Feeding Your Invalid in the 19th Century 11: Toast Water Jugs

I’ve mentioned that being an invalid when Victoria was queen was an entire life style. I’ve focused on food because recipes are so fun, But there was clothing, vehicles, resorts, entire sets of behaviors to indicate that You Were Ailing Dammit. Victorians had a mania for variety in their china, and invented pieces to be used for every imaginable food, or at every possible occasion. So I should have known that there would be serve-ware for toast water!

Here is a delightful example, essentially a teapot with a wide opening at the top and a built-in strainer. You pop your slice of toast or bread in and fill it with boiling water. By the time the maid carries it (on a tray, with a tray cloth) up the back stairs to the invalid’s room it’ll be cool enough to pour out into a basin or mug, and lifted to the sick person’s trembling lips. Here is an entire collection of these charming vessels, which are often mistaken for teapots. But you can tell by the size of the holes that they are not meant for tea. And wait, there’s more! There are pap boats, usually used for feeding pap (bread and water squished together) to infants. But they also come in useful for pouring gruel into the mouths of people who can’t sit up. These look like narrow handleless gravy boats.

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