purslane also finds mention in a translation of the Bible as a repulsive food. Job’s question in Job 6:6: “Can that which is tasteless be eaten without salt or is there any taste in the slime of the purslane?” whereas the King James Version translates this verse as “Can that which is unsavory be eaten without salt? Or is there any taste in the white of an egg?”
May 5th has arrived, and with it come extravagant Cinco de Mayo (Cinco de Mayo translates to the Fifth of May) celebrations around USA. The day is widely recognized as a time to drink margaritas, eat guacamole and celebrate Mexico’s cultural heritage, many people know relatively little about the true meaning of the Mexican holiday. To clear up some misconceptions, here are some important facts about the celebration of heritage and culture: first of all it is not the Mexican Independence Day! It is celebrated on September 16.
Cinco Mayo, honors the Battle of Puebla that took place May 5, 1962. During the battle, also known as El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla, a group of only 2,000 Mexicans was outnumbered by 10,000 French troops. But only 100 Mexican soldiers died, while the French lost about 500 in the battle..
The holiday is celebrated more in the United States than elsewhere. Though it’s heralded as a Mexican tradition, the holiday is a far bigger deal in the U.S, especially in regions with large Mexican-American populations. In Mexico, the largest celebrations take place in Puebla and Veracruz, where military re-enactments are held. Costumed revelers dance through the streets of south Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the annual Carnival de Puebla, a traditional Mexican carnival celebration that re-enacts the Battle of Cinco de Mayo, Apr. 27, 2014.
One of the most popular dishes eaten in Mexico on Cinco de Mayo is mole poblano, a thick chocolate sauce served over meats and other items. Some favorite recipes include Chalupas, or fried tortillas, and Chiles en Nogada, or peppers stuffed and fried.
The world’s largest Cinco de Mayo celebration takes place in Los Angeles. Known as the Festival de Fiesta Broadway, the 2017 event was expected to bring an estimated 300,000 people.
The U.S. drinks an exorbitant amount of tequila to celebrate the holiday. In 2014, Americans bought 12.3 million cases of tequila for Cinco de Mayo, twice as much as was consumed in Mexico, according to the Daily Meal. About 43 percent of all cocktails ordered on the holiday in the U.S. were margaritas. Americans also eat a ton of avocados on the holiday. More than 81 million avocados are consumed on Cinco de Mayo, according to the California Avocado Commission!
Here it is an Avocado dream cream dessert for you:
Ingredients: ¼ cup mascarpone cheese, 1⁄4 cup cold whipping cream, 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk, 1 cup diced ripe avocado, (from Mexico, hehe, divided, but you can replace avocado with apples or raspberry), Amarettini, Italian biscuits with almond taste
Directions: Combine mascarpone cheese, whipping cream, condensed milk, and ½ cup of diced avocados in a large mixing bowl.
With an electric mixer, beat all ingredients together until smooth and creamy.
Fold in remaining ½ cup of diced avocados into avocado cream.
Transfer/layer to serving glasses (the cream is in the middle). Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Garnish with diced avocado, or amarettini almond biscuits and serve with some exotic fruit, such as physalis (Optional).
Above on the picture there is a Toast with avocado, which is made with garlic, chilli, pepper, Mexican guacamole mix spice, half of a lemon juice, and caraway seeds was added to avocado cream as well.
I spent my Easter holiday in Brussels and on one day I popped in the local market and I’d discovered an interesting vegetable. I asked the seller what is it and she told me that it is called navet! But what is navette or navet?- I asked back. She gave the next explanation: it is a sort of turnip or rutabaga. And here people make soup from it using the leaves as well. It is a precious vegetable because the roots contain vitamin A, K, C, Kalium and the leaves the important lutein. Okay, learning all those facts I bought a bunch of “turnip” (1,60 euros pro bunch) and decided to make a soup from it. The market lady suggested me to add some potatoes to veggie, and not to forget to use the leaves!-shouted she to me from far distance. Seeing this beautiful, rosy vegetables my daughters became very curious and they offered their help at cooking.
