Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine,  1 (1817), 387–88.

Method Adopted at Geneva for Supplying the Poor with Nutritive Soups from Bones

D Brewster, Venlaw


Letter, Introduction; Letter, Extract

Publications extracted:

Marc-Auguste Pictet


Disease, Health, Nutrition, Class

    David Brewster introduces a letter to him from Marc-Auguste Pictet, dated 26 June 1817. Pictet relates how he has cancelled a trip to 'Genoa, by the way of Turin, with the intention of returning by Pavia, Milan, and the Simplon'. This is due to the 'dreadful state of misery, bordering on famine, with which these countries are afflicted, and the prevalence of diseases, partly contagious, which are the consequence of bad food'. (387) Pictet proceeds to suggest a solution, previously used in Geneva, of feeding the poor with 'Rumford soups', paid for by subscription. This involves setting up communal boilers to boil animal bones to make a 'nutritive' broth. Each supply of bones, it is reported, can be boiled up to three times to produce both broth and gelatine. Suggests that, 'as there are more bones collected in the city than can be immediately employed', if the bones can be washed, steeped, boiled and then air dried 'we might prepare a granary of bones, as well as granary of corn, and thus keep in reserve, animal as well as vegetable food'. (388)

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