Tag Archives: Food History

Feet of Clay

I’ve previously written about the use of scrap paper by Dimitrije Mitrinović and his circle here, exploring how these fragments almost give us two records for the price of one. A particularly nice example turned up amongst Mitrinović’s own notes, which we thought would be worth sharing.

NAF1-6-2-12-8 Mitrinovic's Diet

With screeds of notes on mystical, political, religious or difficult philosophical concepts, it can sometimes seem as if Mitrinović lived on a completely different plane from us ordinary mortals. A document summarising medical advice given to Mitrinović on his diet and daily routine by staff at The International Clinic, Tunbridge Wells, is a useful reminder of the more mundane parts of his life – hence ‘Feet of Clay’. Some of the advice sits quite well with what a GP might recommend today. For instance, the suggested lunch of white fish, lean meat or chicken with plenty of vegetables, fruit and Ryvita sounds very healthy. Other parts feel much more of their time – the twice (or even three times!) daily whisky and soda, and smoking “in reason” would be unlikely to form part of a weight loss regime today…

NAF1-6-2-12-8 Mitrinovic's Diet - Lunch detail

Taken together with other such records from archives, and historical sources such as old medical textbooks, newspaper or magazine advice columns and articles, researchers could study the kinds and quality of dietary advice given, and gain insights into our eating habits, which have changed so much in the last century. Of course we don’t know whether Mitrinović, or any other patient, followed this guidance. One suspects that philosophers wouldn’t necessarily be the most compliant of patients – although some might be grateful to be banned from eating cabbage!

NAF1-6-2-12-8 Mitrinovic's Diet - Rules detail

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