In an age dominated by “instant” and ready made food, it is amusing to find advertisements, like the following, from the May, 1814 issue of Ackerman’s Repository, for early forms of “fast food”. In this case, the product is Lemon Acid, more commonly known as citric acid.
Citric acid was first isolated in 1784 by the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele, who crystallized it from lemon juice. Surprisingly, the “modern” convenience of on-the-go lemonade packets is actually nothing new! Modern citric acid or conventional lemon juice might answer for the acid in the following recipes.
Spyring and Marsden’s
For Punch, Lemonade, Sauces, and other Domestic Purposes
This Acid possesses all the grateful flavour of the lemon, makes most excellent Punch, Lemonade, Shrub, and Negus, instantly dissolve* in warm or cold water. It is also adapted for every purpose in cookery, where the lemon is required, such as sauces, jellies, &c. &c.
The constant demand for lemons, and the difficulty of obtaining them in many places, encouraged the Proprietors to offer to the Public thiss valuable Acid, which has, in domestic use, been found superior to any other article of this description, as it not only affords the acidity, but the most agreeable fragrancy of the lemon.
The convenience of this Acid for Taverns and Inns is sufficiently obvious, as it will make punch, &c. at any time of the year, equally rich as with the fruit. For balls and assemblies this elegant preparation is particularly desirable, as lemonade and negus may be made in the most easy and expeditious manner.
Families will also find it extremely useful to keep by them, it being’ so finely powdered as to dissolve immediately, which prevents the usual trouble of pushing lemons at table.
It is particularly recommended to Officers and Gentlemen when travelling, as it takes but little room, and, with the addition of sugar, will make a pleasant beverage.
Captains of ships and others going long voyages, will find it an useful addition to their stores, as it will keep good a considerable time.
The Following Proportions May Be Used For:
Punch .—A large tea-spoonful of Lemon Acid, a quarter of a pound of sugar, a quart of boiling water, half a pint of rum, and a quarter of a pint of brandy. For a tumbler, a little acid on the handle of a spoon is sufficient. It is necessary to make the sherbet rich with sugar before you add the spirits.
Lemonade .—A large tea-spoonful of the Acid, a quarter of a pound of sugar, and two pints and a half of water.
Shrub .—One gallon of rum, six pints of water, two pounds and a half of lump sugar, and one ounce bottle of Lemon Acid.
The above quantities to be varied as agreeable; also for sauces, jellies, soups, puddings, &c.
Prepared only by them, at No. 163, BOROUGH, London.
Sold in bottles at 2s. 6d. by most Oilmen, Druggists, Grocers, and Libraries, in Town and Country.
Also, their grated Lemonade, in boxes at 3s. containing powders for eight tumblers.
Their Portable Lemonade, in packets, at 2s. for eight tumblers, which also only requires the addition of water.
Spyring and Marsden request those who wish to have either of the above, to notice their name on the bottle, wrapper, and box, otlierwise they may be disappointed in not having the article they expect, as their Acid and Lemonade have been copied by several persons. They think it necessary to annex this caution, as many have been already deceived.
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