“They were saying, ‘Well, shit, if you get cholera, it means that you’ve been doing certain things. You’re having sex outside of marriage, you’re smoking, you’re drinking alcohol,’” says Engs. And, above all, you’re eating improperly. “Graham actually wrote a whole book on cholera and how to prevent it. You don’t drink coffee or tea, or eat raw vegetables. Now, the point about raw vegetables was probably good
advice he gave, in terms of cholera.” Cooking would kill the bacterium, and many other foodborne pathogens. Certainly, Graham didn’t know that then. He believed that cholera was caused by
, “a particular acute manifestation of overstimulation of the stomach.” Therefore, food should be soft, bland, devoid of strong flavors or flavors that might excite or stimulate a person. He ate this way, and he didn’t get cholera, after all. Therefore, cooked (what we’d now consider over
cooked) vegetables became a central element in his dietary creed, which he preached in packed lecture halls across the country, drawing thousands at a time. And thanks to this incredibly lucky coincidence, his word soon became gospel.