STRANGE MEDIEVAL USES

Dyeing_BritLibRoyal

I discovered in my medieval research that there was a surprising ingredient in several everyday items and tasks: URINE! When dying fabrics different colors, tailors would use stale urine from a man. In fact, throughout the 1300s London had buckets in street corners where men would “donate” their urine so that it would collected by dye workers. The reason the use urine to dye fabric is because the ammonia in the urine would make the dye change color. They also used urine while making soaps because the ammonia in the urine acts like a natural bleach. In Tudor kitchens, cooks would use child’s urine to change the color of gelatine molds. It may sound disgusting at first, but this was the norm of Tudor cooking because they valued the presentation and appearance of food rather than the taste and texture. Even if the food did not taste good, it had to look good as though it were part of an art gallery.

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