Monday, June 21, 2010

Cod Liver Oil



Do you (or did you) have a mother or grandmother who believed that fish oil was a panacea? That taking a regular dose would prevent you from catching almost any disease, either serious or minor? And if you had already caught something, fish oil would make it go away?

My grandma Connie, was one of those people! Every time I went to her house she made me take "cod-liver oil."  I was at her house a lot! I'm not talking about fish oil nicely hidden in a sissy capsule. I'm talking about two tablespoons of vomit inducing "cod liver oil" right out of the bottle.  If there is anything nastier, I've never heard of it, or tasted it.  The smell was not to be believed. 

My grandma would always tell us that in addition to the "miracle" healing properties of the oil, it would keep us "regular."  I could not have made it any clearer to her, that I had no problems in this area! 

Seriously, what was up with this concern about my bowel movements?  And why do some old folks have a "fixation" on this subject? Is that what they talk about amongst themselves? 

If I EVER get to the point of answering a "how ya doing?" inquiry, with something like, "I'm doing pretty good thanks, but I'm just not as regular as I used to be!"  I want to be put someplace. Someplace quiet, with soothing lighting and regular doses of mind numbing medication.

She also said that her mother always made her take it and as a result, she was never sick.  So this was some kind of sick payback? Because she had to, we had to?  In addition, whenever we were at her house and wanted a snack there were two choices; peanuts and prunes!  Let's do the math...

Cod Liver Oil + prunes + peanuts = IHED
IHED = Improvised Human Explosive Device

I'm thinking granny may have had some type of fetish or bizarre interest in the scatological sciences...

41 comments:

Georgina Dollface said...

When I was a kid and I got cranky and fussy, my Dad had this embarrassing way of asking me if I'd "been". "You are acting up a bit today. Have you been to the bathroom lately?" and he wasn't talking about #1 either. TMI? Sorry. - G

Lynne H. said...

Ha!! For me it was the choice of two things at my Grandma's. Either Geritol or this SSS Tonic that had enough iron it that if tested I'm sure we would have had lead poisoning.. Gotta love them women of the wild west..great post!!

RA said...

Oh yes! My gran used the same methods! :( She was looking after me and my cousins while our parents went to work, and we'd have to take cod liver oil EVERY DAY. For almost a year! Sure, we'd get a "sweet" after it, but it was a tiny sweet, so very tiny! She certainly had no sense of proportion as far as tastes were concerned. Cod awful.... :(
Still today, I can't even think of taking one of those omega-3 thingies... too many painful memories pop into mind!

Bossy Betty said...

My parents used to threaten us with cod liver oil, saying their parents had forced it on them.

No thanks. Oh and don't talk to me about prune juice either.

Jayne said...

Oh! Gosh did this ring a bell. I remember yawning, rubbing my eyes, stumbling down for breakfast in my cartoon printed pyjama's, and my mother pouring something on a spoon and saying 'open wide', and me, blearily, all trusting and believing, doing as I was told and suddenly having a mouth of pukey fish-oil. Boy was that the day blind trust in parents went out the window!

Margaret Benbow said...

Your granny gave you two TABLESPOONS? She must have been trying to blast you into outer space!

DrSoosie said...

I think granny might have been ahead of her time! Fish oil, cod liver oil etc...is supposed to be beneficial to your body in many ways. Who cares if it makes you want to vomit and you burp up a fish odor all day...you may live an extra few years!!! As far as bowel movement fixations these days I have to agree with your assessment. When did it become a part of normal conversation? Wasn't it something to be hidden behind bathroom doors, disguised by massive amounts of Lysol and flushed away never to be seen again (except by sewage workers.) When did we start analyzing size, shape and content....was it because of Dr. Oz? Anyhow, I will stop my own "poop" rant now and just say I am in complete agreement about both topics you bring up. I will stick with flax meal and keep my bodily movements to myself!!!!

tapirgal said...

In the 1950s, my grandmother also had a fixation with being "regular," like if you didn't do it first thing in the MORNING there was some problem. (And no, I never paid any attention to whether I was or not until she made it an "issue." Her method, though, was a glass of warm water with lemon juice in it. Cod Liver Oil was something I heard about in stories.

Talli Roland said...

Ha! Cod liver oil - blerck! Luckily I was spared this horror.

Copyboy said...

Reminds of the Little Rascals. CO & Prunes? Is there no end to the tortures you faced in childhood. Ugh. FYI...I take fish oil tablets now to lower my cholesterol. Does that count?

Pat Tillett said...

Georgina - That was funny!

Lynne - Yep, it's like they were trying to poison us!

RA - GAGGGGGG!!! I know it's supposed to be very good for us, but I can't bring myself to do it either.

Betty - I know, it's like we have to suffer the payback for what their folks did to them!

Jayne - No kidding, they knew how bad it tasted! Yet, the made us take it anyway...blech!

margaret - Yup, can you imagine how hard it was to take the second one after tasting the first. I eventually learned to pinch my nose shut, then it wasn't as bad.

DrSoosie - Oh yeah, even on the disney channel, have the kids show have some reference to gas or poop!
I'm with you! the less said the better...LOL

tapirgal - What was with that generation? had it been in pill form or something, it would have been so bad.

Talli - blech, puke, hurl, etc!
I'm happy for you....It was a horror!

Pat Tillett said...

Copyboy - At the time, it seemed like there was no end to it. I'm thinking taking those pills is a good thing...(shhhh, keeps you regular also)

Brenda's Arizona said...

Grannys are funny that way... and some aunts are, too! I agree - payback is often handed down to the next generation!!

