Essay: The Hidden History of Bathing in Soup Broth for Gastro Obscura / by Susanna Forrest


According to “the informed opinion of an experienced physician,” the brief news item from Berlin recounted, horse bouillon bathing had proved itself in medical applications, especially in pediatrics. It wouldn’t be just the wealthy who could indulge, the article went on, implying that baths of broth would be affordable for the lower classes, too.

In 1848, German enthusiasm for horsemeat was still new, but the dark red flesh already had a reputation as a health food. The chemist Justus von Liebig claimed that horse contained more creatine for muscle building than beef or mutton, and the new horse-butchering establishments were well-regulated and clean. But even if horsemeat was cheap, why bathe in a tub filled with bouillon?

For Gastro Obscura. (26th February 2018)