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With the help of milk we can make a gravy as in Milk gravies. 66 milk sauce

" with beef or pork fat, seasoning with salt and pepper and perhaps some powdered herb. Children like all these gravies, if nicely made and flavored, to eat on bread as well as on vegetables.

MEAT SAUCES.

Mint sauce.

Tomato sauce.

A few cheap sauces for meats alone deserve special mention.

Two tablespoonfuls of green mint or spearmint

chopped, one tablespoonful sugar, one half cup of vinegar. Mix and let stand an hour or two.

Boil one pint of fresh or canned tomatoes with a

little onion, salt, and herb flavoring until quite thick, then strain and add one teaspoonful of flour cooked in a teaspoonful of butter.

Any sour fruit, as apples or plums, makes an excel

lent sauce to eat with meat. Apple sauce goes especially well with pork.

Add to drawn butter or any meat gravy one half Horseradish

cup grated horseradish. Simmer a few minutes.

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Fruit sauce.

sauce.

CARBOHYDRATE-CONTAINING FOODS AND THEIR

PREPARATION.

We are now to furnish for the body the third great food principle, the carbohydrates. These we mean when we speak of the starches and sugars, and with unimportant exceptions they are furnished by the vegetable world only.

As we have seen, that troublesome body, cellulose, Cellulose.

plays here a large rôle. It is the skeleton, so to speak, of plants, built by them out of sugar and starch ; the chemist finds no difficulty in his laboratory in turning it back into dextrin and sugar, and our stomachs too can digest a large part of the cellulose of very young and tender plants, — from 47 per cent to 62 per cent, it has been found, of young lettuce, celery, cabbage, and carrots, — but in older plants, the cellulose

Its use.

Amount of car

proper becomes all intergrown and encrusted with substances of a woody and mineral nature, from which even the chemist separates it with the greatest difficulty, while our digestive juices are entirely unequal to the task. Therefore it is that the whole art of the cook is needed in treating this substance; she must soften it, she must break it up, and in many cases separate it as completely as possible from the sugars, starches, and proteids which it hinders us from appropriating to our use.

In some cases, as in oatmeal and graham flour, we

leave the cellulose because of its mechanical action on the bowels. To be sure, this is a wasteful process, for the cellulose carries with it when it leaves the body considerable undigested food, but better this waste than to give the muscles of our intestines so little work to do that they become unable to digest any but fine, condensed foods. As a rule, however, we must think of cellulose not as a food at all, but as a tough, foreign body which we must reckon with before we can utilize the proteid and starch particles of many important vegetable foods.

The carbohydrates, especially the starches, are the bohydrates. cheapest of the food constituents, and therefore most apt to be in excess, especially in the food of the poor. According to estimates already given, an adult at average hard work gets along nicely with one and one eighth pounds of carbohydrate material (meaning, of course, the dry amount of this one principle), though fortunately, as mentioned under “ Fats," it is found that some of this large amount can be exchanged for fat, if the body, for any reason, can better use the latter. Brain workers and the richer classes the world over, take less of carbohydrates, at least in their starch form, and more proteids and fats.

Inasmuch as we get these carbohydrates from the vegetable kingdom, and because the housewife must furnish them combined with other principles, as in bread and other things made of flour, and in various dishes in which vegetables are combined with meat, milk, eggs, etc., we will cease speaking of carbohydrates as such, and will give a few hints as to how to prepare vegetable foods so that we can get the most out of them, bearing in mind, however, what has been said about not following out this principle to the extent of weakening the bowels.

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This leads us, first, to examine the general digestiTo what extent

digested. bility of the whole class of vegetable foods; meaning by this, not the rapidity nor the ease, but the extent to which the nutritive principle is yielded up to us. It has been found that, as usually prepared, vegetable foods give up to us from one fourth to one half less of their nutrients than do animal foods, and especially is this true of those that are rich in proteids. To illustrate: a workman eats as part of his dinner a dish of boiled beans, but though he rightly considers that he has been eating a nourishing dish, he has really absorbed only 60 per cent of the nitrogenous substances contained in it, the other 40 per cent passing from him unused because of its intimate connection with the cellulose ; at least this was the case with Prof. Strümpell, who records the results of personal experiments on the digestibility of beans cooked whole. Now this workman digested of the meat part of his dinner 9772 per cent, and this comparison shows how the tougher kinds of cellulose interfere with the absorption of the food matters which they inclose.

