قراءة كتاب The Skilful Cook A Practical Manual of Modern Experience

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The Skilful Cook
A Practical Manual of Modern Experience

The Skilful Cook A Practical Manual of Modern Experience

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
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digested or dissolved, and becomes finally a part of the body, or is assimilated. As food, then, must be relished it is desirable that it should be varied in character—it should neither be restricted to vegetable products on the one hand, nor to animal substances (including milk and eggs) on the other. By due admixture of these, and by varying, occasionally, the kind of vegetable or meat taken, or the modes of cooking adopted, the necessary constituents of a diet are furnished more cheaply, and at the same time do more efficiently their proper work. Now, if we were to confine ourselves to wheaten bread, we should be obliged to eat in order to obtain our daily supply of albuminoids, or ‘flesh-formers,’ nearly 4 lb.—an amount that would give us nearly twice as much of the starchy matters which should accompany the albuminoids—or, in other words, it would supply not more than the necessary daily allowance of nitrogen, but almost twice the necessary daily allowance of carbon. Now animal food is generally richer in albuminoid, or nitrogenous constituents, than vegetable food; so, by mixing lean meat with our bread, we may get a food in which the constituents correspond better to our requirements; for 2 lb. of bread may be substituted by 12 oz. of meat, and yet all the necessary carbon as well as nitrogen be thereby supplied. As such a substitution is often too expensive, owing to the high price of meat—cheese, which is twice as rich in nitrogenous matters (that is flesh-formers) as butchers' meat, may be, and constantly is, employed as a complete diet, and for persons in health, doing hard bodily work, it affords suitable nourishment. Even some vegetable products, rich in nitrogen, as haricot beans, may be used in the same way as meat or cheese, and for the same purpose.’[1]

It is a pity that the value of haricot beans, peas, lentils, and oatmeal is not more generally known. One writer says that there is as much nourishment in 1 lb. of either of these as in 3 lb. of lean meat; and in a lecture on the same subject, another writer states that in three farthings' worth of oatmeal there is as much nourishment as in a mutton chop. These are certainly facts which should be known, especially by people of limited means. Macaroni and semolina are also valuable foods; they are prepared from the most nutritious part of the wheat grain. Rice and maize are deficient in flesh-forming properties, but useful as heat-giving foods; so are, also, tapioca, cornflour, and sago.

Potatoes and fresh vegetables contain but little nourishment. They must not, however, be despised on that account, as they are most valuable additions to our daily diet on account of the potash and other salts which they contain. These vegetables help to keep the blood pure. The anti-scorbutic properties of the potato are so great, that since its introduction into England leprosy is said to have entirely disappeared; neither is scurvy the scourge it was formerly.

The food taken daily should be in proportion to the work done. A labouring man, for example, working hard each day, would require such foods as liver and bacon, steak, bullock's heart, beans, peas, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, &c.; foods, in fact, that would not be too easily digested. Hard work causes the food to be assimilated more readily. A too easily digested fare would cause a constant feeling of hunger. For anyone, on the contrary, leading a sedentary life, the food taken could not be too digestible. In that case, mutton, plainly cooked chicken, soles, milk puddings, and lightly boiled eggs should be the kind of viands chosen.

Children should have plain wholesome fare. Oatmeal and bread are both excellent foods for them. The lime they contain hardens their bones. The bread should be made from seconds flour, which contains more flesh-forming and mineral matter than the whiter and more sifted kinds.

Children should also have plenty of good milk. This is of the greatest importance, especially for the first months of a child's life. Milk is the only perfect food, and contains all that is necessary to sustain healthy life. It is also the only food a child can properly digest, until it cuts its teeth. The improper feeding of children is the great cause of infant mortality. When it becomes advisable to add to milk other foods, they should be nutritious and well cooked. Fine oatmeal or baked flour are, perhaps, the two best. Dr. Fothergill says: ‘Children fed on the food of their seniors, or rich cake, and crammed with sweeties, do not as a rule thrive well. They cannot compare favourably with children fed on oatmeal, maize, and milk. Oatmeal is recovering its position as a nursery food, after its temporary banishment. Oatmeal porridge is the food par excellence of the infants born north of the Trent, or was, at least, and stalwart people were the results.’

There is no doubt oatmeal is an excellent food, not for children only, but for everyone, especially for those who work hard. It is much to be regretted that it is not more universally used. The English, as a rule, eat too much animal food; and do not give sufficient attention to the proper preparation of vegetables.

Oatmeal water is considered a most strengthening beverage, and is used by men in foundries when beer and fermented liquors would be found too heating.

Of alcoholic drinks, Mr. Buckmaster says (echoing the opinion of eminent physiologists): ‘Beer, wine, and spirits are never to be regarded as foods. Their popular use is entirely due to their stimulating properties. They contain no nitrogen, and are therefore not flesh-formers, nor can they add anything to the wasting tissues. All stimulants act by increasing, for a time, the vitality of the body; but this activity is always followed by depression in proportion to the previous excitement. Tea and coffee do, to some extent, prevent waste; but their value as foods depends mainly on the sugar and milk taken with them; and their use, instead of food, is almost as hurtful as intoxicating drinks. Cocoa differs very much from either tea or coffee, since it is a nutritious liquid food.’

In a lecture on the action of alcohol upon health, Sir Andrew Clark says of health: ‘That it is a state which cannot be benefited by alcohol in any degree.’ He also states: ‘It is capable of proof, beyond all possibility of question, that alcohol, in ordinary circumstances, not only does not help work, but is a serious hindrance of work.’

These facts are so important, and ought to be so universally known, that it is to be hoped before long the chemistry of food will occupy the place it should as one of the most necessary branches of everyone's education.



A properly cooked meal, and a neatly arranged dinner-table, are helps to the happiness and moral progress of the humblest of families.—Buckmaster.

A really capable housekeeper will not be satisfied with good cookery only. She will be careful to have each dish nicely served, however plain it may be. Culture, or the want of it, will be seen at once in the appointment of her table. This remark does not apply to a profusion of glass, silver, or flowers—these are questions of wealth—but to the neatness and order with which a table is laid, and the manner in