TS Hendrik said...

Fish oil is good for you. Good for the heart. Cod liver oil though is the spawn of the devil. I've had it a few times in my childhood and just about puked each time.

Jimmy said...

Cod Liver Oil I have not thought about in years, I so would rather have the prune juice.

Funny how many of us are taking the fish oil pills today and also funny how many times regular bowel movements come up in the conversations of the elderly.

Cindy's Dad just mentioned the other day "It's all about the poop, when you are born they check you to make sure you are going and when you get old it's the same thing, so it's all about the poop"

I agree this is something I'd rather keep to myself.

Neil said...

It has to be a "thing" from past generations - Please don't let me grow up to do that to my grandkids! I too got dosed with cod liver oil regularly - despicable stuff! And on a related note - I was once given seal meat jerky to try! Don't! It takes JUST like cod liver oil.

Cruella Collett said...

Huh - they do this in other parts of the world too? I always thought having to take cod liver oil was the punishment for being born in Norway. Any chance your grandmother was Norwegian?

California Girl said...

Dad gave my brother and I an eyedropper full every night before bed. I used to love it as a little kid. I think he hypnotized us or something.

Marlene said...

Was it just as bad as Ovaltine?! That's what got shoved down my throat as a kid! BLECCH!!!

Pat Tillett said...

Brenda - There oughta be a law!!!

TS - I hear that. I wanted to puke every single time I took it...

Jimmy - I haven't thought about it years also. starting today, my cats are off of cat food with fish in it...at least for a while!

Neil - Some traditions need to die off. I'll pass on the seal meat jerky....that even sounds nasty!

Cruella - Cod Liver Oil was huge in the US for a long time...YUCK!!!
Granny was from Mars I think...

buffalodick said...

Ever had "Witch Hazel" rubbed into a cut? I admitted to shit I didn't even do!!!!

Pat Tillett said...

Marlene - As bad as Ovaltine? I loved Ovaltine!!! We liked it so much we put spoonfulls of it in our mouths...YUM!!! To us, Ovaltine was just like chocolate milk...

California Girl - I guess it's not so bad if they put in your eye! just kidding!

BD - I'm happy to say I never had to suffer that form of torture!

Ally said...

this reminds me of when i was a kid watching old shows like the little rascals and they'd always show kids being tortured with castor oil i thought it was called.

baygirl32 said...

Ugh, I hated to see my gandmother comming at me with a spoon.. it was never good!

Did you know that they now make lemon flavoured cod liver old capsules so every time you burp you don't taste the cod (icky)

Nevine said...

My mother used to think that stuff was a miracle in a capsule, and to this day, I am brainwashed into believing this is true. I remember the fishy flavor and the aftertaste... blech! Can I say more?

Nevine

The Retired One said...

IHED...hhahaaaaaa
When I was the Administrator of an Assisted Living facility before I retired a few years ago...those old folks were OBSESSED about their bowels. If they didn't go for more than a day, they panicked. Must be from their parents and that bizarre cod liver oil ritual!

Pat Tillett said...

Ally - torture it was...

baygirl - I know, I wanted to run the other way. They could make donut flavored cod liver oil, I still won't touch...

Nevine - My granny never quite had me brainwashed, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Nice seeing your name pop up Nevine...

Joan - I just don't understand it.

Ms. Anthropy said...

While I'm not a fan of speaking out loud about bodily functions, ahem... not enough can be said about regularity and the problems it causes when you DON'T go. Don't recall ever being forced to take cod liver oil, I was fed Vick's salve, for a croupy cough.

Pat Tillett said...

Ms A - Times have changed, that's for sure. Every family had something...

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Pat, I'm going to show my age for sure now!!!! My mother used to make ME take Cod Liver Oil.... Talk about yuky!!!!!! We also had that horrible Milk of Magnesia --BEFORE they flavored it.... Gag!!!!!

Thanks for bringing back such pleasant memories... ha ha
Betsy

Chuck said...

And that's why they call them old wives tales...because they are true. I always rebelled against the oil, now I take 6 pills a day. Go figure.

Cheeseboy said...

Cod Liver Oil sounds perfect for getting those Omega 3's!

powachair said...

In this country we had cod liver oil disguised in a bottle called Scotts Emulsion. I called it Scotts Revulsion and I was dosed with this vile stuff until I threw up once too many times all over the lounge carpet. I still gag just at the thought.

Pat Tillett said...

Betsy - Milk of Magnesia...Oh yeah! GAG HURL YAK....That was some nasty stuff also!

Chuck - that's pretty funny! You are so right. I even have one of those stupid little bill things with the day dividers in it...

Cheeseboy - Yeah, I'm sure it is, but it's eating dead putrid fish. put in in a pill and I'm good...

powachair - you are right, now matter what they call it, it's still nasty nasty stuff!

Minoccio said...

I took it in capsules, and I hated it. My grandma used to be concerned about my bowel movement when I was little too, I was so embarrased every time she asked me about it.

Jerry said...

Oh yes -- I learned never to say that I was constipated.

Pat Tillett said...

Minoccio - I know! What was up with people back then?

Jerry - Now that's a good plan...

Megan said...

I did a nursing rotation at a nursing home and the FIRST thing we learned was that nearly all old people think they can't "go" without some form of laxative to "keep them regular". We handed out Miralax like it was soda pop. Seriously.

Megan said...

I did a nursing rotation at a nursing home and the FIRST thing we learned was that nearly all old people think they can't "go" without some form of laxative to "keep them regular". We handed out Miralax like it was soda pop. Seriously.

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