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قراءة كتاب Food in War Time

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Food in War Time

Food in War Time

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
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our corn crop is used for human food, and of this, 3.4 per cent. is consumed by the farmers and their families.

The substitution of foods is no new thing. We find that an English contemporary author thus described the food habits of the English people during the "golden days of Good Queen Bess," three hundred and fifty years ago:

"The gentilitie commonly provide themselves sufficiently of wheat for their own tables, whylest their household and poore neighbours in some shires are forced to content themselves with rye or barleie; yea and in time of dearth many with bread made eyther of beanes, peason[1] or otes, or of altogether and some acornes among."

A difference between those days and ours is that the "gentilitie" and the "poore neighbours" are now asked to unite in reducing the consumption of wheat and to do this for the safety and welfare of all mankind.

Another point in war economy is the use of whole milk in greater quantity, and the diminution of the use of butter and cream. Cream is bought only by the wealthy, but in sufficient volume to largely reduce the amount of whole milk available. In Germany before the war 15 per cent. of the milk supply of that country was used for the production of cream. The consequent restriction of the milk supply was distinctly to the detriment of the health of the peasant farmers of Bavaria. Regarding the use of butter, a Swiss professor, himself an expert in nutrition, complains that whereas in his youth children were never given butter on their bread for breakfast, not even when there was no jam in the house, yet to-day absence of butter from the table is held to be indicative of direst poverty.

If one takes a pint of whole milk daily, or even, as we have seen, cabbage or beet-tops in its stead, one may take fat in the forms of olive oil or cottonseed oil, corn oil, cocoanut oil, peanut butter, or in other vegetable oils, without possible prejudice to health.

Osborne and Mendel, and more recently Halliburton, have pointed out that oleomargarine as prepared from beef-fat contains the fat-soluble growth-promoting accessory substance or vitamine which is present in butter-fat, but which is not contained in vegetable oils or in lard.

Halliburton and Drummond summarize the practical results of their work as follows:

But when we approach the subject of the dietary of the poorer classes, the question is a more serious one. In ordinary times the consumption of beef dripping, which is considerable among the poor, would to a large extent supply the lacking properties of a vegetable-oil margarine. But at the present time beef itself is expensive, and the opportunities of obtaining dripping are therefore minimized. At the same time the three important foods for children already enumerated (milk, butter, eggs) have risen in cost, so as to be almost prohibitive to those with slender incomes. The vegetable-oil margarines still remain comparatively cheap, and the danger is that unless measures are taken to insure a proper milk supply for infants at a reasonable charge, these infants may run the risk of being fed, so far as fat is concerned, entirely upon an inferior brand of margarine, destitute of the growth-promoting accessory substance. It would be truer economy even for the poor to purchase smaller quantities of an oleo-oil margarine if they cannot afford the luxury of real butter.

The legal restrictions placed upon the sale of oleomargarine and the taxes enhancing its cost, now in operation in many of our states, are without warrant in morals or common sense and should be entirely abolished in times like these. A well-made brand of oleomargarine is much more palatable than butter of the second grade, and certainly for cooking purposes is just as valuable.

Whole milk contains everything necessary for growth and maintenance, protein, fat, milk-sugar, salts, water, and the unknown but invaluable accessory substances. It is of such prime importance that each family should have this admirable food that I have suggested that no family of five should ever buy meat until they have bought three quarts of milk. The insistence by scientific men upon the prime importance of milk has probably had something to do with its rapid enhancement in price. This latter factor is greatly to be regretted. I have often wondered why it was that a quart bottle of a fancy brand of milk in New York should cost about as much as a quart of vin ordinaire on the streets of Paris, and a quart bottle of cream as much as a quart of good champagne in Paris. Despite much denial it appears to me that milk is not sold as cheaply as it ought to be. Everything should be done to conserve our herds of cows for the increased supply of whole milk and incidentally for the manufacture of cheese and of milk powder or of condensed milk.

If one takes milk with other foods, meat may be dispensed with. Thus Hindhede advocates as ideal a diet consisting of bread, potatoes, fruit, and a pint of milk. Splendid health, both of body and mind, the peasants' comparative immunity to indigestion, kidney and liver disease, as well as an absolute immunity to gout, is the alluring prospect held out by the following dietary:

Graham bread 1 pound
Potatoes 2 pounds
Vegetable fat ½ pound
Apples 1½ pounds
Milk 1 pint

This bread-potato-fruit diet gives a very excellent basis of wholesome nutrition. The potatoes yield an alkaline ash which has a highly solvent power over uric acid, and, therefore, a good supply of these valuable tubers is needed by the nation.

To most Americans the dietary factors here described will appear to be merely attenuated hypotheses, fit only for philosophic contemplation. For, in real life, it is the roast beef of Old England, or some other famed equivalent, that makes its appeal. Far be it from me to disparage the feast following a hunt of the wild boar or other feasts famed in song and story, but that is not the question. The question is, is meat necessary? The description of the Italian dietary answers this in the negative.

But is meat desirable? The Italian experimenters believed that the addition of four or eight ounces of meat to the dietaries of some of their subjects increased their physical and also their mental powers. The increase in mental power due to change in diet has always seemed to me to be a figment of the imagination and not susceptible of demonstration. Thomas lived for twenty-four days on a diet of starch and cream, during four days of which time the very small quantity of three ounces of meat was taken daily, and he found his mental and muscular power unchanged.

A remarkable experiment on the effect of a potato diet has been reported by Hindhede. An individual partook of a diet of between four and one-half and nine pounds of potatoes daily, with some vegetable margarine, during a period of nearly three hundred days. The rule was to eat only when hungry and then the potatoes could be taken at the rate of an ounce a minute. During the last three months (ninety-five days) of the experiment severe mechanical work was performed and the total food intake for the latter period amounted to 770 pounds of potatoes and 48 pounds of margarine. What could be more simple than stocking the cellar with coal, potatoes, and a tub of margarine! Who then would worry about the

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