The outcome was a rich turnip soup! From that humble vegetable I achieved to make a creamy soup with just 1 tablespoon of butter. I served it as a starter (it can be topped with a mini salad who loves the bit of texture from the greens and pop of flavor from the vinaigrette).
Ingredients: 4 medium turnips/navets (about 1½ pounds) plus 1½ cups thinly sliced turnip greens or spinach, divided, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 medium onion, sliced, ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, ½ teaspoon salt plus a pinch, divided, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper plus a pinch, divided, 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, ¼ cup shredded carrot, 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion greens, 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
Peel and slice turnips. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the turnips, rosemary, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon white pepper; stir to combine. Cover and cook, stirring once or twice, for 10 minutes.
Add broth, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook until the turnips are tender, 10 to 12 minutes more.
Meanwhile, toss the turnip greens (or spinach) in a medium bowl with carrot, scallion greens, vinegar, the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and pinch of salt and pepper.
Puree the soup in the pan using an immersion blender or transfer to a regular blender and blend until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Serve each portion of soup topped with a generous ¼ cup of the salad.
In England, the turnip is popular to be boiled together with carrots and served either mashed or pureed with butter and ground pepper. The flavored cooking water is often retained for soup, or as an addition to gravy. Swede (Rutabaga or turnip) is an essential vegetable component of the traditional Welsh lamb broth called cawl and Irish Stew as eaten in England. Swede is also a component of the popular condiment Branston Pickles. The swede is also one of the four traditional ingredients of the pastry originating in Cornwall.
In Canada they are considered winter vegetables, as along with similar vegetables they are able to be kept in a cold area or cellar for several months. However in Germany it is called May roots (Mairüben). They are primarily used as a side dish. They are also used as filler in foods such as mincemeat and Christmas cake.
In the US, turnip is mostly eaten as part of stews or casseroles, served mashed with carrots, or baked in a pasty. They are frequently found in the New England boiled dinner.
Despite its popularity elsewhere, the turnip in German Mairüben, is considered a food of last resort in both Germany and France due to its association with food shortages in World War I and World War II. Boiled stew with turnip and water as the only ingredients (Steckrübeneintopf) was a typical food in Germany during the famines and food shortages of World War I. and between 1945 and 1949. As a result, many older Germans had unhappy memories of this food.
Two more weeks to go then I’m going to Belgium again and I’ll stay there for a while, on the one hand because of the Easter holiday, and on the other hand in order to participate in the Trolls & Legends festival!! This year the topic is the Vikings and Rollo (Clive Standen) will be the special guest!!! I’m so looking forward to the big event.
But because of the strawberry season is also coming as the first fresh fruit of the season it occurred to me the Strawberry museum in Belgium, which is housed in the former gardener’s home in Wépion/Namur, built in Mosan style. I think I’ll visit it again!
Wépion, is a village within the city boundaries of Namur, Belgium. Located 8 kilometers south of the city centre, it’s considered as Belgian’s strawberry capital. The strawberry has been cultivated there for more than 150 years, because Wépion benefits from a micro-climate, sun-exposed plantations on west sloping ground and has a perfect ground for this type of culture. The city produces a strawberry beer under the brand name La Wépionnaise.
The Strawberry empire
Plunge into the ancient history of the strawberry, inseparable from Wépion and discover its origins, its culture and its spot on the sunny slopes of the valley of the Meuse. Walk along the enchanting world of the Small Fruits Garden: follow the guide and learn to recognize some of the many species of native or exotic varieties. Look, smell and taste the delights that nature offers us in this magnificent garden of 60 acres,-that was what I did last year in June!
For many Belgians, Wépion has long been synonymous with strawberries. Carefully picked berries from this village, which has been in the strawberry growing business since the mid-17th century, are renowned for their fully ripe flavor. In Brussels, 50 miles to the northwest, Wépion berries fetch a premium price, roughly twice what the competition is going for. In recent years, though, the Wépion strawberry has faced stiff competition from growers within Belgium as well as from producers in the Netherlands, Spain and elsewhere. Yet despite being outgunned in both volume and price, the Wépion growers maintain a strong hold on their small share of the regional strawberry market.
