You’re a busy mom in, say, London. The year is 1510. It's time to prepare dinner for your family. Something healthy and nutritious that will keep them in good humour.
The Four Basic Food Groups have not yet been grouped, the Food Pyramid has won’t be stacked for centuries.
Yet you know what to feed your family for optimal health, harmony and happiness.
How is that possible?
Because you, my dear, are a Four Humours Woman.
Any good medieval lady knows her four elements of creation: air, water, fire and earth. You know the world needs all of these in perfect balance.
You also know the four bodily fluids are:
blood- hot and moist like air,
phlegm- cold and moist like water,
yellow bile- hot and dry like fire and
black bile- cold and moist like earth.
And you are fully aware that while everyone has all the fluids, they tend to be out of kilter, which results in personality types that drive a mother to distraction.
Your son is phlegmatic. He’s lazy, a bit timid, sort of pale and, unfortunately, rather boring.
With his excess of yellow bile, your husband is choleric–quick tempered, stubborn, and impatient with your lazy son.
But your melancholic daughter who suffers a surfeit of black bile really sends her father to the brink. She’s introspective, greedy, and cries for no discernible reason.
Blessedly, you have a sanguine, warm-blooded nature. An optimist, you know that to feed your family a balanced meal will stabilize their bodily fluids. Harmony will reign.
So how do you make the meal that makes your family bearable?
The cold moist fish that your phlegmatic son eats has lots of hot dry garlic. Your choleric husband can eat the hot, dry baked potato, but you top it with cold, moist cheese. Your melancholy daughter loves her cold, dry bread but you insist on adding a hot boiled egg.
And what do you, sanguine, sweet-natured woman that you are, feast upon?
You balance your hot coffee with a nice cold dish of ice cream.