Anatomy of Melancholy, 219-221 – Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. II, Subs. 1 – Bad Diet a Cause. Substance. Quality of Meats (continued)

A of M 219-220

Much like meat, fish are generally bad news for the melancholic:

Rhasis and Magninus discommend all fish, and say they breed viscosities, slimy nutriment, little and humorous nourishment.

On the finer points, there is much disagreement over “fumadoes, red-herrings, sprats, stock-fish, haberdine, poor-john, all shellfish.” And what do you know, “Messarius commends salmon, which Bruerinus contradicts” and “Carp is a fish of which I know not what to determine.” Well shucks, what’s a pescatarian to do?

Well, don’t eat eels on the solstice, that’s for sure: “All physicians detest them, especially about the solstice.” And beware of solitary living and seafood. It’s a bad combination: “[P. Forestus] exemplifies it with an instance of one Buscodnese, a Carthusian of a ruddy colour, and well liking, that by solitary living and fish-eating became so misaffected.”

So what did I learn today? If you must eat slimy nutriment, make sure it is carp raised in a “sweet” pond and not a muddy one, or you can take a chance on salmon. Hopefully this Messarius guy was right about salmon, because I like salmon. Do not eat eels. Absolutely no eels under any circumstances. I cannot emphasize this enough. Also never, ever eat any kind of seafood by yourself. Invite some friends over and avoid the consequent lonely moping.

Now on to herbs and vegetals.

This post is part of a long, tedious, and very illustrated read-along of Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy. More info here and follow along on Facebook here. Illustrations posted via devon_isadevon on Instagram.

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