The growers rally around their brand, La Criée de Wépion, and remain a presence in supermarkets in Brussels and area outdoor markets during the late spring and much of the summer. The growers’ big selling point is that with a limited distribution radius they can wait to pick berries at peak ripeness then quickly ship the fruit to stores in refrigerated trucks. Stocks of Wépion berries often sell out.
I spotted my first box of strawberries with the distinctive Wépion logo a year ago in May in an outdoor food market in Brussels. I bought that first half-kilo box for 6 euros. Given how much I was enjoying the Wépions —I was averaging a box or more a week —and their intriguing context, I decided to visit the village on the Meuse River last June to discover what all the fuss was about.
The strawberries come from the region’s cooperative production center and auction house (in French, “la criée”). My Sunday trip coincided with its annual open house. I arrived at the village around 10.00am, just before the opening. I walked into the warehouse, filled with two waist-high stacks of strawberries in flat wooden trays, a few minutes before Paul Gobiet, the Criée auctioneer and spokesman, greeted the visitors.
During the one hour long tour, Mr. Gobiet explained how the cooperative began in 1962 to organize the mom and pop strawberry growers in the region and standardize prices. Despite those efforts, family berry patches gradually disappeared.
Regional strawberry cultivation endures on about a dozen large farms in the southern French-speaking Wallonia region, not just around Wépion and Namur but in the neighboring provinces of Hainaut and Liège.
The Wépion and Namur farms produce about 400 tons of berries a year, the Wallonian region about 4,000 tons. Both are dwarfed by the 40,000 tons grown each year in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern half of Belgium
While the north produces “really good berries,” Mr. Gobiet acknowledged diplomatically, Wépion berries from La Criée are picked “at full maturity,” resulting in superior sugar levels and taste. He discounted myths that Wépion berries benefit from the region’s soil or fog rolling in from the Meuse.-“It’s the way we pick them,”- he insisted.
When fully ripe on the vine, the stems are carefully severed by the picker’s (deliberately) long fingernails and then rolled into boxes without finger contact to prevent bruising. Mr. Gobiet dismissed the strawberries that enter Belgium from Spain, China and elsewhere as “full of chemicals” and colored water, and beneath contempt.
Picked in the morning, regional berries are trucked to La Criée in late afternoon each day. After the evening auction the berries are placed in the refrigerated trucks, chilled to about 46 degrees Fahrenheit and travel overnight to supermarkets and stands.
After the tour ended, I left with a box of berries to munch as I headed into town to the Strawberry Museum, Musée de la Fraise. The small museum is in an old cottage on the town’s main street, the Chaussée de Dinant, featured vintage photos showing pickers in the fields, wholesalers in town proudly posing by their strawberry trays, the annual strawberry parade and a 1933 photograph of Wépion’s first organized strawberry market.
Last week I visited Wörishofen, a small village in Bavaria. The reason was because each time when I went to my hairdresser, she couldn’t stop talking/praising this place. She likes thermal bathes and this small town became famous for the water-cure-hydrotherapy, which was developed by Sebastian Kneipp (1821–1897), a Catholic priest, who lived in the village for 42 years. That made me curious.
Since Bad Wörishofen is just 80 km/50 miles from München where I live (frontier of Baden Württemberg) so that in spite of the bad weather we decided to go. And we didn’t regret it. Arriving at the town we saw many of the resort hotels and boarding-houses offer their guests treatment using Kneipp’s methods.
By the way the new spa complex out of town is called Therme Bad Wörishofen. The Time Magazine called the city “The secret capital of health.”
I also learned that from the local museum that after World War II, with south-western Germany belonging to the American occupation zone, Bad Wörishofen was the site of a displaced persons camp.
What I’ve learned of Sebastien Kneipp and his methods
Kneipp was a Bavarian priest and one of the forefathers of the Hydrotherapy water cure movement. He is most commonly associated with the “Kneipp Cure” form of hydrotherapy, the application of water through various methods, temperatures and pressures which he demonstrated to have therapeutic or healing effects, thus building several hospitals in Bad Wörishofen. Although most commonly associated with one area of Nature Cure, Kneipp was the proponent of an entire system of healing which rested on 5 main tenets:
Hydrotherapy – Kneipp was able to heal many people with water
Phytotherapy – The use of botanical medicines was another of Kneipp’s specialities
Exercise– Promoting health of the body through movement
Nutrition – A wholesome diet of whole grains, fruits & vegetables with limited meat.
