His gastronomical practices

Continuing to catch up on our long backlog of BMJ pieces….In this one (subscription required) Dalrymple again introduces a multi-talented doctor:
A US magazine once asked me to write an article about doctors who had become political leaders: presidents, prime ministers, that kind of thing. What I discovered was that doctors were better at being dictators than democrats. By “better” I mean more fitted by experience and temperament, not better morally.
Doctors have always been prepared to step outside their professional field, in a wide variety of roles—for example, that of cook. The most famous medical cook was, perhaps, William Kitchiner (1775-1827), whose book, The Cook’s Oracle: Containing Receipts for Plain Cookery on the Most Economical Plan for Private Families, Being the Result of Actual Experiments in the Kitchen of William Kitchiner MD, went through many editions, was in print for decades after his death, and had sold more than 15 000 copies by 1822. Cookery book bestsellers, it seems, are not a new phenomenon.
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Dr Kitchiner’s friend, William Jordan, wrote of his dinners that, “His medical and gastronomical practices were wonderfully combined in so much that his guests could not tell whether what was set before them was a meal or a prescription.”

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