The starch part of vegetable food we seem to get out much better than the proteid part, even with our ordinary methods of cooking; thus out of cooked rice we get almost 99 per cent of the starch, but only 80 per cent of what proteid it contains ; flour in the form of noodles and macaroni yields up 9872 per cent of its starch and 80 per cent of its albumen — in the form of bread a little less of each. The potato will give us only 75 per cent of what little proteid it contains, but as high as 92.5 per cent of its starch.

Although the starch-containing foods are cheap, much starch and although they yield up a good per cent of this

nutritive principle, they must not be used to excess, for the following reason : Starch must first be turned into sugar by our digestive juices before it can be taken up into the blood, and if the stomach is given more at a time than it can master, certain fermentations may take place, and digestion be influenced. The best authorities say that without doubt the continued and severe diarrheas of small children are due to the fermentation of starch foods for which their digestive organs are not yet ready. These fermentations, the irritating action on the

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in the diet.

bowels of too much cellulose, and the loss of a good deal of proteid substance connected with it form the shady side of a vegetable diet. Even the ox, with his many stomachs, gets out of grass and unchopped hay only 60 per cent of the proteid and 50 per cent of the fat contained in it.

VEGETABLE PROTEIDS.

Even in our part of the world two thirds of the proteid food of most people is taken from the vegetable kingdom, and in order to choose our food profitably, we must know where to look for vegetable proteids, and how to fit them for eating. Here the cereals and the legumes are our friends, the former furnishing from 7 to 14 per cent in their dried state, the latter giving the astonishing figure of 20 to 24 per cent; or as much as meat.

GRAINS.

use grain

The cereals or grains, though containing much less proteid than the legumes, are more valuable to us because of their excellent taste, their availability to the cook, and the readiness with which when ground they yield us their nutrients. Since the grains are such important foods, a table is appended showing the average richness in food principles of those in common among us.

We find that different analyses of the same differ greatly from one another, barley for instance, ranging from 8 to 18 per cent in its proteid, and this may account for a certain grain being popular in one country and not in another. In our country we are especially fortunate in the cheapness and excel

lence of at least two of the grains, wheat and Indian

The first has, of course, much higher food value, but the latter is so cheap, and can be so easily cooked, that it is a blessing to the poor. The large per cent of both pro

teids and fat in oats is to be noted, justifying
does the high esteem in which they are now

Wheat and Indian corn.

corn.

as it

among us. At the other extreme is rice, the poorest of the grains in both these principles, but its almost perfect digestibility renders it very useful.

Oats.

held

Rice.

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Food value.

Most people would class sugar among the luxuries, and indeed we are best acquainted with it in those combinations with fruit, eggs, butter, and various flavoring matters, which, as puddings, pies, cakes, custards, etc., make up our dessert list.

Our first concern, however, is with its food value.

It gives us the high figure of 99 per cent of the third food principle, carbohydrates. That is, it must be put in the list with bread and it can be used to a certain extent instead of bread and other starch foods. Moreover, it is especially fitted for a food in cases where nourishment is needed immediately, as it is digested or absorbed into the system almost as quickly as water and without taxing the digestive organs, and perhaps on this account is its consumption so great in our country ; we live fast, and we want our nutriment in a condensed form.

But on account of its cost and because we are able to take only a moderate amount at a time, sugar cannot to any great extent take the place of the starches; we are to value it chiefly for

the relish it gives to other foods. As a flavor, it is Its chief value.

of the greatest value, but if we prize variety we are certainly accustomed to the taste of sugar in too many dishes, as in rice, custards, and various egg and bread dishes, which the foreigner would sometimes salt instead of sweeten, and eat with his meat instead of at the end of the meal.

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