Balance – Kneipp believed that a healthy mind begot a healthy person.
Kneipp was born in 1821 in Bavaria. He studied theology in the University of München but he had to stop his studying in 1847 because of his serious illness (TBC). While he was ill, he began reading many books and found his illness described in a book about water cures. In 1850, Kneipp met a student in the Georgianum seminary in Munich that was also ill and shared water cures with him. Both Kneipp and his friend at the Georgianum recovered from their illnesses and with his renewed health Kneipp was able to complete his studies. He was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1852.
In the 19th century, there was a popular revival in the application of hydrotherapy, instigated around 1829 by Vincent Priessnitz, a peasant farmer in Gräfenberg, then part of the Austrian Empire. This revival was continued by Kneipp, “an able and enthusiastic follower” of Priessnitz, “whose work he took up where Priessnitz left it”, after he came across a treatise on the cold water cure. At Worishofen, while serving as the confessor to the monastery, he began offering treatments of hydrotherapy, botanical treatments, exercise and diet to the people who lived in the village. Some of his suggested treatments included “ice cold baths and walking barefoot in the snow” and other “harsh” methodologies. In 1893, M. E. Bottey described Kneipp’s water cures as “dangerous in most cases”.”. Worishofen became known as a place with a reputation for spiritual healing. In addition to “peasants”, Kneipp’s clients also included Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his father, Archduke Karl Ludwig as well as Pope Leo XIII. Others took Kneipp’s processes back to their home countries to found alternative therapy spas and colleges.
Kneipp began developing his healing methods in 1849 after contracting tuberculosis and experimenting with the water treatments developed by Sigmund Hahn. After being ordained in 1852, he continued to experiment with water treatments in his parish. Kneipp began working with the cures developed by Vincenz Priessnitz but developed a more complicated and gentle method. His gentle cures contrast the earlier water cures that he referred to as horse cures for their strenuous nature. Kneipp’s treatment of patients also contrasted that of hospital medicine because it was personalized and took into account the patient’s individual strengths and weaknesses.
Kneipp’s approach comes from his theory that all diseases originate in the circulatory system. This theory is similar to humoral theory. Like those that believed in humoral theory, Kneipp asserted that breathing miasmatic or excessively hot air would lead to disease. While it may deal with one humor instead of four, his theory still asserts that an imbalance in the blood whether it be circulation or foreign matter is the root of disease. Under Kneipp’s depiction of disease, water cures work by affecting the blood. They dissolve foreign matter, cleanse the blood of this matter, aid in circulation, and strengthen the body as a whole.
In addition to specific cures, Kneipp had prescriptions with regard to food, drink and clothing. He believed that food should be dry and simple and should not be spicy. He also believed that people should drink primarily water but also allowed consumption of alcohol in moderation.As for clothing, Kneipp preferred self-spun clothing made of linen or hemp over wool.
Kneipp’s approach to medicine was not independent of his Catholic faith. His focus on water and herbs stems from the idea that remedies are naturally provided by God. HIs emphasis on plain food, drink, and clothing comes from the theory that humans should live in accord with nature. He used scripture as well as references to Roman practice to support the reasoning behind his cure and admitted that his treatments did not fall in line with current scientific understanding. The fact that his treatments were not based in scientific theory did not bother Kneipp because they were seen as able to succeed where scientific medicine could not. Sebastian Kneipp had a particular dedication to helping the poor and those that physicians can’t help. His suffering early in life caused Kneipp to develop a deep sympathy for those less fortunate than him. He turned down many patients that could feasibly recover on their own but claims to have never refused to treat a patient that is poor or untreatable by other methods.
Kneipp’s book ,My Water Cure was published in 1886 with many subsequent editions, and translated into many languages. He also wrote “Thus Shalt Thou Live”, “My Will”, and The Care of Children In Sickness and In Health.