Secret Powers of Cucumber and Vodka

- December 15th, 2010

My experience with the powers of cucumber and vodka is generally limited to making salads and bloody caesars, but my eyes were recently opened to the far greater uses we can make of those modest, magical comestibles.

I’ve previously mentioned in an earlier blog post Penn Frost (real name Carlton Frost IV), the engaged and engaging president of the Class of 1944 of Dartmouth College, the smallest and most beautiful of Ivy League colleges nestled in the delightful bosum of Hanover, New Hampshire, since 1769.

PennFrost

Penn is also webmaster for the Class of ’44 online home page. Much of the site is very proper, academic and businesslike, listing class officers, alumni officials and contact information, news about former classmates (an increasing number now making it onto the obituary list), arranging reunions, that sort of thing.

But there’s also a section called Bits & Bytes which is sort of like Penn Frost’s fridge door. He sticks up anything and everything that amuses, angers, educates and excites him there.

It’s a rich potpouri of aphorisms, advice, sloppy sentimentality, cunning insight, outrageous stories, hilarious jokes and the general ephemera of life in the 21st Century (as well as the 20th and 19th).

So it was on Penn Frost’s metaphorical fridge door that I found out about the secret powers of cucumber and vodka.

I cannot attest to the accuracy of any of this information, although I am sure Penn Frost would not post it without a certain confidence.  I know he found the cucumber piece in the New York Times Spotlight on the Home section (I never found the original article but this NYT list is in wide circulation on the web). The origin of the vodka one is more obscure, as anything closely related to vodka is wont to  be.

cucumber

13 ways the mighty cucumber can improve your life:

“1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need  every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3,  Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium,  Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

“2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda  and pick up a cucumber.  Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins  and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for  hours.

“3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower?   Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog  and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

“4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds?  Place a  few slices in
a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all  season long.  The  chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum  to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy  and make them flee the area.

“5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before  going out or to the pool?  Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers  along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the  cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer  layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite.  Works great on  wrinkles too!!!

“6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache?  Eat a few  cucumber 
slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache  free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to  replenish essentialnutrients the body lost, keeping everything in  equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!

“7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge?
Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European  trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.

“8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize  that you
don’t have enough time to polish your shoes?  Rub a freshly  cut  cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable  shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

“9. Out of WD-40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge?  Take a  cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the  squeak is gone!

“10. Stressed out and don’t have time for massage, facial or visit  to the
 spa?  Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot  of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with  the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing,  relaxing aroma that hasbeen shown the reduce stress in new mothers and  college students during final exams.

“11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum  or mints?   Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your  mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the  phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for  causing bad breath.

“12. Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean your faucets, sinks or  stainless
 steel?  Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface  you want to clean. Not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back  the shine, but is won’t leave streaks and won’t harm you fingers or  fingernails while you clean.

“13. Using a pen and made a mistake?  Take the outside of the  cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on  crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!”

And now on to the mysterious magical properties of vodka:

stil_vodka_russian_bride

(Before anyone goes crazy on me here, I should point out that this is a not-serious New Zealand ad from about five years ago for Stil vodka. No Russian brides were harmed in the making of this advertisement. And  — to answer the pedants — no Russian mail-order brides were actually shipped off to New Zealand in this promotion. It was a joke — and not mine, so don’t blame me. It just seemed like a good illustration for all the domestic uses vodka can be put to.)

“1. To remove a bandage painlessly, saturate  the bandage with vodka. The stuff dissolves adhesive.

“2. To clean the caulking around bathtubs and showers,  fill a trigger-spray bottle with vodka, spray the caulking,  let set five minutes and wash clean. The alcohol in the vodka kills mold and mildew.

“3. To clean your eyeglasses, simply wipe the  lenses with a soft,  clean cloth dampened with vodka.  The alcohol in the  vodka cleans the glass and kills germs.

“4. Prolong the life of razors by filling a cup with vodka  and letting your safety razor blade  soak in the alcohol after shaving. The vodka disinfects the blade and prevents rusting.

“5. Spray vodka on wine stains, scrub with a brush, and then blot dry.

“6. Using a cotton ball, apply vodka to your face as an astringent to cleanse the skin and tighten pores.

“7. Add a jigger of vodka to a 12-ounce bottle of shampoo.  The alcohol cleanses the scalp,removes toxins from hair,  and stimulates the growth of healthy hair.

“8. Fill a sixteen-ounce trigger-spray bottle with vodka and spray bees or wasps to kill them.

“9 Pour one-half cup vodka   and one-half cup water into a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze for a slushy, refreshing ice pack for aches,  pain or black eyes.

“10. Fill a clean, used mayonnaise jar with freshly packed lavender flowers,
fill the jar with vodka, seal the lid tightly  and set in the sun for three days..  Strain liquid through a coffee filter,  then apply the tincture to aches and pains.

“11. To relieve a fever, use a washcloth to rub vodka on your chest and back as a liniment.

“12. To cure foot odor, wash your feet with vodka.

“13 Vodka will disinfect and alleviate a jellyfish sting.

“14. Pour vodka over an area affected with poison ivy to remove the urushiol oil from your skin.

“15. Swish a shot of vodka over an aching tooth.  Allow your gums to absorb some of the alcohol to numb the pain. ”

Me again:

Now all those suggestions seem like good ideas, but most of them can be accomplished with plain old rubbing alcohol, which is much cheaper than (most) vodka. I personally would keep the vodka strictly for uses involving internal consumption.

Before we go, one more piece of advice from Penn Frost’s Bits & Bytes. It’s a quote from Mark Twain:

“Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”



Categories: News

Subscribe to the post

5 comments

  1. Arthur says:

    Now,all I need is a remedy for burps after eating the damn things(I love them)

  2. Phil Watson says:

    What you write about vodka is spot-on, but I disagree w/ the part of rubbing alcohol being preferable. I’m a U.S. expat living in Moscow for the last 17 years. Rubbing alcohol is much more expensive than vodka and I often buy the cheap stuff, 3$ or so for a big bottle and use it for disinfecting and cleaning around the house. In Russia there are a million home-remedies involving vodka – to get rid of a cold you have to drink a concoction of vodka and black pepper – and people think it’s healthy and invigorating to rub your body with it.

  3. alan.parker says:

    Spasibo, Phil.

  4. Robert Burch says:

    The Stil vodka ad wasn’t completely a joke – you had a chance to win a trip to St Petersburg, and perhaps meet a girl there who possibly could become your wife. The ad probably served its purpose of getting attention while at the same time driving a lot of radical women’s groups crazy…

  5. 2 oz of Vodka, 2 cups of water and some lavender in a spray bottle and spray your cotton clothes and iron

Leave a comment

 characters available