09 October 2009

Stop Killing Yourself, Eat Shrimp Cocktail


Some friends and I were browsing an antique store last weekend and came across an interesting find. The discovery itself was not the tome by Dr. Peter Steincrohn. We had a good laugh trying to discern why this doctor wrote such a book. Most assumed it contained messages of which would divert the reader from suicide. Likely conclusion given the book's title, How to Stop Killing Yourself. Another idea assailed that it was a work of fiction about lonely people who eventually fall in love. Must not have sold many copies. The title is just not romantic enough.
Eventually, the a hand written for shrimp cocktail caught our attention. Let me relate it to you:

Mozola oil, chopped onions, salt. Mix with shrimp and chill.

Simple enough. However, how did this recipe come to be written on the inside cover of this book?
One could speculate that perhaps this work is non-fiction and one way to stop killing yourself would be to change your diet. Thus, I assume the author may advocate eating shrimp. Methinks Forest Gump's friend Bubba thought of this concept first.

Anyways we had a good laugh when my friend the drummer said she would buy the book only for the recipe.

More on Dr. Pete. It seems he is [or was, since he has passed on a decade or so ago] a proponent of a mostly sedentary lifestyle and against exercise. In a later book he "preaches" jogging is bad for you. The Killing Yourself volume seems to also advocate that traditional values are healthier as I can surmise from this excerpt. However, from other small tidbits on the web, Steincrohn might be making the connection between stress and health although he doesn't cite much if any research. He appears to be something of an early self help doctor [I found he wrote a newspaper column in addtion to numerous books] but I hesitate to draw any further conclusions because some of stuff he proposes has some proven value- most certainly the body's need for rest. Time magazine in 1943 wrote up something about his book on heart disease and then something about another of his books in 1960.
To top it all off, Stop Killing Yourself was featured in a 1952 Popular Mechanics advertisement where I could read the book for 5 days and if I was not satisfied (or it did not combat the insiduous forces that threaten my life) I could return it for a full refund.
I'd probably return it if it didn't have the recipe for shrimp cocktail.

No comments: