What’s sitting in your cupboard?

I’m actually contemplating spring-cleaning–the old-fashioned kind of spring-cleaning like my grandmother used to do.
The walls in each room get washed down, and the kitchen cupboards get emptied out and everything gets a bath before being returned and hopefully (if memory serves me correctly) to same spot so that it all fits back in there.
Oh yes, I have a lot of junk stuffed in my kitchen cupboards–cupboards that are original to this old farmhouse of the late 1940s, tall and deep enough to hold your imagination.
In fact, the cupboards are so deep that I can hurl new packages of spaghetti and boxes of lasagna noodles into one of them from halfway across the kitchen and they disappear, never to be found again for six months.
I need a small stepladder to reach the top shelf of the one corner cupboard and even then I have to stand on tippy toes to get a look inside. I can’t see or reach the back of it without a flashlight and a yardstick.
I have no idea what’s stored in that cavern.
I could host a highly-successful reality TV show right here, dub it “Storage Wars from the Creek,” and watch as the winning bidders paid good coin for a chance to treasure hunt. Rest assured they would not leave empty-handed nor unsatisfied.
Another cupboard’s top shelves hasn’t been disturbed since before I moved here 12 years ago. No word of a lie. It’s a vintage mystery. It’s full of well-loved, tattered cookbooks and small wooden boxes overstuffed with all manner of old recipes.
Earlier this week, I pulled out an old cookbook entitled “The Home Queen Cookbook,” published in 1901 and it looks its age. The Table of Contents for the 607 pages of ancient text includes instructions for 21 ways to fold a table napkin. Who knew?
How about a recipe for boiled calf’s head or stewed pigeon? I don’t think so.
On impulse, I opened to Page 31, where I found two handwritten recipe remedies I’m also not likely to try anytime soon.
The ankle sprain mixture consisted of turpentine, vinegar, and two beaten egg whites. “Mix in bottle, shake well, and apply.” Yep, the smell would make you forget how much your ankle was hurting as you threw up.
As for the vile solution touted to cure a live “turkey with a swelled head,” well, if I were the turkey I’d make a run for it. And if the live turkey’s head was swollen, chances are pretty good I wouldn’t choose him for the dinner table anyway.
“1/2 teaspoon boracic acid, 4-5 drops carbolic acid, ½ cup lukewarm water. Take a sprayer, open the turkey’s mouth, and spray it up into the nostril.” Yep, run turkey run.
Oh yes, and there’s a stiff little chapter on keeping your kitchen organized. I guess this part was written for me–or not.
“The password to this indispensable apartment of the home is ‘neatness,’ and it should be spoken morning, noon and night, and not simply on occasions to suit the convenience of the housekeeper.”
Really? I think I’ll go fly a kite instead.

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